The Version 3 blog of Richard [Reeses2150] Kohut
I've got ADHD, and I am an artist. You do the math...
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Belief in The Status-Quo
First of all, yes, I let this blog pretty much die, but I have been thinking about setting up up again for when I have something to rant about either on video or in text, because, kind of like I always have, I like to think. And when I think, I try to come up with explanations and revelations and whatever other words you want to use for "figuring stuff out". And (be warned cause I'm about to get deep on you) in my life, as an atheist, and a thinker, I realize that the only thing that will exist of you after your time is up is what you left behind. And even that is finite, of all trillions of people who ever lived, what are the oldest names you can remember besides the names of kings and other forms of kings or high level government workers (like Sun Tzu, who was a military strategist)? The oldest I can possibly think of in that category of people who were just ordinary people, is Christopher Columbus, and he kinda doesn't even count because he WAS a government worker (tasked by the Queen of England to set sail), and he died ONLY 500 years ago or so. HALF A MILLENNIUM. That's about as long as a normal person's memory can survive, and he did it by discovering a whole new continent!
Sorry to suddenly get so, well, reminding you of your own mortality with that, but it's an undeniable truth. We're all going to die, and very quickly be forgotten, almost no matter who we were. So I want to put as much of myself out there as possible, so that I might be remembered, just a little bit longer than most. That said, it's why I'm writing this post right now, and the catalyst for writing this post are two things, an image, and a realization I had about the way most human brains operate in today's society. All of it centered around RELIGION.
I'll give you a few minutes to read through each and every one of those as I did and get nice and pissed off, then I'll tell you why you're wrong for having thoughts like "these people are EVIL" or the like. Oh be pissed off, I'm not telling you not to be, Religion and religious people like these DESERVE to incite a fury in normal rational people like you and I.
The crux of my realization is this, and it does fit very closely with a cliche thinkers have about the religious, that they are weak minded. My theory is very similar, though not as blunt and degrading, and a bit more complex. It all comes down to one thing, tradition. Tradition not as what specific traditions there are, or what you do during a tradition, but the very way we define that word. I'll take 2 paragraphs here and illustrate as best I can by talking about how the non-religious/reasoning types define tradition and then how the religious define it.
To me, and my reasoning friends, Tradition is defined as a good idea that you put into practice and later on put into practice again because it was still a good idea. We may celebrate Christmas (not as a christian holiday but as a more generic one), because of it's value in bringing a family and friends together, exchanging gifts (and stimulating the economy in the process), eating good food, and being cheerful among other things. To us, a tradition can very easily be dispatched with if it evolves into something bad or society changes and it's no longer acceptable/moral/ethical, just like hazing in college.
To the religious minded, tradition is defined as something that was good in the past and henceforth should be repeated (and I hesitate to use this word because of the baggage attached to it, but it is really the best word) like a ritual. To these folk, the reason behind the tradition isn't important at all (hence why Christmas has transformed from being about Jesus Christ's birthday to a commercial and family holiday with the one religious tie left in it being the morning church mass and nativity scenes). These are the types of people who protested fake Xmas trees when they first appeared on the market, proclaiming "A CHRISTMAS TREE MUST BE A REAL TREE!", or opposed the early 2000's trend of icicle lights (you know, the lights you string up on the outside of your house that look like icicle's?) simply because they weren't "traditional". What's important to these people about tradition is the simple fact that "We did it last year! And the year before that! And the year before that! So we shouldn't break the cycle!", or put into more blunt words, maintaining the status-quo. THAT'S what's important to these people.
And the problem is quite simple, this is not just how they look at this one word, "tradition", but it's the way their brains work in general. They look at the status-quo as something that is ideal, as something to strive for is to make things the same year after year, so that we can continue with these traditions. These are the kinds of minds who, if it were not for the likes of Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and events like the Million man March and anti-segregation laws, would still support slavery and segregation. NOT stemmed from hatred of blacks, but simply because it's their "place" because that's the place they were in in the past, so why change it? That's the kind of reasoning these people employ, just take a look right now at another subject that brought me to this realization and inspired me to write this article.
Gays. Take a look around at how they are treated even today still, and who are the main opponents in gay marriage and gay rights. Organizations that pump out that word "Tradition" and "Family" and "America/Nation/Country" like it's on their word of the day calendars (and I'll get into talking about the "Nation/Country/America" crap too later).Just a few examples I can think of right off the top of my head are the Catholic Church, Right Wing Conservatives, The Westborough Baptist Church, American Vision, Concerned Women for America, Family Research Institute, Traditional Values Coalition, and Focus On The Family (Who's latest ad which was shown during the recent NFL Broncos Vs Patriots game was what REALLY started me wanting to make this article, it was the initial spark). Notice that just about all of them are, especially in the case for gay marriage opposition, talking about "TRADITIONAL marriage" and "healthy/strong/proper/TRADITIONAL FAMILY structure" and then notice that the vast majority of them are religious organizations, well that point I'll get into in more detail next, for now I want to focus on gay and bisexual/open interests because, let's just say I have a vested interest.
I know you're reading this and going "but they DO hate them! What are you saying they don't HATE them?" Yes, for the most part they do, but you have to look at what that hatred stems from. If you see a guy flipping out, pissed off on the street, about to club people with a baseball bat he's carrying around, you'd better damn well understand WHAT is pissing him off before you go try to calm him down or especially reason with him. The source of the hatred is not gays and such themselves, or the activities they do, it's what they represent that is causing all the problem in their minds. Remember these people hold maintaining the status-quo to be their highest ideal and biggest goal, and when something comes along to shake up their world view, they will fight it tooth and nail, and when you're resisting something and fighting against it, what ends up happening to you emotionally? You end up hating that thing! It's just a human emotional response to the mindset they have. If someone walks up to you and holds you up at knife point, you hate them don't you? But you hate them because they are representing the opposite of what people are supposed to do in a reasonable society (namely make your own money and let everyone else keep theirs). It's exactly the same thing with gay-haters, and it's one of the reasons why they are literally impossible to sway with any sort of rational argument and why you'll see headlines like in the linked article such as "Mont. Woman takes crowbar to disputed artwork in Loveland (the painting was a gay scene)" or even worse, "Iran Executes 2 Gay Teenagers" or even WORSE, "My Name Was Not Eric. It Was Faggot." in which 19 year old Eric (last name omitted) killed himself, AFTER HIS OWN MOTHER TRIED TO EXORCISE THE GAYNESS OUT OF HIS SOUL.
I'm getting tangential though and pisses off mentioning off these examples, which is not what I want to do. Yes, again, they are so deserving of getting pissed off over. When I first read some of these headlines my thoughts immediately turned to grabbing the nearest sharp/pointy/heavy object I could find and jamming it into my eyeballs, LITERALLY, but I digress, I'm not writing this to express my anger, because plenty of people are already doing that, and like I said before, it won't change anything. My point that I wanted to get back to is who these people are at their core and why they think and act and hate the way they do, and that leads me into one of the main things I want to talk about, religion.
Think back a few paragraphs and you'll remember about how I said that the most important thing in the minds of these people is maintaining the status-quo and how I hated using the word "ritual" to describe it? Well because the word "ritual" immediately has ties with religion, and if there's one thing I absolutely do not want to do with this article is to imply in any way shape or form that religion is the cause for these people's way of thinking. It's in fact the direct opposite. RELIGION, is the EXPRESSION and the OUTLET and the DIRECT RESULT of the way these people think and act. Let me explain. Think about all the ways these people act, foremost that they cherish the status-quo and traditions for the sake of history and doing things "the old way", then think about what religion offers. Religion is dogmatic. It is designed to be based off of a person or a work from the past, and remains the same throughout the ages, no matter what culture shifts happen around them save for massive sways such as the end of slavery and such. Being a Heretic is the enemy of all religion, because it involves questioning the status-quo in order to CHANGE the status-quo. Now to a person who just about lives their life by the status-quo, it's a perfect fit and a very attractive package. Religion says "Here are the traditions we celebrate, the ideals we aspire to, the answers to life's great questions, and the rules we live by; they have never changed and they never will change!" That is EXACTLY the type of pitch these people are looking for, and it's pretty much WHY a lot of people like myself and others will simply merge the two and call it "religious thinking", which in a way is easier and simpler to explain and say than "people who aspire to maintain the status-quo" but it's an oversimplification AND like I said, it mistakes the reaction for the cause. As you've probably noticed by now I am doing just that, referring to these people not as "religiously minded" or "closed minded" or anything else, but instead constantly referring to them as "people who aspire to maintain the status-quo", despite how many words it takes, because it's the key distinction I've made in this recent revelation of mine, and the very thing I'm trying to communicate through all of this.
I don't really want to boil it down to a dichotomy (us and them), but it really is the best way to describe it when leading into my next point, which is that either you are one of these status-quo people, or you're the type of person who isn't afraid to question things, or actually LIKES to question things. And now I begin to talk about "us". One of the problems about what I' talking about here is that there is no real unifying value to "us", we all simply reject the status-quo in favor of some form of progress. We're the type of people who look at the end of the Victorian era with glee; the type of people who say "What's the point in being alive if you're not trying to better yourself/your way of thinking/the world in general?"; and the type of people who are on, as much as I don't want to use this description but it's the only one that encompasses what I'm trying to say, The Left Side Of The Culture War. The people who look at a new technology or new idea and are excited about how it will change the world, instead of being fearful and resistant when thinking about the very fact that it's going to change the world or bring and end to something you love.
Going back to these status-quo-ers, again it's that fear and resistance to change that is what drives them in every facet of life. How many times have you heard the cliche about people hating how TV was going to kill radio, or how DVD's were going to be the end of the movie theater, or who made cliched remarks like "back in my day we didn't have this fancy new gizmo! We had to do this instead!" None of my grandparents at all, two of them still living, two having died after 2001, well after the adoption of personal computers, have either owned, nor USED a computer, and they refuse to learn, simply because of what it represents. An end to the old way of doing things. It sounds like a cliche, and it is! But it's the one which is more true than anyone realizes and is at the heart of social conservatism.
Now, I think I've laid out my thoughts on that pretty cleanly... OK, no, it was sloppy, but hey, I'm having a brain spill here so it's OK. The next point I wanted to get to about these people is another thing that is tied in with the way religion is a perfect fit for their method of thinking, and it's Nationalism. The very concept is something I've hated for ages, and I started hating it after reaching the point in my maturity that I started thinking of everything deeply and then heard the national anthem played loudly and boldly before a pro sports game. I didn't think about the WORDS in the national anthem or anything like that, but instead I simply thought about why the national anthem is played here at this time, before a pro sporting event. The simple answer is that it's a tradition, and I mean a tradition as defined by the status-quo-ers, something that's been done for years so it continues to be done. But then why did the tradition start in the first place? is the next question that popped up, and the unsexy truth that I came to after a few dozen minutes of thinking about it was that simply put, people are still tribal. It's the same reason why we eat more food than we "should", and why we are obsessed with sex, because it's part of our core human instincts. Evolutionarily, we survived better in packs than we did by ourselves, so we evolved to have a deep and profound instinct to stay rooted to our tribes/clans/groups. Now that the modern world has set in, there really are only a few outlets for that instinct to feel sated by, and they are family, sports fandom's (I'm a NY Giants fan), state and nationalism, and your group of friends (though that one doesn't count so much because your circle of friends constantly changes at a rapid pace). So since it's such a core instinctual urge, and one of the few outlets that it has to be expressed and satisfied by, nationalism is clung to like a religion. And again, when these people with the status-quo mindset are exposed to things like religion, they tend to start thinking in dichotomies as well. If someone isn't as patriotic as you are, he's a traitor. While I was working at Metlife Stadium on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, there was a fan who didn't stand up for the national anthem, and in his row on the way to the aisle was an ex-military person. The ex-militant took offense to that and classified the guy a traitor, and hence blocked his path when he tried to get up to go to the bathroom later on, and this escalated until the guy pulled out a tazer and started tazing people! This is the kind of stuff that baffles my mind about patriotism and forced me to think even further.
The problem is they treat patriotism the same way as they treat their other beliefs, which is that they don't think about it, don't question it, and simply accept it at face value because that's the way it can stay the same over time. If you considered yourself a patriot and defined your patriotism like I do by saying "I love our country because of the rights in the constitution, our legal structure, and our way of life", well then every single one of those things can change right along with the culture, and you have very little control over it. BUT if you define your patriotism as "I love this country because it's where I live!" than the only thing that can change that is if either you moved out or the country collapsed, neither of which is very likely to happen. So the same type of people who are status-quo-ers are basically becoming these chest-beater patriots, and end up starting to think of America like a god figure, like "our government is the best in the world and we cannot question what it does!" Which is the type of thinking that lets government get away with all the crap it pulls from corruption, to mindless wars and laws, the nanny state, the welfare state, and wars. (Yes I'm basically saying blind patriotism is one of the main thing leading to the decay of government)
I fear I'm getting a bit tangential again with that though, but really the thing is that as much as I hate the dichotomous thinking of "us and Them", that is absolutely the case and the cause for most of the ills I can point out. It's people who don't like and don't want change. These are the kinds of people, who, and this is probably the most obvious statement ever, are trying to put a stop to change and progress simply because they prefer the status-quo. In this article I've named but only a few examples (Blind Patriotism, Religious Folk, Gay Haters, Christmas Purists), but there are so many examples of where this "KEEP AND DEFEND THE STATUS-QUO" mentality is LITERALLY destroying our culture, which must progress in order to survive!. Big Multimedia corporations (Pushing for totalitarian and out-dated copyright laws because they don't like the way the new Internet market works), Democrat vs Republican (We can't vote for a third party! These two parties have been the front-runners for DECADES! I HAVE to associate with one of them!), the notion of "indecency" (We have to PROTECT our children from seeing sexual things! My parents did that to me and so I have to do the same! No matter how culture has changed!), and politeness and political correctness (Oh no! I can't call this guy an idiot or tell him the truth about what I think because that might disrupt HIS world view, and if that happens it's shake up MY world view! We'd just better not talk about anything important just in case!). Those are just a few other off the top of my head examples, I'm sure you can think of plenty more, but that's not my point.
My big point, and what I'll leave you with is this. "The only constant is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be." — Isaac Asimov
If that statement is at all true, then you must, absolutely MUST, be willing to think things through, and change your mind, your opinions, and your beliefs as well. Anything else and you're just a brainless stone sitting on the side of the road while cars go racing by...
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Jugglers on Juggling, All about the Spark
Co hosts Tanner Alder and Rich Kohut discuss Mark Watson's new summer juggling blog, "Android Hell 2", Wes Peden's "Mediocrity", and question whether the WJF has succeeded in it's goals.
Android Hell 2 - http://juggling.tv/6231
Mediocrity - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZ9aTcR0HDM
Monday, May 09, 2011
JoJ 05-09-2011 - Perry Romanowski
Co host Perry Romanowski and I discuss the recent news in Joggling, Juggling Robots, Jay and Wes's "43 tricks" routine, Joe Showers's "How i Met My PX3's", specific questions about tricks and what is being focused on during joggling, and the Flatland Juggling Festival.
A Day In The Life Of A Peanut Butter Cup ~ Reeses2150