SEARCH 2014: TO INFINITY AND BEYOND MYSELF

NOTE: This post is still being edited. Sort of.

LAST WEEKEND, I was apart of something spiritual and uplifting. It was my second year at SEARCH, which is the annual Winter Quarter retreat for Catholic students involved with the Newman Center for Catholic Campus Ministry at Western Washington University. SEARCH is in my opinion the most amazing Christian retreat that I have ever been to, and I must proclaim – even though I had seen everything before, this year’s retreat was well worth every minute of my time.

Ultimately, my time doesn’t belong to me anyways. My time belongs to God. This is the most precious lesson that SEARCH has taught me, one that I have managed to forget over the course of the last year. At the beginning of the retreat, the staff takes your cell phones, your watches, and anything else that can either tell time or communicate with the outside world. All of these things can detract from your relationship with God.

I know this. As I have consistently been led to understand of my singular past experience communicating with God, I know that if I had not been in a deep state of prayer, I would not have heard Him speaking to me. I would not have known my vocation. I would not have known the mission for the rest of my life.

I might never have gone to Africa.

Although many Americans have a low regard for Catholicism, as in their minds it is chalk-full of pithy truisms and discontented aphorisms, I do believe that Catholicism is the way to salvation.

There are a few things that I might be questioning the Vatican of – mainly the whole gay thing. But perhaps that is out of my love for all people, no matter how flawed they are in the eyes of the Clergy.

One question that I do have for the Vatican: if I have this resounding love for Jesus Christ, if I find myself sometimes admiring his image upon the cross, his abs, his pecs, his amazing and beautiful face – am I any different from a gay man in this regard?

The curse of the consumerism culture that I was raised in, is that I am surrounded by people who break their covenants with God in exchange for money, or for material goods.

I have also been taught by popular media to frown down upon people who have holes in their jeans – especially people who buy jeans with holes in them. And those with dirty jeans that they wear into town. I frown down upon individuals who have become addicted to the Devilish influence of narcotics: meth, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana. I hate them. Fat people, homeless people, people who don’t take showers, anarchists. I look at these people and I yak silently inside my mouth. I can taste the wretched stench of mold in the air. Something that gives off the aroma of the ghetto.

But I have been given a chance by God to renew my soul and to take off my elitist goggles. Not everyone has the choice to never take that first hit on the pipe. Some people are forced into it. Some people get into it so early in their life, that they can never stop. Some people start smoking or chewing or drinking so early on, they can’t stop themselves when they reach my age.

I have to learn to live with others, no matter how flawed they are.

I also have to learn to live with the Vatican, no matter how flawed it is.

When the time is right, God will see it fit to alter the Catechism of the Catholic Church to allow gays their rights to marry and raise children. I know this in my heart. Presently, however, the Church has its hands full with the straits.

Why do so many people in this country divorce? Or have children when they are not married?

I know for certain that growing up in two households with two parents who lashed out at each other my whole childhood was rough. The problem might very well be attributed to the fact that my father had not been to church in a LONG time when I was born. He had no consideration of his soul when he was in copulation. I can’t really say much about my mother in this regard, I never asked her as many questions.

Where am I now? What did this retreat do for me?

I was able to understand once again that I am not alone in my struggles with God. There are individuals, people with deep-seated troubles who are very similar to myself.

One person had formerly given up her entire life – her name, her job, and her college plans – to join a convent, only to realize that the life wasn’t for her. One person had formerly been so addicted to weed that he once rolled a joint using a page from the bible. One person had been so addicted to sex that she can’t even remember the names of some people she slept with, and not all of them were guys.

God reached into each of these people’s lives and changed them, altered them, morphed them into what they are today.

CS Lewis once wrote:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

I am normal. I am a human being. Before I go off rushing to serve the Lord in a foreign country, the first thing that I must do is remodel the house right here.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for me.

Adversity

There is no point in being pessimistic about the prospects of life, if you have God in your heart. I have been through an ordeal as of late, and my entire life has been turned upside down. I would go into details, but for the safety of those persons involved, I am not going to delve into certain circumstances too deeply. Go somewhere else if you want a gossip column. Just know that my troubles have revolved around a few key aspects of my life: the girl I loved, my health, my finances, and my grades.

I was asked a question when I was very young; “What is it that you are not willing to give up to God?” At the time, I did not understand the question. In the present moment, I understand the question completely, so I am able to retort appropriately. The aforementioned list is among what I have perceived to be my most passionate pursuits. These are the things in my life that I have idolized. I have tended to disassociate them with God.

God asks each of us to love him. But for some, he asks a little bit more. For some, he asks for personal sacrifices. What it is that we are not willing to give to God, is eventually what he will require, in order for a person to achieve a state of Grace within himself. But He will only ask those of us who are called into Him to make giant leaps of faith and leave the fleshy vain temptations of life behind us as we walk on the Path of Light.

For me, it has most assuredly been what I valued the most in life that God has asked me to relinquish. Only after I had given God my word that I was forever in his embrace did he take away those things upon which I had so fervently relied.

It was my grades first. I had gotten so wrapped up in the idea of success, and of good grades, that I had put those aspirations before my love of God. And so, God naturally showed me that my own procrastination and laziness in loving God bled into my pursuit of good grades. He has also shown me that grades matter little in the changing fortunes of time and space. I can achieve great heights in anywhere that I have God with me.

My finances were the next to go. I had been so preoccupied with the purchase of luxurious objects and merchandise that I had fallen into the consumerist trap: work now, buy later. In His infinite wisdom, God revealed to me that my addiction to luxury would be what brought me back to poverty, of which I had been so desperately trying to run from. God does not concern himself with how much money someone has. If a person is truly Holy, then they will ask God what is right.

God is truly wonderful and magnificent in his wisdom. There is nothing greater then knowing that no matter what, he will always have us in the palm of his hands.

This is very encouraging news for someone like me.

I would like to confess something to the world right now. A memory that I am quite sure has been suppressed for a very long time. In all honesty, I am not sure if this memory is even real. If it is real, it would probably be classified. So the fact that it’s not on my service record makes me think that it’s just my imagination. Perhaps they aren’t memories at all, but visions of a possible future. But I remember it like it was yesterday…

I keep thinking of a Croatian named Jonathan. Someone who was very near and dear to my heart. I can’t remember the exact details, but I seem to remember being tied down and forced to watch a crazed warlord take a machete and slice open Jonathan’s neck from ear to ear like he was cutting open a watermelon. I kept screaming “Don’t do it Colonel!”, but my words were inconsequential. I saw the blood of this man spewing out of his neck. The warlord’s face was maniacal, almost to the point that he was the Devil himself.

Jonathan’s body fell over, slumped on the ground and discarded by the warlord. I looked at the body for five minutes. Then I looked right back into the warlord’s eyes, and I vowed to return.

That I did nearly a week later. I got on a transport heading out to a village nearby the warlord’s encampment and waited until nightfall. Once night came upon us, I hightailed it into the camp. Sufficient to say, I was extremely motivated to do only one thing that night. I grabbed the Colonel and exfiltrated the camp along with two others.

We tortured him. I remember ropes and burning flesh. I remember a wire with clamps that was used to send electric current through his body. I remember gasoline.

But the punishment didn’t satisfy me. At the end of the long ordeal, I took out my knife and I sliced his face from ear to ear, just as he had done to my friend.

Again, perhaps I never did do any of these these things. Perhaps these are metaphors given to me by God for the sole purpose of understanding that it is never satisfying to seek revenge for being hurt. Human beings are extremely tempted creatures. Any human being that swoops down to being the Devil’s personal plaything on Earth at one moment is still loved by God at all moments. God hurts much more when human beings sin. But to forgive someone whom forgiveness is not deserving: this is called “Mercy.” We are all, as children of God, called to grant others mercy.

And to my ex girlfriend, mercy is what I give. I pray to God that he might guide her and that her faith is not lost in the ensuing spiritual and unseen warfare that goes on inside her mind.

I also pray for peace and solace within myself. The memories that I have been starting to remember… The actions that I have taken to express my anger recently. My lust. These are all things that I pray to God might be made nullified and turned into good.

I am ready for God.

WWJD?

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There was a Christian bitch on campus the other day. I’m not sure how else to put it. She was stomping around Red Square and telling students how they were all going to hell. Her white tee shirt proclaimed the words “TRUST JESUS.” She was shouting so loudly that a few classes nearby were cancelled. There were a few students who got so perturbed by her presence that they stooped to her level and started shouting back.

“You’re all going to hell!” She would say.

“You’re a hypocrite! Jesus was only a man and you’re worth less than the shit in the guts of the fish that he gutted!” A student replied.

The screams were so loud that they could be heard on the other side of campus. It’s funny how this “Christian” woman was more conspicuous than Aron Carter was the day that he performed.

She was videotaping the whole thing. As if she was TRYING to get a rise out of the liberal population of Western Washington University. Maybe she’s going to use this material as food for the fodder of false witness to Christ.

The police responded to the scene and cited her for disturbing the peace. She retreated to her comfortable lawn chair she had sitting next to her videocamera. Representatives from the Campus Christian Fellowship were called to respond as well by being with her and listening to what she had to say.

I’m so glad that I wasn’t the person who had to sit and listen to her, and I give mad props to the guys who did. I’m just not sure what I would have said. Something like “you realize it’s a sin to tell other people that they’re going to hell? Since God according to the prophet Paul wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth it is a sin to wish that God would send a person to Hell.”

What that lady was doing is wrong. She is going to drive people away from the Church, and she ultimately is providing the wrong image of Christianity for those students on this campus who still need to find God.

The gut-wrenching idea is that she is just the precursor to Brother Jed (George Edward Smock), who will be on campus soon. Brother Jed has never been warmly accepted here at this university. He’s been here many, many times, and each time the ensuing violence gets worse. I fear that if he keeps coming to this campus, he’s going to need an armed escort. We God-fearing Christians at this university can’t stomach the idea of another man passing out his own judgement upon us, especially those homosexuals and atheists amongst us.

But I must preach against violence. The only way that we, as a university, are going to win over people like Brother Jed and his female companion is to listen to what they have to say. Then, and only then, will there be peace. As long as we listen, and keep our discomforts to ourselves, then he will go home without accomplishing his task of conversion. Believe me, there are plenty of things that I wish I could do to the man. But I hold myself to a high standard of honor. Hopefully, the rest of this university can do the same the next few weeks.

Brother Jed usually comes during Dead Week or finals week, so be prepared for much shouting during this time.

The Plight of Mohamed Mohamud; US Citizens Being Recruited By The Enemy

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The beginning of this particular story does not take place in the dusty and arid deserts of Yemen, where the AQAP has been violently active in its training and recruitment of young Muslims for the last decade and a half. It is said that a plane trip to Yemen is a plane trip to heaven, and the same could have been said of Somalia before last October. Nor does our story begin in the mediocre and rainy streets of  Portland, Oregon, where a young Mohamed Mohamud was recruited by “Yousef,” a member of Al-Quaeda who had ties to the high command. The beginning of our story takes place neither in the when of either of these two stories, but rather many years before the words “Al Quadea” were considered household items.

The year is 1942, and the world is at war. Declarations of war have been made by countries on every habitable continent on planet Earth, and more are coming in every month. Europe has been tossed into tumult and turmoil, the Germans advancing their empire ever-more and interning everyone who defies them along the way. Stalin is removing those of less-then admirable social status from the ranks of russian power, in a “reign of terror” that goes by unnoticed by the West, and is head-to-head with Hitler. The Japanese are advancing in the Pacific, and the US Marines have been called out to respond aggressively.

The Germans hold their cockroaches of war. As do the Russians have their Siberian prison camps. And the Chinese their water-torture chambers. Nearly every fighting force on earth has some form of prisoner “housing.”

They did it out of fear.

And somehow, the Good Ol’ United States of America has the great fucking idea to lock up all of its Japanese citizens in key states along the Western seaboard and elsewhere. As if when we do it, it doesn’t hurt as bad.

We did it out of fear.

The same fear of others was what led Senator Jospeh McCarthy many years later to go out on an anti-communist campaign to rid the country of its blight.

I have never met a man who did not have fear. Because fear is a constant gauge that reminds us that we are still human, and it is essential that we have fear. But it is when the actions of human beings are dictated by that fear, instead of by love, that you need to find a good transport to excommunicate yourself from that place. Fear cannot control someone who is filled with love.

Mohamed Mohamud finds himself in a long line of people who were controlled by their fear, and for that, he faces the courts system.

Because Mohamed wasn’t actually recruited by the AQAP after all. It was a sting operation set up by the FBI. The G-Men, not the AQAP, were the ones who filled his head with violent thoughts and who gave him the idea to blow up a target in Portland, Oregon. The question that now remains is; would he have even considered it if it wasn’t for the FBI? Putting those thoughts in his head? I can only shake my head in disgust at the failure of the FBI. Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to recruit him, then to turn him into a failed terrorist? Entrapment is the word, and the bird is the word.

In this case, fear dictated both sides of the fight. Fear of others. Fear of oppression. Fear of reverting to a medieval state.

People should never be dictated out of fear or stupidity. People who let themselves be neglected by their fear become dictated by it. People who run to be rebels only come back being the very people that they despised. Life is forever cyclical in that way. Don’t give yourself into that fear.

Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the world.” – Charlie Chaplin

On Referendum 74

“AN ACT Relating to providing equal protection for all families in Washington by creating equality in civil marriage and changing domestic partnership laws, while protecting religious freedom… BE IT ENACTED BY THE STATE OF WASHINGTON…” – Referendum 74

This is a time of new beginnings. Am I, as a Catholic, supposed to go along with my church in its every decision even though all evidence presented points to the best decision being a contradictory action? This is the age-old question of the faith. This is why Martin Luther protested against the church and caused centuries of bloody battles between the Catholic Church and the dozens of breakaway churches now known as “Protestant.” This is why Galileo was put under house arrest. This is why Ricardo Fontanna put on the star of David and sacrificed himself in Auswitz.

As we have seen from these numerous examples, however, the only way to go about making positive change within the institution of faith is to act accordingly. To rash of an action could be seen as heresy, not founded in reality. But any action taken that is not bold enough will never change anything, no matter how difficult it was for the individual. Faith is very much a team effort.

And Referendum 74 has been at the forefront of the fight between antiquated institutional religion and the concept of creative license and valid interpretation. Maybe it is high time the church got off its high horse and accepted everyone for who they were as individuals, rather than trying to follow in the metaphorical footsteps of Stalin and rid the world of its enemies. Catholicism has always been considered the leading doctrine on institutionalized religion and how it should be enacted, kind of like Apple is in the mobile phone world, and America is in the military world.

 

Erin Gobragh

[Cave Hill. Belfast. County Antrim, Ireland] (LOC)
[Cave Hill. Belfast. County Antrim, Ireland] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)
Someone recently asked me, dude if you are so friggin Irish, why don’t I see anything about Ireland on your friggin blog?

Yes, I am a downright Irish Republican. Ask anybody who really knows me well, and they will tell you EXACTLY how I feel about Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, the Catholic Church, the Clans of Ireland, and the wars. I have a distinct and unwavering view concerning each of these topics. Which is probably why I haven’t written much about the subject before now. What you must know is that I write about things that are not only on my mind, but also on the minds of those who I perceive to be the “intelligent class.”  If this blog were 100% personal, of which it is not, than I would write about things like how I met my girlfriend, what I had for lunch, and why pigs can fly. Because they can fly, just not physically. But I do not write about these things because they are my own. They are personal. They are what make me an enigma.

Ireland, however much I believe it belongs to me, does not fit into the same category. I guess that subconsciously I have always wanted it to. I have always wanted to let my identity be defined by my affiliations, and it was my secret to share with only my closest friends. But now the desire to see my opinions concerning these subject matters on my blog has been noted verbally. I have been tried, and I have been found guilty of secrecy.

Where is that line between small time blogger and psychopath? Is it hidden deep within the context of an argument presented? Does my audience count my fallacies as they appear? These questions still occupy a great deal of space within the void that is my mind, and yet I have elected to appeal to the wishes of my followers.

This will be the next laborious activity of my blog. I will attempt to put into word form all of my thoughts concerning the Republic of Ireland. The project to be undertaken will be quite extensive, and It will require the creation of a whole new page. And so it begins.

The Blow

The BLOW! What is the blow?

Who shall teach thee what the Blow is?

The day when men shall be like scattered moths,

And the mountains shall be like flocks of carded wool,

Then as to him, whose balances are heavy – his shall be a life that shall please him well:

And as to him whose balances are light – his dwelling place shall be the pit

And who shall teach thee what the pit is?

A raging fire!”

~ The Holy Koran

Comparatively, there are many similarities between the Christian Bible and the Muslim Koran. [#yummygoatfood] One of the greatest of which describes the wrath of God. In the bible, this is known as the Apocalypse, the Revelation, or Armageddon. In the Muslim Holy Book, also known as the Koran, there are also many descriptions as to the end of all things. And though the names are different, and the language is foreign – the concepts are quite similar.

I was presented with an interesting query today. The question was based off of the trendy theory that the world is going to end this year, and it had to do with the basic fundamentals of humanity. “Are you going to any mad parties the night before the world ends?”

The inexorability of common folk to think of the question in a particular light – that it is a simple question – is rank, but the concept of human originality is one that I have been closely aligned with for many years. The question is implicating something about the very nature of humankind that few people like to discuss openly.

Let me ask this question in a different way. “List everything that you are going to do the night before the world ends. Are you going to fuck somebody? Are you going to punch somebody in the face, or smash a building with a baseball bat? The world is ending, are you content with yourself right now, or are you going to do something you’ve never done before?”

The underlying question has to do with the violence that seems to have spread all over the world in this age. Wars in the World is a great site for keeping a breadth of conflicts that plague our world community. Right now, as you read, there are probably people being displaced from their homes due to violence in Syria, Colombia, Turkey, and Russia. In some places, on some days, roads will be littered with bodies. The firing of mortar rounds is considered a pastime activity in places like Aleppo. Terrorist groups like Hamas have figured out how to build spy drones all on their own. Drug runners in South America have so much money that they have been able to pay for the research and development of semi-submersibles that can house tons of illegal merchandise. Want to keep track of daily activities? Try the Daily Beast’s Cheat Sheet. It gives the most read daily events in a numbered format, so you can keep track of Syria in the comfort and delights of your very own first class Amtrak cabin.

That’s just the thing, isn’t it? Human beings are so callused to violence today that when a pistol goes off in the ghetto, it’s kind of like a bear shitting in the woods. A recent article in the New York Times said that children in Syria have become so callused to the sound of gunfire that they no longer react to it. This phenomena could be considered common most everywhere today.

Many different philosophers, economists, academics, and politicians have attempted to define the nature of violence in today’s society. Morgan Spurlock, Henry Kissinger, Kennith Waltz, Craig Venter, and Tom Cruise all believe in vastly different ideas as to how humans operate emotionally due to heredity.

In most essences, I would describe myself as a Realist. I operate on the notion that people are genonmically violent. This might seem like some pessimistic view of the universe perspectively, and yet it is to me that a river flows one way. There is idealism, and then there is simple physics.

Much like it is quite utterably impossible to make a river flow back in on itself, it is quite equally impossible to irradiate the world of all evil. The task is quite simply impossible. Attempts have been made: the league of nations was designed for this ultimatum. To no avail. War still rages widely everywhere in the world today.

As most of you are aware by now, I have chosen a quite great deal of antonyms to my own identity. One could make a leap of semantics and say that it is a list of my enemies. In the fact that I have no mortal enemies this is untrue. It is simply a list of people, as George Carlin would say, I believe should be tied to a chair and hit repeatedly with a hammer. Today I am administering a proclamation. The newest bad guy on my list is not a single person, or a group of people. It is a phenomena. It is an enigma.

It is war. War is the greatest threat to the sanctity of the human spirit ever. War is a way to remove morality from a populous, and to make a people conformists. Submission to a system of strength comes from war. The strong survive. The weak fall very low, and it is as if they are undead. War is quite possibly the gateway opiut into all evil. The root, so they say, of all evil.

The Justice and Prosperity of Islam’s Golden Age

Pick up a pencil. Go ahead, sharpen it a little. I mean real sharp. Now take it and hold it it your non-good hand. Look at it real good for a few minutes and contemplate… long and hard. Now what I want you to do is shove it into the center of your other hand as hard as you can. Make sure that you can feel it in the space just beneath your intermediary flanges, and wiggle it around.
This is the sharia law equivalent for punishing someone who is considered a bad writer. (I kind of wish someone would shove a pencil up a large quantity of certain someones over at Fox News – the cheeky bastards).
As an American, of which at this point make up the majority of my over 800 followers, you are probably extremely appalled at my description of the basic traditional customary law accepted by many Muslims around the world. Rightfully so, I mean, it’s not like your God would ever think of sending fourth a lamb with four heads and expecting some schmuck college student to know the difference between tripping balls and a message from God. Guess the jackass philosophy student was to preoccupied with… something… to remember that part from the last book of the bible where the four headed lamb is sent fourth as the first message to humankind that the world is doomed for demolition. OH YEAH! That was your God, I’m sorry, kinda got that guy confused with the other god who only cares about Muslims. Yeah, because THAT GUY is a fucking douchebag.
Joking aside. Sharia law is nothing good for me. To me, sharia law is a step backward. As the Tea Party likes to say; ‘you cannot cut down big mean by tearing down small men.”
Just think about the awesome things that secular democracy provides for mankind. Just name five things. No seriously, just name five, I don’t want to make any of my followers go to the hospital because they tried to think of more then five.
We have interstate highways, to transport our large system of trade and commerce, and to make sure OPEC has one of the strongest lobbies in America. We have playboy magazine, to make sure American men are kept quiet and conform to the capitalist system. We have the freedom of religion, to make sure that the Church of Scientology has the right to do… whatever they do in their quest to take over the world.
I am not in the least bit satirical when I say that America is the world’s greatest nation. When my eighth grade history teacher gave us the option to say the pledge of allegiance, I was one of eight students out of thirty to stand up and say it every single day – not because I was energetic and just wanted to do something – I firmly believed in everything it meant. I still say the pledge every couple of days.
Additionally, like all of my beliefs, you cannot know my true idealism behind the veil of a blast shelter. It is much more complicated then just a few words. That is why Catholics have the catechism and Jews have the Tora. I have my head.
What did happen, though, to the Arabia that I knew of as a child? To the magic carpets, the parting of the Red Sea, the Djinis in a bottle, and the gates of Sesame? The magnificent hanging gardens of Baghdad… now replaced by the glorious reminders of mortar rounds that shook the city to shreds.
War happened. That’s life. It happened in Russia, it happened in Korea, it happened in Ireland. Arabia isn’t so special that it could escape the consequences of war. The Siccoro tried, and the Djin were awakened, but war kills even the supernatural.
And then we felt it.
“What America tastes now is something insignificant compared to what we have tasted for scores of years. Our nation has tasted this humiliation and this degradation for more than eighty years.” – Usama Bin Laden.
War came to America just as it had come to the rest of the world. It was the first time a great American city had ever been successfully targeted and sacked by an outside force on that scale. And it changed us as well.
Everyone touched by war become two-faced and jaded.
The appeal of those dedicated Muslims around the world to revert their new governments toward implementing Sharia law does not come from a hatred of America, though they may say so consciously. It comes from the natural tendency of ALL HUMAN BEINGS to revert to their pre-war greatness. To seclude themselves in sovereignty so that they may, as a people, go back to a way that actually works for them. To revert themselves, because as all human beings have known, the most peaceful existence that has ever been was inside of our mothers wombs. And Sharia law is just one more way to replicate that serenity. Maybe they should try it. It might actually turn out that it does work for them. Maybe the hanging gardens will be seen yet again. Then again, Dave Chapelle might have it right. We will never know for sure. Fuck yo couch!

I Am A Human Being

What is humanity? It has been defined as the able to differentiate between what you perceive and perception itself. The most common example is that a human being can perceive a unicorn in its mind, but we know that we have never seen a unicorn before. But the very definition of humanity is coming dangerously close to changing, due to the previously unknown abilities of great apes.

I, like many celebrities of an era since long gone, have fallen head-over-heels for the appeal of the talking gorilla known as Koko. Koko was taught to speak in American Sign Language and has the working vocabulary of a five year old human child. But that’s all she needs. She can express sadness, happiness, anger, and has a great capacity for curiosity. She knows the differences between green and red. She knows the names of her family. Koko, it can be considered, is a reflection into the barbaric soul of the common.

“I want to believe,” is the proline of the popular culture television phenomenon of the 1990’s called the X Files. It describes the natural emotional attachment to a particular idea. Ideas like anthropomorphism, UFO’s, Angels, Demons, and Bigfoot. Grouped together these ideas seem so far fetched, and yet by themselves they seem to emit some sort of intellectual attraction.

A sense of intrigue and mystery.

In the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, when the main character finds out the Earth was built by mice, he refers to his feeling that there was always something bigger than the Earth. That there were always other people out there. The lead architect of the Earth project responds “Oh, that’s just normal paranoia. Everyone in the universe gets that.”

Scientists, those commoners among us who like to ask questions of the natural and mechanical world(s) around them, have for the most part tried to avoid forming an emotional attachment with a certain particular. But in the field of primatology considering wether or not these close relatives emote and rationalize in the same way that humans do, not many can pursue a valid position in this field without developing some sort of emotional attachment to the subjects. Ultimately, this might be what these apes need.

There are a few different explanations for this human-like behavior exhibited by the Great Apes and many other primates (Dolphins, Polar Bears, Wild Dogs, and many other animals have also been documented acting in characteristic ways, but they are evolutionarily further removed from humans then our closest living relatives of the primate order).

The first reason is that these non-human primates ancestrally share many commonalities with human beings. This is the most widely accepted theory based on and adding to the theory of evolution.

Another reason, not commonly accepted, is based upon the first book of the Old Testament, which proclaims that since God created all creatures on Earth for the enjoyment and use by man, that the underlying wish of the majority of human beings is that we don’t want to be alone. Since we don’t want to be alone, then the Lord provided for us the chance to be able to actually communicate with our close relatives.

The third reason, one of which I have theorized, but do not necessarily believe, is based upon the notion that evolution works both ways. Humans tend to think optimistically, it’s in our nature that on a whole we strive to be greater. And so we have formatted the theory of evolution to fit our generalized understanding that evolution is purely for the advancement of species. Perhaps, however, the great apes and those other non-human primate relatives of ours were actually former honinidae, cursed forever after because of their actions to inhabit the minds and bodies of barbaric beasts.

I repeat, what is humanity? I think humanity is the ability to keep a set of core values close to the heart.

The Secular Faith

I was having a challenging debate with one of my peers the other day over a cup of hot tea as to the concept of faith, and what it truly means to have faith in anything. Many people today would mentally antiquate (yawn) this debate on the notion that religion has something to do with it. That religion and faith are synonymous. But, as with many of my debates in semantics, this notion is wrong. We, as free citizens, must halt the degradation of words by firmly upholding their definition and calling out those who would seek to do them injustice. Those people who honestly believe that the only rice in the world is white, and that yellow is the only color of corn.
Faith, by its only real definition, has to do with a great belief in something that can not be proven. Faith in God has been a great example of such. But it has only been an example, nothing more. When it comes to faith, even those who have claimed to have “lost all faith” still have faith in something.
For example, Faith in alcohol is a common form of faith amongst many around the world. Modern science provides us with great measurements in depression, fatalities, anger, psychosis, etc. that have been the direct result of alcohol consumption. But those who choose to consume (excluding those addicted to the substance) are choosing to put faith in the “healing” power of the poison in which they consume. This faith is so powerful today that the Obama Administration has chosen to market its own brand of beer called “White House Ale.”
Faith in government is another popular form of faith. It doesn’t matter whether you are a greedy American or a Socialist Bonaparte from the Chinese interior, you are going to find faithful companions at every level of every government. People who are more then patriotic, but not always blindly submissive.
Even most Atheists that I have known have been extremely faithful to their notions.
Evidently, I summarize that Faith is in no way a solely religious phenomenon. Faith is much more than that. In fact, I believe it to be atrocious to circumnavigate the inanimate nature of the word. It not a word which conveys morality, causality, or emotion. It simply is. So, my advice to all of you catechism-smuggling, atheism-doping assholes is to lay off it. Go fly a kite, unless you don’t have faith in gravity, then i’d say go jump off a cliff.