Monday, March 12, 2018

Superheroes - Allegories to the Finicky Nature of God

Note: I try to be vague in this post, but there could be some spoiler alerts.

I'm slogging through the brilliant show, Jessica Jones, a Netflix Original. Season 1 was absolutely fascinating. The character Killgrave is beyond the complexities of most characters we love to hate and really gets under your skin, if you've ever experienced the cognitive dissonance of an abuser.

He's a superhero with a power that should make him untouchable. It very well could make him completely, utterly, and unconditionally good, as well. But, he never learns that character trait. At one point, Jessica Jones tries to teach him to be good, saving the lives of an entire family, and in the process, preventing Killgrave from finishing off the perpetrator of the violence, saving that man's life too. It was at that very moment that Jessica Jones figured out that it wasn't at all possible for Killgrave to be good without her influence. And not outside influence - every second of every day, necessitating her to never leave Killgrave's side.

In Season 2, we witness the short life of Whizzer, another accidental superhero that can run very fast. We constantly see a replayed video of him saying the words, "With much power comes...." Finish that sentence. Is it "...much responsibility"? That's the common phrase we hear. We hold our human leaders to that standard, and they fail it pretty much every time. But no, that's not what Whizzer said. Rather, he said, "With much power comes mental illness."

As I watched the beginnings of Season 2, the binged memories of Season 1 fresh in my head, I looked at the gentleman I was watching with, and asked him, "If you had Killgrave's power, would you use it for good or bad."

"Hell yeah, I'd use it for bad, as well as for good. I mean, you kind of have to have the entire spectrum. With power like that, you get bored. Look at the Biblegod. He has the capacity for complete goodness and yet he has to be a mass murderer - just because he can be. I would be the most benevolent human alive, as well as the most evil."

I've been thinking about it all wrong. Here, I've been claiming that I'm better than the Biblegod, which is still true, according to my definition of good. But I've been basing it on a purely logical idea of goodness. If I had the ability to forgive the sins of the world and prevent all humans from burning in hell for eternity, I would snap my fingers and do it, because I can. Because that is my definition of implicit goodness.

But I don't have power. I don't understand the mind of a superhero. That individual can define goodness however he or she pleases. Since they have power, of course they can wield it in a completely illogical fashion, then convincing those that are controlled by that power, that their arbitrary nature is nothing short of benevolent goodness. Even unconditional love. And we, without power, lap it up.

Sure it makes sense that you have created earth, heaven, and hell, know all, are everywhere, know the count of hairs on our hoary heads, and the location of every raven that falls to the earth - yet cannot control whether we go to hell or not. Sure, you have every capability to take the Israelites out of Egypt with a snap of your fingers, but have to harden Pharaoh's heart at least three times, just so you can kill all the babies in that country. Sure, you can kill the snakes that you sent to poison your people, because they simply complained about your lack of sustenance, yet you give them a statue to look upon, once they get bit, at the same time, telling them that they will die if they make any graven image or trust on any other idol.

And yet you don't do the things that I would consider good. Why? Because you can. Because you simply don't have to.

Where the odes of the superheroes and the Biblegod diverge is in the purported absoluteness of their respective characters. The conflicted nature of the semi-powerful superhero is in a constant state of flux, as displayed by every comic book, everywhere, whereas the nature of the Biblegod is deemed to be inerrant, infallible, and unchangeable. The same, yesterday, today, and forever. And yet, they are exactly the same. The Biblegod claims that he is the same, transcending all of history and into the future, yet his very book claims otherwise.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

I Do Like My Tax Cut

I’ve been a software developer since May 11, 2009. At that time, I made $50,000, right out of college. Six years later, I was making about $85,000. Then, I left that little company that allowed me to cut my teeth in the industry and grow, for a job that gave me an 85% raise. We were flush with money. My wife, I,  and six kids then spent it all. We not only spent it all, but we blew tens of thousands of dollars in credit.

Then we refinanced the house and had an extra $3000 a month in income to spend – which we did. We added all the debt back within two years. I then left my job, which I hated, and took a $25,000 pay cut, so I could be a full time employee, get paid vacations and holidays, and not worry about the behemoth company I worked for, calling my contract without notice.

This pay cut made us struggle a bit. It added stress on my marriage, along with the stress that was already there, and was a catalyst leading to our pending divorce. Yet we made it work partly because my soon to be ex-wife, who graduated from college in 3.5 years, pushed herself through many adversities, and is now on track to be very successful. I couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments.

As we worked toward the divorce, we lived paycheck to paycheck, some of it our own fault, but much of it due to the crap of life that seems to hit at all the wrong moments.

Then, Trump’s tax cut hit my paycheck. I all of a sudden had an extra $200 a month. That amount seems tiny, but it was a huge help to my bottom line. I’m grateful for the extra money, but I do wish that it didn’t come at such a high cost.

Now, the contradiction:

I will gladly pay more, if it means we get the Orange Turd out of office, or even hamper his agenda, which changes every few segments of Fox and Friends.

That is all.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's Quite Possible I Will Begin Writing Here Again: A Sort of Mea Culpa

I'm not sure yet. 

This last two years has left me disillusioned with both sides of the political spectrum. That doesn't bode well for my new home on Free Thought Blogs, which is ironic, being that "free thought" would mean I'm very much allowed to speak from the heart about why things are not as they seem.

But I really feel like it isn't so, and that I have not the independence to fulfill my desire to speak what I see as the nuanced truth of matters, when the most prolific writers on that network have such an antipathy for discourse that disagrees from their point of view.

Bear in mind that I have no proof of this at all, being that I haven't yet stuck my neck out and said anything that has been lambasted. My proof is simply how I am excoriated in public by the very people who are the target audience of FTB, as well as the extreme rhetoric used against their detractors by some of the writers "in charge".

Now, I will not and am not disparaging their point of view, whatever it is. Nor am I even suggesting I disagree with it. That's the beauty of free thought. They get to be who they are and if I am not a good fit, they get to tell me that and even run me out, if necessary. I understand that and completely support the idea.

But I cannot sit back and not say what needs to be said anymore. The things that divide us are so much fewer than the things that are common to us. Yes, that is such a bullshit platitude, overused by politicians who gain votes by saying vacuous utterances, not to mention the bloviating pontificators on the thing we call news, these days.

Rather, the things I am speaking about are the practical things in life, not defined by ideology and belief, but defined by verifiable facts that can be pointed to. Things that, when shoved into a room, everyone from all sides realize they are working toward the same end goal, regardless of underlying ideology.

I haven't made a decision yet. But one thing I can say is that, as much as I thought money was a reason to be excited about moving to Free Thought Blogs, that idea hasn't panned out, and I doubt it ever will. Blogging doesn't make the average blogger an income. Sure, more than this blog does, but not by much.

Simply put, the need to speak what I see as the truth cannot be hampered by the desire to make more money, or the promise of more exposure.

Love you all,

I. C.