Greetings! It’s been too long, and I have nobody to blame but myself for not writing more often. Today’s thoughts were provoked by PeaceBang’s blog entry asking the Unitarian Universalist community to chime in with our thoughts and impressions on this controversial topic. My thoughts are as follows:
Is there life after death? An equally puzzling question could be posed: What has happened before our life’s frame of reference and will happen after it? Some may assign great meaning to the various answers that questions such as these evoke, and some may not. My own take is that we cannot and will not know the true answer until we slip the bonds of this life, so our time and energy here are best spent ruminating on what we can do in the here and now.
Currently the evidence I have available to me suggests that there is not an afterlife in the traditional sense that humanity teaches. Biologically we can prove (as much as anything can be proved when there are few or no known absolutes) that the vast majority of our personality and individuality resides in the brain, and that brain activity eventually ceases upon death. My working hypothesis is that when death occurs, hypoxia in the brain causes increased neural activity and a massive hormone rush that speeds up perception in a way that produces the so-called near-death experience. We suspect that time is perceived relatively by different people in different situations, and I consider it likely that we can experience a seeming eternity in the window between death and the time brain activity ceases. Obviously this is subject to scientific verification and open to reinterpretation given further evidence.
Given this stance, the best way I’ve found to honor the memory of loved ones is to heed their wisdom and to act in ways that honor their memory. There are many and various ceremonies that pertain to this practice, such as Halloween or Día de los Muertos that we can take part in to remember and honor our departed loved ones. These need only have the spiritual implications that we place upon them, and can provide healing and joy to those who choose to celebrate them.
Similar to honoring the dead, the best way I’ve found to improve this life is to live it to the fullest. Live responsibly but don’t be too sparing when indulging yourself. Spend it improving life for others, as those who do the same may bring some joy to you in return.
If you’re a UU, please feel free to leave your thoughts on PeaceBang’s blog and link your comment here. If you’re not UU, please feel free to leave your thoughts here. I ask this only to keep her blog entry on-topic, and I ask that you respect the views and opinions of others even if you are diametrically opposed to them.
After a fair bit of hacking, slashing, and head-banging, I’ve managed to get my blog fairly well integrated with Facebook!
Expect more content soonish!
September 30 – October 27
Among other cherished qualities of the Ivy Celtic tree astrology sign, most prized is your ability to overcome all odds. You have a sharp intellect, but more obvious is your compassion and loyalty to others. You have a giving nature, and are always there to lend a helping hand. You are born at a time of the waning sun so life can be difficult for you at times. This sometimes seems unfair because it appears that obstacles are coming at with no prompting on your part. Nevertheless, you endure troubling times with silent perseverance and soulful grace. Indeed, Ivy signs have a tendency to be deeply spiritual and cling to a deep-rooted faith that typically sees them trough adversity. You are soft spoken, but have a keen wit about you. You are charming, charismatic, and can effectively hold your own in most social settings. Ivy signs are attracted to the Celtic tree astology sign of Oak and Ash signs.
Celtic Tree Astrology
I’ve been poked and prodded to update this dusty old thing. Things have changed a lot in the last year and I have a lot to say, so expect more soon!
Should telecommunications companies receive immunity for their participation in government surveillance programs?
We live in interesting times. We have the ability to monitor almost any traffic in an effort to try and prevent almost any form of terrorist attack. We could line our streets with cameras and pay citizens to watch for any sign of trouble and report it to the proper authorities. If we wanted to, we could execute anyone caught contributing to terrorism in any way. Surely that would stop it, right? Surely we would justify such actions by weighing the cost in human life of executing criminals versus the countless innocent lives lost in countless acts of terrorism. Sounds plausible to me.
The only problem with such a notion is that it violates the principles of freedom upon which this country was founded. Believe me, I really hate to use the “our fathers” argument. It’s really the only thing that seems to pack a punch, though. Our forefathers (and mothers) believed in us, but more than that, they believed in freedom. They knew that freedom isn’t free. They knew that it must be fought for, and at times requires the loss of life. Sometimes I think that there are few things we today would risk our lives for, but they did it without thinking twice because they believed in freedom.
I’m less concerned about the telecom companies having immunity for it than I am with the government itself having immunity. Who holds the watcher’s watchers responsible for their actions? Whether we live in a free society or a police state, the cost of freedom is still the occasional loss of life. Either abide by the law or change it by legal means. Don’t give retroactive immunity because it creates divisiveness and encourages anarchy.
I just woke from a dream in which there was this grand hall. I recall flying through it as though riding in a tiny helicopter or as though I were floating about. This hall was attached to an old, Victorian style house full of mysterious rooms which were in turn full of mysterious things. Attached to the back of the house was the Grand Hall. It was definitely “older” than the house to which it was attached. There was an open roof at the very top of the hall the size of what I will call the dance floor, and the whole hall was covered inside and out with ivy and moss after decades of apparent neglect. It was two stories and there were old stone pillars holding up the second floor and the partial roof. Statuary littered the hall, and in fact the statue in the very center of the hall may look familiar to some of you:
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Want an honest and long lasting relationship? Make sure you and your partner can recite these five statements.
- I can live without you, no problem
- My love for you will definitely change
- You’re not everything I need
- I won’t always hold you close
- You and I aren’t one
There really isn’t much more I can add to this, so go check it out!
Threats of the war are
Knocking at our door
It’s the coming horror picture
of heroes on the floor
The taller monster of hate
To smother our hope or love here
But I have faith because
I know that you believe
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I know it sounds weird, but I really can’t stand it. It’s especially unpleasant when a styrofoam cup is involved. Beer isn’t so bad, but soda being poured into a styrofoam or plastic cup just rubs me the wrong way. It just sounds dirty and wrong, and I can’t explain why. Please tell me I’m not crazy? Please?
Soda Being Poured