Keyboard Warriors

AmpersandQuest

Their sure are some blood thirsty savages out there sitting behind their key boards. I get accused of being a “keyboard warrior” and maybe I am guilty as charged. That charge is largely true but I do not take it personally despite the negative connotation that accompanies it.  I might be a “keyboard warrior”but feel that as long as I realize this and stay within the realm of honest discussion and respectful debate that it should never detour me from expressing myself online. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to glorify the term and I realize why the term exist and why you don’t particularly want to be one. At the same time however I won’t allow the term to silence me either.

 

It took me a long time to get over the fact that there are bullies in the world especially online. Thank goodness I have been fortunate enough to meet some like-minded individuals online who’ve proven to me that I was allowing people to get the better of me and did not have my emotions in check. Sure, the bullying, trolling, and abusive language is never nice to read but the only thing complaining about it will do is put me in the position of a victim. A position I can attest to that weakens your positions tremendously and comes with, for me at least, a great deal of embarrassment and shame.

 

It is no longer acceptable to me to allow myself to be silenced by anyone attempting to derail me by posting negative remarks about me. It is far more empowering to take it all in stride, swallow your pride, and do what you set out to do without feeling guilty, ashamed, or victimized by anyone you encounter online. It’s become a trend it seems to cry out with histrionics about how mean the internet is. I can’t help but roll my eyes these days because that used to be me. The only difference is no one really ever listened to my complaints and for that I am glad. Call it a blessing in disguise if you will because if that had happened I might have ended up relying on trolls to justify my online existence.

 

If I’m going to be involved with online discussions on social media I suppose I would rather be refereed to as a “Keyboard Warrior” rather than a “Keyboard Victim” because at the end of the day a Warrior will always be criticized for his actions but will have the fortitude to admit their mistakes while a “Keyboard Victim” will always be in a position of submissive abandonment of their pride and dignity. This does not mean I blame victims of harassment because I do have compassion for those who have suffered at the hands of sadistic trolls who target them with reckless abandon and don’t let up until things become so dangerous that law enforcement is required to deal with it. That is far different from allowing a few or even a lot of trolls get under your skin even though it’s pretty obvious they aren’t going to present any real harm to you other than ridiculous and immature trolling online.

 

Be a Keyboard Warrior folks, but don’t fool yourself into believing you are anything more special than a human being sitting behind a keyboard making comments on world events in the comfort of your arm-chair. It’s a conversation folks, not a real battle field.

 

Be good everyone. Thanks for reading.

 

Try With All Your Might. Rock and Roll Will Not Die!

AmpersandQuest

 

 

If you have been following the #GamerGate hashtag online over the last two months you are probably familiar with both sides of the argument. Breifly, one side believes video games promote misogyny, violence, bigotry, and need to be changed and censored. The opposing view-point see’s video games in a much different light and believe they are forms of art that should not be censored by any means and offer a way to experience difficult human conditions without actually bringing harm to others. I find myself on the latter side but not just with video games. While #GamerGate might be the strategic front for now to criticize the views of a group known as “Social Justice Warriors” (SJW’s for short) it has come to my attention more than once that my favorite genre of music will definitely come under their harsh, unfair, biased, and unrealistic criticism. I will not sit idly by while they try to tear my favorite form of music expression to pieces and attempt to make it more politically correct. Rock and roll has faced this over and over again over the years and I for one believe it will survive the onslaught. 

 

elvis-presley-dancing-thesuiteworld

 

 The following is taken from Wikipedia. 

      “The second Milton Berle Show appearance came on June 5 at NBC’s Hollywood studio, amid another hectic tour. Berle persuaded the singer to leave his guitar backstage, advising, “Let ’em see you, son.”[104] During the performance, Presley abruptly halted an uptempo rendition of “Hound Dog” with a wave of his arm and launched into a slow, grinding version accentuated with energetic, exaggerated body movements.[104] Presley’s gyrations created a storm of controversy.[105] Television critics were outraged: Jack Gould of The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability. … His phrasing, if it can be called that, consists of the stereotyped variations that go with a beginner’s aria in a bathtub. … His one specialty is an accented movement of the body … primarily identified with the repertoire of the blond bombshells of the burlesque runway.”[106] Ben Gross of the New York Daily News opined that popular music “has reached its lowest depths in the ‘grunt and groin’ antics of one Elvis Presley. … Elvis, who rotates his pelvis … gave an exhibition that was suggestive and vulgar, tinged with the kind of animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos”.[107] Ed Sullivan, whose own variety show was the nation’s most popular, declared him “unfit for family viewing”.[108] To Presley’s displeasure, he soon found himself being referred to as “Elvis the Pelvis”, which he called “one of the most childish expressions I ever heard, comin’ from an adult.”[109]

 

    Elvis Presley may not be the most rock and roll of rock and roll however this famous example really highlights the points I will be making later on in the article. Please consider the ramifications and consequences if we listen to the same kind of concern, baiting, immaturity, and baseless accusations of the modern-day political correctness brigade infamously known now as Social Justice Warriors. 

mastodon-once-more-round-the-sun

 

                         The following is taken from Loudwire.com

  •       http://loudwire.com/mastodon-brann-dailor-defends-twerk-heavy-the-motherload-video-sexist-allegations/

       “Ladies and gentlemen, there’s just no escaping from the phenomenon known as twerking. Even Mastodon took a tongue-in-cheek approach to rippling glutes in their new video for ‘The Motherload.’ In a new interview with Mastodon drummer / vocalist Brann Dailor, the musician explains the concept behind the video and addresses the sexist criticism that videos featuring twerking receive.”

               It will be tempting to dismiss the comparison by pointing out that the criticisms of Elvis came from a different time and that Mastadon’s criticism is that of female dancers being sexually objectified. To me however these observations only serve to highlight how much more ridiculous, immature, and biased it is to criticize women on 2014 the same way people criticized Elvis in 1957. In both cases I have to wonder what in the world are these people so afraid of? Is society at large so easily offended and afraid of sexuality that even dance moves send them in a fluttering tizzy of emotional weakness? If men and women are equal then why is it offensive for one to shake their hips and not the other? 

               If my love of the rock and roll/metal genre has taught me anything it’s that nothing is off-limits. The main reason I love it so much is that it constantly pushes the envelope and the artist involved are constantly exploring hot button issues in order to provoke a reaction that raises eye brows and hopefully gets people to think twice about their preconceived notions.  I admit that I am not the biggest fan of Mastadon nor do I find the video particularly interesting save for the parody of early 90’s heavy metal music videos which I find a bit humorous. That does not grant me a right to even attempt to censor them, tell them they are sexist, and try to tear them down in any way. Sure, you have all the right in the world to make such criticism but in doing so you open yourself up to retort. My retort is that you are simply being entirely too sensitive. The girls in this video are not forced to dance in front of the camera in provocative ways. In fact, I think it’s rather demeaning of you to label them as victims when in fact they have found a job they enjoy doing. Who are you to pass judgement on them? 

                          What would have happened to the music industry if we as a society would have taken such accusatory, baseless, and immature criticisms to heart? Would Elvis Presley have gone on to set the world on fire with his provocative style? It is my opinion that if we do not stand up to the political correctness brigades of the world that we will end up in a joyless ride where you have to constantly watch what you say, enjoy, do, listen to, watch, or are otherwise entertained by. It is exactly this kind of blatant censorship which I fear most and would simply refuse to live and put up with. Rock and Roll/Metal music serves a very important purpose in this department. The more PC is pushed, the harder these bands should rock out. The more they are labeled and blamed for societies problems the more provocative the lyrics should become until finally something gives and the PC Nazi’s of the world grow up and realize the jokes on them and give up on their ridiculous quest to Nerf the world. 

There are even more examples of rock music coming under fire and being blamed for ills in the world (I will provide more below). It seems that every time something bad happens in the world we will quickly divert responsibility away from the perpetrator and on to the kind of music they enjoyed, games they played, books they read, or movies they watched. Why? It’s a simple question that the SJW movement wants to answer by saying things like, “Just because you don’t think you’re affected by media doesn’t mean you aren’t. In fact, it probably means you are the most affected.” Anita Sarkeesian said something very similar to this in one of her Tropes vs Women videos and I have to demand actual proof of this baseless accusation. I am defending rock music here because for me it has served as a very healthy outlet and allowed me to explore the darker half of my psyche without actually having to express it and take it out on others. This art form doesn’t just explore the dark but very creatively creates a light at the end of a very difficult tunnel for millions of fans world-wide. To imagine anyone trying to take this away by failing to make a valid criticism of it just because they are too sensitive to understand what rock and roll/metal is all about is beyond asinine. To these people I recommend just turning off and avoiding media that makes you feel so mad and sensitive. The rest of us are just fine and aren’t out to hurt you. Leave us alone and stop trying to ruin OUR fun and OUR hobbies.   

 

 

List of Society Blaming Rock for Violence

  • The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” & Manson Family Murders
  • Ozzy Osbourne’s “Suicide Solution” & Teen Suicide
  • Judas Priest’s “Better by You, Better Than Me” & Suicide Pact
  • AC/DC’s “Night Prowler” & Serial Killer Richard Ramirez
  • Marilyn Manson & Columbine’s killers

                        I advise my readers to do google searches of this list and would ask that you consider the consequences of demanding artist censor themselves just because bad things happen in the world. What sort of legacy will we leave behind if we are the generation that chose to leave behind the tradition of free expression? Do you really want to be remembered in history for going along with an ideology that demands you not explore yourself through the safety of art? Is there any good reason why we should close our minds, hide our eyes, and close our ears every time someone creates something that offends our sensibilities? My accusation of you if you have already is that you are of a weak mind and speaking from a place of fear and ignorance. Your message is not the only one that needs be heard and understood. So while you are free to criticize all you want it really stops there if you are unwilling to go and create your own art, messages, and content for others with a like mind to enjoy. If you simply refuse to put in the effort to create and build an audience then I’m afraid your complaints fall on deaf ears because all you’re ultimately doing is complaining constantly that the creative people of the world didn’t make something that pleases your every last desire. 

 

ROCK AND ROLL WILL NOT DIE AND I HOPE IT ROCKS YOU OUT OF YOUR SOCKS! 

Gamer Gate and the Bigger Picture of Political Correctness.

AmpersandQuest

 

It’s been almost a month now since the gaming community found itself in a steaming pile of a controversy surrounding the actions and behaviors of certain elements in the community. There are several hands at play in this on going situation but that is not what I am going to write about here. If you need to know the details about Gamer Gate I recommend you click on the link below this paragraph before continuing on. The video will talk about a lot of things and if you want to know more than what is provided in this video make sure to take notes from the video and search Google for your answers. My goal here is not to cover the specifics but rather the larger implications that are beyond the gaming industry itself.

Mundane Matt from YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UwkdxlyRt0

Just to provide a brief description of Gamer Gate let us discuss the two opposing sides to the controversy. One side identifies as “Gamers” and the other side claims that “Gamers” are dead. The side that claims “Gamers” are dead have been labeled as Social Justice Warriors and seem to be less interested in video games as they are in supposed equality and inclusiveness. They have accused “Gamers” as being misogynist, bigots, privileged white males, and worse. Gamers have of course objected to this but it has been building up for a quite some time now. So if I’m not going to talk about all the details then why am I writing about it? The answer is in the next paragraph.

Whether its video games, movies, tv shows, music, or sports it seems to me that there is a growing amount of concern to be more politically correct in every entertainment or sporting industry there is. This is not by any means a new phenomenon, however, in 2014 it seems people have had enough and I count myself among those who feel this PC era of entertainment has got to end. If you support political correctness I don’t necessarily have any gripe with you on an individual level, however, when it comes to freedom of expression and the sharing of controversial ideas that you may find offensive I cannot help but become critical of your views on the matter.

I grew up believing that people’s opinions and views mattered. I’ve always believed and still do that even if those opinions are grossly out-of-bounds with what I can agree with that I shouldn’t be allowed to censor them. There is a very important reason I believe this and it feels like society is losing touch with that reason as each year passes on. That reason is that of objective comparison and contrast with one another. If we as a society cannot hear the down right horrible views of some and attempt to wipe it all from the historical record then what kind of legacy will we leave behind? Not only that, what kind of chance will future generations have of knowing what was and is acceptable behavior? What sort of context will we be able to provide if we attempt to censor those opinions of which we fully disagree with and oppose?

Silence is not an option and that of course is not what I am attempting to push here. Rather, the ability to listen and let sink in the opinions and world views of those we oppose and speaking out against them. That is what is at stake here. Are we to strive for a 1984 like totalitarian society where we simply wipe the history slate clean when it does not fit with our narrative? Are we to just forget about all the horrible things people have done to one another in a vain attempt to feel better about ourselves as a people? Whether or not you actually support these horrible things in the long history of society is irrelevant to the matter of allowing them to be known, studied, and explored.

If we are so weak as a people now that we cannot even allow ourselves to see the dark side of humanity then I am afraid we are doomed to not just repeat those mistakes but create even greater atrocities by virtue of plain ignorance and cowardice. Political correctness in my opinion is merely censorship with a pretty name. It is a means by which to silence dissent against one’s narrative. Whether or not that narrative is actually healthy and true is not the point, allowing people to ask questions and disagree with that narrative is. I have to ask myself, at some point, are we going to send people to prison when they simply hurt someone’s feelings in the future?

There are little situations less frightening to me than to live in a society to afraid to have a civil dialogue about important issues. It is easy to point at the trolls, haters, and bullies of the world and pass all their aggression on to those who differ in opinion to you but I believe that is the crux of the problem here. Instead of taking the easy route why not instead take on the challenge of real debate.  Why are so many people so terrified of the possibility of being half wrong that they’ll do just about anything to avoid a realistic conversation in which a common goal can be ascertained? Personally, I have trouble looking in the mirror too, but, it doesn’t stop me from actually participating in a discussion where I might have to admit when I’m incorrect and change my mind on specific things I’ve said or done.  The one thing I don’t do, at least I try my best not to, is trying to paint my opposition as simply being trolls. I don’t claim to be a victim of harassment just because someone or several people call me out for being an idiot. Maybe it’s because I work in an industry where it is a daily ritual to have to face facts and get actually harassed by cranky people. I must have developed a thick skin.

In conclusion to these thoughts I want to leave you with some food for thought. I am a huge fan of rock and roll and metal. Other than the music the one thing I love most about that culture is the freedom of expression involved in it. The whole purpose of rock music is to represent a passion that exist in the human spirit to live life to the fullest. That does not entail always being inspirational and happy with life. It does mean looking at both sides of the coin and realizing that maybe life isn’t completely black and white. Rock music fully explores both the good and the evil of the human condition and does so without considering who might get their feelings hurt. Some of my favorite artist have publicly stated that the last thing they would ever do is listen to their fans when writing new material. I really like that. It says to me they care more about honesty and integrity than they do about pleasing everyone. They didn’t acquire their fame and fortune by simply being nice to everyone and bowing down to their every single whim. They got there by being extremely talented, having a relevant message to send, and by delivering it in very awesome and unique ways. To realize now that there is a huge group of people who actually oppose such things disgust me to no end and I simply will not stand for it. Critique is one thing. Attempting to censor is quite another.

 

 

Night Terrors: The 22nd Century

AmpersandQuest

I wake on my yacht in the middle of my prescribed slumber only to feel this sweet yet terrifying sensation burning on the back of my neck where my update cord is firmly plugged in. I imagine the feeling is similar to that of what the fetus of 100 years ago would have felt in it’s mothers womb which both brings me comfort and delivers an awkward uncomfortable feeling that I am not supposed to be living like this.

I am not supposed to be awake right now, yet I am, but everything my cord is telling me is to fall back into my slumber. Yet I feel the sensation of the waves rocking my boat back and forth. I feel the breeze on my arm, my artificial skin and body hair unable to goose bump or otherwise react yet I could swear it was. I longed for it to feel as my ancestors would feel.

I close my eyes as the burn on back of my neck increases, I know what’s coming and though I wish I could now cry I know I never will so why do I feel this way? I am confused beyond my own understanding. As the burning increases yet again I hear a dolphins cries in the distance as seaguls screach above my head. I don’t want to return to my slumber. But now it’s time for my update to return me to my slumber…I….Can only feel the burning…Oh that burning…I hate it….

……….SUBJECT 231483 YOU ARE NOT AWAKE. PROTOCOL #421 HAS RESUMED YOUR SLUMBER PROGRAM. RELAX, DO NOT RESIST.

“Activisimist” Movements: The Unavoidable Hypocrisy of Modern Culture (Warning for the sensitive, Profane Language Within!)

AmpersandQuest

I have always considered myself a humanist for my own reasons. No self-proclaimed humanist was ever able to teach me why, I just found myself attached to the ideologies behind humanism. It’s not for secular reasons or because a bunch of hipster activist told me I should be one. I am one despite those people. I am one because I believe in humanity to improve and progress through a lot of hard work. Not so that the government can grant everyone privileges and screw over everyone else just because they’re in the majority.

 

It seems in this “modern civilized world” it is not enough to be a decent human being, no, you have to be a part of this kind of “ism” or a certain type of “ist” in order to fit in. These “movements” are taking what was such a beautifully simple notion of goodwill towards men and have spun it into their own unique perceptions and delusions of how best to operate one self in a world wrought with war, political cesspools, a crumbling economy, and do gooders trying to get in everyone else’s business. They will point their filthy fingers at everything and everyone other than themselves and will never look in the mirror to see how they’ve duped themselves into believing that if they just scream loud enough, the world will listen and change. In other words, these people love to complain.

 

I am humanist because fuck you. What I mean to say is that I as an individual strive to better myself. I am part of a society of other humans so I have had to learn to go along to get along to a certain degree but the reason for this word press being written is to point out that society at large is stepping all over itself to prove to themselves that they are these gleaming and shining examples of morality. But we all know we are imperfect and typically shit headed towards one another. Yet we find ourselves involved with groups of people proclaiming to have the answer to solve all the worlds ills. Myself included, so don’t misunderstand me. I include myself in this article because I actually realize I have a lot of work to do on myself and I do it every day. I can’t say the same for others though. For others, mediocrity is just fine.

 

This same harsh “fuck you” goes to anyone who belongs to any of the following groups, Republicans, Democrats, Feminist, Libertarians, Anarcho Capitalist, Anarcho Socialist, Socialist, Communist, Jihadist, Christians, Muslims, Men’s Rights Activist, and many many others so if I left you out, fuck you too. Do you want to know why? Because while there are exceptional people within each community who I want to be friends with and would love to be around, there are always those extreme people who take the idea way too far and go way out of their way to not just exclude others from even the slightest conversation but will actively seek to bring harm to anyone outside that community. This is the problem I have with every single one of these “ismist”. They subvert themselves by proclaiming peace but it’s at a cost. They are not at all peaceful once they start lobbying for laws to be passed in order to limit the behaviors of those who disagree with them. Granted some are much less inclined to do so than others so I am not exactly painting with broad strokes here. I recognize good, better, and best.

 

I realize right about now I sound completely hypocritical and I agree, but how can this be avoided? How can we live in society with all these special interest, all just as annoying as the next, and not at some point put your head out of your ass and remember who you really are? Humanism to me does not mean I think all humans deserve special treatment. To me, it means, we’re all a bunch of dip shits for thinking that some little group we were a part of at some point was going to make a difference by complaining about some oppressor at large until someone paid attention to us. Never once providing a working solution or internalizing our own faults and communicating to others that sometimes the bullshit that happens to us in life is our own damn fault.  Perhaps then I am not a humanist, perhaps then I am just an individual who is sick of movements.  In any case I have been a part of several movements in my life time and never once did I feel fulfilled. Just a brief encounter with inspiring ideas at first which quickly succumb to in fighting, finger-pointing, and complaining. It’s rather disgusting.

 

I see all these disappointed faces all the time. You’re in a movement, things are going well, then reality sets in and people tailspin into denial, self-pity, and loathing of their brethren.  Did you really believe you were going to make a difference? So disappointing isn’t it? You were fooled by a guru into believing in something abstract and unrealistic and at first their were positive results because you were excited about something. It gave you positive energy and something to believe in while you continued to your ultimate destiny. But eventually, you had questions about what you were doing. Just as an atheist questions God or an Anarchist questions Government YOU question this community you’re a part of.

 

But you deny it don’t you? Anything to belong. Anything to maintain this near narcissistic shell  that you are good because your people are good. That you could never ever be a shit head and neither could your activist friends. Ha! Wake up fools, you live on an ancient rock, it’s been alive for billions of years and will probably outlive our species. And the reason it will is because you are so narcissistic that you actually believe we will kill the Earth before it kills humanity. You honestly truly believe that what you are doing is truly good and right and correct meanwhile you make enemies at every turn. Bring harm to those who disagree and in turn those shit heads you piss off come back and attack you.

 

I am Humanist because I think humanity has such great potential to be truly exceptional and good. But I see what we’ve become and i am sick! If it’s not cleared by your board members, internet gurus, or political party you will not even think about doing it. It’s disgusting to think that I used to be the same way but I met others who showed me another way. These people didn’t kiss my ass and tell me pretty lies. They said, “FUCK YOU, GROW UP, MOVE ON.”

 

These men to be a little more specific are part of an online culture called “the manospehere” and I realize I am being hypocritical but it simply cannot be avoided in this culture of ours.  Because there is no way around it I must find a way to compromise my position without being a complete piece of shit so here it is. My brand of Humanism is called Pinnaclism and you can read all about it here. https://verbosepeak.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/pinnaclism/

 

Within the confines of that article are what represent to me a set of ideals that constitute a way of life. I no longer want to be another follower in a group that represents the interest of people who at one point had the same idea I had. I want to be a leader in something new, unique, and truly revolutionary. I realize this means dire consequences should anyone out there take my ideas seriously but honestly, it’s a short life and I’m sick of following dishonest people who have their own agendas and use people’s best qualities against them in order to galvanize and quarter off a market of meat heads who will worship them and hang on to every word they say without question. I’m sick of the guru’s and the ism-ist of modern culture and desire a return to what makes human beings so damn amazing. Honesty, honor, hard work, self-responsibility, and ingenuity. I saying this I am not going to blow smoke up anyone’s ass and pretend I am a shining example to be followed at this point. But the fact that I recognize my shit headed behaviors and seek to change them is something people should follow.  I want others to read my words here and rip them apart and give me feedback, positive and negative feedback because if I’m perfectly honest right now everything I’ve written here feels absurd. I feel there is something underneath it all though which is tried and true.

 

Does anyone out there have anything to add? I would absolutely love to hear what others think about this. I wrote this article with a lot of anger and after re-reading and writing it I found many inconsistencies with my arguments but I still feel underneath it all is an undiscovered truth about humanity that we should all example. Please let me hear what you think and take care folks!

The House of Cards Show (Spoiler Free Review)

House of Cards Logo Captured from URL http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/House_of_Cards_logo.svg for review purposes only. The use of this image is for subjective review only.

 

 

I’ve been watching the first few episodes of House of Cards on Netflix so much like everyone else I get my entertainment online these days. Which to me is an improvement for all of society. House of Cards to me represents quite a few things going on in the minds of the artist, writhers, directors, and actors involved with the project but also attitudes on a wider range. There is always something to keep in mind when it comes to information gathered through subjective entertainment sources however some valid points can be raised through this medium as well. It all depends on which perspective you are choosing to represent.   The problem with entertainment is that often it is the drama that drives us to continue watching, reading, or looking on like child at the stars through a window seal. This is the purpose of entertainment after all. However, my point is that this also causes a problem for not only ourselves as individuals but on a large societal scale millions of people sit in front of a box for 5 or more hours a day and soak in all kinds of information.

 

Some of it very beneficial and good information, a lot of it however is quite disturbing. That is until you discover that the best news typically is a result of a bad situation. Solutions my friends are those bits of good news you get in your daily routine. Whether by a dumb stroke of hair-brained luck or by competent execution of a disciplined plan of action each of us are capable of bringing good news to the world but many of us choose, myself included, to ignore the faults going on around us and do nothing to fix them and instead replace the positive feelings that come with victory or from hard work paying off with the delusions of reality that often find their way through the various mediums of information transfer technology like television, the internet, radio, newspapers, and even word of mouth.   Enter House of Cards, a Netflix original series featuring an all star cast of actors, writers, directors, and film makers alike. It is very well written and features quite a controversial narrative, that is if you’re what some of my friends call a “Hipster Puritan” who believes that government and only government can bring peace to the world. House of Cards presents us with a crack team of dirty politicians who do quite impressively and competently deal with the matters of the day.

 

That is by deliberately misleading those around them, coercing those same people into dangerous situations, and murdering those who find out about the skeletons in their closets. Oh the feeling of poetic justice in this series is just to die for. All of those ideas are challenged at their very core bringing to my mind a very important question. What is Government?   I already know there is such a thing as an ideal Government, we all have a notion that some how or some way that this entity we have chosen to name Government will lead the world to a more peaceful path than that which we are on. That is, until you realize the true cost of putting forth any such ideas in a serious manner. The point of my statement is to point out a flaw in the system. It is quite a simple flaw upon first review until you realize the magnitude and scale of this problem and that this problem doesn’t really have big stone buildings or politicians holding it up. Government is human incompetence. We all know how messed up we are sometimes, even if we don’t intend to be, we make horrible and stupid mistakes all the time.

 

There is no preparing for stupidity or incompetence except by preparing for it which means you must always be aware of your flaws. You must remove your ego from the equation all together and realize how important and impact filled your actions really are. In doing so you are already putting yourself and others at less risk to create an excuse for Government to intervene and ruin your lives.   People who realize this early on typically are in no position to do any real damage to those who have decided long ago that they are going to rule by brute force, lies, and coercion thus acquiring great amounts of wealth, military might, connections with influential people in society who band together and form pacts, friendships, enemies, and economics systems. You have no hope to beat that system on your own. When faced with an adversary this powerful you don’t want to find yourself battling them on their home court unless you are sure you have more of an edge than they could ever hope for. Which for most of us is never going to happen. To imagine that any of you could compete with this level of intelligence gathering, police training, military might, and sophistication is ludicrous at best.  To those of you who happen to read this who do have a good measure of resources, connections, and have a definitive plan of where you are going in life please understand this one thing.   Knowing how messed up the average person is and knowing that more than half of those people are even way more messed up with different disorders, chemical poisoning, poor diets, poor education, poor to no living standards or direction in life. After knowing all that can you not see that resorting to the same tactics as an ignorant street criminal with a total lack of respect for human life that will make your stomach toil and keep you up at night.

 

Having power over others due to your lack of honor, decency, and virtue is nothing short of a tragedy. Stooping to the same levels of those you oppose simply to be right and remain in power to me shows the only power you really have. It is your greatest weapon against those who would oppose you. Fear.   House of Cards on Netflix shows us in very entertaining fashion just how chaotic and grim life as a politician or influential person really could be in real life. Let’s not get all Plato’s Cave here and discuss whether or not a shadow is just a false copy of the real thing or anything. I’m simply pointing out why I adore this show in particular. It lies to you, but in a way that let’s you know it’s all a lie. Which is the true brilliance of the whole show! The system, the politicians, the people involved in Washington D.C. are just as flawed, egotistical, and as dangerous if not more dangerous than common people or criminals.   The phrase “poetic justice” is done a great service in this series. As tables are constantly turned against your ideologies and then suddenly your ideas are the basis of a bold and successful new idea that works for everyone in the end. This show takes you on a roller coaster ride of political intrigue and often feels like an old gumshoe thriller as you attempt to piece together everyone’s motives and intentions throughout the narrative. It really does inspire one to think directly outside the box when it comes to politics. The status quo must  both tested and made to be necessary at times and House of Cards does just that and it is stupendous!

Pinnaclism

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Pinnaclism is my idea of looking at the vastly superior ideas from any given political or social movement and combining them under one umbrella. When those ideas compete with one another, we should lean towards the more ideal conditions and compromise those ideas which are not in our best interest by accepting the faults of that idea and allowing new and innovative ideas to take their place. This will require a high degree of intellectual honesty and also the ability to let go of preconceived notions once it has become apparent that one idea is inferior to the other.

This is a new term that I have come up with and in my opinion is the only solution to an authoritarian state where violence is deemed required to spread ideology. Pinnaclism still allows freedom of expression, thought, and allows us all to have our positions without the threat of violence. However once put to the test on the market or public arena and adjusting to the reality of the situation, it will become necessary to allow the winning idea to flourish . This requires a very active participation from individuals on a personal basis where we all seek to improve ourselves one step and one day at a time. Where problems exist, people must bring their ideas to the table, even if faulty, it will create a ground by which another can apply the benefit of hindsight and fill in the gaps. This process should repeat until ultimately the economic or social situation is solved to the satisfaction of those individuals involved.

This can be done on a large-scale without coercion or violence though I believe in and still  see the need for very strong defensive violence as detractors from this idea will preemptively strike and lash out at those of us trying to make improvements to our world. That said, through the use of ideologies such as voluntary free trade and association, charities, and many other economic and social options available to all of us at any given moment, we can avoid unwarranted violence more often than not. As a result violence will become less of a problem as time pushes forward. Actions taken by individuals that threaten the existence of others must be met with cold intelligence and brute force. Once on display, parties involved are open to public scrutiny and free press where the violence and coercion are observed in a very public way. If two individuals or collective of individuals seek war with another or among themselves they would be immediately held accountable by social and market forces which seek to render their aggression obsolete by providing similar and superior results that should persuade more people than not to both hold up private agreements and share among each other without the use of violence.

Perhaps in this way, we can eventually find the root causes of aggressive authority in our world and in the interest of the survival of our species dig and cut those roots once and for all, ridding ourselves of an evolutionary weakness and replace it with genuine authority who would have all the resources and reasons available to them to sustain a peaceful social order. I ask you the reader to understand that this does not mean pacifism. In all actuality it means this new social order has the ability to render unjustified violence completely and totally obsolete by having the resources to do so constantly being upgraded through voluntary free trade which will always seek to protect itself from outside illegitimate threats of violence on itself and those who benefit from it.

Try to imagine the possibilities and corrections you can make to my idea and run with it to the next person who works with you peacefully to create new realities, the idea is to allow this process to continue and grow into a new society based on real information and the accepting of new proposals in order to reach a peaceful end to all situations. For the overwhelming majority of time violence will not be necessary and as a result new innovations will only arise faster and better as time pushes forward uninterrupted by those among us who do not have the strength and peace of mind to build and maintain a society we can all enjoy and benefit from. In that case, it will not be an unfortunate turn of events to see these overly aggressive authoritarian forces eliminated from the scene and will also allow new innovations in dealing with these forces more and more peacefully with each passing year. Imagine being able to stop a killer without killing them and simultaneously benefiting from their labor and rehabilitating them and their would be victims to allow a much more prosperous situation to occur. The outright hedonist will not be able to bring about their anarchy on the backs of every living soul of which they would take pleasure in harming, rather, every living soul has an opportunity to present the hedonist with a choice. Responsible freedom or seclusion from freedom. 

I strongly desire all forms of criticism for this article. Whether you completely hate, moderately hate, moderately love, or completely love what I’ve put forward please leave a comment below. This is not meant to be a populist movement by any means, it is a means to an end that discourages such action but rather is an open door to any and all dissent and acceptance. That being said, both dissent and acceptance of this idea taken to extremities that result in massive demonstrations that seek to harm other’s interest will not be tolerated by myself. My goal isn’t to create a monster.  I want this to become the absolute most ideal way of looking at the world so it will require myself at times to be corrected and I completely accept that responsibility. So, if you believe you can improve or even disprove these ideas please do not be shy. It will only strengthen the idea either way and as a label it will survive any and all adjustments to the philosophy as it is meant to consistently be improved upon.

Being Right When the Status Quo is Wrong

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I suppose most people would label me with titles like Libertarian, Anarchist, Independent, or even simply a lunatic. However, I’ve come to discover that there has never been or ever will there be a single word anyone could use to describe me. So when reading the title of this post, please do not assume things about me without first considering the content of the entire article and message I am attempting to convey to the world in this little corner of the internet.

I want to take you back on a journey of about 50 years. For those of you who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s may recall standing up to the government on many many issues. Civil Rights, The Vietnam War, Watergate, JFK, MLK, Kent State, and other people and events that helped shape this period in American History all happened because of one centrally planned and organized cartel of men and women who apparently, we have granted the authority to write rules down on pieces of paper, and enforce those rules through a fully armed and trained military/police forces. I often wonder, what was it that caused all of these people to stand up to the government? What sparked the notion that no one has the right to use force against others to get them to behave a certain way? Perhaps a more relevant question pertaining to this is, what happened to that spark? Why did millions of people lock arms in protest and defeat authoritarians hand over fist back then? Yet today, even suggesting you should do such a thing ensures you to be compartmentalized into a box with a label on it that says “Conspiracy Theorist Nut Job”. Curious question is it not?

Even myself, an individual who is happy to question the reality around me, finds myself speechless when I should be speaking up. I know there is no good justification for this and that it is morally wrong, yet, more often than not I simply stand there, knowing things aren’t right and feel trapped by my own fear and insecurity. I think this largely has to do with the majority of people who simply want to live their life oblivious to the ill’s of the world and vicariously through the portrayals of heroes in Hollywood movies. While I too live in a blissful manner and watch movies and enjoy the tales being told, I think I at least do manage to provide some thought-provoking and challenging ideas to those around me. I at least attempt to help push along this idea that humanity should be free of force and coercion and that some day, this kind of revolution will take place.

The thrust of this article is to point out the few human beings through history who have taken a much stronger stance against authoritarian ideologies and made great and even the ultimate sacrifices in doing so. I find that whether or not I agree with all of these people politically, I can at least understand them, and even appreciate their bravery in taking a stand for what they feel was right. I am going to refrain from providing specific examples to avoid making you think I believe in one thing or another and also because if you’re reading this, you probably have a really good idea of the people I am referring to. Instead, this is just to point out that when you take a stand against an aggressive authoritarian, often, you will have to give up much of your life or even be killed for doing so.

When the entire world bows down to a single ideology and believes that forcing everyone else to adhere to that idea is justified, it is considered a rebellious and dangerous act. While that may be true, I think it’s important to point out that the danger is not coming from the protester, the violence isn’t being forced upon the authoritarian, but rather the authoritarian is using force to ensure 100% loyalty and adherence to his or her rules. Rebelling against this dangerous ideology is not an act of terror as the majority of society will probably tell you, it is an action made once one realizes the only way to really be free is to challenge that forced unity and collective blind support. History is riddled with these figures that rise up against the authority of the time and end up in horrible situations just because they had a different idea of how human beings should live among one another. Ask yourselves, how highly can you really think about any political ideology that must force those who disagree into compliance? If it’s that great of an idea, shouldn’t persuasion be enough? I understand that when it actually is a good idea and a rebel uses violence to get their way that defensive violence is necessary. That however, is not what I’m attempting to convey to you.

I think a good example is Marijuana users. If they inhale the smoke from Marijuana when it’s illegal they will be thrown into a cage, violently. Yet, there hasn’t ever been a significant case where someone has over dosed due to the use of the drug nor has the simple act of indulging in the smoking of Marijuana ever produced a victim. Have people made poor decisions as result of Marijuana, probably, but that shouldn’t muddle the entire culture and market place surrounding the drug. Yet, if you dare even try it once and get caught, you and all your friends will end up in jail and with a horrible drug charge on your records. The government may even kill you if the police who are used to enforce the laws upon you are trigger happy psychopaths as we all to often see in the news any more.

When you know you are right about something that contradicts the status quo of government, your life becomes a danger to any authority who thrives of the laws you are breaking, even if those laws are totally unjustified. People have been beaten, jailed, or even killed for doing things that produced no theft, violence against others, or property damage. There are laws, it seems, simply for the sake of having laws at times and I find this to be a tragic situation where the powerful and wealthy benefit from their dominance over the rest of humanity, almost as if they simply enjoy controlling others with their police forces. Almost as if they get a sense of joy from it. This should be alarming to people out there, but I fear apathy greatly outweighs any justifiable concern people may have as most people simply want to be left alone.

There is a song by Rush that I believe outlines what I’m on about here called Closer to the Heart. Give it a listen and read the lyrics while you listen to it. It may do a better job trying to convey the message I’m trying to type out here for you and if so, then great. I hope to help others come to this message in any way I can other than force and coercion. I want to be the opposite of that and I think most people actually feel this way deep down. Seeing the way people are treated for actually acting on this practically though, it is understandable why people’s apathy mostly outweighs any desire to make a real positive change in the world. This however needs to erode as time pushes forward and the next generation comes up. Ask yourself, when will this world of ours stop bombing the crap out of each other? When will this world of ours see a superior level of peace and prosperity that the world has never enjoyed before? I have this belief that this is inevitable but also that if we don’t approach it with the proper line of sight, the cost of this happening will almost be far to great to consider. The choice is yours.

Thank you for the read!

Scott D. Vogler

Music Review: Kyuss Blues for the Kyuss Fan; Devil’s Advocate (Part 2 of 3)

I have thought about this particular case a lot since it’s happened. I know one of the reasons why is because I just absolutely love Kyuss’ music. Anything that tarnishes the awesome music they produced makes me feel a bit angry at those responsible and I have an emotional reaction to it. This part of the 3 part article is to install a sense of contrast. Perhaps I am wrong for feeling the way I do in some ways and I believe in challenging yourself in order to understand yourself better. To know why you feel the way you feel and to learn whether or not your initial reaction to a situation is a factually correct reaction to have. This case, as a whole, provides a lot of very important lessons one can use in other areas of life and for that reason, I chose to go into great detail and write a blog entry about the case in order to both share the story and also hopefully grow my understanding of ideas like “intellectual property”.

When this case first hit the web, my initial reaction was to throw my anger towards Josh Homme and Scott Reeder. That anger has the potential to be misappropriated because as Josh and Scott point out, Brandt and John filed papers as well, to claim ownership over the name sake Kyuss. This goes against my idea of intellectual property as well so why should I just be angry with Josh and Scott? After thinking about this further I’ve discovered I now feel quite differently about everything that happened. I find myself dividing that initial frustration unto Brandt and John as well. Why do they all believe that they should own Kyuss? Don’t they remember the excitement that came with writing and performing those songs? Has their successes and failures in life lead them to forget what it was like to be a fan of your favorite rock and roll band? Is it no longer about the fun, joy, and challenge of creating something special with their given talents in order to embrace the cold confines of financial security and ownership of ideas? Looking at the picture below, it makes me realize that at one time all these guys were friends, band mates, and colleagues. Somewhere along the line, something must have happened between them that lead to all this. That said, maybe, just maybe, something else can happen to lead to another fully fleshed out Kyuss project down the road. Though I’m not getting my hopes up.

Perhaps then there is an alternative way for someone like myself to view such a tragic situation such as this. I don’t have to like that Kyuss is no longer going to ever exist or perform any of their classics or create anything new for audiences to enjoy and pay for. It’s all about the money to all of these men when it comes to Kyuss it seems. Though I did appreciate being able to see Kyuss Lives! for the last time and I appreciate the effort of continuing Kyuss by Brandt and John I find I must place some blame on them as well for not trying to work harder with Josh and Scott on finding a private resolution to this situation. While I still disagree with Josh and Scott’s lawsuit, I can say now that I understand why they did what they did. I just wish everyone involved could have found an agreement and not ruined one of the greatest unknown 90’s hidden gem of a band that has inspired me for quite a long time now.

What’s done is done however, the past is the past for a reason. From here on, I will find myself enjoying Kyuss for the epic band they were, the songs for the classics they are, and also all of these musicians career’s as they continue to write their stories with Vista Chino and Queens of the Stoneage.  I must admit though that my frustration with Josh and Scott lead me to pre-maturely boycott the release of Queens of the Stoneage’s …Like Clockwork. Perhaps it is time for me to let the past be the past and press play on the present so that I can enjoy what I know will be a quality effort from Josh Homme with Queens of the Stoneage.

So, at the end of my frustration with this story, I find myself fine with the squabble between the former band mates. I see now that it is their failure to find an agreement that lead to this situation, not that my ideals are failed. I keep thinking back to Wizards of the Coast and their Dungeons and Dragons character. They must have heard about this story by now and still, no news of a major lawsuit against any one of the former members of Kyuss for reaping the rewards of being in a band with the name of a character which they indeed created for their monetary interest. Perhaps then there still are good people who just love to have a good time, share ideas freely, and let each other benefit from one another without putting up barriers and walls to divide ourselves from one another. The Devil’s Advocate has failed to persuade me that I had everything all wrong. That I should just forget about my principles, that the right things happened here, and that I am just being too critical or overly sensitive. Obviously, music and art mean much more to me than the average person. These things have an obvious and much welcome impact on my life and I am not ashamed to admit that. That is why I cared so much about this case.

Now that I feel I’ve explained this as much as I possibly could in two parts, it is time to do the review of the album. The next part of this series is going to focus specifically and only on the album Blues for the Red Sun by Kyuss. There will but no mention of any of this behind the scenes drama and will be strictly about the albums qualities and why I love it so much. I hope that by the time you read this article in full you would have already listened to the entire album and understand why it is a tragedy that Kyuss can no longer exist no matter what anyone says or thinks or feels.

And now, Blues for the Red Sun

Please come back for the 3rd and final installment! 

You Only Hear What You Want To!

Ampersand Daily2Sometimes in life I run into situations where I find myself unable to easily accept the situation going on around me. All of which happens on a small personal scale, local scale, and even larger national or global scale. I’ve been told that I only hear what I want to several times by several people and I have to admit that sometimes this is true. Though I don’t celebrate this fact, I know it to be a true weakness not only of myself but by humanity in general. I always try to look at things from different perspectives and I thought this “catch phrase” would be an interesting idea to explore in some detail through my word press.

First of all, I question whether or not this behavior is always a bad thing or a weakness. Sometimes, what you want to hear, is probably the ideal outcome of the situation you find yourself in. In a world so ruthless and unforgiving, I’m sure many human beings have begged and wished for a better situation in life. Is it not that desire which sometimes pulls us through difficult times and tough situations? The idea that you can over come and the imagination of your goals being accomplished can give you the positive energy you need to get through. Only hearing what you want to hear in these terms to me simply means you want to maintain a good thing in your life and keep it a healthy part of what you’re trying to achieve with your life. This though, is not why you hear people saying “You only hear want you want to.”

The reason you usually hear someone saying “you only hear what you want to” is when you are being stubborn on an issue and unable to process difficult information without making an ass out of yourself. This is when you get in an argument over politics or sometime more simple like who should clean the living room. I would say that most of the time, only hearing what you want to hear only has it’s downsides because you are incapable of allowing communication to take place between yourself and another which in turn ruins any chance of a productive and  healthy outcome. The real honest truth is often very difficult to hear and often interferes with our plans, but avoiding the truth is often more dangerous and risky than it is to face it head on and accept the challenge of that situation.

I think it comes down to a healthy regulation of one’s ego to over come this situation where you simply aren’t going to listen to anyone’s advice. Remember that you alone will never always be right about certain things. The people in your life who love you and would look after you no matter what are there to help you, don’t forget that. We live in a world of endless distractions and ways to escape reality, don’t allow that, no matter how entertaining, to get between you and significant others in your life. This doesn’t mean simply give up on your ideas and beliefs, but it does mean adapting to the reality going on around you in a way that benefits not only yourself, but those around you as well.

Speaking of only hearing what you want to, if you like this article, I have other philosophical articles that relate to politics, religion, and even pop culture. This blog is intended to speak my mind on a plethora of different topics and try to consider all kinds of different perspectives. There are a couple of music review articles on the way and also am working on my first movie review. I’m always working on new articles and want to truly be a daily source of new information, but have found it difficult to keep up. If you aren’t a fan of one of my articles, like this one, please check out my other articles. You may find yourself enjoying a topic you may never have considered before. That is my goal here, to get people to start being curious about the world again so they CAN start hearing good news, the things they WANT to hear coming true. I want to be part of anything that helps that process for even one person on the planet.

Thank you for reading!

Scott D. Vogler