Neuroscience and The Abyss

Is it possible that all the extrasensory electronic stimulation that as a post modernist society we are all increasingly exposed to are causing some members of the population to fall into a moral and mental abyss? Take the extremely disheartening and disturbing shootings that occurred this past week, which you are familiar with I am sure, and consider the fact that the perpetrator was at times consumed by a video game in which he vicariously killed other humans in a simulated combat game. It would appear and has been documented that such behavior leads to a form of hypoesthesia where an individual becomes desensitized to sensory stimuli to the point where the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred. This leads directly to a form of deadly nihilism which completely replaces any fragments of feelings or moral code that remain in an already socially confused and alienated individual. As a society we need to be extremely aware of such dangers and the inherent ripple effect that violence has on ourselves and others.

Compare hypoethesia to its’ antonym a condition known as hyperthesia. This is a condition where the senses become heightened. A heightening of the senses as one was perhaps enjoying the wonders of nature. Would this not then logically lead to a form of empiricism? A state in which the very reason one would have to live would be the experience of such full and heightened awareness of touch and feelings? All the senses engaged at once instead of only the senses a video game could provide? Perhaps we should also be acutely aware of the lack of this state in so many of our lives. We have dangerously replaced nature with a poor facsimile. We should take care to recognize this shortcoming of humanities’ electronic creations and make concerted efforts to remedy the lack of nature in our lives. It has been shown that being outside in nature actually helps to lower ones blood pressure, all by itself. Certainly this wouldn’t work if one was being pursued by a wild animal.

This brings us to guns. Do human beings need guns to exist happily? Absolutely not. One of the beautiful advances of modern civilization is the very fact that one can exist peacefully without constant threat of death or pursuit of by wild animals as our ancestors had to endure. For the most part we can live in peace.  Sadly there are times when madmen seek to destroy this peace by blowing things up etc. Instead of emulating the violence that has occurred we should seek to sublimate such events. More video games that have less killing and more civilized behavior would be in order. We must learn to take care of each other lest we end up in a hell world of our very own creation.

“Maybe every other American movie shouldn’t be based on a comic book. Other countries will think Americans live in an infantile fantasy land where reality is whatever we say it is and every problem can be solved with violence.”                   — Bill Maher

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” — Isaac Asimov

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Screw Healthcare; Buy a Gun!

If more people owned guns the great citizens of the United States could do away with the need for healthcare altogether. After all when a horse becomes lame it is usually shot to death. Certainly the cost of a bullet is much cheaper than a statin drug, an aspirin, chemotherapy or any of the drugs prescribed for depression. Heck a bullet cost less than a stalk of broccoli. Just think of the billions of dollars that could be saved if we simply shoot people who are ill or depressed.

Perhaps the Supreme Court should enact a law that to be a citizen of the United States one must own a gun. (After all they pick Presidents don’t they?)  There could be classes in schools where we could teach our progeny to shoot first and ask questions later. If there were any unfortunate accidents in this process we could simply say that we were “decreasing the surplus population” just like the famous character of Ebenezer Scrooge did in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Now there was a man ahead of his time!

Imagine what a better place this country would be. The waiting lines everywhere would become so much shorter. No more listening to drug ads ad infinitum on your favorite television shows. Instead we could listen to the testimony of a husband who cured his wife’s depression with a single shot from his brand new .357 magnum:

“She started complaining again that she felt like the walls were closing all in around her. I just went to my gun case and whipped out my shiny pistol and gave it to her right between the eyes! The silence was golden! I think grandpa is next, his Alzheimer disease is rubbing me the wrong way! God Bless America!”

So listen up and stay ahead of the curve. If you have any spare funds invest them immediately in arms manufacturers. Take to the streets and extoll the virtues of guns and live ammo. The world could be such a better place without all the sickos walking around! The new slogan is “Bullets not Broccoli!”

Malala. #gunviolence #gunsafety #gunsense

“If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.” —- Mr. Bumble in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist

“You can make people buy broccoli!” —- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Showdown at the NRA Corral

The time has come for the sane people of this country to take a stand against the violence that has intruded into our lives. We can no longer ignore the outbreaks of violence and death that occur every single day in this country of free thinkers. It is absolutely outrageous that the National Rifle Association can suggest that the solution to the violent deaths caused by firearms every day is by arming more people. An analogy to this would be like suggesting that the solution to stupidity is, by golly, more damn stupidity. Bravo NRA you have truly outworn your welcome.

What started as an honorable society to promote hunting, conservation of wildlife through population control as well as marksmanship has turned into a far right wing organization that defends the right of American citizens to own military killing machines. These are the assault weapons that have been center stage in our most recent spree of heinous and nightmarish murders. These are murders that made policemen and firemen, our fellow citizens that we have hired and have sworn to protect us, our most valiant breed of first responders, sick and horrified at the scenes of these crimes.  If we are truly a civilized country as we claim to be we shall stop right now and make drastic changes to these ridiculous gun laws that we have in place.

We have watched as the NRA has taken the interests of sportsmen and twisted them into the interests of right wing survivalists. Twisting the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a self serving violent clause when at the time it was written it was meant to prevent a possible British insurgency from retaking the country we fought so hard to free in the Revolutionary war. It is time for the saner of us to step up and tell these bad children to step down and admit that the solution is not more guns at all but to put an end to the dispersion and apparent hoarding of such killing devices into the hands of every schmoe who has legs to walk into a gun shop or gun show and slap money down and buy them.

The NRA in its despotic behavior has purchased venal Congressmen who have enacted legislation rendering the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms impotent to protect us by simply enforcing many of the gun laws that are currently on the books! We need to wake up and take action. We can cite the examples of how gun laws can and do work by comparing the United States to such countries as Japan and Great Britain where due to very strict gun law enforcement these crimes hardly occur. This is a problem whose time has come. Stand up and be counted!

Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant.” — Tsukahara Bokuden.

“Master the divine techniques of the Art of Peace and no enemy will dare to challenge you.” — Ueshiba

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Art Brings Us Close to the Eternal

Just when humanity brings you down once again and you are at the edge of a cliff staring at the abyss; The storm has overtaken you and there seems to be no way out; Your most beloved has departed suddenly and for no rational reason; A work of art may pierce your soul. Art redeems the purpose of your existence. Art resuscitates you. The breath of inspiration fills you once again.

Art is what differentiates us from the animals. Its’ very existence is unique to the human experience. Art makes us laugh and dream. Art has the power to make us cry and then inspire us to create. It can transport us and give us hope. When the world has gone mad we can find solace in it. We can escape into a painting perhaps. Lose our breath at the sight of a sculpture. Close our eyes and hear the sounds of heaven with songs that seem to come from the angels themselves. We might very well read ourselves into a fantastic saga of trial and redemption.

Art lifts our spirits bringing us close to the eternal. It is no small wonder that many of the worlds religions have directly inspired our most wondrous and precious art. In these days of great confusion and delusion let us remember the artists. Let each one honor the artist in themselves to lift us out of our darkness or if more tribulations are necessary to turn them into an appreciation of our shared humanity and wondrous diversity.

“The greatest crimes in the world are not committed by people breaking the rules but by people following the rules. It’s people who follow orders that drop bombs and massacre villages”— Banksy

“I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.”— Banksy

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Screw Healthcare; Buy a Gun!

If more people owned guns the great citizens of the United States could do away with the need for healthcare altogether. After all when a horse becomes lame it is usually shot to death. Certainly the cost of a bullet is much cheaper than a statin drug, an aspirin, chemotherapy or any of the drugs prescribed for depression. Heck a bullet cost less than a stalk of broccoli. Just think of the billions of dollars that could be saved if we simply shoot people who are ill or depressed.

Perhaps the Supreme Court should enact a law that to be a citizen of the United States one must own a gun. (After all they pick Presidents don’t they?)  There could be classes in schools where we could teach our progeny to shoot first and ask questions later. If there were any unfortunate accidents in this process we could simply say that we were “decreasing the surplus population” just like the famous character of Ebenezer Scrooge did in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Now there was a man ahead of his time!

Imagine what a better place this country would be. The waiting lines everywhere would become so much shorter. No more listening to drug ads ad infinitum on your favorite television shows. Instead we could listen to the testimony of a husband who cured his wife’s depression with a single shot from his brand new .357 magnum:

“She started complaining again that she felt like the walls were closing all in around her. I just went to my gun case and whipped out my shiny pistol and gave it to her right between the eyes! The silence was golden! I think grandpa is next, his Alzheimer disease is rubbing me the wrong way! God Bless America!”

So listen up and stay ahead of the curve. If you have any spare funds invest them immediately in arms manufacturers. Take to the streets and extoll the virtues of guns and live ammo. The world could be such a better place without all the sickos walking around! The new slogan is “Bullets not Broccoli!”

“If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.” —- Mr. Bumble in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist

“You can make people buy broccoli!” —- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Showdown at the NRA Corral

The time has come for the sane people of this country to take a stand against the violence that has intruded into our lives. We can no longer ignore the outbreaks of violence and death that occur every single day in this country of free thinkers. It is absolutely outrageous that the National Rifle Association can suggest that the solution to the violent deaths caused by firearms every day is by arming more people. An analogy to this would be like suggesting that the solution to stupidity is, by golly, more damn stupidity. Bravo NRA you have truly outworn your welcome.

What started as an honorable society to promote hunting, conservation of wildlife through population control as well as marksmanship has turned into a far right wing organization that defends the right of American citizens to own military killing machines. These are the assault weapons that have been center stage in our most recent spree of heinous and nightmarish murders. These are murders that made policemen and firemen, our fellow citizens that we have hired and have sworn to protect us, our most valiant breed of first responders, sick and horrified at the scenes of these crimes.  If we are truly a civilized country as we claim to be we shall stop right now and make drastic changes to these ridiculous gun laws that we have in place.

We have watched as the NRA has taken the interests of sportsmen and twisted them into the interests of right wing survivalists. Twisting the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a self serving violent clause when at the time it was written it was meant to prevent a possible British insurgency from retaking the country we fought so hard to free in the Revolutionary war. It is time for the saner of us to step up and tell these bad children to step down and admit that the solution is not more guns at all but to put an end to the dispersion and apparent hoarding of such killing devices into the hands of every schmoe who has legs to walk into a gun shop or gun show and slap money down and buy them.

The NRA in its despotic behavior has purchased venal Congressmen who have enacted legislation rendering the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms impotent to protect us by simply enforcing many of the gun laws that are currently on the books! We need to wake up and take action. We can cite the examples of how gun laws can and do work by comparing the United States to such countries as Japan and Great Britain where due to very strict gun law enforcement these crimes hardly occur. This is a problem whose time has come. Stand up and be counted!

Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant.” — Tsukahara Bokuden.

“Master the divine techniques of the Art of Peace and no enemy will dare to challenge you.” — Ueshiba

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

 

Art Brings Us Close to the Eternal

Just when humanity brings you down again and you are at the edge of a cliff staring at an abyss. The storm has overtaken you and there seems to be no way out. Your most beloved has departed suddenly and for no rational reason. A work of art may pierce your soul. Art redeems the purpose of your existence. Art resucitates you. The breath of inspiration fills you once again.

Art is what differentiates us from the animals. Its’ very existence is unique to the human experience. Art makes us laugh and dream. Art has the power to make us cry and then inspire us to create. It can transport us and give us hope. When the world has gone mad we can find solace in it. We can escape into a painting perhaps. Lose our breath at the sight of a sculpture. Close our eyes and hear the sounds of heaven with songs that seem to come from the angels themselves. We might very well read ourselves into a fantastic saga of trial and redemption.

Art lifts our spirits bringing us close to the eternal. It is no small wonder that many of the worlds religions have directly inspired our most wondrous and precious art. In these days of terrrible tragedy and devastation let us remember the artists. Let each one honor the artist in themselves to lift us out of our dilemna or if more grieving is necessary to turn it into a remembrance of our shared humanity.

“The highest art is always the most religious, and the greatest artist is always a devout person.” — Abraham Lincoln

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” — Freidrich Nietzsche

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Neuroscience and The Abyss

Is it possible that all the extrasensory electronic stimulation that as a post modernist society we are all increasingly exposed to are causing some members of the population to fall into a moral and mental abyss? Take the extremely disheartening and disturbing shootings that occurred this past week, which you are familiar with I am sure, and consider the fact that the perpetrator was at times consumed by a video game in which he vicariously killed other humans in a simulated combat game. It would appear and has been documented that such behavior leads to a form of hypoesthesia where an individual becomes desensitized to sensory stimuli to the point where the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred. This leads directly to a form of deadly nihilism which completely replaces any fragments of feelings or moral code that remain in an already socially confused and alienated individual. As a society we need to be extremely aware of such dangers and the inherent ripple effect that violence has on ourselves and others.

Compare hypoethesia to its’ antonym a condition known as hyperthesia. This is a condition where the senses become heightened. A heightening of the senses as one was perhaps enjoying the wonders of nature. Would this not then logically lead to a form of empiricism? A state in which the very reason one would have to live would be the experience of such full and heightened awareness of touch and feelings? All the senses engaged at once instead of only the senses a video game could provide? Perhaps we should also be acutely aware of the lack of this state in so many of our lives. We have dangerously replaced nature with a poor facsimile. We should take care to recognize this shortcoming of humanities’ electronic creations and make concerted efforts to remedy the lack of nature in our lives. It has been shown that being outside in nature actually helps to lower ones blood pressure, all by itself. Certainly this wouldn’t work if one was being pursued by a wild animal.

This brings us to guns. Do human beings need guns to exist happily? Absolutely not. One of the beautiful advances of modern civilization is the very fact that one can exist peacefully without constant threat of death or pursuit of by wild animals as our ancestors had to endure. For the most part we can live in peace.  Sadly there are times when madmen seek to destroy this peace by blowing things up etc. Instead of emulating the violence that has occurred we should seek to sublimate such events. More video games that have less killing and more civilized behavior would be in order. We must learn to take care of each other lest we end up in a hell world of our very own creation.

“Maybe every other American movie shouldn’t be based on a comic book. Other countries will think Americans live in an infantile fantasy land where reality is whatever we say it is and every problem can be solved with violence.”                   — Bill Maher

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” — Isaac Asimov

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

The War on Christmas; If Beck was King; Christmas and Taxes

All hail there is a war on Christmas according to the Fox holes on Fox News. There are entire towns proclaiming bans on Nativity scenes on public property. People there is a simple way around these restrictions on mixing church and state. Simply proclaim that the scenes are in honor of the “Baby Jones”. Most people have long forgotten Jesus’ twin brother Baby Jones. He was not affiliated with any church. He was visited by the three magi who played the cosmic jazz. He was fond of the food of heaven, the holy pancake cooked by the blessed Saint Jemima. Later when he grew up he became a Rastafarian and moved to Ethiopia to found the Cosmic Church! That’s free speech now. It’s just the Baby Jones man. Now on to King Beck of Boobland!

Imagine if you will a world where Glenn Beck was chief of the tribe. Let us quote from the holy book of Beck: “The most used phrase in my administration if I were to be president would be–‘What the hell you mean we’re out of missiles?’.” We would be living in a post apocalypse world. Wow sounds like beyond Thunderdome! Glenn would be the Master Blaster. It might take a nut like Mel Gibson to get back on the good foot and defeat the crazy Glenn Beck. Now there must be a problem when Mel Gibson is considered to be saner than Glenn Beck. If you are so crazy in your exhortations of lunatic histrionics that the Fox holes at Fox News reject you maybe you need your very own network. Maybe you need your own asteroid!

Now you simply can’t declare two wars and cut taxes. That is basic economics 101. Now it’s left to the sane people to clean up the crazy mess that Bushonomics left us in. Merry Christmas, here is the war, it’s a war on sanity in the legislative branch of the United States. Get real Congress. Somebody has to pay for the wars. Why does the burden always seem to go to the little guy? The person who takes great responsibility for their life and their family and who barely scrapes by every week? The person who goes over there to fight these terrible battles!? This unfounded capitalist greed must evolve and change for the better or it will surely be the death of Christmas and eventually the death of us all.

“I am a conservative, but I am not a zombie.” — Glenn Beck

“Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.” — John Maynard Keynes

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Costas Stands Tall; Bob Dole Rolls; Boehner is still well, a Boehner

Bob Costas stood tall on gun control this past week. First by quoting an article by Fox Sports Columnist Jason Whitlock at halftime on Sunday which stated: “If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.” On Tuesday he defended his remarks by appearing on NBC’s Last Word With Lawrence O’Donell. He spoke of the gun crazy society we now live in which supports a literal wild west mentality among certain segments of our society. Thank you Bob Costas for striking a nerve. It looks like you pissed off the fearless vitriol spewing Ted Nugent as well as a host of other gunpowder snorting lunatic fringe types! Bravo!

Speaking of the lunatic fringe, the bill supporting equal rights for handicapped people worldwide was shot down in the Senate on Tuesday. Despite the fact that the respectable former Senator Bob Dole appeared in his wheelchair and appealed for the ratification of this worldwide treatise. Perhaps if the treatise did not have the supposedly communist organization the United Nations attached to it it might have passed. Too bad that the powerful NRA had not put their stamp of approval on it. Not surprisingly former Pennsylvannia Senator Rick Santorum spoke publicly againt the treatise calling it: “A direct assualt on us.” Say no more Rick! Get Clancy and the boys and surround the barn!

Now back to the looming fiscal precipice. The fantastic chasm of doom into which we are about to plummet. Fret not it seems the plunge is imminent. The Grand Old Party refuses to budge and all Boehner’s best buds have come out to play. McConell is apparently laughing out loud devising a plan to use the debt limit to further reduce the country’s credit rating. Cantor is his usual nouveaux Virginia aristocracy self with his head so far up into his own arse he needs a proctologist to ever see daylight again. Boehner simply spray tans himself while he smokes and poses in front of a mirror practicing seventy different ways to say “no progress has been made” . We need a legislative branch of the government that does what we hire them to do. Not a bunch of out of touch puppets who rule at the pleasure of a select few. Tally Ho to the cliff we go! Maybe this is the real Tea Party! No representation without taxation!

“No representation without taxation!” — Jake Shween

“Never underestimate the power of the State to act out its’ own massive fantasies.” — Don DeLillo

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

The columnist expresses regret at the loss of Jovan Belcher and Kasandra Perkins. Our deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences to the families of both these dearly departed people.