Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Chinese People eat Just as Many Babies as Anyone Else

Chinese People Eat Just as Many Babies as Anyone Else

So I noticed yet another person had fallen for a shit-stirring moron-baiting hoax tonight, this one about Chinese people eating babies for improved sexual performance. Couldn't leave sex out of it, of course; there's a kind of mind to whom that one word is hook, line, and sinker. All they ever seem to want to talk about, and all that they see in other people and in themselves. Superfluous, vain sexual vapidity.

The first comment set me off even more than the dubious presence of the link itself. It was thus:

"Oh that's sick! I'm feeling really nauseated now. Just another reason why the Asians are more unsanitary than the rest of the worlds people. Yuck!!" - Nic Bubblewrap Hammermeister

I'll just leave you with my response below:
Urghh, fucking blood libel again, we have the entirety of human knowledge instantly available, at any time, at our fingertips, and in our pockets, and there are still some of us who will fall for this shit every time. I'm sorry to say that there is really no excuse to spread such hateful, untrue rubbish as this when five minutes of research would show you it's fake.

What's worse? A rich scumbag in a hoax article who happens to be Chinese (from Liaoning no less) killing babies for their own benefit; white rich scumbags who have been beyond any and all doubt proven to have been carpet bombing the shit out of middle eastern mud-hut villages for decades for profit; or people spewing blanket shit over all Asians over the alleged (and in this case despicably falsified) actions of a few?

While there are many abortions taking place around the world all the time, it is forbidden in China to learn the sex of a child before it is born, and the penalty for breaking the one child policy is financial and failing that, prison/indentured labour, until the financial debt to society, for burdening it with another mouth to feed, is paid. Of course there will be people who don't do the right thing, there always are - but if you looked at anywhere in the western world when it was industrialising, you'd notice that people behaved similarly. Stories of abuse of humans are often falsified, and the ones who are not, are absolutely the exception to the rule in the modern world.

Abandoning a baby that has just been born is in my opinion no more and no less sickening and barbaric than any abortion anyone else ever has had in the developed world. The kind of selfish dipshit who has sex and then doesn't want to deal with the consequences (ie. those who have abortions) exists everywhere. The ones in China are often unwilling to risk the harsher consequences associated with their actions, so they sometimes simply discard the baby. But articles like this warp the truth so horrifically and make no mistake - those who abandon their babies are no different than those who have safe, sanitary, politically-correct early-term abortions in a western clinic. Because in the end, they are either all guilty of infanticide, or none are.

The China I live in may have a heck of a lot of problems but infanticide is no more an issue here than it is in any country whose inhabitants you're not actively othering.

tl;dr - This article is a hoax, designed to stir up anti-PRC sentiment amongst racist morons. Read this, it's slightly more reasonable and credible than what's here being used as evidence to demonise all of Asia.


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Love and Whiskey

If we say that love is the gravity that holds the universe
together, and that love is represented by positive relationships, by
human empathy: our ability to connect with absolutely anything that
there is, then there is no difference between love and whiskey. That
is to say, whiskey is analogous to love.

There are more songs and poems about both than about everything else put together ten times over. They are both every bit as complex, valuable and unique as each other. There are fruity ones, there are nutty ones. Some are both, others are neither. Some burn on the way down, and some care vomited out the next day. Some are overrated, others underappreciated. Some are only good for a single self-loathing and foolish night of writing yourself off. Some are savoured for lifetimes. Some you have to water down, some you have to put on ice. Some you cannot afford, others you can but wouldn't touch.

Both are capable more than almost anything else in the world of inspiring men and women to the greatest of lofty heights and the deepest of sundered valleys. People who abstain too rigidly from one are generally pretty bad at the other. Both are pointless if you take the mind-warping and dangerous ingredients out.

Some go unappreciated by your palate, either because your faculties are beneath them, or maybe above them. Some are sweet, some sour, some blended. The best ones though are always the purest, and those most tempered and matured with age. Some are forged from a smoky, muddy morass at the edge of the known world, while others blossom by the river, meadow and ocean. These ones taste like ash and earth but warm the heart and soul, and years of aging makes them the best you possibly can find. Some you can't stomach unless mixed up with coke.

Some bring you primal pleasure, guilty and sensuous, indulgent. Some warm your bones, some ignite your mind, some pour clarity over your eyes. Some see you warm through northern winter, others delight in the balmy, jolly haze of summer. Some you come to appreciate or no longer, as your palate must needs change with time.

Most countries on earth have tried making good ones, and some are better than others. Irish are steeped in sad tradition and the warm glow of eternal kindness and friendship. Scottish are proud, varied, and some of the best in the world. American, sickly sour, overbearing and loud, but at times surprisingly noble and sweet. Japanese sounds and acts stiffly similar to a Yakuza grandfather, until you get to know him. Scandinavian goes down too fast to analyse.

Some will make you sick, some you will only ever experience once in your life. Some are Jim Beam. Some will teach you life's most profound truths, while others will give you a headache, make you cry, or even want to die. Some are appreciated by boys and girls, some by men and women; others wasted on anything but a true lady or gentleman.

Some very special though, those rare and perfect examples, if you are lucky enough to find them in this life, can be the only real thing you will ever touch. Everything that makes your life worth living.

I am grateful for all of these whiskies, thankful for all of these loves.


Don't Throw out the Bathtub with the Baby.

Don't Throw Out the Bathroom with the Baby, Part I

A Time of Change

We do indeed live in a time of change: American President Obama was not wrong about that. But after a few years, what kind of change do we actually see? Are we being the change we wish to see? Yes, or else we would not act as we did to bring it about. And it is, at best, not exactly the utopia promised in his idealistic politician's rhetoric. At worst, we are seeing the throwing out of baby, bathwater, and tub, and making sure the baby stays down by beating it over the head with the plumbing.

Since the end of World War II and the rise of secular human rights, humankind has been changing with ever more rapidity and intensity. It's like we are in collective puberty. Please allow me to explain: It occured to me about 20 years ago that the history and development of the human race paralleled the growth and development of a human child.

Humanity as a Human

In our infancy, we were grunting, relatively benign gatherer-hunter creatures with little self-awareness, less knowledge and next to no language. We didn't talk to strangers - our worlds consisted of our immediate needs, our family and nothing else. We shit where we ate, ran around naked and were totally dependant on what our Mother outright handed to us to live.

Our long childhood began after the last great ice age, humans found abundances of grains and things that enabled us to settle down and start to develop culturally (memetically).Our mother still largely took care of us, as we ate the food she put in front of us. We began to develop memetically, cognitively, emotionally and physically. We learned to read and right and build things out of lego bricks. We were dependant on our Father for guidance and obedient to Him. Oh, and we started to play - and fight - with the other children (civilisations).

Our continued growth taxed our mother severely. Luckily we learned a modicum of self-sufficiency, growing food in her fertile soils, the foundation she left us. A cautionary tale was left us - The Fall from the Garden of Eden. Naturally our Father was none too happy. We lived under His stern gaze for centuries.

Puberty is never remembered fondly. The 'Big Change" happened to the human race too - The Industrial Revolution. The pace, totality and intensity of change was stressful and traumatising. We awakened in a revolutionary sense to self, sexuality and other strange new desires. We moved away from Mother's nurturing arms and began to question our Father. The stress of caring for us made Mother very sick - we were a very bad child indeed.

Teenagers are rebellious - disregarding and denouncing with ferocity the old ideas. Exploration of new ideas began as our Mother grew chronically ill, and we barely speak to her anymore. The obsession with self and our 'individual identity,' trying all the latest fads and not-quite freshmen 1am dorm-room ideologies. We killed our Father who art in Heaven - 'God is Dead' in the words of Nietsche. 'And no-one cares. If there is a hell, I'll see you there,' in the words of Marilyn Manson.

Where are we now?

We're about 16, wearing an offensive hoodie and pants below our backsides just for the sake of offending someone. We definitely do not just want attention, and we were born bisexual vampires. Slutwalk is a good cause. Sarcasm, as well as popular science and philosophy demonstrates how intelligent and witty we are. We're smoking, the flask tucked into our $110 belt from Culture Kings doesn't contain smirnoff, and we were neither tripping nor high last night and stop harassing me get off my back I can do what I want!

Throwing out the bathwater

In moving forward into our evolution we are throwing out yesterday's dirty bathwater. This is a good thing. But when we view everything about where we came from with derision, shame and scorn, is that good?

Friday, 2 August 2013

What's Wrong with (Radical) Feminism: Rice Warner Actuaries Edition

What's Wrong with (Radical) Feminism: Rice Warner Actuaries Edition

What it is.

Stumbling across this article http://www.smh.com.au/business/win-for-women-in-bid-to-hike-super-pay-20130730-2qxa1.html shared by a friend on Facebook, I reacted with disgust. I mean, I can see their point, but I can also see how frightening and how frighteningly wrong it is.

The article tells the story of a company, Rice Warner Actuaries, a financial services firm in Sydney, Australia, who have recently given their female employees increases in pay across the board - from sick leave to superannuation - just because they have vaginas. I would applaud this move, if it demonstrably stemmed from a genuine disparity in wages, and only then if the raises were implemented solely to achieve parity. But no, the former is not the cause, and the latter is not the case.

Reverse Discrimination? The Pay Gap Myth.

On the latter point, they are raising pay and flexibility of working conditions, including employer contributions to retirement funds, annual, parental and sick leave; almost everything, well past that which their male employees receive. So how is this not sexism? They interpreted this move under a clause in the new (and repugnant) 'sex discrimination' laws in this country, which allow for 'special measures' to redress gender inequalities. That can mean anything, anything at all! Especially if you molest the statistics to misrepresent the facts. Which has been done, and it is frightening indeed.

It is always the same: 'Women as a whole demographic earn less than men as a whole demographic. Therefore misogyny.' Nobody ever asks why; those who dare to open their mouth to utter a question are utterly destroyed, because they must be woman hating scum to do so. The reason, they will scream, is that it must be men's and/or society's fault, and a handout had better be on its way to women, and soon, or else. Because misogyny. Yeah. But if you compared a female executive to a male waiter, what would you find? Is that misogyny? What about misandry? Neither, because they are two completely different positions in completely different sectors. I am not an economist but I have common sense coming out my ears.

Back to women as a whole demographic earning less than men as a whole demographic. Why? Because, just to name a few demonstrable common sense reasons, women *as a whole* are more likely to juggle employment and home/child rearing responsibilities, taking parental leave, seeking part time employment, and also more likely to work in less economically lucrative fields (and the economy has a mind all its own about what constitutes lucrative).

How to fix what ain't broke.

If women wanted the pay gap to disappear, then they would not have children, or have them with men who, like me, want to be the stay-at-home/casually-employed father. They would work in mining, in hard physically demanding labour, and climb the corporate ladder. But wherever you turn, even to our recently, thankfully departed Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, radical feminists will not step up to the plate and work for a brighter, more equitable tomorrow, just like everyone else does. Why would they, when all they need to do is say 'I have a vagina, and you are a misogynist if you don't make concessions for me.' Just like the patriarchy, the obsession with power, domination, rape and rape culture, the pay gap is a construct of feminism, and the only people who think, much less believe, in these terms, are radical feminists and their captive audiences, pseudo-philosophical sycophantic followers, slutwalkers and more and more elements of a society that are being intimidated or manipulated into their fold. Sound familiar? It does to me too - how did the Christian Churches rise to power seventeen centuries ago? What we are seeing is, one tyrannical engine of social control is waning, and there are others clamouring to fill the power vacuum. The doctrine of radical feminism, occupy-everything neo-liberalism and the climate change crusade are to my mind the main contenders. They are in the process now of presenting secular versions of the religious story of The Fall - Mankind's fall from God's grace and exile from Eden. Oops, sorry. I meant Humankind.

  In Closing.

This is truly a disgrace. If you want money then work your arse off in the professional world. If you want kids then have kids. Feminazis want to have their cake and eat it too and if you dare question or impede their rapacious onslaught you are branded a misogynist. They scream misogyny and gynocentricism the same way people used to scream witchcraft and blasphemy.

When will it end? When motherhood and the children that go with it have become as devalued and undesirable as having a penis is now? We should have listened to Her Majesty Queen Victoria when she called for all feminists to be shot, lest they become the most loathsome, contemptible, and deadly threat to the health of society, and the continued survival of the human race. And now here we are, 100-and-something years later...and...

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Why do I Believe in God?

Why do I believe in God?

Because poetry is as powerful as science, and just as open to abuse.
I don't think God - whoever or whatever God is - approves of almost all of the ways in which humanity interprets his divine poetry
But God is not concerned with the opinions of lions or the sheep, because God left that choice up to them, and invented their ability to do it in the first place.

Because God is eternal and is both time and space, and outside both all at once, but also forever, and never at all. Once, always, and never; something, everything, and nothing. Alpha and Omega, the author and finisher of love, which is the gravity that holds the universe together.

Because Jesus did not die to prevent homosexuals from marrying, or to protect anyone's first amendment rights to abuse others.

Because God is not a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Pagan, Buddhist, or environmentalist, and can't stand almost all of them.

Because I would rather share the hospitality of a family of complete strangers, sharing around a clean, safe hearth and making connections with tomorrow's creative prodigies. People and prodigies who owe all they are, and all that they are well on their way to becoming, to their love for one another, and their gratitude to the God who gave them both love and talent.

Because I'd rather do that than sit around in a dingy, unhygenic and tumbedown house binge drinking with listless, violent polyamorists, arrogant pseudo-philosophers, militant feminists, and two month old pizzas not belonging to me sitting on the table.

Because gratitude and love trumps rebuke and wrath every time. Even if it's directed at a God you can't see, taste, smell, touch, or hear. That's where faith comes in and faith is also better than nothing, though not quite as good as knowledge.

Because anyone who claims knowingness, anyone who claims to speak for God, anyone who abuses people in His name, anyone who would die for a principle before they lived for their loved ones...because all of these would be going to the hottest circle of hell, except hell cannot be what we think it is, if it even exists, because the only ones who talk about it are those who say to anyone "You're going to hell."

Because Christopher Hitchens is just as great a genius as William Blake or Martin Luther.

Because my fiancee was made an orphan at the age of five. She bounced from foster home to foster home for ten years until a family who believed in God took her. She had never picked up a bible, or a Qu'ran. She had no idea what religion was or what any of them have to say about God. All by herself she figured out who had held her every single night, and made her feel that it was not only safe to sleep, but safe also to wake. God. God guarded my angel while she slept, and kept her alive just long enough to meet me. She died seven months after I met her but I remember one thing she said to me, clear as day. "I believe in God, Joel, because God loved me when nobody else did. God held me while I cried myself to sleep every single night. God led me to you."

Saturday, 13 July 2013

What Makes a Brother a Brother?

What makes a brother a brother?

for Brian 'B2' Mackdaddy
Brother from beginning to end

I'm not being sexist in choosing to use the word 'brother;' I view my dearest female friends in the same light, and they are absolutely the pillars of my world. Sisters, brothers, they are of course the same. But since this was inspired by, and I am writing it for, Brian, who is not a female, I will ask it thus: What makes a brother a brother?

When I ask what the criteria are for being someone's sibling, the first answer I often get is along the lines of, 'being expelled from the same uterus,' but often phrased in much more boring ways. But this is not a prerequisite or a criteria - it is optional and often not true. My biological mother's other son is not my brother - he is an abusive, sick alcoholic drowning in his own toxic miasma of bullshit. And he disowned me, threw me out of his home at the pointy end of night shift police's attitudes at 3am, into the winter night with barely the clothes on my back. He is worse than Walder Frey, because at least Walder had motive for his gross betrayal of the sanctity of hospitality (the Red Wedding, in Game of Thrones book/season III). The alcoholic nonsibling is just histrionically twisted and drunk.

So if coinciding originating women's parts aren't relevant, what is? To answer this we must look at what it means to be a human being.

Humans are constantly learning and improving. We are mostly unpleasant and immature, with occasional moments of approaching something tolerable. But it is in the words of the great William Blake (the poet, not the serial killer), "He who suffers you to impose on him, knows you." Everybody we keep around us is a choice, and we choose to keep them around because, yes, we like them, but deeper than that, because we know them. More often than we would like to admit, we are an imposition on other people. Everyone is. But choosing to keep somebody in your life means that you choose to value their noble qualities more than you are annoyed by the other 90% of them.

Brothers are one small step more noble, one giant leap towards something truly beautiful indeed. Brothers are the only people who we hit with the full force of our ugliness. There's a few old sayings along the lines of 'Why do we only hurt the people we love?' Why, indeed?

Why do we unleash our inner darkness and violence on our brothers? Surely they are the least deserving of such. The reason we do it is because when we are at our darkest, our most lonely, most afraid, our brothers are the only ones left. The only ones who love us so much as to still be there when we need them the most. To share our pain, to forgive us when we attack or project onto them, to put up with our shit and respond to it with 'thank you sir may I have another?' until all the hurt is bled out of us. Then they offer their arms and hearths and liquor cabinets, to pick us up or keep us standing tall. They don't expect or demand an apology for the things we say and do in our dark moments, but they receive them anyway, eventually, and saying 'sorry' is tremendously important. Especially to our brothers. They are the least deserving of the darkness of our hearts, and this is the reason why they see it at all, and also why they weather it until we're back to questioning their parentage and sexual integrity.

Brothers don't just share a beer with us, they share our ugliness and our beauty, our trials and triumphs, our falls and our jokes. I am loved and appreciated by my brothers and sisters. I am loved and appreciated by my family, the family I chose. They are the only family I have ever known. And I love and appreciate them.

Thanks Brian for being my brother.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Nobody else will do it for you

A moment of something can create a lifetime of everything - or of nothing. Choice in that moment is therefore of unimaginable power and importance, and why it is the master of fate and save existence itself is the greatest of the divine gifts.

So respect it. Love it. Trust it. For it is who you are and all that you may become. Nobody else will do it for you. Choose what is right, because nobody will do that for you, either.

Excitement is the compass of the soul. Pay close attention to its bearings and in appropriate time and proportion, take action on those urgings under the kingly governing discipline of your quietly strong mind. You are wiser than you know. But please, take action. This is what your soul, mind and body are for, in that order. In the immortal words of William Blake, whoever desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence, and you should sooner stab an infant to death while it sleeps, than nurse unacted desires.

There is positive and negative energy contained in this, the harmonic communion with yourself. There is such in everything. But in order to tip the scales in your favour, you have to accept, trust, and love yourself. Then you will be able to draw out your inner voice of truth, out from the cacophany of others that keep you awake at night. This voice is the most beautiful, volatile, and strong, yet the hardest to find. So it must needs be disciplined when you manage to find it.

On the other end of this sacred scale is the negative, the dark whispers from the past, from fear and our shadows. These too, are but a part of who you are. They must be understood, known, accepted and, in time, with love and a lighthearted patience and, perhaps, a mild, healthy disrespect for what they were yesterday, be integrated into the self.

So, give generously of your time and effort to knowing, accepting, trusting and loving yourself. For this is the only way you can truly, richly, live.

Nobody else will do it for you.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

What's wrong with (Radical) Feminism: Susan Wilson Edition.

Multi-millionaire mother throws her children, gender issues, and anyone dumb enough to not fight back, under the bus, for money. 

Manipulative child-abusing scamming jack-snake, how did she get away with it?

1200 backers willing to give $23k to a millionaire because she tricked them into supporting the girl's side in a fabricated gender war between her own children? Absolute genius, absolute evil. Charity fraud by a millionaire.

Wait what? Allow me to explain:

Susan Wilson, Founder and CEO of debt collection agency the Judgement Group, created a fundraising campaign on kickstarter.com in order to collect $829 for her daughter to '' to cover the cost'' of sending her to a game programming camp so that she can compete with her game making brother.

Sadly for society, sadly for the world, this multi-millionaire friend of Warren Buffet (http://i.imgur.com/UyxHYFV.jpg) committing charity fraud for $829 is the preservative in the icing on the cake.

I showed the writing on the fundraising page itself
(http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/susanwilson/9-year-old-building-an-rpg-to-prove-her-brothers-w/) to a few of my colleagues. We work with very difficult children all day, every day, and were at least mildly horrified, at most seething with fury, at the obvious fakeness and the abhorrent sexism. It's most definitely NOT written by Mackenzie, and most definitely fabricated by the mother just to score a few free 'girls can't do anything on our own' bucks. It's actually quite deliberately and cleverly crafted, the pace, the jabs at the brothers, the unfolding saga of 'poor Mackenzie.' I find it whimsical that this calibre of feminist cries oppression and inequity ad nauseum, but the only one playing the 'girls are inferior' card is the feminist herself, because she knows, like Susan Wilson knows, that people will throw money and good intentions at you. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the moral yardstick of feminism.

Apparently her style of parenting and/or scamming hit a lucrative nerve: promising the brother to deliver a personal apology to those who pledge to donate over $10.000 dollars. And her supporters do not leave it at words, they are showering her with gold (do you see what I didthere?).

Committing disgraceful and alarming child abuse on all three of her children, she is making her sons look like bastards and her daughter incompetent and inept, reliant on society to do everything for her. She even names her children and puts photos to the names! On the internet, as often and in as many places as she can! This humiliates and demonises them to the entire world. Those two boys will now have to live with that indelible black mark on their persons for the rest of their life. Or rather they would, if the people who funded the project weren't stupid, and if the rest of us were so callous and ignorant as to hold a grudge against the boys for the evil of their mother.

Ms. Wilson is capitalising on the current gender war and raking in the money. She is exploiting and undermining her daughter, and throwing her sons along with all men, under the bus, whilst laughing all the way to the bank. Or worse - she is not laughing. Maybe she thinks what she is doing is right and good, and she's screwing her family, and all of you, as though it's perfectly moral. Maybe she sleeps better tonight knowing your hundred bucks, your dignity, and your right to encourage all people to not exploit people and social insecurities to cheat others, have all been tidily swept into her purile arms.

Are we actually letting her get away with this?

A website devoted to this case (https://kickstarterscam.jottit.com/) shows the embarrasing examples of how Susan Wilson tries to impersonate her daughter. It also shows how she tries to appeal to the feminist croud by focusing on the gender issue in order to fund her.

This story demonstrates greed, and the dark truth of feminism, in its most sickeningly pure form.


A summary of the entire slimy fiasco:

This is the actual kickstarter itself:

And an article that demonstrates who this she-snake is:

Some other handy links:

Monday, 20 May 2013

What Came First, the Sexism or the Biology? Genetics vs Memetics at its Finest.

This was intended to be a reply to a Facebook post made by a friend of mine. It evolved into this over the course of the train ride to work.

The Facebook post itself was well put: it was about the passage from the book of Exodus, where the law regarding female cleanliness after childbirth and of male circumcision are laid out.

All the people who are horrified at how women were treated, should please settle down. I agree that this God is a sexist douche but under any system, there are always going to be abused and abuser, as well as decent human beings who love and care for one another. And there are still a lot of women who desire nothing more than to be protected and provided for by their man, just as the blueprints of biology designed her.

Ironically if I marry, then I hope to be the housewife in the team. I'd be better at that than working a career 12 hours a day. So I am definitely NOT lumping all women into the same basket with my previous paragraph - all I am saying is, it's about time that we understood a very simple, very important, very undeniable fact that brooks no argument: Biological, evolutionary construction has lumped MOST women into that basket. If you have a problem with what I have said so far, then take it up with your genetics, not me. This is not misogyny, this is fact. Fact derived from unchangeable biological reality. Let's start accepting truth instead of rebelling against it. Rebellion is a symptom of ideology.

Do remember that we are talking about a time in history when men needed all their strength to protect women and women needed all the protecting they could get. People did not have the luxury of sitting around and arguing about misogyny or pitting men and women into competition with each other...they were too busy trying to survive and perpetuate the species using all the tools that they evolved biologically to possess. This dynamic dominated the entirety of human existence and pre-existence - and still governs many of us and indeed many animals - until the last 150-odd years of the western world. Memetically, I would dare to suggest that we are changing at a rate too fast for our genetic evolution to keep up. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution versus a couple of generations of oil-gorged opulence. You wonder why people are collectively and individually imploding, this might point to why.

That said, the priest caste was a different story, as it was a cultural (memetic) evolution, supported by the rest of the people's hard work, living off the grain stockpiles that enabled not only them but cities themselves to exist. It was in their best interest to reinforce a system that worked for them. That's what's happening here.

Writing developed as a necessary communication revolution to manage the new energy regime of hydro-agricultural society, and it in turn continued to shape the society that ultimately evolved - under the guiding hand of the priestly parasites of course. So we can see that scripture is essentially propaganda to idealise and perpetuate the system by which the elite classes of those days stayed that way. And both memes and genes evolve.

The current doctrines that props today's elites up are consumerism, ideological minefields and willful ignorance. And the system is democratic capitalism. Churchill said it was the worst system we'd yet tried, save all of the others. Communications revolutions are necessary, and the memetic and genetic evolution that occurs is par for the course. There are positive and negative traits to any revolution, but every time history repeats itself the price goes up. We're running out of reserves to ravage, and the planet itself is fracturing and collapsing around us.

I think it's time we agree that the semi-regular institutionalised discrimination against women that the scripture-makers initiated is a non-issue. After all, we have the priests of post-post-modern, consumerist, ignorant occupiers of wall street, campus whiner feminists and climate change crusaders beating us about the head with their own zealously pseudo-moralistic ideological lead pipes. When I put it like that, it shouldn't matter what their actual agenda is. You should first be urgently interested in removing yourself from the impact arc of the ideological lead pipe...and checking to see if there's one in your own hand.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

What is Happening to People?

Taken from my notebook, dated 14th January 2013

Walking along the beach, for lack of a better, my brother imposed an SMS debate on me as to the colour of General Douglas MacArthur's liver. We agreed that he was, in my brother's words, a 'real bell end,' and then - I forget the segue - my brother quoted a line from HBO's 'Rome;' "What a dreadful noise plebs make when they're happy.'

Then I started paying attention to the people around me. My tranquil repose, basking in the beauty of the beach and the crisp sea air, views of landscape and beach bodies...all of this ended rather pleasantly as my mind re-engaged. Hey, I'm used to it by now, it's a relentless thing, but it's the only one I've got. Being glad to see it switch on was a most agreeable occurence. I must try to capture this lightning in a bottle more often.

Plebs are supposed to be noisy when they're happy. And yet it was all quiet out here, at one of the most expensive and coveted beach camp sites in the country. Filled to capacity with tired, shuffling campers. Even the children were subdued, the teenagers sullen. Oh, all the behaviours one would look for, whenever one has occasion to assess the health of a teenager, were still there. Those with bodies and $120 boardshorts and/or bikinis flaunted, even as they snarled behind clouded eyes and sneering lips. They snarled at everything, but even the snarl didn't have teeth. Only one of over a dozen even bothered to be vain, as I saw her gaze flitting everywhere to see who was perving on her. That was the most animated thing I saw anyone being all day.

I felt like bounding urgently to them, and shaking them...especially the one girl who still looked somewhat alive. Asked her 'What are you doing, here?' Then I realised that no matter when, or where I crossed her path, whatever the circumstances, the same question would occur to me. The same answer would meet it: a disaffected, post-twitter/instagram/i-Phone/entitlement shrug of bare, white shoulders and of dark eyes. Eyes that would have been beautiful but for their sullen, defiant emptiness.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Education, you had ONE job, just ONE JOB!

The Melbourne Declaration (http://www.mceecdya.edu.au/verve/_resources/national_declaration_on_the_educational_goals_for_young_australians.pdf) is a Neil Armstrong-esque, one small step in the right direction, and light years better than the US first attempt at a 21st Century curriculum. But the declaration is, on its own, wishful thinking. There exist more glaring problems with the education system, its role in society, and in society itself, than the National Curriculum and the Melbourne Declaration have thus far addressed. I want to be a teacher (turning down at least two other lucrative career paths) for three reasons: first, because I will be a brilliant teacher, and the world needs as many of those as they can get. Second, because I want to inspire as many children and young people as I possibly can to think critically, have confidence in themselves, and to know who they are. Third, so I can help facilitate the changes to society and its institutions (including education) that need to happen. In short, I am what J Abner Peddiwell called in his timeless essay on education “The Sabre Tooth Curriculum,” a 'radical.' And we live in a radical time.

Whether you're a realist like me or something else, the world is becoming more globalised, diverse, and sociably and upwardly mobile. It's inescapable; like John Henry vs. the machine, you cannot stop progress. It remains to be seen whether these changes will deliver the stated, and desirable, outcomes of producing 'healthy, productive and rewarding futures' for Australian school leavers. There are some good common-sense and relatively simple-to-implement points in the declaration, such as the focus on becoming 'Asia literate' (remembering that not so long ago our own Prime Minister Paul Keating said that Asia is 'just a place you fly over to get to Europe')(p.4). The ideas of creating an environment free of discrimination, and reducing effects of socio-economic disadvantage (p.7) are a little harder to implement, mostly because these are in large part symptoms of the current system anyway. In a sense, what the Declaration espouses is using the disease that produced these symptoms to cure them. By far the most positive aspect of the Declaration is the (albeit small) recognition it draws to the diversity of individual intelligences, and the necessity of 'a range of pathways to meet the diverse needs and aspirations of all young Australians.' (p.8) This is still coming from within the old framework though, which is why it's wishful thinking. For now.

The problem with the current changes to the education system is that they are reformations, not transformations; the system was built to meet the needs of the socio-cultural, technological and communications revolution of industrialism in the 1800's (Rifkin 2009; Robinson 2006), and is predicated on the idea of a certain, very narrow, kind of academic ability, and the demonstrated capacity for it (ibid). It was designed to create obedient workers who, in the words of George Carlin, are:

'Just smart enough to run the machines and do all the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept the increasingly shittier jobs and pay schemes. (The people who crafted it) aren't interested in creating a nation of people smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard...years ago...they just want obedient workers.'

Or we could take a look at H. L Mencken's (1924) damning words:

The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardised citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is the aim...whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues, and other such mountebanks...in the United States and everywhere else.”

Like it or not, it is the truth. Which is precisely what they're getting, more often than not, and with all the changes the Melbourne Declaration rightly identifies to be taking place in the world, I hope you can see why reformation (as opposed to transformation) isn't going to cut the mustard, and I am in this to change the system from the inside.

I have always had a passion for history, storytelling, original and 'maverick' thinking, and inspiring humankind. A friend once told me in all seriousness that I would make a very good cult leader. Perhaps I am destined to lead the cult of properly educating humanity.

 I fervently agree with the sentiments of great historians, historiographers, and historical figures such as Jared Diamond, Edward Carr, Bill Bryson, Jeremy Rifkin, and Ronald Wright, with the idea that facts and rote learning do not matter. What matters is the search for the causal relationships between social and chronological events, and to find them, so one can understand them. To cast, as it were, a long look back in order to cast a short look forward (Christian 2005). Even fewer teachers – or people in general – seem to see why this kind of thinking is important, or why empathy, and appreciating their students for who they really are is the most important (Rifkin 2009). The reasons why fall outside the scope of this particular discussion, but the consequences of not doing it are very real, and probably deadly.


Carlin, G., (2008), It's Bad for Ya! (Stand-Up Comedy Recording), HBO.
Christian, D., (2005), Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History, University of California Press.
Mencken, H. L. (1924), in The American Mercury.
Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, (2008), Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, retrieved <http://www.mceetya.edu.au/verve/_resources/National_Declaration_on_the_Educational_Goals_for_Young_Australians.pdf >
Rifkin, J., (2009), The Empathic Civilisation: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis, Tarcher-Penguin, London.
Robinson, K., (2006), The Element: How Finding your Passion Changes Everything.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Guy on the Bus

On the bus home tonight I saw a fellow in a wheelchair covered from head to heel in compression bandages, with only his face uncovered. What little I could see of his face was a mess of 3rd degree burns, as, probably, was his entire body. He was gaunt and trembling; his fingers and toes kept curling and twitching, as if eternally reliving whatever it was that immolated them, and him. But this man spoke to his two companions with the kind of quiet, earnest and lovely emphasis that could only teach me one simple thing.

I was sitting on that very same bus, directly opposite this man. And I was fretting about my living situation, the ancillary strains attached to the best relationship I think I've ever had, my back pains that have been getting worse since the chiropractor started to fix them, my boss yelling at me today, and my assignment being late due to my post traumatic stress disorder acting up. I was fixated so negatively on all of this...while this beautiful man, this magnificent bastard, was just grateful to be alive.

I can't compare my life's trials to his, because they are individual. You are you, the burned man is the burned man, and I am me. Nobody can compare their life to another's. There is one thing that he and I, and you, too, have in common, however - and indeed, everyone else who has ever lived in this world. And that is the attitude we choose towards our lives.

This begged of me one question: if this welcome stranger on the bus can so eloquently, so silently, demonstrate such a singlemindedly gentle and inspiring joy of living that brought tears to my eyes, then what excuse do I have to bitch and cry?

My living situation is a minor thing compared to the prospect of being burned from head to toe. The relationship really is wonderful, what kind of moron would undermine it with such negativity? My back pains are being healed, it has to get worse before it gets better - but it *is,* for the first time in six years, *getting better!* My boss yells at everyone, but is a sterling and kindly gent underneath the grumpy old man syndrome, and nobody else takes his temper to heart - mostly they laugh about it. Why don't I? I do at times struggle with the residual impact of the traumatic life I've had, but I've made such progress that inspires literally everybody who knows my story - and I'm succeeding in my studies and everything that's important to me. So why the hell am I stressing?

The greatest power - such as that wielded by this burned man - requires the lightest touch. This is why God is all but invisible. And this is why the burned man didn't know or care what influence he had on me; he was just going about his business, blissful to be alive and blissfully unaware of the beauty of his spirit, and the lessons he'll no doubt teach, unconsciously, to anyone that crosses his path in life, so long as their hearts and eyes are open.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Sarkeesian's Grammar.

Well I'm in an ESL teaching class right now and all I can hear in my head is freaking Anita Sarkeesian screeching about her 'subject/object paradox,' which rule she stole from the grammar one we're talking about today; Sarkeesian is a thief of grammar rules, of money, and of the integrity of society and both male and female sexuality, and as you guys say, a lunatic. The problem is - other than I can't get her valley-girl voice out of my head - that all too many people take her seriously.

Traditional Grammar is the whole <subject> <verb> <object> rule; for example, Michael ate lunch. Sarah wrote a book. Functional Grammar is an extended concept that nuances this, giving dozens of delicate, specific and useful language and tools to describe different types of sentences, actions and so on. It's pretty much needlessly and painfully complicated ESL theory without much practical use.

So why was it invented?

Possibly to deal with feminists like Anita Sarkeesian hijacking the fundamental rules of Traditional Grammar and applying them to the fictional relationships she thinks exist between the sexes.

Sarkeesian actually thinks and teaches that grammatical subjects acting on objects = men oppressing women. I know it's also an ancient philosophical topic, the subject/object problem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subject%E2%80%93object_problem) but it seems to me to be a reflection on the very nature of existence. It has nothing to do with Sarkeesian's brand of petty yet deadly feminism, and for her to hijack either the grammar rule, the philosophical staple, or both, is

How does a grammar rule even translate/apply to her gender war? I really don't see the morality, the logic or the point. Unless of course she's created a patriarchy, a conspiracy made up of every single man, woman and child who disagrees with her, whose sole goal in life and in everything they do is to oppress her.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

When I talk about Radical Feminism, this is what I mean!

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about what I mean when I say things like "Radical feminism is evil." To explain the problem these people who misunderstand me have, I'll borrow from my good friend James Walsh, who said it perfectly thus:

            "A lot of misunderstanding comes from the whole 'if you are not with us you must be against us'  mentality people have on topics with a lot of emotion, of which this tends to be one.

The moment you challenge almost any aspect of feminism you are going a
gainst political correctness, in which most people will make a hell of a lot of assumptions about your position that you've never said/do not hold.

As I've said before, it never seems to matter what you actually say, it matters what people hear. Unfortunately these two things can differ substantially."

Contrary to what almost everyone will admit to you out loud, women hold literally all the power; the entirety of the hundreds and thousands of years of successful evolution, and existence, of the human species and civilisation itself is fundamentally founded on the biological imperative that men do things for women, and women respond accordingly. This relational 'glue' is the progenitor of all other social, political, and relational paradigm. And every woman alive knows exactly how much power she has. This is a good thing, a very very good thing, except when women exploiting and abusing it.

If a man weaponises his innate sexuality to exploit and abuse others, for his own selfish gain, we call him a rapist and give him a jail sentence. If a woman does the same thing, we laud her as being strong, independent, and successful - usually a 'radical feminist,' and give her a pat on the back and welfare money.

It's usually perfectly wonderful and respectable women - almost always friends of mine - and white knights - almost never friends of mine - who will argue with me about this concept before they think about it. It is these people to whom I write this article. You seriously need to understand the kind of women you're defending when you tell me things like 'all the science disagrees with you,' and 'you're misinformed about (radical) feminism.'

My hope is that anyone who reads this will think twice before a) falling into the trap eloquently described above by James, and b) defending these thunderously detestable anti-human bitches that I am defining as radical feminists.

To the best of my knowledge all of these stories are true - and if they are not, they are indicative of what happens relentlessly and increasingly, worldwide. I've provided simple facebook and other screencaps only in this post, for the purposes of making my point clear and accessible.
The signs in the image above depict what you won't ever find painted on a radical feminist's banner.


Of the two examples here, which one do you think I fully support? Not the slut-walkers on the right. They are self-entitled, sawn-off shits who can only become more frivolous, self-absorbed, and militant with time.

Affirmative action and 'women's only' benefits, payments, welfare, societies, etc. are just like this - because they all must begin with the implicit premise that women are weak and need the help. In fact I know the opposite to be true...this couldn't just be fraud or manipulation of the system, could it?

...this one perhaps more than any other captures mortifying abuse of several men and several children, and these despicable people are using the legal system to do it, for their own personal gain. 

This picture says a thousand words, and so do the bullet points under it. So the only word I have to add to it here is - Bravo!
Yes...depressingly, people like this actually exist.

And this...

And yes, even like this, too.

Is it possible that any sane and decent person could defend or condone this behaviour?

The reason I think feminism is misguided is another topic for another day, but the short version is that it instills a sense of entitlement and other profoundly detrimental traits that pave the highway for the kind of behaviour and people seen in the pictures I have shared here. It is these that I label radical feminists. It is these that I hate. And if you still defend them, or are one yourself, then you should feel deeply ashamed.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Why pickets, petitions, charity mugging, and militant activism is *so* 20th century

Right up until the present day, all the great suffrages, protests, political and activist movements over the last 150 years, have all fought hard to end discrimination and create equality and opportunity for empowerment for women, persons with disabilities, the LBGTQI (did I get all the letters? In the right order?) community, and so on. The myth of equality and empowerment for all, however, has become derailed in most cases in the present day, and may not have been a sustainable idea to begin with.

They generally boil down to rights without responsibilities; senseless notions of entitlement, crusader mentalities gone wrong; natural selection turned on its head, to the peril of the entire human race. Why? Because there do exist hard-coded biological and temporal restrictions on what people can and can't do. This is a discussion for another time. But the point I want to make here is simple: In the past, activists have had to fight, be militant, dangerous, courageous, and noisy, in order to generate heat, from which came the light required to shine upon the injustice of their plight, in order to have made the wrong right. Notice I use past tenses there; I do so deliberately, as the time for being noisy and militant, for edgy polemic, the activist's zeal and the campus protest warrior, is past. Such people do two things successfully: the first is secure priority treatment for themselves at the expense of whoever they blame for 'oppressing' them, thus reversing the pendulum in a most hypocritical manner. The second is, they don't create light, just friction, thus annoying everybody, which would not bother me so much if they didn't turn good and/or intelligent people off the causes they are misrepresenting so depressingly.

All groups, to my mind, follow the same pattern, making the specific cause they represent mostly irrelevant. We will take a look at some of these causes and communities in turn, and hope to unpack the pattern along the way. I hope my point will become clear, both to myself and to you, dear reader. Thus far, my point is simple: that if you refuse to, don't know when to, put up your sword, then all you do is piss the world off and damage your cause.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

On Suicide, Self-Worth, and Idolising the Dead.

So I just stumbled on a bunch of 'tribute' videos made by parents and relatives of kids who killed themselves over bullying. All they smell like to me is guilt.

If those whose responsibility it is to raise these kids to love themselves can't make their voices louder than those of the vile and insecure little sawn-off shits in the school, then they should feel guilty.

In the latest one I saw, (and no it isn't Amanda Todd) the girl had a boyfriend, friends, a loving family (if you believe the uncle who made the video), and yet...nobody picked up on her depression. In the video there's a line that goes "she began to believe what others told her." What others? The boy who kept calling her ugly even after the kinks and awkwardness of her puberty faded? Objectively speaking she turned out to be quite beautiful. Why is it clear to me that this kid was just insecure and intimidated by her? Why is it that she believed what this horrid  little bastard said to her but none of her family and friends could provide even a counterpoint? Either her family are ignorant, or the girl was a good enough bullshit artist to hide her pain. Probably both. And really, suicide is the fault of the person who did it, nobody else's.

When I'm a teacher and I am responsible for the development of kids who are being victimised and bullied, Instead of making emo YouTube tribute videos, I'd do my best to pick up on it and/or be approachable enough to help them.

What very few people seem courageous enough to get their heads around is how insecure EVERY HUMAN BEING ON THE PLANET IS and that this is why the bullies are bullying, and why the victim is choosing to be victimised.

The challenge is to know who they are and that creation doesn't make mistakes - feeling worthless is the most arrogant and self-indulgent thing we humans do. When you feel worthless you basically say "Everything in the universe is in harmony, happy in its proper appointed place, EXCEPT FOR ME...look at me I am the only thing in all of creation that doesn't fit, LOOK AT ME. I throw the gift of life, love, and liberty, back in your face; fuck you, life, and all who love me." Nature, the universe, creation, evolution, whatever you want to call it, doesn't make mistakes, and so if you didn't deserve to exist, then you wouldn't. Simple as that. I can tell her she's wonderful (because she is), the snot nosed bastard who knows he'll never get to have sex with her, and that's why he treats her like dirt. She's the one who decides what to do with that, because the only person in the universe who can make the decision in the end about her worth is...her

That is the approach to take. It's called reality. When you see it for what it is then you can change it, rather than become victimised by it. And maybe if she wound up dead, then it's a lesson to the parents and teachers on how to do better next time - and maybe, just maybe, the girl made her choice and chose not to exist. Like I said, reality doesn't make mistakes.

This seems like a much better option than these post-mortem YouTube tributes idolising the dead, glorifying your own guilt and grief, and pushing for more 'awareness' and 'suicide prevention hotlines, laws and measures.' Worshipping dead teenage girls and expecting dem gubbamint to step in and do something won't absolve you or fix anything.

In closing, stop idolising the cowardly corpses of white, western teenage girls, and start engaging with all of the people who are still here. Take responsibility. Be aware yourself. Prevent it yourself. Love your kids enough to know them. It's your child/student, your damn responsibility. And I figured this out without letting a young person under my care die first.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Humans As Cancer by A. K. MacDougall

I don't like making a habit of openly hosting other peoples' work here, but this article was so...perfect, that I had to share it here. Found at http://www.churchofeuthanasia.org/e-sermons/humcan.html

Humans as Cancer

by A. Kent MacDougall

When a spot on a person's skin changes color, becomes tough or rough and elevated or ulcerated, bleeds, scales, scabs over and fails to heal, it's time to consult a doctor. For these are early signs of skin cancer.
As seen by astronauts and photographed from space by satellites, millions of manmade patterns on the land surface of Earth resemble nothing so much as the skin conditions of cancer patients. The transformation of the natural contours of the land into the geometric patterns of farm fields, the straightening of meandering rivers into canal-like channels, and the logging of forests into checkerboard clearcuts all have their counterparts in the loss of normal skin markings in cancer victims. Green forests logged into brown scrub and overgrazed grasslands bleached into white wasteland are among the changes in Earth's color. Highways, streets, parking lots and other paved surfaces have toughened Earth's surface, while cities have roughened it. Slag heaps and garbage dumps can be compared to raised skin lesions. Open-pit mines, quarries and bomb craters, including the 30 million left by US forces in Indochina, resemble skin ulcerations. Saline seeps in inappropriately irrigated farm fields look like scaly, festering sores. Signs of bleeding include the discharge of human sewage, factory effluents and acid mine drainage into adjacent waterways, and the erosion of topsoil from deforested hillsides to turn rivers, lakes and coastal waters yellow, brown and red. The red ring around much of Madagascar that is visible from space strikes some observers as a symptom that the island is bleeding to death.
If skin cancer were all that ailed Earth, the planet's eventual recovery would be less in doubt. For with the exception of malignant melanoma, skin cancer is usually curable. But the parallels between the way cancer progresses in the human body and humans' progressively malignant impact on Earth are more than skin-deep. Consider:
Cancer cells proliferate rapidly and uncontrollably in the body; humans continue to proliferate rapidly and uncontrollably in the world. Crowded cancer cells harden into tumors; humans crowd into cities. Cancer cells infiltrate and destroy adjacent normal tissues; urban sprawl devours open land. Malignant tumors shed cells that migrate to distant parts of the body and set up secondary tumors; humans have colonized just about every habitable part of the globe. Cancer cells lose their natural appearance and distinctive functions; humans homogenize diverse natural ecosystems into artificial monocultures. Malignant tumors excrete enzymes and other chemicals that adversely affect remote parts of the body; humans' motor vehicles, power plants, factories and farms emit toxins that pollute environments far from the point of origin.
A cancerous tumor continues to grow even as its expropriation of nutrients and disruption of vital functions cause its host to waste away. Similarly, human societies undermine their own long-term viability by depleting and fouling the environment. With civilization as with cancer, initial success begets self-defeating excess.
It's easy to dismiss the link between cancer the disease in humans and humans as a disease on the planet as both preposterous and repulsive--or as a mere metaphor rather than the unifying hypothesis its leading proponent claims for it. Only a handful of limited-circulation periodicals, including this one (see Forencich 1992/93), have granted the concept a respectful hearing.
Accepting the humans-as-cancer concept comes easier if one also accepts the Gaia hypothesis that the planet functions as a single living organism. To be sure, the Earth is mostly inanimate. Its rocky, watery surface supports only a relatively thin layer of plants, animals and other living organisms. But so, too, is a mature tree mostly dead wood and bark, with only its thin cambium layer and its leaves, flowers and seeds actually alive. Yet the tree is a living organism. Earth behaves like a living organism to the extent that the chemical composition of its rocky crust, oceans and atmosphere has both supported and been influenced by the biological processes of living organisms over several billion years. These self-sustaining, self-regulating processes have kept the Earth's surface temperature, its concentrations of salt in the oceans and oxygen in the atmosphere, and other conditions favorable for life.
James Lovelock, who propounded the Gaia hypothesis in 1979, initially rejected humans' cancer-like impacts as a corollary, declaring flatly: "People are not in any way like a tumor" (Lovelock 1988, p. 177). But before long he modified this view, observing: "Humans on the Earth behave in some ways like a pathogenic micro-organism, or like the cells of a tumor or neoplasm" (Lovelock 1991,p. 153).
Others have stated the connection more strongly. "If you picture Earth and its inhabitants as a single self-sustaining organism, along the lines of the popular Gaia concept, then we humans might ourselves be seen as pathogenic," Jerold M. Lowenstein, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, has written. "We are infecting the planet, growing recklessly as cancer cells do, destroying Gaia's other specialized cells (that is, extinguishing other species), and poisoning our air supply....From a Gaian perspective... the main disease to be eliminated is us" (Lowenstein 1992).
Dr. Lowenstein isn't the first physician to examine the planet as a patient and find it afflicted with humanoid cancer. Alan Gregg pioneered the diagnosis. As a long-time official of the Rockefeller Foundation, responsible for recommending financial grants to improve public health and medical education, Dr. Gregg traveled widely in the years following World War II and observed the worldwide population boom. By 1954 he had seen enough. In a brief paper delivered at a symposium and subsequently published in Science, Gregg (1955) compared the world to a living organism and the explosion in human numbers to a proliferation of cancer cells. He sketched other parallels between cancer in humans and humans' cancer-like impact on the world. And he expressed hope--unrealized to this day--that "this somewhat bizarre comment on the population problem may point to a new concept of human self-restraint."
It has fallen to a physician who is also an epidemiologist to flesh out and fill in Gregg's sketchily drawn analysis. Warren M. Hern wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on how the intrusion of Western civilization has increased birth rates among Peruvian Amazon Indians. He does his bit to keep the US birth rate down by operating an abortion clinic in Boulder, Colorado. Hern (1990) published a major article that laid out in detail, and buttressed with anthropological, ecological and historical evidence, the ways in which the human species constitutes a "malignant eco-tumor." He proposed renaming us Homo esophagus (for "the man who devours the ecosystem"). Illustrations accompanying the article included aerial photographs of US cities juxtaposed with look-alike photos of brain and lung tumors.
Dr. Hern has delivered papers on the hypothesis at symposia organized by the Population Association of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Public Health Association. Two papers have subsequently been published (Hern 1993a, 1993b). But in general the scientific community doesn't take his hypothesis seriously, preferring to see it as a mere metaphor or analogy. Indeed, it has evoked hostility in some quarters. When Hern presented the hypothesis at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, listeners reacted angrily, with one threatening, "Are you ready to die?" A Denver radio talk show host called Dr. Hern an "ecoquack" and a "fellow-in-good-standing of the Sky-Is-Falling School."
Such disparagement can be seen as yet another parallel between cancer the scourge in humans and humans as a carcinogenic scourge on the world. For just as Warren Hern encounters indifference, denial and downright hostility to his views, until recently American doctors routinely kept their cancer patients in the dark about the nature of their illness. The aim was to spare patients the shock, fear, anger and depression that the bad news commonly evokes. Families were reluctant to admit that a relative had died of cancer, and newspaper obituaries referred euphemistically to the cause of a death from cancer as "a long illness." In Japan, cancer remains a taboo topic. Public opinion polls indicate that people would rather not know if they have cancer and doctors would rather not tell them. When Emperor Hirohito was dying of cancer of the duodenum, his doctors lied, telling both him and the public that he had "chronic pancreatitis" (Sanger 1989).
In the United States, even some environmentally enlightened analysts remain in denial when it comes to the humans-as-a-planetary-cancer hypothesis. Christopher D. Stone, a law professor at the University of Southern California and son of the late leftist journalist I. F. Stone, authored an influential essay on environmental law, Should Trees Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects. But in his latest book Stone (1993, p.4) casts doubt on the proposition that "the earth has cancer, and the cancer is man." "The interdependency of the earth's parts does not amount to the interdependency of organs within a true organism," he notes. "The earth as a whole, including its life web, is not as fragile...the Gaian relationships are not so finely, so precariously tuned."
Even deep ecologists acknowledge that Earth is qualitatively different from a true organism, that its legitimate status as a superecosystem falls short of qualifying it as a superorganism. Frank Forencich, who argued in "Homo Carcinomicus: A Look at Planetary Oncology" (Forencich 1992/93) that "the parallels between neoplastic growth and human population are astonishing," concedes that even a nuclear winter wouldn't completely destroy the living biosphere, much less the inanimate lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. "We can't kill the host," he says. "Civilization will break up before the biosphere goes" (Forencich 1993).
Still another objection is that any generalization about cancer is suspect because cancer is not a single disease, but rather a group of more than 100 diseases that differ as to cause and characteristics. Some cancers--breast cancer, for instance--typically grow rapidly and spread aggressively. Others, such as cancers of the small intestine, usually grow slowly. Prostate cancer often grows so slowly that it causes no problem. "It's completely possible for an organism to have cancer cells for its entire lifetime and suffer no ill effects" (Garrett 1988, p.43).
The lack of a perfect correspondence between cancer the disease in humans and humans' cancer-like effects on the Earth invalidates the humans-as-cancer concept for some observers. But Warren Hern insists humans-as-cancer is a hypothesis because it is subject to verification or refutation and because it is useful as a basis for further investigation. Frank Forencich, in contrast, is content to consider the concept a metaphor. "That humans are like cancer is indisputable," he says. "But humans are not cancer itself."
Whether as metaphor or hypothesis, the proposition that humans have been acting like malignant cancer cells deserves to be taken seriously. The proposition offers a unifying interpretation of such seemingly unconnected phenomena as the destruction of ecosystems, the decay of inner cities and the globalization of Western commodity culture. It provides a valuable macrocosmic perspective on human impacts, as well as a revealing historic perspective in tracing humans' carcinogenic propensities back to the earliest times.
The progenitors of modern humans exhibited one of cancer cells' most significant characteristics, loss of adhesion, one to two million years ago. Because cancer cells are attached more loosely to one another than normal cells are, they separate easily, move randomly and invade tissues beyond those from which they were derived. Our direct ancestors, Homo erectus, demonstrated this trait in migrating out of Africa. Living in small mobile groups, these foragers/scavengers/hunters spread across Asia and Europe. The next hominid species in the evolutionary line, Homo sapiens, extended the dispersal into previously uninhabitable northern forests and tundra. Their successors, anatomically modern Homo sapiens sapiens, have spread to every continent and major ice-free island. With the aid of clothing, shelter, technology and imported supplies, they now occupy forests, wetlands, deserts, tundra and other areas formerly considered too wet, too dry, too cold, or too remote for human habitation. Humans now occupy, or have altered and exploited, two-thirds to nine-tenths (estimates vary) of the planet's land surface. It seems only a matter of time before they take over all the remaining "empty" spaces.
Humans' ongoing expropriation of the planet has proceeded apace with the eruption of human numbers; and the eruption of human numbers has features in common with the proliferation of cancer cells. In a healthy body, genetic controls enable a large number of individual cells to live together harmoniously as a single organism. Genetic switches signal normal cells when it is time to divide and multiply, and when it is time to break apart and be absorbed by neighboring cells. When the genetic switches are damaged, as by chemicals, radiation, or viruses, they can get locked in the "on" position. This turns normal cells into malignant cells that divide and multiply in disregard of the health of the entire organism.
When humans lived in semi-nomadic bands in harmony with an environment they did not dominate, they limited their numbers so as not to exceed the supply of food they could gather, scavenge, and hunt. Nor did they produce more young than they could carry between seasonal camps. Their contraceptive measures included coitus interruptus (withdrawal), pessaries, and prolonged breastfeeding to depress the hormones that trigger ovulation. When these methods failed, they resorted to abortion and infanticide. Like normal cells in a healthy body, hunter-gatherers seemed to know when to stop growing.
However, technological and cultural contaminants upset this delicate natural balance, permitting humans to multiply beyond numbers compatible with the harmonious health of the global ecosystem. The first and still the foremost contaminant was fire. By 400,000 years ago--perhaps even earlier--hunter-gatherers had learned to control and use fire. Thus began the transformation of humans from just another large mammal in competition with other fierce predators into the undisputed overlord of all species, plant and animal. Addiction to combustion has defined human existence ever since, and has escalated into the current orgy of fossil-fuel burning with the potential of overheating Gaia and jeopardizing the existence of all her inhabitants.
Fire was generally benign when used by hunter-gatherers to thin dense forests into more open and park-like landscapes supporting more game. But the increase in food supply that more effective hunting and the cooking of tough meat and fibrous vegetable matter made possible swelled hunter-gatherer populations. As humans proliferated and spread out, overhunted and overgathered, large game and suitable wild foods became less abundant. This made hunting and gathering less efficient, leaving horticulture, which previously hadn't been worth the extra effort, as the only viable alternative.
Clearing forests to farm began some 10,000 years ago in Asia Minor. About 2000 years later, shifting horticulturists began slashing and burning their way northwestward across Europe. They overwhelmed and pushed aside less numerous hunter-gatherers before giving way in turn to agriculturalists whose plow cultivation of permanent fields permitted more intensive food production and denser populations.
Agriculture condemned peasants to a short, harsh life of monotonous toil, an inadequate diet, the constant threat of crop failure and starvation and exposure to virulent contagious diseases. It fostered social stratification and sexual inequality, cruel treatment of animals, despotism and warfare. And it encouraged further cancer-like encroachment on wilderness to feed increased populations and to replace fields and pastures eroded and depleted of soil fertility by overcropping and overgrazing. The elites that came to dominate sedentary agrarian societies caused still more woodland to be cleared and marshland to be drained to maximize production they could expropriate for their own use. This economic surplus, in turn, helped support an increasing concentration of people in river valleys, along seacoasts, and in cities.
The massing of humans into cities is all too similar to the way crowded cancer cells harden into tumors. Whereas normal cells in a tissue culture stop reproducing when they come in contact with other cells, cancer cells continue to divide and pile up on top of one another, forming clumps. Normal cells display contact inhibition, growing only to the limits of their defined space and then stopping. Cancer cells never know when to quit.
Likewise, human populations grow even under extremely crowded conditions. The very essence of civilization is the concentration of people in cities. As scattered farming villages evolved into towns, and some towns became trading, manufacturing, ceremonial and administrative centers, the city was born. Fed by grain grown in the provinces and served by slaves seized there, the administrative centers of empires grew large; Rome may have reached one million people at its height in 100 C.E. Yet not until industrialization and the extensive exploitation of distant resources after 1800 did cities really begin getting out of hand, and in 1900, still only one in ten people lived in cities. Half will in 2000, with 20 metropolitan areas expected to have 10 million or more people each.
The propensity of modern cities to spread out over the countryside--absorbing villages, destroying farm fields, filling in open land, and creating vast new agglomerations--was noted early in this century by the Scottish garden-city planner Patrick Geddes. Geddes (1915) identified half a dozen such "conurbations" in the making in Britain, and he foresaw the approach of a 500-mile megalopolis along the northern Atlantic seaboard in the United States. Geddes compared urban sprawl to an amoeba, but it fell to his American protege Lewis Mumford to liken disorderly, shapeless, uncoordinated urban expansion to a malignant tumor, observing that "the city continues to grow inorganically, indeed cancerously, by a continuous breaking down of old tissues, and an overgrowth of formless new tissue" (Mumford 1961, p. 543).
A malignant tumor develops its own blood vessels as it grows. Similarly, cities vascularize with aqueducts, electric power lines, highways, railroads, canals and other conduits. A tumor uses its circulation network to pirate nutrients from the body. Similarly, cities parasitically tap the countryside and beyond to bring in food, fuel, water, and other supplies. However, just as a tumor eventually outgrows its blood supply, causing a part of it, often at the center, to die, inner city neighborhoods and even older suburbs often atrophy. Alan Gregg (1955) noted this parallel 40 years ago, observing "how nearly the slums of our great cities resemble the necrosis of tumors."
Humans are increasingly concentrated along seacoasts. Sixty percent of the world's people now live within 100 kilometers of a seacoast. In Australia, one of the world's most highly urbanized nations, nine of every ten people live along the coast. The boom in international trade, from which coastal areas receive a disproportionate share of the benefits, helps explain the worldwide trend; but the pattern goes back thousands of years and parallels yet another carcinogenic process: metastasis.
In metastasis, a tumor sheds cancer cells that then migrate to distant sites of the body and set up secondary growths. The medium for the migration of the cells is the blood and lymphatic systems. In the ancient world of the Mediterranean, another fluid--water--facilitated the migration of people and goods. The Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthagenians and Romans all took advantage of the relative ease of travel and transport by water to establish colonies all around the Mediterranean. At the height of the Roman Empire, no fewer than 500 settlements flourished along the African coast from Morocco to Egypt.
Just as secondary tumors in the human body destroy the tissues and organs they invade, colonizers of the ancient Mediterranean devastated the fertile but fragile ecosystems of the coastal regions they colonized. They logged coastal forests for ship timbers and building materials, to provide charcoal to fire bricks and pottery and smelt mineral ores, and to create farm fields and pastures. Overcropping, fires, sheep and goats prevented regeneration. Intense winter rains washed the thin, easily eroded soil down hillsides into coastal plains to smother farm fields, choke the mouths of rivers, create malarial marshes, bury port cities and strand many of them miles from the sea. The slopes, left barren, have not recovered to this day.
The voraciousness of secondary tumors as they invade and consume tissues and organs has its counterpart in the orgies of destruction that states and especially empires have engaged in for 5000 years. In many cases, the destruction has exceeded what was in the destroyer's own self-interest. Many invaders routinely obliterated the cities they conquered, massacred their inhabitants, and destroyed their fields and flocks instead of just taking them over. Carpet bombing of cities and the mass slaughter of their civilian noncombatant populations during World War II constitute the modern equivalent. Ancient Romans ransacked their empire for bears, lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, hippos and other live animals to be tormented and killed in public arenas until there were no more to be found. European invaders of North America and Siberia did in the fur trade from which they so hugely profited by the self-defeating overkill of fur-bearing animals.
Human destruction of ecosystems has increased relentlessly since industrialization. The annihilation of 60 million bison on the North American Great Plains was made possible by the intrusion of railroads and the invention of the repeating rifle. The reckless exploitation of whales was speeded by the invention of the explosive harpoon, cannon-winch and engine-driven ship. Enormous nets towed by today's factory trawlers permit oceans to be strip-mined for fish--and any other creature unlucky enough to become ensnared in these curtains of death. Tractors and other modern farm machinery alternately compact and pulverize topsoil, increasing its vulnerability to erosive winds and rains. Chain saws and bulldozers level forests faster than axes and hand saws ever could. Dynamite and drag line excavators permit strip mining on a scale hitherto unimaginable, decapitating mountains, turning landscapes into moon craters, and rendering islands such as phosphate-rich Nauru in the South Pacific all but uninhabitable. Boring holes in the earth to get at minerals, of course, resembles the way cancer bores holes in muscle and bone. As Peter Russell (1983, p.33) has observed, "Technological civilization really does look like a rampant malignant growth blindly devouring its own ancestral host in a selfish act of consumption."
Just as a fast-growing tumor steals nutrients from healthy parts of the body to meet its high energy demands, industrial civilization usurps the resources of healthy ecosystems that their natural plant and animal inhabitants depend on for survival. In 1850, humans and their livestock accounted for 5 percent of the total weight of all terrestrial animal life. Today, that portion exceeds 20 percent, and by the year 2030 it could reach 40 percent (Westing 1990, pp. 110-111).
"Never before in the history of the earth has a single species been so widely distributed and monopolized such a large fraction of the energetic resources. An ever diminishing remainder of these limited resources is now being divided among millions of other species. The consequences are predictable: contraction of geographic ranges, reduction of population sizes, and increased probability of extinction for most wild species; expansion of ranges and increased populations of the few species that benefit from human activity; and loss of biological diversity at all scales from local to global" (Brown and Maurer 1989).
Decline in diversity is common to both cancer and civilization. In both cases, heterogeneity gives way to homogeneity, complexity to simplification. Malignant cells fail to develop into specialized cells of the tissues from which they derive. Instead, "undifferentiated, highly malignant cells tend to resemble one another and fetal tissues more than their adult normal counterpart cells" (Ruddon 1987, p.230).
De-differentiation in human societies is at least as old as agriculture and animal husbandry. Farmers have been replacing diverse species of native plants with pure stands of domesticated crops for thousands of years. Instead of the thousands of kinds of plants that pre-agricultural peoples gathered for food, just seven staples--wheat, rice, maize, potatoes, barley, sweet potato and cassava--now supply three-quarters of the caloric content of all the world's food crops. The world's astonishing abundance and variety of wildlife is going fast, with many species soon to be seen only in zoos and game parks, their places taken by cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and other domesticated livestock.
Despite their value in providing wildlife habitat, modulating flood waters and filtering out pollutants, more than half of the world's swamps, marshes, bogs, seasonal flood plains and other wetlands have been drained, dredged, filled in, built on or otherwise destroyed. Temperate forests dominated by trees of many species and of all ages are giving way to single species, same-aged conifer plantations supporting far fewer birds and other wildlife. And the tropical forests that harbor more than half of all species on Earth are being mowed down faster than their bewildering biodiversity can be identified, leading some experts to warn that we are causing the greatest mass extinction since the disappearance of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
The tendency of civilizations to homogenize and impoverish ecosystems is nowhere clearer than in urban areas. Major cities are becoming indistinguishable from one another in appearance and undifferentiated in function. Central business districts so resemble one another that travelers can be forgiven for forgetting whether they are in Boston, Brussels or Bombay. Shanty cities in poor countries look alike, as do suburbs in rich countries.
As Lewis Mumford pointed out more than 30 years ago, the archetypal suburban refuge in the United States consists of "a multitude of uniform, unidentifiable houses, lined up inflexibly, at uniform distances, on uniform roads, in a treeless communal waste, inhabited by people of the same class, the same income, the same age group, witnessing the same television performances, eating the same tasteless pre-fabricated foods, from the same freezers, conforming in every outward and inward respect to a common mold, manufactured in the central metropolis. Thus the ultimate effect of the suburban escape in our time is, ironically, a low-grade uniform environment from which escape is impossible" (Mumford 1961, p.486).
Globalization of the economy is enclosing the entire world in a single market for machine-made goods that are increasingly standardized whatever their country of origin. Western material values and capitalist commodity culture, led by American television, movies, music, street fashions and fast food, are dominant internationally. Local and regional individuality, along with indigenous cultures, languages and world views, are fading fast.
The decline of natural and cultural diversity is as threatening to the planet as undifferentiated cells are to the cancer patient. Whereas a well-differentiated prostate cancer tends to grow slowly, remain localized and cause no symptoms, a poorly differentiated one often spreads aggressively. Similarly, traditional farmers who keep weeds, pests and plant diseases in check by rotating crops, fertilizing naturally, and maintaining the tilth of the soil don't threaten Earth's health the way single-crop plantations relying on pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and heavy machinery do. Unfortunately, monocultural agriculture is becoming the norm on every continent.
Hemorrhaging is still another symptom of the carcinogenic process. The first sign of cancer is often spontaneous bleeding from a body orifice, discharge from a nipple, or an oozing sore. Vomiting can warn of a brain tumor or leukemia. Signs that Earth, too, has cancer abound. Cities vomit human sewage and industrial wastes into adjacent waterways. Mines and slag heaps ooze mercury, arsenic, cyanide and sulfuric acid. Wells gush, pipelines leak and tankers spill oil. Farm fields discharge topsoil, fertilizers, pesticides and salts to silt up and poison rivers and estuaries. Cattle feedlots add manure. Most serious of all, deforested, eroded hillsides hemorrhage floods of mud.
Fever is another symptom of cancer in both humans and the planet. Cancer patients become fevered because of increased susceptibility to infection caused by a depressed immune system. Chemotherapy and irradiation can also cause fever, as can temperature-elevating substances released by a malignant tumor. Global warming is the planetary counterpart. Waste products released by industry and motor vehicles, deforestation and other feverish human activities pump inordinate quantities of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere where they trap heat and raise temperatures.
Wasting, or cachexia, is still another sign of advanced cancer. A cancer patient becomes fatigued and weak, losing both appetite and weight as the tumor releases toxic hormones and makes metabolic demands on the body. "Many cancer patients die not of cancer itself, but of progressive malnutrition" (Rosenbaum 1988, p.264). The planetary counterpart includes loss of forests, fisheries, biodiversity, soil, groundwater and biomass.
It's not in a tumor's self-interest to steal nutrients to the point where the host starves to death, for this kills the tumor as well. Yet tumors commonly continue growing until the victim wastes away. A malignant tumor usually goes undetected until the number of cells in it has doubled at least 30 times from a single cell. The number of humans on Earth has already doubled 32 times, reaching that mark in 1978 when world population passed 4.3 billion. Thirty-seven to 40 doublings, at which point a tumor weighs about one kilogram, are usually fatal (Tannock 1992, pp. 157, 175).
Like a smoker who exaggerates the pain of withdrawal and persists because the carcinogenic consequences of his bad habit don't show up for 20 or 30 years, governments generally avoid the painful adjustments needed to prevent social, economic and environmental disasters in the making. "Governments with limited tenure, in the developing as well as in the developed countries, generally respond to immediate political priorities; they tend to defer addressing the longer term issues, preferring instead to provide subsidies, initiate studies, or make piecemeal modifications of policy" (Hillel 1991, p. 273). So it usually takes a crisis, often a catastrophe, before even the most commonsensical action is taken--and then it is often too late to avoid irreversible ecological damage.
Is the prognosis for the planet as grim as it is for a patient with advanced cancer? Or will infinitely clever but infrequently wise Homo sapiens alter geocidal behaviors in time to avoid global ruin? Even the most pessimistic doomsayers concede that humans have the capacity to arrest Gaia's deteriorating condition. Cancer cells can't think, but humans can. Cancer cells can't know the full extent of the harm they're doing to the organism of which they are a part, whereas humans have the capacity for planetary awareness. Cancer cells can't consciously modify their behavior to spare their host's life and prolong their own, whereas humans can adjust, adapt, innovate, pull back, change course.
Gaia's future, and humans' with it, depends on their doing so.
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A. Kent MacDougall (911 Oxford St., Berkeley CA 94707) is professor emeritus of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his 25-year newspaper reporting career in 1987 with a 24,000-word series of articles for the Los Angeles Times on deforestation around the world and through the ages. The series won the Forest History Society's John M. Collier Award for Forest History Journalism.