I had a dream last night. It began with me swimming in a wave pool at a run-down, nasty, filth-infested water amusement park (probably something like Water Country; there are better places to feel and be young, rest assured) and I see a scratch ticket floating in the water.

I picked it up and it must have just fallen in the water because I could still scratch it. So, I did and to my surprise, it had won millions of dollars. I was ecstatic, I thought of all the bills that I could pay down, how I could finally pay off all my college debt and how easy life would be without financial restraint. However, I looked around and saw not too far from my location a group of little kids, maybe 7-10 years old with their parents. All of the little kids had a scratch ticket in their hand except for one kid. Immediately, I felt guilty. But, I rationalized with myself; the money would help me.

As I began to secure the ticket, I heard a voice (presumably of a friend, but I don’t recall looking at my friend, so I couldn’t identify who it was or it was my conscience) say, “Aren’t you going to give it back to him?”

And so — I have presented this question to a few people. And this seems like a pretty decent philosophical dilemma. Why does morality go out the window with scratch tickets?

If you rephrase the story with it being a purse I found, most people would try to return it. If you rephrase it the story with it being a purse that has a scratch ticket in it, most people would try to return the purse with the scratch ticket intact. However, when you can visibly see the owner and you know it’s not yours but it’s a scratch ticket most people rationalize reasons to quantify why they should keep it, when in reality it’s merely greed.

Is that the condition of human morality? And if so, what does that say about us as “rational agents”?

Needlessly, a fun dilemma.

It’s an art being careless…

Most people just claim to “not give a fuck,” or “not give any fucks.” But, to truly not give a single fuck, is quite hard, it seems. And that’s what this post is all about.

Awhile ago, on a blog from a distant land, I had posted about two fellows that had sporadically popped into existence into my mind; one was named Mr. Blitzhoover and the other was named Mr. Junkhoward. I used them as archetypes for different kinds of people. The Blitzhoovers were capable of just moving with the rhythm of the world and not having conscious control over everything. The Junkhowards, on the other hand, constantly checked their watches (or cellphones, for modernity) to try to control their situation.

Ultimately, through a series of examples, I concluded that Blitzhoover, in his lack of control, finds much more control in his life. While, Junkhoward, in his relentlessness to control, lacks control entirely.

And, so, for an anecdotal story, because that’s really what this blog post was about anyway. Recently, I was driving my car to go to the gym while I was eating a peach. I had not eaten a peach in quite some time so I had forgotten how juicy the suckers were. I sank right in. *Crhhhhssssz* (approximately the noise my mouth made when delving in; intense) The first bite generated a fair amount of peach ooziness dripping down my arm. I thought for a little bit about it: Was I, to my rational self, indebted to cleaning this mess up before taking another bite? Or, was I, to my primal self, indebted to enjoying this peach to the fullest and allowing it to ooze all over me?

I’d define more with the Blitzhoovers’ and so I resonated with the latter. I rolled my windows down, turned my music up, put my shades on and sank into the peach again. *Crhhhhssssz* It oozed all over me. My hand was dripping onto my white t-shirt and my blue shorts. Heat rays attempted to absorb the peach through my windshield, $6 dollar shades shielded my eyes and the music didn’t matter much because in my head I was singing The Presidents of the United States (peaches come from a can, they were put there by a man!) The peach aroma and stickiness amplified the car ride.

Now, not to get too philosophical but I had thought about the idea of everything as an extension of oneself and how the peach became one with me, as I became one with the peach. We were conjoined in a sort of disgusting and cannibalistic means to an end. I didn’t merely use the peach as an end. I let it fulfill it’s life-long aspiration of satisfying one of us beautiful human beings. Some peaches will grow old and never have our splendid canines sink into them, but this one did. It can thoughtfully turn inward, become a rind, and do so with pride.

A few days later, I was with some friends and decided to wildly pull a peach out from my kitchen and explain to them the aforementioned story. However, before doing so, I sunk into the peach and let it drip down my arm. I looked at them very solemnly and said, “Become one with the peach.”

And these are the perks of giving the least amount of fucks in life – cheers to those who can!

juicy peach-800x600

I laid in my bed at 5:00 a.m. and realized that I would only get 3 hours of sleep. It irked me that I had done this to myself. I had no way of escaping the fate except for, of course, calling out of work. But, that was only an illusory option. I felt my eyelids sinking, my body tingling and I began to drift. I began to drift into that realm of imagination and infinity. I began to fall asleep. Suddenly, I was in a car about to crash and whoosh! Hypnopompic hallucination jolted me back into reality; 5:03 a.m. I felt so rejuvenated. I thought I had slept the entire night. I checked my phone again; 5:03 a.m.

It made me think about how elusive time really is. I thought about how an hour at a shitty job feels like a year or how a decade can “fly by.” Cliches rushed to mind. Time flies by when you’re having fun! I thought of Lucretius’ concept of “tempus fugit.” I decided to write down my thoughts in a mass text message. So, without further ado:

I needed to stretch a second into a minute
into an hour into a day

into a week, a month, a year, a decade
into a millennium into 
infinity
just for a moment. A moment, a glimpse of the metaphysical.

A time when billions of thoughts (dreams) occur but no time
appropriately encapsulates the quantity of dreams we have…
because they happen in the moment. The moment being
the past, present, future all simultaneously occurring
because in the metaphysical every and anything happens.

And we can create the world just like our envisioned Gods,
but we don’t care about consciously doing so, we just care
about sensation… and reality.
And reality.

- n.v.

Advocating any and all
believed biblical benignity
conglomerates cataclysmic conformity;
daring deranged and dogmatic
evangelicals to extrapolate exorcism
for their feared Father.

Gleefully grasping the grandeur
holism of Heavenly hopes
invigorates irate and irreconcilable
jabbering of jibberish jeers.

Knowledge is kindly kindling,
lingering and lofting in liberalists’
mere mentality, mastering
the notoriously nimble nihilism of
the “omnipotent” opposition or otherwise
playfully poking pedantic
quintessences of quirks, quickly
and rather rigorously reforming
simple and shameful “sinners.”

Treacherously, truth tantalizes and
usually unequivocally unties
vivacious valleys of vacuous
wishes which wistfully
xerox xeric Xanax
yanking youthful “yesterdays”
and zealously zapping zoilism.

- n.v.

So, one day I was talking to my brother and thinking about how shitty religion is. I wanted to write a poem that was an A-Z alliteration denouncing it. I sat down and wrote this. T-Z gets a little wonky.

Ignorant Young’un: “So, you’re majoring in English and philosophy, what are you going to do with that?”
Padawan: “Save the fucking world? Duh.”

This is the typical route of conversation being an English and philosophy major. There are a bunch of spin-offs of this as well. Some are nastier than others but they all conclude in the condemnation of English and philosophy as useless majors.

It’s not a surprise. English has no intrinsic job-market appeal and neither does philosophy, of course, unless you want to be an English teacher or a philosophy professor. This is where the conversation usually gets to: Ignorant Young’un“I mean… do you want to be an English teacher?” They usually cannot conceive the idea that someone might want to teach philosophy, so this is the end of the conversation.

Today, however, I will retort Ignorant Young’un‘s claims about my majors and about all of the other English, philosophy, arts and humanities majors. First and foremost, Ignorant Young’un‘s view is narrow and basic. It’s as though by majoring in anything that the only thing you can then do with that degree must have the title of your major in the job description. This isn’t true. Aside from the countless journalistic jobs, the multitude of companies needing social media experts, the expansive amount of people needing documents to be edited by a keen eye and the endless amount of companies that need people that can organize large amounts of information, read them coherently, and then summarize them effectively there is even a more basic point.

And that’s what this entire post is about. Yesterday, I thought about my majors and what they mean to me. So, without further ado, if you take English and break it down into what it is all about you could generate a rather extensive list, but for the sake of the post I will say it’s about this: expressing your thoughts effectively. Philosophy, in this same vain, is about acquiring the ability to effectively think. Therefore, when you combine the two majors, the pursuit of a double major in English and philosophy is really about this: acquiring the ability to effectively think and then being able to express these effective thoughts, effectively.


Thus, I have a question for Ignorant Young’un – what else is this world about, than making your imagination tangible?

Finally, I just wanted to bring this in as a meter of analogy, we hear this nursery rhyme as kids:

“Sticks and stones will break my bones,
But words will never harm me.”

Words, while they say never harm them, are the largest source of hatred but also the largest source of love: because words are a transmission of message. Words may not break bones but words can shatter spirits. And shattering spirits is a way to control but also to liberate. I’m here for the latter.

The story begins with two chaps debating: one has atheistic tendencies, the other has theistic tendencies. For the sake of simplicity we will acknowledge the atheistic person as, “A” and the theistic person as, “T”. The following is an example of the type of conversation that may happen.

  • They begin to talk about their beliefs and T says that he follows the Bible. A decides to interject T and say that the Bible is filled with awful ideas. T quickly rejects this claim and says that A is taking the Bible too literally.

Generally, this is the way many theists escape from criticism. The usual route that A would take is arguing that it’s ridiculous to take some things literally and some things figuratively. But, it’s not. And I’ll grant T that there can be passages taken literally and passages that can be taken figuratively. That’s fine. However, when it comes to an overwhelming amount of passages, the switch to figurative does no better than interpreting it literally and in some cases makes it worse. Such as,

  • If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” – Leviticus 20:13

I know, I know, it’s from the Old Testament so it doesn’t count. But, it does. At least, Timothy, Peter and Luke think so:

  •  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” – Timothy 3:16
  • “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” – Peter 20-21
  • But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.” – Luke 16:17

So, this refutation of the Old Testament is rendered invalid. Now, referring to the Leviticus quotation from earlier, the literal interpretation of it is that we kill homosexuals. “They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” I don’t think this is disputable. Nobody wants to own up to this claim though and so the blame falls on the person interpreting the quote as taking it “too literally.” Let’s interpret this quote figuratively, then!

  • If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” – Leviticus 20:13

We’ll break it down so it’s easier to follow.

  • “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.”

Okay. So, figuratively (or, metaphorically) Leviticus is saying that if a man has sexual relations. Er, rather… we’ll just say that this passage means that if a man is very close, (but not actually having sex) just terribly intimate friends, then they’ve done an awful thing. We’ve avoided the claim that we’re against homosexuals, yeah!

  • “They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

This one seems tricky, but we can make it work. Instead of “put to death,” the Bible really only meant to say that they should be psychically alienated and scrutinized mentally to the point that they feel as though they’re dead, not physically dead. “Their blood will be on their own heads,” just means that they need to own up to their ugliness eventually.

Voila! The new, figurative passage would read something like this:

  • If a man has a terribly close friendship with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be psychically alienated and scrutinized mentally to the point that they feel as though they’re dead. Their feelings about themselves should be in accordance with this deranged mental state.” – Leviticus 20:13 (reworked, figuratively!)

Perfect! Instead of the Bible being against gay men and thinking that we should kill them, we should just think of every guy who is close friends with another guy as an oddity and treat them as such until they treat themselves the same way!

And, there are endless other passages that operate the same way. Switching the language of the Bible from literal to figurative doesn’t help its case. In fact, in this situation, I’d say it makes it worse: don’t kill someone, just make them live out their entire life mentally tortured and wish that they were dead. As one of my friends aptly put it, “It’s like those people who say, ‘I don’t mean to offend you, but you’re fucking stupid!'”