Isn't that a fun title? I like it, if I say so myself. ;-)
I think this will just be a random assemblage of incomplete thoughts and other found objects.
I've been mulling over this thing pretty heavy lately since I've been dealing with a lot of big external realities. Apparently, there are scholars who spend a great deal of time trying to disprove the existence of a real external reality. I find this strangely amusing in a way, but I also find it a bit disturbing that there are supposedly highly intelligent people who cannot see the External Reality all around them. I think this is part of the Postmodern philosophy. Actually, I don't just think it; I know it.
Punishment and Postmodernism
The 1990s should be remembered as the Rise of Postmodernism. Bill Clinton was one of the biggest proponents of this philosophy which is revealed in his saying, "That depends on what 'is' is." If that isn't a purely postmodern idea, then I don't know what is or 'is'. ;-) Now, some people might find Clinton as generally okay, but I can't really say that myself. I do think that he in large part encouraged a more widespread acceptance of postmodern wishy-washiness. His extreme laissez-faire attitude opened the way for the postmodernists to infect more aspects of society.
In my lifetime punishment has been very out of fashion, and I think we are beginning to see the longer-term results of this demise of punishment. With no 'right or wrong' there is no absolute consequence of an action. While we are instructed by religion and other philosophies that we should not judge other people, this idea has become twisted into not judging people's actions. Well, that's just wrong. We can (and must) judge actions and treat them accordingly in order to maintain some kind of order. Life in prison isn't condemning a person's self or soul; it is merely requiring a consequence of a bad action. While this relationship between the demise of punishment and the rise of postmodernism is undeniable, it is still unclear to me which caused which.
I have some very good Babyboomer friends, and I'm on the cusp myself between that generation and the Generation X. But my Boomer friends, I would say, are the exceptional ones. The Babyboomer Generation believes that they are the most powerful and influential in the history of mankind. This hubris is responsible for the Global Warming hysteria, Political Correctness, Feminazism, the healthcare crisis, as well as many other social problems. Sure, this sounds like a "blaming the parents" excuse, but this generation has grown up with the idea that they would change the world by virtue of their numbers. And they certainly are trying. I think maybe it's a generational delusion of grandeur.
When I was in New York City (Jan. 2004) with my friend, Ellen, we were walking down a street along the border of Central Park (Park Ave.? maybe, but I can't recall) where all the swanky apartment buildings are with their doormen. It was getting dark and we noticed a dark car with very dark windows kind of following slowly beside us. Ellen noticed the license plate that said "CELEB8." I first thought it was an abbreviation of "celebrity 8" but Ellen corrected me that it was probably meant as "celibate." Why in the world would someone advertise that? We joked, and then thought that maybe it was some priest looking for a prostitute or something. Well, since neither of us looks anything like a prostitute the car finally sped up and left. It was really weird and slightly creepy.
Anyway, I don't believe in celibacy. I don't think that religions should require priests, monks, nuns, etc. to give up sex. I understand why they say it is good for them, but I just can't agree because they are missing out on the only Divine Union available in our 5+ sense and 4+ dimensional world. We wouldn't have these physical bodies for such a limited time if we weren't intended to use them and fully experience this physical incarnation. I really don't think that God truly wants anyone to fore go that aspect of our earthly existence. I don't think that God would really want us to reject any aspect of our natural bodies in His name. I just don't think that was God's intention in giving us bodies and sensations and emotions and all of our other human attributes.
Rae Annthropic Principle
This is one of those issues of conflict and confusion. It goes along with the External Reality, the desire to have control but not responsibility, dark matter, the cosmological constant, and all those other bundled up problems of the Universe. Why is the Universe uniquely suited for our survival? That is the wrong question. It's like asking, "why is my arm attached to my body?" The real question is Why are we uniquely suited for our environment? And we basically know the answer to that whether you take the scientific answers or the religious answers or some combination.
I'm very guilty of oversimplifying these things, but really, isn't the least complex and simplest answer usually the best? Dark matter is just the "negative space" that fills in where the other matter isn't. It's like artwork. There is negative space and positive space. The more we look the more we will see. And that seems so obvious.
The reason I cannot fully embrace the Anthropic Principle is because it inevitably leads me to the Rae Annthropic Principle. And I just don't want that kind of responsibility. ;-) If the strong Anthropic Principle were really true then I would have much further-reaching influence than I do. Now, if someone provided me with undeniable evidence that I can control anything outside my "habitable zone" I might accept the Anthropic Principle, but until then it's just a fun but inaccurate idea.
People like to think about the nature of Time. Is it an illusion? No, it's not. It's part of that same External Reality that some people just don't like to accept because it implies that 'control' and 'direction' or 'design' lie elsewhere. Well, some people just hate the idea of God or "intelligent design" or anything that isn't some Postmodernist nebula. Time is God, in a sense. If time stopped how would we know? That's the wrong question. If time stopped then it would just stop and there would be nothing. Period. We would cease to exist so we couldn't know or not if we still existed. Is that so hard to understand? There is no point in even asking if we would know. Of course, we wouldn't and we wouldn't care either. ;-)
My sense of time was formed by my skating years when I learned how much one can actually do in a minute. Sometimes a minute can last forever and be filled with a lifetime's worth of pain (or pleasure). It's all about perception and not time itself. Even when you're looking at the tiniest of particles and energies time doesn't change its nature. Well, I'm probably wrong about that according to some theories, but it could also be that those theories are wrong. ;-)
I'm not completely convinced that space and time are the same thing. It seems true enough that you can manipulate space throughout time (we do this every day), but time itself isn't necessarily affected by changes in space. Well, maybe I'm just really dumb, but I see what I see.
Undoing the Laces
I've been fortunate that my real life anecdotal experiences have confirmed most of my beliefs. Sometimes that is the best we can hope for. I like rewards and positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement has never worked on me. Negative reinforcement is the withholding of something as a consequence of behavior instead of outright punishment or reward. And I think that is the communist/socialist ideology in so many words. Those are about withholding rewards in order to control behavior. It's too manipulative and dishonest. And it does not result in growth and development. Sometimes we need to look less at the gray and more at the black and white. All the grayness of the postmodernist philosophy is taking too much color out of our world. (I swear, I think I read that somewhere, but I can't remember now. So please, if I've accidentally plagiarized someone forgive my memory deficits.)
PS Happy 4-20 Day. Whatever that means. ;-)