Monday, November 23, 2015

What is Morality?

Just wanted to drop a link in to a discussion I'm starting on my other blog, a discussion with AN implications-

Be there, or be square.

Friday, October 23, 2015

It Remains Dwarfed By The Dark

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Truth About Consequences

On the Saturday night before last-actually, it was about 3am on Sunday morning-I was on my way home with a couple of guys from work. We were about a mile from my house in my co-worker's SUV when we came up behind a car stopped at a traffic signal. When the light turned green, the car in front of us failed to move. Our driver honked a few times, and when that didn't work we all climbed out to see what was up. What we found was a young woman in the driver's seat, seemingly unconscious, or at least damned close to it. So there we were, the three of us pounding on the windows and shaking the car, trying to wake her up as her stereo blasted Rush's 'Tom Sawyer' for the whole neighborhood to hear, if anyone had been about at that wee hour. This went on for a while, and I was just getting ready to call the cops when her car started rolling slowly forward; apparently she'd woken up just enough to shift the weight of her foot onto the accelerator pedal a bit. Unfortunately she immediately drifted over onto the wrong side of the road. At that point we all jumped back into our own vehicle and started following her down the wrong side of the street, honking and flashing our lights, sometimes driving up beside her and screaming for her attention.

FINALLY, after a few close calls with oncoming traffic we managed to get her to pull over to the side of the road. She opened her window and, SURPRISE, the smell of alcohol and marijuana came rolling out. We eventually managed to get her talking and learned that she was on her way home from partying with some friends, although she had absolutely no idea where she actually was. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that the guys I was with showed a lot more sympathy for her than I was willing to grant at the time. I've lost some beloved relatives to drunk drivers, and I really have no patience for that shit. Then, to top it off and to my great chagrin, she told us that she had a young child waiting for her to get home. We suggested that she call her babysitter and let him/her know what was going on, and that's when we learned that she had left him home all alone while she went out for a night of partying. Well, at that point I lost it and started screaming at her about what a lowlife, uncaring bitch she was. Then, against my co-workers' mild protestations, I went ahead and called the cops.

Since this post is actually a two-part bitch, I'll go ahead and get the ancillary stuff out of the way first. So, what the hell is it with cops? Every time I've had to call them the last couple of years I've experienced nothing but disappointment laced with astonishment at their lackluster or otherwise unprofessional responses; or non-response in this case. After working at a late night fast food joint for many years, I have learned that the cops here just don't give a squat about drunk drivers. Almost every time I've called them in the past about a similar situation to the one described here, the impaired driver has wound up driving away under his own power. In this particular case, I actually had to call 911 again after 15 mins or so, to inform them that the drunk driver was threatening to drive away and that they'd better get off their asses and do something before she killed someone. Then we waited around for another 15 mins. or so, by which time the wasted chick had scooched over into the passenger seat and was just sort of drooling on herself. All in all I'd guess we waited for the cops to show up for a good half an hour or more before we finally decided to pack it up and go home. I DID get an unknown cellphone call 20 mins. or so after arriving at my house, but when I answered (after just 1 ring, btw) they hung up. I went ahead and called the number back, but never got an answer. I'm guessing the call was just a formality, to have it on record that they'd tried to follow up but with no intention of actually doing anything. Anyway, enough of that and fuck those guys.

Now here's the more relevant part of the story. It seems that one of the guys I was with that night...let's call him 'Bob'..., had himself actually crashed his own car recently while under the influence, which was probably the reason he was feeling somewhat sympathetic for the drunk girl I was cursing out. Fortunately the cops DID show up on that occasion and hauled his inebriated ass away. Bob wound up doing some time on a work crew at the airport for that indiscretion, but did he learn anything? Of course not! The next Saturday Bob informed me that he'd been pulled over driving drunk the previous night, and was afraid that this time it might mean some significant jail time. What the hell?! I mean, if my metaphysics were something different from what they are I'd probably conclude that God had brought the whole previous situation about JUST as a warning to Bob to keep his nose clean. I mean, shades of M. Night Shyamalan! Swing away, dude!

Anyway, all this has gotten me to thinking about how bad many of us are at following our own guiding principles, including those principles that we seem so willing to flaunt in other people's faces. The path from point A to point B is often so bloody obvious, and yet we seem to veer off course so easily. Why? Because along the path from A to B lies a huge roadblock in the form of shortsighted self-interest. It feels good (or it makes me feel less bad), so do it and damn the potential damaging consequences. Now take this attitude towards drunk driving or any of the myriad sins we're willing to dally with on a daily basis, extend it into procreation ethics and you can see the problem with trying to mount any kind of efficacious philosophical stance against making babies for fun. Procreation means profit, both in the personal and societal sense, and genuine ethical concerns motivated by empathy usually take a back seat to visceral self fulfillment no matter the bodies left in its wake.

How can antinatalism possibly hope to gain a footing in a world of people who, frankly, just don't give a shit? No, strike that. They sort of give a shit, to some degree, but not enough to actually track the lines of causality to their obvious conclusions. Especially regarding procreation, when the whole of humankind leans on the idea of vicarious immortality via childbirth.I suppose the ultimate answer probably lies in a few AN enlightened souls in power influencing things from the top down, but to accomplish that we first require an ingrained philosophical substrate to help empower those few who see the existential picture for what it really is. But it's a hard road ahead with no guarantee of success. My guess is that things will always roll along just as they always have, we'll keep populating and stacking ourselves up on top of the flesh and bones of others, while the faithful pray for escape from this glorious world and the secular optimists keep waiting for that Omega Point to burst upon the scene and justify all that's gone before. But what other option is open to us, fellow ANs, than to fight the good fight in the name of all those yet to be born? We're all going down anyway, so why not go down swinging?

One more note: I would guess that about 90% of all the drivers coming through our drive-thru after 11pm are highly intoxicated, and the cops don't seem really interested in doing much about it. So if you find yourself out driving at night, remember that you're surrounded by a bunch of drunk fuckheads who don't give a crap about you or your well-being. I actually feel safer on my bike these days than in a car, because I can at least jump up on the sidewalk when things get dicey. Just pay attention and be well, one and all.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Shout Out To Japan!

I just noticed I'm getting some blog hits coming in from the Land of the Rising Sun. This one's for you from Buckethead, as we all remember the tragedy and the losses brought on by the 2011 tsunami.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


A sapling asked an oak tree tall,
"What's the point in growing,
when, at the end, we simply fall
into the dark unknowing

that dwells deep in the heart of trees,
and in all of life, I fear?"
The oak tree shivered in the breeze,
but the sapling didn't hear.

Professor David Benatar Interview