aigeanta's blog

What Should We Do About Terrorism?

On 2001-09-13 I wrote the following in response to the terrorist attacks and subsequent debate over how to react.

An Eye for an Eye vs. Turn the Other Cheek

A few days ago, if you had asked me, “Should we ever bomb our enemies?”, I would have given you the pros and cons of shooting weapons at people: destroying your enemy, but occasionally killing innocent victims. It was easy for me to distance myself from the so-called ‘collateral damage’ because I didn’t have to be bombarded with the imagery of, say, innocent Yugoslavian people jumping from the burning buildings on which we had just dropped a couple of missiles. But everything is different now, everything has changed; we are now the victims, and we have a choice - to treat our enemies as they have treated us, or to turn the other cheek, so to speak, and to refuse to stoop to their level.

On Astrology

If the moon can pull our oceans, it can pull our bodies. At the very least, lunar and planetary cycles have some gravitational effect, and solar cycles have magnetic influence on earth’s environment. At the most, human civilization has been psychologically influenced by the cosmic rhythm and disasterous disharmonies wrought by the universe.

Wesley Willis, RIP

Indie street musician Wesley Willis has died after years of struggling with schizophrenia, homelessness, and finally chronic myelogenous leukemia.

How to send a message to Mr. Gates

This is an email I wrote to a journalist who got hit with the Blaster worm:

In response to your article “Worms Shouldn’t Break Windows“ :

On Independence

This country once rebelled from the tyranny of monarchy. Now it is time to rebel from the tyranny of oil dependence. As we pump gas into our cars, we fuel the system that has brought us terrorism and imminent environmental disaster. The corporations and governments are not going to change for the better until we rebel from the patterns of thought that doom us.

On God

I don’t think God exists. There is no personality floating out there in space, dictating morality or watching over us. Sorry. There’s just no evidence for it. I wouldn’t even want a God if there was a possibility. I mean, doesn’t it creep you out that there are people who think that their every little action is observed by some old guy in a robe? Sounds like a bunch of exhibitionists to me.

On the hypocrisy of American audiences

Gangs of New York Movie Poster

Before the invasion of Iraq and the Oscars, I went to a theater to view Martin Scorsese’s film, “Gangs of New York.” Set in tumultuous New York City in the mid-1800’s, the opening scene chronicles a battle between an Irish immigrant group known as the Dead Rabbits, led by Priest Vallon (Liam Neeson), and the pre-existing Anglo group calling themselves Native Americans, led by Bill the Butcher (Daniel Day-Lewis).

On the realities of discourse as opposed to pipe dreams about emergent democracy

The meme about the emergence of a global consciousness through the medium of the internet is rising into the general awareness. I don’t think the people who make these pronouncements spend much time actually communicating on the web or other locii of public discourse. The ignorant, brainwashed, and willfully malignant are, if anything, more pronounced online, perhaps because they normally hide behind social niceties in “real” life.

Valedictorian Speech

Horizon at sunset framed by impending clouds

I delivered the following speech at my high school graduation.

We tend to view the future as if the end of the world were just around the corner. Our perception of the passage of time is that the world has been moving faster and faster, and now it is accelerating at a frenetic pace. The state of technology is rapidly advancing, yet there never seems to be enough time to enjoy life. Lately, the media has been saturated with images of natural disasters, unspeakable crimes, and unusual occurrences: tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, fires, earthquakes, comets, plane crashes, train wrecks, environmental destruction, terrorism, domestic violence, murder, rape, mass suicide, starvation, war crimes, religious persecution, nuclear threats, widespread mutation, human cloning, government conspiracies, and alien contact - it seems as if the End is near. However, disaster is a normal consequence of existing on Earth. For thousands of years people have felt the same sense of impending doom that we feel now. The world is not ending any time soon, so go ahead and make reservations for the Millennium celebration.

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