my ten issues

I was over at Stupid Evil Bastard where I found him dissing on the anti-fluoride crowd. While I had to punch out a (not-too-brief, of course) comment to that, it also got me to thinking… What are my pet peeves with humanity. And could I come up with ten? Then, if I could, should I list them politely? Or not-politely? Anyway, as a last minute, late-night list, here they are in (approximate) order of precedence:

1)  Religion. No, I don’t mean “organized religion” or Christianity… I mean any kind of belief in: a supernatural world, a “creator”, life after death, reincarnation, omnipotent immortal beings, other planes of existence… Anything that ignores the reality of the physical universe or that insults or undermines the great (potential) powers and abilities of humanity. I don’t like it. I can’t stand it. Though I find it funny when used as a tool to control or profit off of naïve people… Go Trinity!

2) Violence and killing. By which I mean primarily war, but also any other stupid hostile antic that people do either for profit, glory, self-edification, or because they don’t know how to control their frustrations, from bar-fights to street gangs to organized armies. Of course, this also includes killing animals because you think that they taste better than things that don’t have to have their heads cut off and be bled dry (admittedly, this all relates back to my “insulting the potential of humanity” issue in problem 1. Well, I guess that all of these points do).

3) Non-personal pride: Nationalism, ethnic pride and stuff like that. The tiring debate between people on other sides of the hill saying “our side of the hill is better than yours, so we’re going to throw rocks at you” is very annoying, especially with how destructive modern violence has gotten.

4) Homogenization of business and culture. The lazy desire to have everything and to have it all the same everywhere you go (aka, the spread of Starbucks, and the demise of small-town businesses so that people can save some money on crap that they don’t need at Wal-mart).

5) Always kowtowing to the “official” line and then criticizing people who dare to question what those in power say. This goes along with letting the government and businesses engage in practices that are damaging to our people or environment and not at least questioning their motives. Especially relevant in the era of Bush Jr and his endless misleading of people, which seems to be eerily effective.

6) Official hypocrisy, by which I especially mean the American hypocrisy of “don’t question the government”, “the president is for jesus”, and all of that other crap that violates both the letter and the spirit of what the “founding fathers” put in place.

7) “Fashion”, fixation on entertainment celebrities, commercials and anything that makes pop culture the wasteland of irrelevant, irresponsible, mind-numbing, maturity-slowing crap that it is.

8) Unneeded movie remakes.

9) Racism, sexism, homophobia and anything that entails judging people on some made-up criteria that ignores who they actually are.

10) Homeless people who sit on the street all day (generally waiting for handouts that involve making them sit through christian sermons) and throw garbage down on the ground for others to pick up, when there are garbage cans just a few feet away that they could just put their crap in, if they had the respect for themselves and the society that they live off to actually stand up and utilize them.

As an added bonus, my remaining pet-peeve relates to so many issues above that I figured I’d just keep it separate. It is “colonialism” and “domination of already occupied territories”: Ireland, Tibet, Palestine, “Kurdistan”… I don’t understand the desire to go somewhere where people live and claim it as your own (well, I understand the motives behind Israel, but…). It leads me to understand why America was as thorough as it was in annihilating the native populations, because there isn’t really a large enough remaining native population to give the America’s back to, or to make a big enough stink about it. But it is a ridiculous and crazy idea, to go to someone else’s land and claim it as your own.

3 Responses to “my ten issues”

  1. Thud on March 15, 2008 04:47

    How does “belief in: a supernatural world, a ‘creator,’ life after death, reincarnation, omnipotent immortal beings, other planes of existence…” necessarily ‘ignore’ the reality of the physical universe or that insults or undermines the great (potential) powers and abilities of humanity?

    Do you think that, if people accept your judgement of what constitutes reality, #1 might be in conflict with #5?

    How much understanding of religion and culture do you think is required before your expression in #1 no longer qualifies as a manifestation of #9?

  2. Ashley on March 17, 2008 10:59

    Oh sure! I can see issues and contradictions with a lot of my judgmentalizing. As with most people, there are aspects of myself that I feel could be improved. I’ve never been the most tolerant person (regarding things that I feel strongly about), which may be why I can react so harshly to what I perceive as the same lack of tolerance in others. The old, “you don’t like in others, that which you can see in yourself”. And honestly, I would like to have a more tolerant ear towards people, but sometimes (and with some subjects) I’m just not sure how to go about it.

    I know I’ve said it before, but I don’t have much (if any) real understanding of or experience with religion or religious people. But my understanding of religion, “a philosophy that states a supernatural truth about the reality of the universe”, it seems to me that if a religion is “true” it doesn’t really leave any space for other religions or lack of religion. As in, if someone really believes that Jehovah created the Earth and sent his son down to re-lay-down the law (something like “believe in me or you will suffer eternal torment”)… Well, that doesn’t show much tolerance of or respect for people who don’t believe or who believe differently. But if a Christian doesn’t believe in the “you must believe in Jesus, the son of god, to find your salvation”, then what is it that makes them Christian?

    My point isn’t just about christianity, I think that to make its point most any religion (except for, maybe, the Nature ones) need have that “we know the truth, and it contradicts what you think” aspect to it.

    So that is one reason that I can feel so harshly. While I don’t have any issue with religion as part of ones cultural or social mindset, it is when it is used in a more encompassing context that I begin to have issues. And I think that due to the nature of religion, it is hard for it to not enter that context. And though, as my wife pointed out, religion is very personal for people… It isn’t personal in the sense that religions, by their very nature, make a statement about the reality and existence of every creature that there is.

    I realize that many make the case that Science is just another religion. And while I see the general point, the difference between an “intentional, supernatural” reality and a materialist, chemical reality is all the difference to me.

    Though, in all honesty, I have some of the same problems with a lot of science (which I consider to be bunk, as in black holes being passages to other universes or other parts of this universe and time travel) as I do with religion.

  3. Thud on March 20, 2008 04:00

    Your perception of religion certainly seems colored with what you’ve most likely come in contact with — various and sundry political fundamentalists. That’s not what religion is, that’s a specific expression of religion. It tends to infect many religious groups, although the major religions of the Book (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) are the most susceptible and most exclusive. Buddhism and Shinto are very unusual to most western minds, and — as you point out — there are the nature religions which don’t fit this mold at all.

    I’d *love* it if a basic comparative religions class were taught in high school. Of course the religious right would go batshit over the idea, and I’m afraid a lot of anti-religious people would join them.

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