Archive for November, 2009

The God Confusion

Posted in My Thoughts on X Thing, religion with tags , , , , , , on 25/11/2009 by phyrbyrd

So, I have been reading through my Ultimate X-Men collection – which is by no means complete, I currently have seventeen of the trade paperbacks, but there we go. Anyway, if you’re a clam-examiner you may not know that there have been many, many versons of this particular superteam – the film series cannot possibly have escaped your notice.  The Phoenix story arc is an important part of the X-Men mythos – one might even say that without the Phoenix, it’s not really X-Men at all. But I have expended a whole paragraph and four links just telling you what got my train of thought out of the station, so I’d better get started for real. Obviously, I’ve been thinking about gods. Morality again, too, but mostly gods.

Hypothetical Woman is given the power of a god. This god is truly good, and overwhelmingly powerful, really and truly capable of solving all that is wrong in the world. Or is it? Because if we assume that this is so, then we are saying that the coin only has one side.  For example, Hypothetical Woman and her borrowed powers heal everyone and restore people’s lost loved ones to them. Instantly, there is not enough food, housing and clean water to go round. Well, that’s alright, she can provide enough to eat for everyone – but the planet is still a finite size and soon every single available space is taken up with housing, the animals are extinct and there is still not enough room. Hypothetical Woman, it seems, can’t win.

Random Guy is also given the powers of a god. He is also made omniscient and immortal on top of it all, and his god has a completely neutral morality. Random guy spends a little while interfering in the lives of common humans, and then gets bored. He has nothing to relate to. It’s like squashing spiders – you grow out of it. Why on earth would an omnipotent god give half a damn about something as fleeting, as insignificant, as humanity? Eventually, he gives p and goes out into the cosmos in search of other gods to talk to, abandoning Earth for good.

Dr. X. Ample (say it with me) is also given the powers of a god. An evil one. However, when he tries out his powers, he runs up against the same problem Hypothetical Woman did – there are two sides to the coin. He starts wars in his name, but there are always some people who the war benefits – soldiers who are paid more than they ever were before, entire communities who make a living from supplying military equipment. No matter how many people die, that means more resources are available for those who are left. In frustration, he considers killing everybody, but then he’d only have the animals to torture and they don’t have a concept of evil – and what good is being evil unless there’s someone to know you’re doing it? He could just blow up the planet, but then that would leave him with nothing at all to do, and that would be really dull. Maybe he should go and talk to Hypothetical Woman – give them both something to do.

The point, and I realise that it may not be very well made, is that any good god is evil to someone and vice-versa, and an ever-living god has no reason to even register us at all, since we’re finite. That’s register us as a species, let alone individuals. Anyway, I did also have another point regarding how people believe, but that’s going to have to wait. I make no promises.

The Thought Box

Posted in craft, Craft Post, My So-Called Life, My Thoughts on X Thing, Politics, Thought Box with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 10/11/2009 by phyrbyrd

Another ‘it’s been a while’ post – apologies, it has been a while. There are a couple of reasons for this – one is that my life has been rather hectic lately, the other is that I’ve honestly been trying to get together a good coherent post but really my thoughts are too fragmented at the moment to do so – this happens to me a lot, so I’m just going to give you the fragmented thoughts in the hope that you find those interesting.

First of all, I had two of my wisdom teeth out a few days ago. The operation itself was a snap – they put me under, and afterwards I came round with a minimum amount of wooziness, was chatty and chirpy within a couple of hours and after a night’s observation,* was sent home. However, now the right side of my face is all swollen, eating a meal is a chore and sleeping is increasingly broken, and after being informed that this isn’t actually all that normal, I’m going to the dentist to check that I don’t have an abcess. IT NEVER ENDS.

I had no idea people normally get sent home with antibiotics after a wisdom-tooth-ectomy or whatever they call it, but I’m not surprised I didn’t. The hospital I went to had to phone out to check whether the stitches would dissolve, and couldn’t tell me how to clean my teeth post-operation. I’m not saying they were incompetent – I’m saying they were hideously underfunded. The nurses were lovely, sweet and friendly,** but the beds had very, very minimal bedding and what blankets there were were mostly fraying. The NHS is one of the most underfunded things this country has; it’s also one of the most precious things we have. It should at least be able to afford a whole blanket for every hospital bed.

And across the pond, America is on its way to getting government health care. This is a good thing. I can’t understand why a lot of Americans seem to think it’s a bad thing – I guess the freedom to go bankrupt because you fell ill is a basic human right? So Obama’s having to fight every step of the way to get this through. And one of the things that’s happened is that the Stupak Amendment has passed. Basically, if you’re an American woman, and you’re not rich, abortion is now illegal. This is hideous, and I can only hope on behalf of my American friends that Obama fixes it quickly.

Obama, of course, can’t fix everything – that’s been one of his big problems, lately. Everyone expected that he would fix everything, clean up the mess Dubya left behind – but he is, after all, only human, and America has a senate, not a monarchy. Obama cannot just say ‘do this’ and have it be done – there is a hell of a lot of due process first. There is a lot he has not yet delivered, but at the end of his first year, I actually think he’s done pretty well, considering. Apart from the Stupak thing.

On a different note, I spent a while today with my stepfather, hereafter known as the Mad Scientist, and his best friend the Hardened Cynic. I was at the Mad Scientist’s house, where I spend a lot of time, and it’s a nice, relaxing place to be – Mad Scientist is free with tea, coffee and conversation, and so a lot of people come and go. At one point Mad Scientist’s brother, Crazy Artist, turned up, and, as is his wont, started to rant. Now, the people around this house generally have at least one pet theory or another, they’re usually very intelligent people*** and I have reason to respect a lot of them, if not to take them seriously all the time. Most of them have known me at least since I was in high school and so it’s taken a little while to pluck up enough confidence in my own intelligence and research skills to be able to offer my own input. And normally it is taken on board and given as much airtime as anyone’s – except by Crazy Artist.

Crazy Artist is a ranter. He talks down to me, will not let me finish and assumes I know nothing. Apparently he does this to everyone and I take it too personally – maybe I do, but talking to him always ends in me seething. I have been told that Hardened Cynic is also a ranter who talks down to people as though they were ten – but Hardened Cynic offers me respect. He allows me to finish my sentences. More than that, Hardened Cynic is one of my dearest friends – he was one of the people who was there every day when I was seriously ill, he has seen me at my lowest. He offers me criticism that I can take gladly, because it feels honest, and he also tells me when I do well. Crazy Artist has an art degree, and I don’t show him my work anymore because his attitude is always, ‘Meh, it’s OK – and this is what’s wrong with it.’

I will do my very best not to rise to Crazy Artist’s bait next time – even Mad Scientist is saying maybe I should slap him.

Anyway, I leave you with, at the bottom of the post, one of the things I’m most proud of – a clothespin doll I made in 2007. This one was actually the second stop on a process that started with me wondering how elaborate I could make a peg doll – the first one was made in 2006, and I shall show her to you another day. This one was made a year later to check how far my skills had evolved. I think I might make one of these every now and again just as a periodic skill check.

* – Due to my epilepsy and possible effects post-general anaesthetic, they wanted to keep me in for a night under observation.

** – When I was in for three weeks in 2006 with pneumonia, I passed the time mostly by complaining – I consider NHS nurses to be absolute saints.

*** – Although occasionally inclined to tinfoil-hattery.

Autumn Angel - November 2007

Autumn Angel - November 2007