6.30.2010

A Cost-Benefit Analysis

I opened the door to 2 smartly dressed men in suits, the younger one standing behind the older. They were Jehovah’s Witnesses the older one said, and they were both smiling. These were very friendly men. They handed me their pamphlet, an invitation to a question and answer session at their church. I would be helped with questions I might have about God and Christ and Heaven. I listened and then I asked them:

“Gentlemen, do you know what a cost-benefit analysis is?”

They nodded. Of course they did. These men were wearing suits. These were professional men and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

“Gentlemen, it will performed in this way. Will being an active Jehovah’s Witness and believing in its tenents get me into Heaven?”

“It will certainly do that,” said the older man.

“Are Jehovah’s Witnesses required to tithe some amount to their church?”

The older man paused. The younger stopped smiling. “There is no requirement that you give money.”

“But does the church ever receive money from its members?”

“It does. Like most churches,” added the older man.

“And would it also be possible to not be a Jehovah’s Witness and to read the Bible and accept Christ as my savior and also be granted the eternal life? And to do this by studying on my own, without any church?”

The older man paused again. “Yes. I suppose it would be.”

“Then why join your church when at some point I might feel pressure to contribute to it with a portion of my income? Why would I choose to possibly have to pay for eternal life when I could access it without ever having even the thought of paying for it?”

“That is a very cynical view you have,” said the younger man. He did not like this line of questioning at all.

“Furthermore, gentlemen, maybe it is time we rethought the whole idea of worldly payments for an eternity with Christ. Maybe it is time to rethink the idea of physical churches?”

“I think you should come to our meeting,” the older man was smiling again.

I handed his pamphlet back to him. “Who paid for this pamphlet?”

“The church did.”

“I assume by that you mean its membership.”

“Yes.”

“Can you guarantee I will never be asked for money or hear about tithing should I become a Jehovah’s Witness?”

“No, we can’t,” interjected the younger man. He had a disgusted look on his face.

“Gentlemen, it appears that this cost-benefit analysis of your religion is complete. I must unfortunately not accept your invitation. There are less costly ways by which I can access Heaven. In fact, I believe I can do it for free, without a single payment. Again, gentlemen, I wish you the best of luck on your recruitment trip and I look forward to meeting up again in Heaven should I choose it as a final destination.”

With that I shut the door and returned to looking at some recently discovered internet porn of a very high quality that I wasn‘t paying for either.

6.28.2010

Valueford College

I was with my mother and father. My mother wanted to visit a college in the mountains known as Valueford College. She did not say much about it but I was opposed to going there. I believed it was not a real college. The campus was situated on a hillside in a forest with a stream that ran along the road. On our way we stopped to examine the carved wooden owl artifact and held it. My mother said this was the only one in existence. I disagreed. It was one of 8 in existence. Another man confirmed this to be true.

We went inside the auditorium with the other parents. The auditorium was painted a light green color and full to capacity. The speaker began to talk about the college from a podium on the stage. Above us, he said, were the children with tubes. There were thousands of them, he said. I looked up. There was a balcony but I saw or heard no children. The speaker told us the history of Valueford. Suddenly a piercing noise sounded and then many other high-pitched squealing noises and all along the balcony the children with tubes appeared. The children had colored plastic masks over their mouths with tubes running from the masks into their noses and ears. They made a muffled squealing noise as they shouted down on us and shook their fingers. I could feel the spittle of these children hitting me. I did not wish to offend them so I sat, but then after awhile, when I saw others getting up to exit the auditorium, I excused myself.

I walked into a meeting. There were a number of people sitting around a rectangular table listening to a man pointing at a chart and making a presentation. The room was small and I tried to slide along the wall behind where they were sitting. I was trying to get to the door on the other end of the room. My navy blue sport coat caught on something on the wall. I was stuck. I stood there watching the presentation and kept trying to secretly pull my sport coat from the wall. The Middle Eastern man sitting in front of me realized something was wrong. The meeting stopped and he stood and helped me out of my sport coat. It was a tack holding my sport coat to the wall and he freed my sport coat. I thanked him and apologized for interrupting the presentation.

Later we were in the foyer outside the auditorium. My mother sat to my left and my father to her left. A skinny young boy sat next to me. He was shirtless and his face was very thin. I imagined he was a child with tubes but the tubes had been removed. He turned and started to mumble to me. He made fists of his hands. The only word I understood was “guerrero”. He was a warrior. He punched my thigh but not too hard. Then he punched the couch between my legs. I pulled up my sleeve and showed him my bicep. I was a guerrero too. I wanted to deter him from doing any more punching. He was making the high pitched squeaking sound of the children with tubes.

Then my alarm went off and I woke up.

Great News

I was at the cardboard baler when Frank drove up on the Reach.

"Great news," he said.

"What's that?"

"The weightlifter is dead."

I stopped wrapping wire around the cube of compacted cardboard I had just expelled from the baler. I remembered this weightlifter Frank vowed to kill by crushing his head from either temple with a pair of dumbells. Frank had hoped to catch him while he was on the bench press. Frank had also said he would bite off this weightlifter's cheek or his nose so that he would always remember him.

"You mean the weightlifter you thought your wife was seeing?"

"Yes," said Frank, grinning broadly.

"How did he die, Frank?"

"Does it matter?" Frank laughed. "He's dead. The weightlifter is dead."

Frank laughed again and drove off. The great news had made him supremely happy.

6.22.2010

Ludwig

1. The problem is present in language. The problem is nowhere else. Problems do not exist outside of language.

2. Why not then learn to speak a new language? One free of those problems?

3. A new language is a new form of life. A new language forces you to live in a new way.

4. Other languages are only found in other places. You must go to where an other form of life exists. Where of what they speak is without nonsense. In that world, where the things that are said to exist here are not, there are no words for them. You must go to where the things are not and not introduce the words that will bring those things. You must take care to keep the troubling words out.

5. Small groups. Non-western people. Jungles. Deserts. Nomadic hunter gatherers maybe. Probably do have some nonsense regardless--ideas of gods and other early language developments toward nonsense; other early language attempts at extending the order and rationalizing it.

6. The canning factory will just dull the mind of the problems, Ludwig. I'm not sure at all how a lobotomy of this sort is therapeutic, Ludwig.

7. "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

8. Does telling someone to stop using a word really work? What has happened to that word? What has happened to that person?

9. Why didn't Ludwig go where they spoke less nonsense?

10. Solitude.

6.18.2010

Implications

"The notion that cultural evolution entirely postdates biological or genetic evolution passes over the most important part of the evolutionary process, that in which reason itself was formed. The idea that reason, itself created in the course of evolution, should now be in a position to determine its own future evolution (not to mention any number of other things which it is also incapable of doing) is inherently contradictory, and can readily be refuted." --Hayek

1. Early language was tied to the instincts and biologies of the small group--it's needs. And much more aligned with the instincts of the individual.

2. Later, with the extension of the order (read: the emergence of the faceless State)--the enlarging of the group to include more people--language broke with instinct and biology to satisfy the needs of an extended order. People were made to act against their instincts in order to receive the promise of greater benefits within the larger group. These are early moralities.

3. The strong of the smaller group become the 'even stronger' of the extended order.

4. Language as will to power. The mythology of reason--that it enhances and guides life.

5. Language establishes the extended order by rationalizing it.

6. Man as the rationalizing animal, not the reasonable animal.

7. The language of morality is in fact nonsense. All language to establish the extended order is nonsense.

8. Language with meaning is that which arises from the instincts of the individual. (When Ludwig threatened with the firepoker things were suddenly very clear to the philosophers.)

6.12.2010

For Sale: Space Mural


At age 5 young Jesse came to his parents and demanded a large piece of paper to accomodate a great idea. His parents discussed it and refused his request. Jesse's space ideas would have to wait until he could afford his own paper. So Jesse asked his father for as many sheets of scrap paper as he might spare. With tape secretly taken from his mother, Jesse taped together the loose pieces of paper to make a very large piece of paper. Jesse believed it was maybe the largest ever. Jesse then spent the next few weeks drawing with his magic markers what was to become an epic space battle. It was a most violent encounter and even Jesse wasn't sure who would win. Good and evil are clearly depicted and the galaxy hangs in the balance. Note the meticulous craftsmanship and care in the placing of the stars.

Now you can own this important piece of contemporary American art, and at a very reduced new price. Act quickly as the artist is also entertaining offers from numerous American art institutions.

$35,000--Just Reduced!

6.04.2010

Forklift Accident

Frank was rushing. That’s what caused it, Frank said. The store was to open in a few minutes and he was on the Reach Forklift, needing to get one last pallet up in the plumbing aisle. Frank turned hard down the aisle and saw old Marvin, the seventy year old, slowly pushing his computer cart. The plumbing aisle is narrow but instead of slowing down or stopping to let Marvin pass, Frank tried to swerve around him and giving too much room Frank smashed the outside forklift foot into the steel upright support in the middle of the shelving. A great boom sounded throughout the store. Victor had his headphones on and even he heard it. Frank’s face smacked into the metal gridding of the forklift cockpit as the machine was suddenly brought to a stop. The wall of tall shelving wobbled and Frank and Marvin looked up and saw the water heaters above them moving. “Oh, God, Frank. Oh God. Oh God,” said Marvin. “Oh, Frank. They’re moving. Oh, God.“

But the water heaters did not come down on them. The steel upright had been clean ripped out of the concrete, the bolts that held it to the floor were sheared off. Frank brought the manager over to show him what he had done. The manager on duty had him remove the water heaters from the shelves and cordon off the bay. The wall of shelving would need to be taken apart, the upright support replaced, and new concrete would have to be laid.

The manager was not happy with Frank and took away his license saying it would take weeks of retraining to get it back. Frank liked to drive and did not take it well. But 2 hours later, when a truckload of trees arrived in the middle of a thunderstorm, the manager re-licensed Frank and sent him out into the gale to pull trees off the truck with the big forklift. The accident wasn’t really that big a deal, Frank said. After all, I’m a good driver.

6.02.2010

 
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