Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What's in a Name?

e-kvetcher points out in the comments of my previous post:
It's funny that the term "depression" was invented by Hoover to try to find a more uplifting term for what was happening in 1929...
he points out that before calling it a depression they used to call it a bank panic. After the Great Depression, the government and the media stopped using the term depression and started using the term recession, since depression had a too negative connotation. This got me thinking what they will start calling it now. I don't think they will revert to calling our current situation a depression again, even if it goes on to equal the financial damage of the Great Depression. Instead, I imagine Obama and the media to begin referring to it a a global Boo Boo. The public has high hopes that the newly elected President will kiss it and make it all better. I have my doubts. We shall see.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Impending Crisis

I see a crisis coming from each and everyone of us in the near future. It will be like none other that we have experienced in our life. It will be worse than the Great depression. We will lose it all. This I can guarantee to a certainty.

No, I'm not taking about the credit/mortgage crisis, I'm talking about death. The day when we lose everything. Nobody can take their gold or silver with them. Certainly not our dollars (which may be worthless soon anyhow.) I just wanted to put things into perspective. We tend to lose sight of the overall trajectory of our lives and obsess about the current events, such as the the financial crisis. In the end, like kohelet said, this is unwise. All the money we accumulate, in the end is worthless.

The reason I came out of my blogging slumber to post about this is because I've been focusing on the current crisis too much. I don't think it nearly over. I think we've only begun to see the financial destruction. But whatever happens, we must take advantage of the situation. Not by trying to profit materially, but by refocusing our goals and striving for what is greater than silver and gold. Our peace of mind and our virtue.

Best of luck and warm regards to all

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kiss your Ego Goodbye

Today is my birthday and just like Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings, I will disapear. But unlike him I won't do it with a magic ring. I will do this amazing feat with logic and science. Now I exist, now I don't

Bilbo: "I, uh, I h-have things to do." [fidgets with the Ring behind his back. Whispers to himself] "I've put this off for far too long."

Bilbo: [to the crowd] "I regret to announce — this is The End. I am going now. I bid you all a very fond farewell." [whispers to Frodo] "Goodbye."

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Music (almost) Monday

I can't embed the video, but have a look at Anna Ternheim's - Today is a Good Day. I've been playing it a lot lately. It's a bitter sweet song about being alone.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Atheist Shmatheist Questionnaire

I was tagged by Mr. Hedyot

Q1. How would you define "atheism"?

Interesting question. I don't know, how about people who follow their heart desires and are immoral? I kid, I kid. The simplest answer is one who doesn't believe in a God. But then you have to answer what a God is, which gets complicated because different people have different ideas about that. I'd say that an atheist is someone who takes the world from a human perspective as a given and nothing else, while a theist believes in a higher existence outside of the human framework

Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?

I was brought up in Orthodox Judaism. Somewhere in between modern orthodox and yeshivish. I don't believe that exists so much in Brooklyn any more. It seems like a dying breed

Q3. How would you describe "Intelligent Design", using only one word?


Q4. What scientific endeavor really excites you?

neuroscience - the study of the mind

Q5. If you could change one thing about the "atheist community", what would it be and why?

I agree with Daas Hedyot's take. I think the basis of conversation should be to try to bridge gaps and see the similarities between people instead of creating more divisions and strife. That doesn't mean we will agree with everything, but I believe that having respect for the other person's opinion is a good way to create good will and maybe even convince a few to switch sides :)

Q6. If your child came up to you and said "I'm joining the clergy", what would be your first response?

Great. what's the question?

Q7. What's your favorite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?

arguments shmarguments

Q8. What's your most "controversial" (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?

The idea that I have existence that is separate from God is a myth. The question isn't whether God exists, rather the question is do I. I never claimed to be an atheist :)

Q9. Of the "Four Horsemen" (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favorite, and why?

I haven't read much of any of them. Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris come of as pretty unsophisticated. It's atheism for the masses . I don't recall reading anything from Dennett, so I can't comment.

Q10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?

I don't really want to convince anyone to change their views. I would like to try to convince everybody to be more accepting of the other's point of view in regards to religion. Also, I wish that people would try to look past their individual religious traditions and try to understand their own nature and the connection to God from an objective point of view instead of just following what they are taught at an early age.

Now name three other atheist blogs that you'd like to see take up the Atheist Thirteen gauntlet:

Ben Avuyah,
David' Harp,
Big S Skeptic

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rambam and Circumcision

For those of you who are interested in Rambam's ideas regarding circumcision you can find some of them listed at this website. It seems like he favors the idea that it decreases sexual pleasure as the primary reason

THE GUIDE OF THE PERPLEXED by Moses Maimonides, translated by Shlomo Pines. University of Chicago, 1963.

Part III, Chapter 49

Page 609:

Similarly with regard to circumcision, one of the reasons for it is, in my opinion, the wish to bring about a decrease in sexual intercourse and a weakening of the organ in question, so that this activity be diminished and the organ be in as quiet a state as possible. It has been thought that circumcision perfects what is defective congenitally. This gave the possibility to everyone to raise an objection and to say: How can natural things be defective so that they need to be perfected from outside, all the more because we know how useful the foreskin is for that member? In fact this commandment has not been prescribed with a view to perfecting what is defective congenitally, but to perfecting what is defective morally. The bodily pain caused to that member is the real purpose of circumcision. None of the activities necessary for the preservation of the individual is harmed thereby, nor is procreation rendered impossible, but violent concupiscence and lust that goes beyond what is needed are diminished. The fact that circumcision weakens the faculty of sexual excitement and sometimes perhaps diminishes the pleasure is indubitable. For if at birth this member has been made to bleed and has had its covering taken away from it, it must indubitably be weakened. The Sages, may their memory be blessed, have explicitly stated: It is hard for a woman with whom an uncircumcised man has had sexual intercourse to separate from him. In my opinion this is the strongest of the reasons for circumcision.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Prepare to be Amazed