God is Santa Claus for Adults

Whenever the topic of God or Faith comes up I always, always, always preface any of my thoughts or opinions with my statement of facts: Namely that I am in no way opposed to Christianity, nor the followers thereof. If your Belief system encourages you to be a good person and to contribute positively to the world around you, then far be it from me to stand in your way. (There is, of course, the matter of how we define “good person” and “contribute positively”, but that’s quite another matter entirely.) Though I have been labeled an atheist in the past, I do not personally identify myself as such. I will, however, admit that I deviate to some degree from traditional Christian Belief, but—importantly—I do not feel that my interpretation of God or Scripture necessarily precludes me from the Flock, let alone the mere discussion of deific topics. (God, if you’re listening, I’m sorry.)

Most of the world’s population lives in the norther hemisphere. And in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere, the world is cold and dark for a great swath of the calendar year. This cold and dark swath known as winter necessitates that folks remain indoors lest they freeze to death. This annual change from careless frolicking through long, warm days to wallowing indoors through short, frigid days is rather dismal and melancholy for humans, particularly the kids. Concurrent with the beginning of winter is the Christian celebration of Christmas—a time that most people spend visiting relatives. So not only are we forced indoors because of the weather, we must suffer the indignity of sharing this limited space with more people than we would otherwise. For obvious reasons, this is a recipe for mischief.

In an attempt to police children’s natural propensity toward listlessness and eventual misbehavior, we invented a deity of sorts—the kind of omnipresent (he sees you when your sleeping, he knows when you’re awake) and omniscient (he knows if you’ve been bad or good) character who has the ability to pass the final judgement on whether you, child, deserve the rapturous Elysium of a bountiful Christmas morning, or the abysmal, soul-crushing suffering of coal in the stocking.

Santa Claus is not real. I should think most adults have come to terms with this fact. But I verily say, if the idea of Santa Claus is enough to change children’s behavior for the better—especially at a time when they’re particularly prone to behaving like insufferable, snot-nosed bastards—then who am I to say he’s not real? After all, his effect is most certainly real, and where the rubber meets the road, what’s the difference?

Now imagine that Santa Claus held the same powers over adults as He does children, and that His Judgement is effective year-round. Imagine also that the moment of your Judgement was not Christmas Eve, but at your death and that both the rapturous Elysium of a bountiful Christmas morning as well as the abysmal, soul-crushing suffering of receiving nothing but coal lasted not for a day but for all eternity. This deity would be God. And if you haven’t made the connection yet, yes, I’m saying that God is not real any more so than the jolly, diabetic fellow at the north pole and his merry band of toy-making elves.

Now, I think we can all agree that it would be unconscionable to tell a child that Santa Claus is not real—at least not at the time in their young life that they believe, because it is this belief that causes the behavioral change that we seek as parents. But, paradoxically, I don’t think it’s unconscionable to tell a Christian that God is not real. The reason for this is because we all outgrow the belief in Santa, yet we continue to behave properly in his absence. Santa was just the intellectual training wheels we needed to make the connection between proper behavior and the Ultimate Good. This is the state of being that we all strive for; the state of being where we no longer need the threat of damnation nor the hope of salvation to be good. We just do it because it is right. This is Belief in its truest form.

Brett Kavanaugh & the ‘Shot Heard Round the World’

Not believing in force is the same as not believing in gravity.

—Trotsky

I try not to be pessimistic about things, but I also try not to be unduly optimistic about things, either. I try to stay somewhere in the middle, but perhaps shade toward optimism. I like to consider myself and ‘open-minded realist’ this way. That being said, I feel very uneasy about the future of our nation in regards the Senate testimony of Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser. The word “circus” has been used to describe the proceedings more times than I care to count but is there any better word?

Let’s say (hope) Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court. At the very least, a dangerous precedent has been set whereby any woman’s uncorroborated accusation of sexual assault by a man can deep six a career one has spent a lifetime creating, destroy a reputation dragging an entire family name through the mud along with it, and bring the wheels of a democratic process to a grinding halt. Meanwhile, John and Jane taxpayer, who are supposed bite their tongues and pretend this ain’t political, are left holding the bag. That’s best-case scenario.

If, on the other hand, Kavanaugh is not confirmed to the Supreme Court, (and I do sincerely hope this is not the outcome,) then the next ‘Shot Heard Round the World’ has officially been fired. The precedent set in such an event would be one of presumed guilt in all cases of sexual assault—irrespective of the time frame of the alleged assault, vagueness and non-specificity of the accusation, or lack of corroborating evidence.

And on the topic of that last bit, the “evidence” in this investigation was witness testimony of four individuals claiming to be at the scene the night of the alleged assault. In as far as the recollection of a drunken house party nearly four decades ago can be considered “evidence,” it would appear it supports Kavanaugh’s innocence as all four individuals (who decided against showing up at the hearing) all claim the man wasn’t even there that night.

So, if a woman can crawl out of the woodwork and conjure up a memory of an assault from decades ago (the type of assault that does not warrant a call to the police, mind you,) with no evidence whatsoever can demonize and catastrophically ruin a man with a solid track record for justice and faith in the rule of law (and a demonstrably good husband and father), where would that put us? Where would that put you or I? Where would that put any man who might have pretensions to making something out of himself? It puts him in the position of having to prove his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, because in Kavanaugh’s case, the preponderance of the evidence, points to his innocence.

I’m trying to be an open-minded realist about all this but it’s sure getting’ hard these days. I don’t mean to alarm, but I think the time has come that we (sane people) consider the possibility that, in our lifetimes, we may need to physically defend ourselves and/or our homes from a large hostile force. That’s worst-case scenario.

Listen to your Elders

I’ve spent a fair amount of time contemplating Muslim culture and I find the vast majority of it detestable. And I’m no armchair quarterback; without divulging too much of my personal life, there was a time when I wore a uniform and went around the world ostensibly to keep a particular race of people from getting too big for their sand-covered britches. So I’ve seen with mine own eyes the beast in its natural habitat. Theirs is a culture wholly incompatible with the West.

That being said, the Muslims do have one thing correct and that is a reverence of and deference to their elders. In traditional Muslim culture (is there any other kind?) the eldest man in the village has the ultimate authority. He makes the decisions.

In the West, our authority and value as individuals is thoroughly linked to our profession. The level of prestige we bestow upon an individual is quite often based on the job they have (and its implicit salary). I suppose theoretically this is a decent enough system assuming that compensation is commensurate with responsibility of profession and that responsibility of profession is commensurate with competence in the highest level of leadership and decision making. For those of you with little life experience, these are flimsy assumptions.

But for sake of argument, let’s assume the system works as described. There’s another critical flaw in that the labor force in the West encounters (mercifully) a little thing called retirement. And when we mercifully retire, we must relinquish the authority and prestige that we once enjoyed as a doctor, lawyer, school teacher, mechanic. And let me not mince words here: retirement is a privilege that primarily only western, Christian nations enjoy—and certainly only first world nations enjoy.

Perhaps this is an exponent of capitalism more broadly. I’ll be the first to admit that capitalism has its flaws but by no means does this admission mean I’m willing to supplant the free market with something as suicidally foolish as socialism. On the other hand I will not hide from the self-evident reality that capitalism comes with its own set of pitfalls—chief among them is that our value as individuals is wedded to our professional title.

Furthermore, on the equally opposite side of the spectrum, we make another foolhardy assumption that youth and vigor is the only thing of any real value in our society. We perversely vaunt youth to deific heights when we repeat platitudes like “youth is the engine of the world.” Of course there’s a grain of truth to this sentiment; we’re destined to be replaced by those who come after us the same as how we ourselves replaced those that went before. It’s the natural order of things, but blind faith in the ingenuity and innovation of youth as some kind of savior is abjectly misguided.

And these words ought to carry extra weight as they originate from a (relatively) young person. In the West, I have the advantage of inheriting a society that wants nothing more than fro me to take the helm. Were I a gambling man, I’d be absolutely crazy to bet against that. I’d have so much to lose and nothing to gain. Yet here I am, offering the gift right back because I feel unworthy. Just as age is no guarantee of wisdom, youth is no guarantee of innovation. And in an age where our society has come increasingly unmoored, I advocate a return to balance. I advocate a return to a time—not too distant yet—when our elders were appreciated for their hard earned insight and world-weariness and not cast aside as decorations. I advocate a return to a time when youth was marveled at for its passion and spontaneity but ipso facto was denied the keys to the estate.

Dating is Zero-Sum

Many people don’t realize that “dating” is a recent invention; something we came up with in the death throes of post-modern decadence and is one of the—if not the—principle factor contributing to our current cultural malaise.

As adult supervision waned and the zeitgeist of our current decadence increasingly demanded that fewer and fewer boundaries be placed on the decisions made by young people in regards their choice in partner, premarital sex became commonplace. Once that happened, it wasn’t long at all before it became a necessary but insufficient term of pre-engagement engagement—one that principally benefited young men who were then free to dump any current “girlfriend” for a new and improved “girlfriend”, and thus a new and improved sexual encounter. If men were to do this en masse, it stands to reason that that new “girlfriend” would have been dumped herself by and old “boyfriend”, thus perpetuating the cycle.

But women are opportunists, too. They can—and do—manipulate the dating market to attain better purchase on locking down the long term commitment of a desirable man. As is often the case, a young woman finds herself “dating” a young man for whom she has no real emotional connection. Instead, she sticks around because he satisfies her primal need for someone to buy her shit and be a shoulder to cry on. When (if ever) that more idealized version of a “boyfriend” comes along, she’ll drop the first like a bad habit to make a go at the new guy.

In either case, you’re either the player, or you’re getting played. It cannot be both.

Before modern dating, (i.e. the hundred or so thousand years of human existence prior to the mid twentieth century) there was courtship, which was a brief period of benign inter-sexual interaction heavily moderated by skin-in-the-game family members, townspeople, and all-around wise elders with the strict aim of creating a legal union suitable for the rearing of well-adjusted, world-inheriting children.

These elders, whom we should listen to, were charged with the burdensome responsibility of introducing young people who were believed would make suitable parents if legally bound to one another. Through careful, sober analysis, they weighed various factors that would impact the success of their potential union with the sagacity characteristic of people who have been around the romantic block. They knew all too well the judgment-impairing intoxication of young love and how easily it can have the Youth chasing down dead ends. Bottom line: kids make terrible romantic decisions.

The principle distinction between courtship and dating is that there was no sex during courtship. This cannot be emphasized enough. If sex is readily available, any young man is liable to conjure up reasons not to devote himself to any one woman. This is why chastity is the most valuable thing a young woman possesses. During a courtship, the most intimacy a young person could expect was innocent hand-holding and maybe a stolen kiss at the door.

What this ‘no premarital sex’ distinction means in reality is that courtship, unlike dating, is a cost-free affair. One can engage in multiple courtships throughout their late teens and early twenties and not feel as if they’re using themselves up or sacrifice their dignity. One doesn’t feel as if they give a piece of themselves away with every new partner. One doesn’t become jaded. Modern dating, on the other hand is a maleficent zero-sum exercise in futility precisely because sex is on the menu. We must eradicate the plague that is modern dating.

“But wait, P.K.,” you protest. “Courtship would remove some of the personal freedoms of the individual!”

A, no shit. Humans are flawed creatures who if not for external guidance (legislative or spiritual) would revert promptly back to the savagery of the Jungel which cares not a wit for the future of your nation, let alone its spelling rules. And B, I don’t care. With marriage and fertility rates as low as they are, and divorce rates and benzodiazepine dependency as high as they are, a break-the-glass emergency is upon us and sacrifices will have to be made if we are to survive. In the indelible words of some dude on the internet, “The wants of the individual are superseded by the needs of the many.” The ‘many’ in this case are our posterity.

The Only Skill You Will Ever Need

When I was a young’n, one of my grade school math teachers asked the class “What is the most important subject in school?”

What with it being a math class and all, we naturally said math.

“Wrong,” he replied matter-of-factly. “The most important subject in school is reading.” He then went on to explain that if what you know is math, then all you know is math. If what you know is science, then all you know is science. But if what you know is reading, then what you know is whatever you choose to learn.

That still sticks with me, after all these years. If you can read, then you can learn. And if you can learn, then you can accumulate wisdom. And if you can accumulate wisdom, it’s just a matter of time before the world is your oyster. With reading, all things are possible. In this manner, it is my God.

Of course, I need to make a little room in my theory for those who can learn better in a way that’s not sticking your nose in a book. Maybe you’re one of those people who learns through watching others. That’s fine, you can join us. Maybe you’re the type who needs to scrape your chin before you apprehend knowledge. God bless you, you’re one of us. Maybe you’re one of those rare breeds who doesn’t care for reading but can pick something up with your hands and understand it as thoroughly as if it were a part of you (lookin’ at you, tinkers). You’re part of the club, too.

As we can see, there are more ways to learn than merely reading and all methods are legitimate so long as the end result is the accumulation of knowledge. Bottom line: has learning occurred? So let’s not get too hung up on the reading phase of the success continuum and focus on the broader, more salient point: the ability to learn. I’ve written on how to get awesome at life by becoming more of a learner so you can follow the link for more specifics.

But first, we must understand that the ability to learn is, in and of itself, without limits. Often, however, we find that, where the rubber meets the road, it does have a limit. So what limits learning? To only limit to learning you will have in your life is dependent on one thing: your individual desire to learn.

Adjusting your desire to learn can be a difficult task. Some of us are inherently complacent, and don’t crave any more from this world. Some of us have self-esteem issues; we feel we don’t deserve any more. Some of us are scared, and that makes sense. Life is scary. But if any of these describe you, then all you need is a change in your perspective. The things that hold you back—complacency, shame, fear—are the very things that you can change about yourself. Trust me, you just have to get off your ass and do it. The ability to learn makes you limitless as an individual.

First you can learn about psychology and understand why it is you’re so messed up in the first place. Then you can learn about how to throw the monkey off your back and start living. Then you can learn about how to self-motivate. You can learn about all the possibilities that this world has to offer, and how other people have pursued them. Once you flip the switch in your mind that you will develop the skill of learning skills, there’s really no stopping the snowball effect. Armed with no other skill in the world but the ability to learn, you have a better chance than anyone else at shaping the world in your image, securing your legacy, and manifesting your own destiny, so stop reading right now and commit to learning how to learn.

Q Anon and the Psychology of Conspiracy

I was listening to a talk radio show on the way to work recently and they had a caller on who was educating the show’s incredulous hosts on the sagacity of Q Anon, a shadowy internet personality who has recently entered mainstream consciousness. Q purports to divine the future of America through various signs such as typos in the President’s tweets. The evidence, said the caller, is “all around”.

I don’t know your personal feelings on Q Anon or on conspiracy theories more generally, nor do I particularly care. What I was struck by in this conversation was the seeming lucidity of the caller. He sounded like a young kid, granted, maybe mid twenties but not unintelligent. In fact, he seemed possessed of a reasonably sound and healthy mind. Up to that point I had taken for granted that conspiracy theory was more in the realm of the provocateurs, the senile, the drug-addled, etc. But this guy didn’t seem to fit any of these molds. For lack of a better word, he seemed like a regular guy.

I’ve heard it said that everyone has a spiritual side, that we have an innate desire to believe in something higher, something more powerful, something that makes sense of this meaningless world. I agree with this. Many people, it seems, have a propensity (susceptibility?) to perceive communication on a metaphysical level. Some seem to be capable of understanding a language that the rest of us find inscrutable. I supposed this is how we get Q Anon believers and people who see the Madonna in a grilled cheese.

However, I’ve also taken for granted that that spirituality would be naturally well-guided and ultimately positive. Until recently.

In the 100,000 or so years that homo sapiens has inhabited this rock, people have come to understand the reality of innate spirituality and furthermore, the deleterious effect of this instinct when not properly channeled. Enter faith. Elders assumed, rightly, that if people were going to place their immutable faith in some higher power irrespective of its worthiness or rationality, it might as well be in a faith that we as people control. As such, we invented a religion that would both satisfy the fundamentally human desire to believe in something bigger than ourselves (thus protecting ourselves from our own nature,) while simultaneously channeling that belief into something valuable, something that objectively improves the world around us.

For instance, it is primarily due to the spread of Christianity throughout the world that the Arab slave trade, perhaps the most brutal and enduring of all slave trades, came to an end. (Yes, the spread of Christianity brought its own host of negative consequences, but I think even an a priori-level cost benefit analysis will reveal that humanity ultimately made out like bandits in that compromise. At any rate, it’s a discussion for another time.)

On the other side of the spectrum, we predictably see the opposite. As faith in formal religion implodes, people increasingly latch onto informal religions—conspiracy theories, superheroes, Harry Potter, etc. What makes conspiracy theorists particularly insidious is that it’s impossible to contradict their faith. In fact just doing so only proves them right. As soon as someone demonstrates evidence that a thing is false, that person necessarily trips the theorist’s “gaslight radar”. The rational person becomes—in the theorist’s eyes—just another undercover spy trying to throw them off the scent. It becomes a downward spiral of self fulfilling prophecy where “evidence” of the theory’s validity is “all around.” In the conspiracy theorist’s mind, nothing could be more obvious.

For as long as this decline in established religion continues, we can expect more and more people glomming onto pseudo-religion as their spiritual outlet—as the thing that offers them meaning in a world that is all too often lonely and cold. How this will ultimately change humanity I will leave up to you to decide, but if I were a gambling man…

P.S. All this being said, I am open to the possibility that I am wrong. Despite a long precedent of conspiracy theories proving false (or at least never being proved true by any reasonable standard), and despite my own self-declared level-headedness, I harbor in my mind and heart the narrow splinter of possibility that I could be dead wrong. I truly hope that never happens because it would send my delicate constitution into a Kafkaesque free fall where I would begin to question the validity of everything I had come to understand was “true”. (Aside: I think The Truman Show is one of the scariest films ever written. Perhaps more on this later.) All existential crisis aside, I will, in the event of this Q business proving true, admit I was wrong, apologize, and promptly exile myself to the country to live out my days in a state of ungodly hermitage.

Purpose vs. Meaning

I have some terrible news. There is, in fact, no meaning to life. This is not something to be alarmed by, though it may well alarm you. That’s only because you’ve lived your entire life petty and small-minded. That’s okay, because today you change.

For all of the new-agey ‘being present’ discussion that goes on today, one would think we live among a multitude of philosophers. But we don’t, as anyone with a questioning mind who has ever bothered to go down that rabbit hole knows it to be an exercise in mental masturbation. I have considered at length the possible metrics for measuring life on a meta-scale and at the time of this writing can divine only two: purpose and meaning.

Purpose is the easy one. Our purpose in being on this giant ball of rock and dirt is, quite simply, to make more of ourselves. That’s it. Our purpose is to stay alive long enough to reproduce, and ideally long enough to raise our progeny to self-sufficiency. In truth, this latter part is just icing on the cake. So the next time you hear someone talk about their job, or their career, or their hobby in terms of what they were “put on Earth to do”, you tell them: this guy on the internet said you’re wrong, and then smugly educate them on the simplicity of life’s purpose.

But what if, for whatever reason, you don’t reproduce? Well then, your purpose, as it were, is to provide for and protect those within your tribe who have reproduced. Simple. And this is where meaning comes in. The ol’ “what’s the meaning of life” question is more complex, but still stupidly simple. Again, there is no inherent meaning to life. If there’s to be any meaning for one’s life, one must make it themselves. It is possible that your purpose is your meaning. See those who live for their chillens—a noble pursuit if ever there was one. But typically meaning comes from somewhere else, but at any rate, those who seek meaning will never find it. Because it’s not a fucking Pokémon. Meaning isn’t something you find, it’s something you make.

I had a philosophy professor recall an interaction in which he was loathe to hear one of his acquaintances distill down the lot of western philosophy to so much navel gazing. At the time, my tender impressionability had me in the court of my professor who demanded his acquaintance (and by extension, us students) “show philosophy some respect.” Well, obviously I’m not that into it anymore. The truth was in the middle.

Now I don’t advocate a wholesale condemnation of the entirety of western philosophy to the effete wastelands, but I will advocate the taking of most of philosophy with a discerning grain of salt, as there are very strict limits to the utility and personal-growth value of anything theoretical especially when juxtaposed (rightfully) against its corresponding applied study. We’re just not far enough removed from the Jungel for the theoretical to matter that much. Again, that’s not to write off the theoretical—it got us to the moon, gave us modern medicine, and immanentized representative democracy (for all its flaws)—but where the rubber meets the road, only the applied matters. This is truly where we ought to focus our energies.

But I digress. TLDR: Purpose: reproduce; Meaning: None, unless you make it.

Editor’s note: That this diatribe (not unlike many others found here and in my head) is, in its very nature, theoretical, is an irony not lost on me. This is where I go to spin my wheels. Thanks for stopping by.

The Naiveté of Universal Suffrage

Candidates running on openly socialist platforms are actually getting votes these days. It seems communism has again reared its ugly head. I’m beginning to think it’s one of those things that crops up semi-centurially. We’ve all been warned that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and yet we can’t help ourselves. It’s a big in the human code. For those of us who can recall (or read) history, we understand the implications of such ideas. Fortunately, ‘red fever’ isn’t much more than a perennial nuisance and merely needs extirpated as a matter of course.

That being said, I often get to thinking about the pitfalls of (near) universal suffrage. This consummately Democratic principle is a beautiful thought, but like socialism, is not sustainable in practice. Every civilization in recorded human history that has utilized an electorate has discriminated in one manner or another between those who should be allowed to vote and those who should not. Not even in ancient Greece, the nation upon which our very Democracy is founded, did not have universal suffrage. We are no different. For instance, we discriminate based on age. Those under the age of eighteen may not vote. It’s in the constitution. We also don’t allow prisoners to vote, and most people don’t argue the efficacy of such criminality-based discrimination. Thus, the debate is not over whether discrimination is acceptable (clearly it is), the debate is over what kind of discrimination is acceptable.

It’s  certainly a tough question, and for the longest time I’ve struggled to isolate what would be the most efficient way to separate those with an eye for the future and those who see only two feet in front of their noses. There needs to be some determinant of responsible voting.

What is responsible voting? It’s the opposite of self-interested voting. It’s all too easy to vote for the candidate who vows to give you whatever it is you want whenever it is you want it. Unfortunately, what is immediately beneficial to you is almost never what is beneficial to the nation (and thus, to you) in the long term. If you’re in prison serving a life sentence, and one candidate is tough on crime (which is undeniably good for the nation in the long term), and the other candidate says “I’ll let ya out!”, why would you vote for anyone else?

I watched a video recently from what appeared to be the late 70s or early 80s. A reporter was asking young Americans (high school age, early college?) what they thought about the politics of the time, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of maturity in their demeanor. Their responses may not have been the most profound, but the questions were at least taken seriously, and the young students actually put in some thought to their responses. They even managed to string together a number of sentences without the ‘like’s and ‘um’s characteristic of a newer generation. And they certainly weren’t distracted by their dadgum phone. These young adults seemed responsible.

A suffrage exam ought to be implemented to separate those who are capable and willing to vote responsibly from those who cannot or will not. This should include history questions about socialist nations and their unsavory ends. If a prospective voter cannot say, for example, what was the result of the Soviet Union in terms of human capital, then perhaps they should not have the right to vote. The suffrage exam should also evaluate candidates voter fitness based on ethics and instincts, not unlike the way most law enforcement cadets are evaluated.

There may have been a time in the past where an eighteen year old could reasonably be expected to possess the maturity necessary to help steer the ship of government away from the craggy shoals of communism and deficit spending, but it doesn’t seem that way today. In any case, it won’t matter because one inherent advantage to the suffrage test is that it does not discriminate based on age. In fact, it doesn’t discriminate on any basis save for the individual voter’s concern for the long-term health of their nation.

And there really is no excuse not to be a responsible voter; never before has access to education been so universal. Free online college courses, Ubiquitous Wi-Fi, “smart” phones in every pocket (notice those sassy quotes). All it really takes is either the God-given instinct for sussing out bullshit, or the self-made determination to separate the pearls of wisdom from the dross. So ask yourself, if a person has neither of these qualities, should they have the responsibility of voting? It’s a perfect system; a naturally filtering mechanism.

Hipsters Technically Don’t Exist

In a Russell’s Paradox, the moment a particular circumstance is declared to be true is the precise moment that it cannot be true. Much like a Russell’s Paradox, hipsters don’t actually exist. They cannot.

Most are familiar with the ‘Barber’ paradox in which the barber shaves all—and only—those men of the town who do not shave themselves. In this case, who shaves the barber? Any attempt to answer this question lends itself to a contradiction in which the seemingly plausible scenario simply cannot be. This is hipsters.

Hipsters, for those who already know, seek in every way to differentiate themselves from the unwashed masses upon whom they rely on for figuratively everything, yet simultaneously disdain. You will see hipsters in cafes writing shit-tier poetry on a mac. You will see hipsters riding a fixie bike in formerly black neighborhoods, wearing clothes that make them look poor. You will see them on the interweb taking ironic photos of themselves with old-timey facial hair and drinking cheap beer. It’s all by design. The hipster code. And it’s instantly recognizable.

But therein lies the rub, for the principle tenet of hipsterdom mandates a wholesale refusal of conformity, and commensurate labels. Thus, for a hipster to call a hipster a hipster would be in violation of the first and only rule—Don’t Be Someone. But if nobody ever mentions the beanie-wearing elephant hipster in the room, then they cannot be said to exist at all. In other words, if a hipster is a hipster, then they cannot be a hipster, but if they are not a hipster, then there are no hipsters. I know this because Tyler knows this.

Any attempt to positively identify a hipster results in a cataclysm where you start speaking in tongues and the world opens up and swallows everyone involved and nobody even notices they’re gone and Thom Yorke’s there. Spooky.

As Spiritual Morality Wanes, the Police State Waxes

For many thousands of years, the actions of man have been shepherded by the twin scales of both formal law and spiritual morality… and for good reason: in a society where morality recedes, law (i.e. the State) must make up the difference. In ye olde times, there were two great circles of acceptable behavior—two code books—and together they covered a lot of ground as regards right and wrong.

Over the past fifty years especially, religious conviction and thus spiritual morality has all but disappeared. Followed to its logical conclusion, what we end up with is a “society” of total law and complete absence of morality. For instance, about two years ago I read the story of a Canadian man that married his horse. Naturally, the townsfolk were bemused by such behavior, but because there was no formal law against it, the state could do nothing to stop him.

Being that this occurred in Canada and not the US, I don’t really have a horse in the race. But why was there no formal law forbidding bestiality? Because when spiritual morality exists, people don’t needlessly spill ink forbidding something that everyone already know is wrong. I never followed up on the horse-fucker story, but I imagine there is now a push toward making connubial bliss betwixt a man and his farm animals formally illegal. The fact, however, that this case was heard in a courtroom built with taxpayer money, proceeded over by judge who’s salaried with taxpayer money, and the ruling ultimately published on taxpayer-funded paper and/or servers, is a sad state of affairs. One assumes the legal fees for the depraved pervert were ponied up by the taxpayer as well.

Without the code of spiritual morality, there is left a massive gap in our behavioral boundaries. A healthy, functioning society requires trust. Without the voice in the back of our minds encouraging proper behavior, we revert back to our primitive selves and erode what little societal trust we ever managed to attain. What we end up with is a highly opportunistic population that is only concerned about whether they can get away with bad behavior legally.

Sure, they may get away with it legally, but will they get away with it spiritually? Me must encourage a sense of divine guidance. We need to once again develop a code book that goes wherever the body goes—including all these places the State cannot (for now) go. Do this, and we will be rewarded with a much more stable place to call home.

I’ve heard erroneous arguments that organized religion is the cause of all war, all strife, indeed the very impetus of the police state. This couldn’t be further from the truth. One organized religion per nation state in conjunction with a moderate formal code of laws is ideal for the long-term health of the nation and avoiding the Orwellian Nightmare. In the absence one established religion, a sense of higher purpose and meaning (i.e. spirituality) can serve just fine.

And just in case you were thinking to yourself, “what’s wrong with having judges decide the legality of our every decision?” Well when I told you earlier that I didn’t follow up on the horse-fucker story, I lied to you. When deciding whether it was legal for a man to fuck his horse, the judge said yea (although one hopes at least the horse said nay). As you read this, the horse-fucker is now happily horse-fucking fully within the confines of matrimonial sanctity.

Point being, even if the State were even capable of ruling on—and enforcing—all things, you could never put your faith in the courts to make decisions in the best interest of the nation.