*If a thousand men believe something and I believe otherwise, then it is a thousand to one that they are wrong. "Gratitude": An imaginary emotion that rewards an imaginary behavior,"altruism". Both imaginaries are false faces for selfishness, which is a real and honest emotion. Long ago Mr. Clemens demonstrated in his essay "What is Man?" that every one of us acts at all times in his own interest. Once you understand this, it offers a way to negotiate with an antagonist in order to find a means to cooperate with him for mutual benenfit. But if you are convinced of your own "altruism" and you try to shame him out of his horrid selfishness, you will get nowhere. I am not much interested in killing strangers. I am not opposed to the death penalty- I voted for it every time the matter came to a vote, which was frequently during the decline of the United States- but in killing pour le sport I need to be emotionally involved. Oh, forced to choose I would rather shoot a man than a deer; I can't see the "sport" in shooting a gentle vegetarian that can't shoot back. The person that eats meat is on the same moral level as the butcher. *But there seems to have been an actual decline in rational thinking. The United States had become a place where entertainers and professional atheletes were mistaken for people of importance. They were idolized and treated as leaders; their opinions were sought on everything and they took themselves just as seriously- after all, if an athelete is paid a million or more a year, he knows he's important...so his opinions of foreign affairs and domestic policies must be important, too, even though he proves himself to be both ignorant and subliterate every time he opens his mouth. (Most of his fans were just as ignorant and unlettered; the disease was spreading.) Since (in my opinion) much of the decay that led to the decline and fall of the United States had to do with males who shrugged off their duty to pregnant women and young children. A male must be willing to live and to die for his female and their cubs...else he is nothing. By the sixties everyone talked about his "rights" and no one spoke of his duties- and patriotism was a subject for jokes. Any question that starts out "Why don't they- " the answer is always "Money". *There is a ready solution for anyone on the public payroll who feels that he is not paid enough: He can resign and work for a living. This applies with equal force to Congressmen, Welfare "clients", school teachers, generals, garbage collectors, and judges. Marriage is a psychological condition, not a civil contract and a license. Once a marriage is dead, it is dead, and it begins to stink even faster than dead fish. What matters is not who killed it but the fact of its death. Then it becomes time to divvy up, split up, and run, with no time wasted on recriminations. Males are conservative about sex, especially those who think they are not. So far as i know there are no organized religions in Boondock, or anywhere on Tellus Tertius. Question: Is this an inevitable evolutionary development as mankind approaches true civilization? Or is that wishful thinking? But in general Father says that anything two- or more- people want to do is all right as long as it does no physical harm. He felt that the words "moral" and "immoral" were ridiculous when applied to sexual relations. Right or wrong were the correct words used exactly as they would be used in any other human relation. Conscience is that little voice that tells you someone may be watching. But how many men are truly wise in their handling of women? In all history you can count them on the fingers of one thumb. *No intelligent man has any respect for an unjust law. Nor does he feel guilt over breaking it. He simply follows the Eleventh Commandment. A democracy works well when the common man is an aristocrat. But God must hate the common man; He has made him so dadblamed common! Does your common man undertand chivalry? Noblesse oblige? Aristocratic rules of conduct? Personal responsibility for the welfare of the State? One may as well search for fur on a frog. * On two subjects the overwhelming majority of people regarded their own opinion as absolute Truth, and sincerely believed that anyone who disagreedwith them was immoral, outrageous, sinful, sacrilegious, offensive, intolerable, stupid, illogical, treasonable, actionable, against the public interest, ridiculous and obscene. The two subjects were (of course) sex and religion. On sex and religion each American citizen knew the One Right Answer, by direct Revelation from God. In view of the wide diversity of opinion, most of them must necessarily have been mistaken. But on these two subjects they were not accessible to reason. "But you must respect another man's religious beliefs!" For Heaven's sake, why? Stupid is stupid- faith doesn't make it smart. Threats of suicide are just another tantrum to me, blackmail to which I will not submit. Besides, if a person wants to take his own life, it is (I think) his privilege. Also, if he is dead serious about it, no one can stop him. (Yes I am a cruel and heartless scoundrel. Stipulated. Now go play with your dolly somewhere else.)
(Note: The following is a rather long excerpt from the book. Ordinarily I would not include such a long quote, but I am rather fond of this particular one.)
*** Professor (Thomas) Huxley introduced me to the fact that theology is a study with no answers because it has no subject matter. No subject matter? That's right, no subject matter whatever- just colored water with artificial sweetning. "Theo" = "God" and "logy" = "word(s)", i.e., any word ending in "-ology" means "talk about" or "discussion of" or "words concerning" or "study of" a subject named in the first part of the word, whether it is "hippology," or "astrology," or "proctology," or "eschtology," or "scatology," or something else. But to discuss any subject, it is first necessary to agree on what it is you are discussing. "Hippology" presents no problem; everybody has seen a horse. "Proctology"- everybody has seen an arsehole...or, if you have been so carefully brought up that you've never seen one, go down to your city hall; you will find the place full of them. But the subject tagged by the spell-symbol "theology" is a horse of another color. "God," or "god," or "gods,"- have you ever seen "God"? If so, where and when, how tall was She and what did She weigh? What was Her skin color? Did She have a bellybutton and, if so, why? Did She have breasts? For what purpose? Did She have organs of reproduction and excretion- did She or didn't She? (If you think I am making fun of the idea of a God fashioned in Man's image or vice versa, you have much to go on.) I will agree that the notion of an anthropomorphic God went out of fashion some time ago with most professional godsmen...but that doesn't get us any closer to defining the English spell-symbol "God". Let's consult fundamentalist preachers...because Episcopalians won't even let God into His sanctuary unless He shines His shoes and trims that awful beard...and Unitarians won't let Him in at all. so let's listen to fundamentalists: "God is the Creator. He Created the World. The existence of the World proves that it was created; therefore there is a Creator. That Creator we call 'God.' Let us bow down and worship Him, for He is Almighty and His works proclaim his might." Will someone please page Dr. S.I. Hayakawa? Or, if he is busy, any student who received a B+ or better in Logic 101? I'm looking for someone able to discuss the fallacy of circular reasoning and also the concatenative process by which abstract words can be logically defined by building on concrete words. What is a concrete word? It is a spell symbol used to tag something you can point to and thereby agree on, e.g., "cat," "sailboat," "ice-skating"- agree on with such certainty that when you say "sailboat" there is no chance whatever that I will think you mean a furry quadruped with retractable claws. With the spell-symbol "God" there is no way to achieve such agreement because there is nothing to point to. Circular reasoning can't get you out of this dilemma. Pointing to something (the physical world) and asserting that it has to have a Creator and this Creator necessarily has such-and-such attributes proves nothing save that you have made certain assertions without proof. You have pointed at a physical thing, the physical world; you have asserted that this physical thing has to have a "Creator" (Who told you that? What's his mailing address? Who told him?). But to assert that something physical was created out of nothing- not even empty space- by a Thingamajig you can't point to is not to make a philosophical statement or any sort of statement it is mere noise, amphigory, sound and fury signifying nothing. Jesuits take fourteen years to talk that sort of nonsense. Southern fundamentalist preachers learn to talk it in a much shorter time. Either way, it's nonsense. Pardon me. Attempts to define "God" cause one to break out in hives. Unlike theology, "metaphysics" does have a subject, the physical world, the world that you can feel, taste, and see, the world of potholes and beautiful men and railroad tickets and barking dogs and wars and marshmallow sundaes. But, like theology, metaphysics has no answers. Just questions. But what lovely questions! Was the world created? If so, when and by whom and why? How is consciousness ("Me-ness") hooked to the physical world? What happens to this "Me-ness" when this body I am wearing stops, dies, decays, and then worms eat it? Why am I here, where did I come from, where am I going? Why are you here? Are you here? Are you anywhere? Am I all alone? (And many more) Metaphysics has polysyllabic words for all these ideas but you don't have to use them; Anglo-saxon monosyllables do just as well for questions that have no answers. Persons who claim to have answers to these questions invariably are fakers after your money. No exceptions. If you point out their fakery, if you dare to say aloud that the emeror has no clothes, they will lynch you if possible, always for the highest motives. That's the trouble I'm in now. I made the mistake of flapping my loose lower jaw before learning the power structure here...so now I'm about to be hanged (I hope it is as gentle as hanging!) for the capital crime of sacrilege. I should know better. I didn't think anyone would mind (in San Francisco) when I pointed out that the available evidence tended to indicate that Jesus was gay. But there were cries of rage from two groups: a) gays; b) non-gays. I was lucky to get out of town.