I was recently abhored by the abuses of language people get away with. For example the owner of the largest Chinese restaurant in the world serves still-living fish that have been battered and deep-fried while still alive. At the same time this person was described by the BBC interviewer as a´devout Buddhist`. She in fact had built a large ´Buddhist`temple in the courtyard of her restaurant. How dare she associate herself in any way with Buddha and his teachings.
Of course such things are typical of ´religion´. It tends to´humanise´ the philosophy of the prophets in the worst ways. In doing so it tends to ´throw the baby out, and keep the bathwater´.
And how dare Nichols, the Catholic Archbishop of England, claim to be a ´seeker´, which is the orignal meaning of the Greek ´Skeptic`, and describes the true, open-minded, completely dogma-free philosopher.
And the same abuses of language apply to secular religions. How dare the Chinese billionaire oligarchs call themselves `Communist`. It simply beggars belief.
In the entertainment and drugs industries
And how dare BBC´s soap opera`Heartbeat` define alcohol as harmless, while demonising other commonly used drugs. Rob, our young policeman, after catching a ´drug dealer`meets his girlfriend at the pub afterwards, telling her to “sit down and relax and I´ll get you a drink“. Of course this represents the typical ending of a ´Heartbeat`episode. Much of the ´action´actually occurs in this location, among drug-taking ´patrons´. Of course there drug just happens to be legal, in this time and place.
Alcohol is defined in the popular culture as a harmless bit of relaxation. However the medical and social facts illustrate that the ´drugs´our hero had ´gotten off the streets´are in fact less harmful than alcohol! When are the media going to stop abusing us with propaganda for the alcohol and tobacco industries, and against less harmful drugs.
The hegemonic, popular,conventional media position, and propaganda, is highlighted when the ex-cop, now bar-owner of ´Heartbeat´admires some home-made spirits, cheering ´Na Strovia`, the equivalent of ´To your health´. This ends a storyline in which a ´speed´consumer goes a bit crazy and does a high-wire act, falling to his death. While this sort of behaviour not un-typical of drunken clowning-around, it is merely used in this context to ´reveal´ the ´evils´of illegal drug use.
Imagine offering someone an injection of heroine, while cheering them on with ´To your health`and admiring the quality of the drug.
It is a fact that alcohol is more damaging in every way to society, individuals, and our economy. So stop it! Stop distorting reality, and start dealing with the real problems, alcohol abuse, tobacco addiction, and our growing addiction to junk food and gluttony. Around a third of all children are already obese, leading to heart disease and diabetes, the main killers. Yes, poor nutrition and over-consumption of ´junk´foods are becoming responsible for even more deaths than tobacco and alcohol consumption.
Deaths accountable to ´illegal´drug use are only nominal. They are less than a tiny fraction of those related to ´legal´drugs. See TROONATNOOR for details.
The evils of drug ´pushers´ are promoted in the same programs which hypocritically air product placements and direct advertisements for alcohol, tobacco, and ´junk´food.
The costs of criminalising particular drugs are massive, in terms of the costs of enforcing laws, of imprisoning people simply for consuming a product, and all the drug related crimes and social problems. But the costs in terms of integrity, consistency, and hypocrisy are also important.
We have to introduce more rigour into the popular language culture. Otherwise the way we think and define things becomes corrupted, and absurd. The media must be compelled to reflect reality, rather than the interests of their capitalist masters and´enthralled´slave-consumers´.
We need to regulate tobacco and alcohol more than most drugs which are currently criminalised. And in this context we should keep in mind that gluttony, the abuse of food, more or less as a drug, is in fact producing a greater social, medical, and economic cost than the legal drugs like tobacco and alcohol, and other illegal drugs, combined.
This week the Pope clearly revealed his ugly contempt for the plight of children abused by his priests further with an emotional outburst directed not towards the perpetrators of child abuse, but towards the police investigating these crimes. After having been kept waiting 9 hours by a contemptuous committee of priests claiming to be investigating their own church, the police, acting on their warrants, entered a crypt in search of evidence.
It reveals the true values and motives of this popular cult we call Catholicism. The high priest of this cult found the police actions ´deplorable`. He has never come close to expressing himself so emotionally with regard to the actions of his own priests, or the suffering of those they abused.
And so to the main theme. Habermas made the outrageous claim that Western civilisation owes all of its advances to that popular cult we call Roman Catholicism. I have documented in my books the corruption, violence, torture, rape, and prostitution that cult has continued up to the present day around the world.
It is clear, after observing people who define themselves as Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Catholic, etc, that the values of their prophets play very little roles in the values and actions of those professing to be following them.
Clearly religion has failed as a means to optimalise human society, to advance it ethically, to improve it, to ´manage`the worst in it, and to encourage the best in it. Religion has merely continued ancient superstitious beliefs in the magical efficacy of prayer, votive offerings, idols (whether crucifixes, buddha statues, temples, popes, mullahs or golden calves).
People intend religion as a means to their own narrow, selfish ends. They seek power over their enemies and nature. They seek good fortune for themselves and their loved ones, for them and theirs. This is in fact anti-social.
The religious authorities have always sought to undermine the secular authorities, when they could not co-opt them to their own narrow purposes, to build their own ´Republics`, with themselves as emperors. They murdered, tortured, prostituted, and kept society in their vicious, despotic, mean, nasty, ugly, destructive thrall, employing a reign of terror never before or since seen, simply to increase their own power and privileges.
Their motives were to secure power and resources for a narrow hierarchy of priests. Some of these priests are actually deluded that they are serving higher purposes. Of course while doing so they feel it is appropriate that ´gods´servants live in luxury, their every whim accomodated, their every urge satisfied, their every dark desire gratified.
It is in fact despite such cults that Western civilisation has advanced. It was only in overcoming such cults and their corrupt power that the Western world managed to develop.
And it must be noted that these developments were rarely democratic in nature as such. They were the result of regulations and laws imposed on the masses by a more enlightened minority, through representative parliaments.
Few of the laws that we so highly value and enjoy today, including those protecting basic human rights, would ever have been passed by a truly democratic process.
And on the topic of abuses of language, and distortions of reality, we have to stop ´weasling´our way out of ethical questions. When a politician or judge accepts money from an illegal drug dealer to ´look the other way´in terms of ethics, we call it ´corruption´. When big business interests in tobacco, alcohol, or junk-food do exactly the same thing, it is called ´lobbying´. Stop it!
In popular ´science´television programs
And stop misrepresenting space and time. You cannot travel back in time, and time does not speed up or slow down, no matter how great the gravitational field of a black hole. Einstein´s comments on relativity have been misrepresented over and over by media ´scientists´.
All that slows down is the speed at which photons travel, in the case of strong gravitational fields, or their relative speed to an observer, due to their source travelling away or towards the viewer at high speed. Thus all that can slow down is the time it takes for these photons to reach an observers eyes.
To the observer, the object which released these photons will appear to slow down or speed up. However it is merely the photons themselves which change their relative speed, compared to the observer.
So if you travel away from a clock, it will appear to slow down, the faster you travel away from it. But this does not represent a slowing down of your metabolism or aging process. So the oft repeated misunderstanding that a space traveller could leave the earth at high speed for 10 years, and then return to find that everyone else has aged 100 years, is a misconception.
Even if the effects of relativity were such that such aging differences could take place, they would only apply to the individuals who remained away from earth. As soon as they began approaching earth again, the relativity would dissappear.
For as you approach a clock at faster than light speed, it will appear to speed up, thus cancelling out the earlier ´slowing down´.
But please, stop it. Stop misrepresenting things in programs that are supposed to be scientific and enlightening.
It is like the constant misrepresentation of evolution by people claiming to understand it. Their patent lack of understanding of it is revealed every time they utter statements like ´ X has feature Y, to….. ´, as if evolution had a plan, an intention, and designed every feature of an animal to provide it with some advantage or benefit. This of course leads to the absurd consequence of people searching specifically for the ´function´ of each and every quality or characteristic of a thing, and then assigning it this function, as if this had been the intention or plan of evolution.
This is of course an iterative product and reinforcer of the fallacy of teleology and functionalism that pervades most popular ´reasons-ing´. It comes from and reinforces the Stoic notion that ´All things happen for a purpose´, and ´All things happen for the best of reasons, in this, the best of all possible worlds´.
Thus such supposedly ´scientific´ programs, in misrepresenting evolution, reinforce the attempt to justify all suffering as part of some greater plan that we will one day become aware of. Thus in a long chain of reasonsing, and by implicity, subversive, indirect, almost subliminal, ubiqitous and insidious means, we are lead to accept suffering, to put a positive ´spin´ upon it, rather than to seek to eliminate it.
Thus the unfortunate are encouraged to endure their suffering. They pay the price of all this lack of rigour in the popular language culture. And who benefits? Who promotes this? See my TROONATNOOR books to become enlightened on this and many other subjects you probably never thought much about, if at all.
I have heard supposed scientists claim that ´sabre tooth tigers must have been different in appearance to current tigers, because their environment was different, and the current striping of tigers would not have been adapted to that environment´. This is an example of the importance of avoiding the error of functionalism in the first place. It leads to ever greater absurdities.
For a detailed and accurate understanding of how the process of evolution works, please see my TROONATNOOR books.
So please, like in the issue of functionalism in descriptions of evolution, and the mistake of ´form follows function´, be more precise in your language useage.
Stop abusing language, either to conveniently misrepresent reality, or out of a lack of discipline. Language is the tool for reasoning. If our language terms, and the assumptions implici in them, are faulty, we have little hope of every formulating compelling arguments. The consequences have been dramatic, and will continue to corrupt our views of reality, and our reasoning, until we purge our popular language culture of them.
In the promotion of Gambling
And while on the subject, how dare television stations mislead people into gambling by misrepresenting their gambling as ´quizzes´. This is an abuse of their viewers, who are lead to believe that their success will be dependant on being able to answer some question or ´solve´some puzzle, when it is in fact pure random chance that determines who ´wins´ the prize. The fact that each call costs the viewer about as much as a lotto ticket, while the potential wins are nominal in comparison, adds to my frustration with such unscrupulous television stations. These stations represent all that is worse in our legalistic approach to ethics. Clever legal minds have found the ´loopholes´ to allow television stations to take advantage of their viewers, with no more nobility than any ´illegal´gambling operation.
Please avail yourself of the decades of work I have invested in my TROONATNOOR series, including the novel ´The veil of ignorance´, which are available at unibook.com, under the author name Kim Jestem. Or email me for a downloadable pdf file.