Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ron Artest 2 time DPOY backs me up

Roy is air apparent, I'm telling you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I've done several things recently to make life easier. Well one was passive, Misaki sent me a pile of t-shirts that have served to update my wardrobe, something I wouldn't have done myself. Also after ridicule from Morley, and realising April is half a year from my birthday I needed to hurry up my stupid haircut schedule and ditch the mohawk, so now I have a relatively tame shaved head until such a time as it grows out to be cut into another stupid haircut.

I have alas also started applying for jobs, as yet I'm not so desperate to get work that I won't pcick jobs I won't like. Just looking basically for income suplementation. But I was reading... uh... something... that's it I was reading Female Eunuch and listening to radio national, who were talking about kids being taught 'political science' or 'critical thinking' vs 'religious studies' which is another argument in itself.

And I thought, from reading Female Eunuch that if memory serves me correctly, my major preoccupation and energy in high school was in the opposite sex. It seems to me that education might do a disservice by virtually ignoring this preoccupation in the educational syllabus entirely.

Fact is that whilst having the ability to mathematically model in the natural environment has its advantages, the ability to relate and socialise with fellow human beings is probably going to serve everyone better.

Further more, some of the best 'students' have the worst social skills. I know that whilst not being the violent type myself, I often scratched my head at the attitude of smarmy smarmbag nerds that didn't seem to realise that outside our private school gates were people that would beat them up just for their haircuts.

Like watching a lamb that has been trained to ignore lions or some shit.

So yeah, it would be great if kids were taught in school about 'opinion leaders' vs 'opinion seekers'. high context vs low context cultures. Behavioral analysis, emotional and social intelligence, projecting vs empathising, social disorders, nature of attraction and all that shit which can then be put to use in the imediate environment.

I mean imagine if a teacher had taken me aside and said 'Tohm if you like a girl, don't sit around for a year trying to interpret "signs" she may be interested, just ask her out. If you get rejected you'll get over it quickly, nobody cares about you as much as you do, and you'll stop wasting your fucking time on her. Now when you ask her out, don't tell her you love her etc...' and then I could go and do that shit.

Or when they take aside those kids destined to grow into computer programmers and say 'Okay Steven, your choice of white crosstrainers as shoes is highly utilitatarian, hiking boots would also have been an appropriate choice, unfortunately people who aren't as logical and literal as you can't comprehend why you'd combine cross trainers with jeans. This is the aesthetics of fashion, form over function which is why you are being ridiculed. Arguably there is something wrong with their brains not yours, but infact its just a reflection of different personality preferences. They ridicule your clothing choices much like you ridicule their inability to comprehend latin grammar.'

But yeah, really school curriculum served as 'spacers' to the only thing(s) I really cared about during my teenage years, and that was getting a girlfriend. If I denote my love interest with the ambiguous letter S, (most girls in my year were called 'Sarah' seriously) then my timetable looked like this:

1st period - English
2nd period - S
3rd Period - Economics
4th period - Art
5th Period - S
6th period - S

I mean I didn't study the girl 'S' it would be maths or something, but if S was in the class then my attention would pretty much be focused on looking for any opportunity for interaction.

One of the S's was directly infront of me for my whole final year of Maths, which was specialist maths which resentably actually demanded attention. But fortunately that S was the kind of girl I assumed would be impressed by my intelligence so the two kind of dovetailed there.

Not that I ever succeeded, but man, I would have been a runaway freight train if a subject could have aligned my energies to building these relationships.

As it was though, lets be blunt, we only go to high school to get into University these days, it has next to nothing to do with education. Learning is literally 'learning how to ace exams' not understanding or whatever.

So my thoughts would all be geared towards the 75 minutes of opportunities to advance my relationship a day which was both important and frightening to me. The 4-5 hours I spent doing anything else simply kept me from it.

Ironically school brought me an opportunity to meet women, then infuriatingly denied me from doing anything with it by filling it up with classes.

Hence school is one of those preoccupations.

Work is the other obvious preoccupation. This is the clincher for me, I don't really associate with office types, but when I was one I met many. Also from associating with fellow Business students you meet these people.

Beyond shaving my head into a 'normal' haircut and dressing like somebody who actually has money, for the past year I could have made life a lot easier for myself, by just getting a full time job. I probably could have slotted somewhere into Honda and been back on that old familiar track by now.

But living with my brother is driving me the opposite way. He has a job, full time shift work, is paid well and is otherwise respectable. But I wouldn't say he does anything. He just works, and when he isn't working he comes home plays World of Warcraft, sleeps or watches TV shows he streams online from the US.

And tellingly he is one of many people who while away there lives in this style, because I'm sure you know one of them, they just watch too much fucking TV. They watch the shows you never used to bother watching, because now when they aren't at work they need to unwind with the little time left them in a trancelike state. So they try out all these shows, including every single program on HBO - True Blood, Deadwood, United States of Tara, Eastbound and Down, Curb Your Enthusiasm etc. Then they Watch shitty dramas/dromedies Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Boston Legal, House. Then they watch sitcoms - Southpark, Family Guy, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Psyche. Then they check out 'The Mentalist' because they want to know what Psyche would be like if it wasn't a comedy. They watch Lost, and they watch Fringe even though Fringe is shit. They love 'Big Love' and bored yet? because I am.

See with all my freetime, the curious thing is, that of the 30 shows that my brother downloads, I end up watching about 3 of them.

But I've been there. My brother is someone that now if we both went to a bar, and a girl was asking us what we do, I would be the one struggling to explain I'm not a loser. In fact my brother has started to come around, with plans to release his own zine, and he has a new 'girlfriend' he isn't sure he should be calling a 'girlfriend' yet. Arguably because nobody taught him how to have that conversation in highschool.

I am sure for my brother though, whilst work provides money it is the big blank space in his life, between going out to drink (thus like a highschooler, facilitating meeting a romantic partner) or to do the work he is passionate about (writing stories). Much like for me, working at Honda, it was just the thing that consumed most of my time between playing basketball, and tutoring Zamin, which made me feel good. Although I'll be honest, getting drained of all my energy at work made it really fucking hard to tutor Zamin. Basketball I at least got some sleep before. But it would have been much easier to get pick up games mid-week than it is on a saturday or sunday. On a thursday you can play all day until you collapse exhausted.

Thus, whilst having an occupation makes it easier to explain to people what you do, its really just a preoccupation, that often interferes and detracts from our most meaningful relationships and serves only as an excuse to not actually pursue our dreams.

I don't buy it that most people have no dreams beyond marriage, mortgage and kids. They are important and admirable aims, but marriage is either going to be a deeply meaningful supportive relationship, or a blind amble into a social institution with much youthful optimism/insecurity. A mortgage is kind of like dreaming of being a serf for most of your life, and kids just don't want to live for the sole purpose of making their parents proud. They need 10-16 years input from you MAX and then they will definietly be just focused on establishing their own identity, dreams and ambitions.

So what do you do with all the life you have left? Many jobs, I am going to suggest serve more as an excuse to do nothing with that time. To waste the opportunity.

Here's what I propose and am going to try to live by:

Concentrate on creating value, then see if someone will recognise it (by paying you).

Here's what I think goes on mostly now:

See if someone will pay you to do something/anything, then see if you like doing it (or don't and just do it anyway).

I suspect this arse about status quo career path - finding an employer to pay you, rather than creating work someone will pay you for, is why our society has so many entrenched jobs that create little to no value.

And I support that ascertion by just pointing out. Over the past 6 months millions of jobs have been destroyed worldwide, and they aren't the jobs of billions of people that lead subsistance lives, but the jobs of the priveledged few that live in the 'developed nations' people with luxury of worrying about retirement and sailing trips around the world.

These jobs aren't being axed because people are evil. It costs money to make people redundant, it isn't like selling off assets. They are being made redundant because nobody demands the products of their labors. People have stopped buying cars because they don't value them as much as they thought they did when their attitudes to money were flippant. In that case the money had little value, it was easy to come by and easy to let go of. Now the tables have turned.

You don't fire anybody you actually turn a profit on. You fire people that cost you money to employ. Governments have been giving the big car manufacturers handouts for years sighting 'job creation' it's really 'mandatory valuation' which is a roundabout way of pretending to actually value the work they are doing, because they are unable to get customers to pay the prices they need to make a profit.

And of course its broader than the car industry. It's almost everything, but people getting made redundant have to face the fact that redundancy is arguably worse than getting fired, it is saying 'nobody really values the work you do' - it has no meaning there is not a customer out there.

I would argue the people that are safest are going to be the entrepreneurs the ironic 'risk takers' that have ended up being safe. They created their businesses in the way I'm proposing everyone approach their careers - the started creating value, then they found people willing to pay them for it.

Why do they take the risks? Because they want to do work that they enjoy, they want to dovetail their careers with where their energy is heading.

So yeah, fuck yeah, teachers need to listen to where their students energies are being directed, and employers need to focus on where employees (and potential) energy is headed. Otherwise you create friction/drag. That's physics baby, and don't argue with physics (its a real science, unlike economics)

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Thursday, April 23, 2009


After a sluggish start to the year, my recent dislocation has afforded me time to actually do some reading. I've read a friends zine and 'The Black Swan' this year, that's 2 by month 4. Pretty pathetic. But in the past few weeks I've managed to catch up by finishing off 'Social Intelligence' and am close to finishing 'The Female Eunuch'.

These two books have been extremely good for me, because it seems I've been struggling for far too long now with an inability to move on from Misaki. I have made great progress in recent months, largely by ceasing all communication with her.
The problem is that Misaki is like the Simpson's was to my brain.

In highschool I often marvelled at my own ability to be able to recall every single conversation ever had in a Simpsons episode and yet was unable to memorize a few stanzas of Shakespearean verse. I put this down to the fact that Simpsons was actually entertaining (believe it or not kids, it actually was once upon a time). So too I would still maintain that with very little prompting I can remember just about everything Misaki ever said to me. From 'I don't like Italians' at our first date at Tiamos, to 'Where's the proof?' when commenting on my weightloss the last time we met in Takematsu.

I can remember almost every conversation, facial expression, outfit and text message (even though they are all long deleted and met their death with my old phone) although I will admit that when I say 'every' it of course carries the burden of silent evidence, after all I can't remember the conversations I have forgotten.

At any rate it seems vivid. Burned into my brain where almost every other conversation I have had was written in sand at low tide. I was beginning to wonder 'was this true love?' was this a sign I should drop everything and cross oceans to fight for her hand in marriage?

Yes and no. Both Germaine Greer and Daniel Goleman in their respective books.

Let's start with Goleman's 'Social Intelligence' Their are three 'romantic' sections of the brain. A triumvirate of attachment, caregiving and sex. When all three are working in unison, you get romantic love. The three triggers combine to form a strong relationship basis. The exclusivity comes from attachment, the nurturing and support from caregiving and attraction from the sexual centers. Attachment without caregiving is just dependance, attachment and caregiving without sex is just friendship, sex and attachment is just a narcissistic obsession and so on and so fourth. This is the neurological mechanics.

Mechanics that have the insentives and reinforcements to encourage behaviour that is biologically in our favor. For example, men only get a hit of dopamine when a woman they find attractive looks at them. An attractive woman forming a smile then making brief eye contact is an effective flirting technique because it effectively hits the guy at the other end with pure heroin. So too looking at pornography with an attractive centerfold gazing lustily into some camera does not work, does not give that hit of dopamine, even though it maty succeed in arousing a man.

One of the opiates used to reinforce romantic behaviour is oxytocin:

Oxytocin wells up in particular strength in men during this 'refractory period' after orgasm, when they typiccaly cannot get an erection. Intriguingly, at least in rodents (and possibly in humans), abundant sexual gratification in males spikes a threefold rise in oxytocin levels-a brain change that apparantly brings male brain chemistry closer to that of a females for the time being. In any case that clever chemical endgame for lovemaking affords a relaxed time to build attachment, another function of oxytocin.
The lust circuitry also primes a couple for the next tryst. The hippocampus, the key structure in memory storage, holds nuerons rich in receptors for AVP and oxytocin alike. AVP, particularly in the man, seems to imprint in memory with special strength the enticing image of his partner in passion, making his sexual mate singularly memorable. The oxytocin produced by orgasm also boosts memory, again imprinting in the minds eye the lover's fond figure.

There are far more brain functions to love than that, it is just one chemical state, of particular interest because it effects memory. But the fact is, that love in most of its forms has far more in common with a chemical dependancy than romance novels permit. The other important thing being that it is effected by both higher-brain functions (active deliberate thinking) and low-road (habitual-instinctive reflex). Higher brain functions can be reflexive as well, ideas conditioned into us until they form our thinking patterns. As an example, I am acutely aware of feminist issues right now because I'm reading 'The Female Eunuch' than I am conditioned to be by media and otherwise.

But it was known to me, albeit in far less detail about the chemical addiction of love. I also had a vague sense of the dance of body language in triggering these chemicals. Because of this specificness of not just a person, but a person behaving in a certain way, a breakup is actually equatable to the partner with death.

Thus when Claire dumped me, the chemical addiction withdrawel symptoms kicked up. It seems ridiculous to me now, but I used to find a week preceding a 1 hour meeting with her unbearably interminable periods of time to wait. It was agonizing to get through each day, so desperate was I to get that hit of dopamines that came from my former lover. Like waiting in emergency with kidney stones and nobody is giving you painkillers really makes the time go slowly (this I have also experienced).

Thus imagine my frustration that since she had broken up with me, even when my junkie brain saw her, she could cleverly deny the body language cues that triggered the dopamine hits in my brain, leaving me more frustrated and depleted than having not seen her the previous days.

The physiological effects where incredibly hard on me. It seems when I am in a relationship, I tend towards overdosing on the drugs that cause attachment. Which is probably why I have a 5:2 ratio of being dumped to doing the dumping.

With Misaki though, the breakup was a gradual, arguably healthy weening, where she went home to Japan, then the contact gradually declined until eventually she just broke it off. And I never really saw her after that, except for 6 months later by which time we acted almost as if we were still dating for the brief few weeks I visited her, then back to radio silence.

Thus I never hit rock bottom in my addiction to Misaki, crawling through the painful withdrawel, instead simply weened down like nicotene patches until I think I could cruise lightly through with denial.

But when it comes to love and addiction, well that's the 'no' side of the equation. And Germaine Greer has the most pragmatic advice. Witness:

I remember a woman boasting to me once that she had something in bed that I did not therefore a mutual friend of ours must of loved her better than he did me. I eventually found out what she had in bed was a desire to be beaten and humiliated, which forced our mutual friend to recapitulate a tendancy in himself that he had always mistrusted, which made him very unhappy. Women are happy to replace spontaneous association for pleasure's sake with addiction because it is more binding. There are hundreds of cases in England where wives consent to dress up in leather or rubber, and beat their husbands or shit upon them or whatever they require, because the compulsivity of the activity is their security.

Before people start suspecting the kind of shit I might have solicited Miki to do to me, I only select this poigniant citation of Greer's because its destinctive tactic is clear. Basing a relationship on compulsion and addiction, these are ctivities or behaviours of the women in question not qualities such as 'intelligence' or 'charisma'. Prostitution in other words, women doing things any woman could do, but seeking an advantage by doing something most women would not subject themselves to (or so the theory goes).

Addiction as 'love' though has a very faulty and egocentric rationale. 'love isn't sposed to be rational though!', I think it is. Greer continues:

When abandoned women follow their fleeing males with tear-stained faces, screaming you can't do this to me, they reveal that all they have offered in the name of generosity and altruism has been part of an assumed transaction, in which they were entitled to a certain payoff

I would find it hard to argue that I actually capitulated to any of Misaki's compulsions in order to build an addiction to me. I guess the evidence that I didn't being that she is now in Japan, happily single while I am here happily (though probably less so, but for reasons not to do with her) single in Melbourne.

There is still the question of my own addiction versus 'true love' and should I swim oceans to get me some? from someone I believe is particularly 'special'

To this Greer poses a test that I must admit agrees with my own sensibilities and prejudices and thus I like it:

The hallmark of egotistical love, even when it masquerades as altruistic love, is the negative answer to the following question 'Do I want my love to be happy more than I want [her] to be with me?'

And whilst I must admit, I would like her to be here with me, perhaps experience, and perhaps my compassionate nature tells me, if she was here and unhappy it would bring me more pain and less joy than the sporadic contact I have with her now. I would rather hold her hand after 30 years and 5 divorces than force her to be on my own periphery right now. A bit player in my own life and not the major player in her own.

It still doesn't excuse me from being egocentric though, one thing that made her decision her decision to make was because I had already indicated having no interest to live and work in Japan. I made no accomodating gestures to her planned future making her choose a dilemma between life or me. Albeit, neither of us really had knowledge or bothered to enquire what each others plans were when we made our respective choices. It was never so cold or blunt. The decisions were made as individuals and the terms assumed.

But why do I remember Miki vividly, one could argue that I've memorized her, when others have faded from memory. And whilst I could dismiss it as recency, there are other girls whom I remember far better having dated than ones directly after them that even lasted longer.

Greeg again comes to the rescue with pragmatism, there is no special quality within Miki that I was specifically attuned to, but rather specific conscious decisions in my mind that I particularly liked about Miki. I chose to remember Miki, because I liked her so much in other words. Not, Miki chose to be remembered by me because she is so likeable. The difference being a world of empowerment:

the sensations caused by the two kisses are not genuinely distinguishable... The fact still remains that Betsy can only distinguish between the two kisses on some political ground; it is in fact desirable for Betsy to marry into her own class, and one would not object if the policy openly stated instead of cloaked in mumbo-jumbo of the comparrison between two kisses.

Which I stood out when I read it, because when I think about it, I can't distinguish readily between any of the kisses I've ever encountered. I can barely remember any of them. I remember thinking my first one tasted like clag, and I can remember a really bad kisser at Bryce's 18th birthday party. But apart from that they were all the gentle soft experience they usually are.

Thus it is more likely than rather than having a particular chemical attunement to Misaki, or her lipstick being laced with 'LSD' or some such that makes her burn into my memory like magnezium, is thus explained by Daniel Goleman to come full circle.

A more cynical view has it, "Men look for sex objects, and women for success objects." But though women tend to find allure in signs of a man's power and wealth, and men in a woman's physical attractiveness, these are not the prime draws for either sex-just the ones they differ most on. For men and women alike kindness tops the list.

And Misaki, if nothing else was kind. She was also quite physically attractive. But the strength of my attraction to her probably allowed both my higher brain functions and lower brain functions to work without misgivings. I furthermore went in with a clear head having taken ample time to be single and be over that last relationship. I furthermore went in to that relationship with a very gung-ho attitude. I never second guessed myself, and I just tried to enjoy every day. Where with other relationships I had constantly reavaluated the future, and second guessed all the time.

Furthermore, regardless of addiction or genuine love, there's that world of difference between empathising (feeling Misaki's love) and projecting (assuming Misaki felt the same way). And I have to say, I sincerely doubt that my own attachment is any reflection or could ever serve as evidence for Misaki's.

The challange remains, for everyone, to find a partner that spontaneously chooses to stay with you because you make them happy. And not the happyness of suppressing the misery of addiction withdrawell. Someone with whom you are not forcing the situation where you by necessity are arguing 'Do I want my love to be happy more than I want [her] to be with me?' and answering 'No'.

And the drugs just make it harder.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Things people have told me I should be, in no particular order

1. A stand-up comedian.
2. A singer for a band. (?)
3. A financial adviser.
4. An artist.
5. A writer of travelogues.
6. Just a plain old writer.
7. An actor.
8. A fluffer.
9. An advertising accounts executive. (this includes a computer program)
10. A museum curator (the same computer program).
11. An actuary.
12. A physicist.
13. A marketer.
14. A manager.
15. A model. (??)

But strangely I have never been told I should be these:

1. A professional basketball player.
2. A poet.
3. A bass guitar player.
4. A teacher.

Not strangely I have never been told I should be these:

1. Pope.
2. An Editor.
3. A fashion designer.

I had a friend that seemed/seems to drift through life never finding his niche. Or to put it in cycling terms, his chain bounces around and never gains purchase on a particular gear. I used to think 'he can do anything, his problem is he doesn't realise that all he has to do is something.' I never appreciated how hard it is to just do 'something' is until now, when we could be so much.

Compounding this, all the safe, sure and 'valuable' uses of time I was meant to do are currently in the process of imploding, turns out much of the activities with which I could occupy myself were of no use to anyone, not least of which was myself and the market seems to be just figuring this out. I have no credible sources of career advice.

I think I'll just keep bumping around on the gears for now. As scary as it is, if I pause and concentrate it makes a pleasing sound.

A Small Thing, A Poor Thing, But Something

Harvard has started collating and distributing his own publication called 'projak'

According to Wikipedia, The term "Rojak" is Malay for mixture, used as a colloquial expression for an eclectic mix. PROJAK stands for Project Rojak.

After working for nearly 2 years my social life is deteriorating rapidly like the white blood cell count of a leukemia child.

You can say PROJAK is a manifestation of that social life cancer and my curiousity and all I hope to achieve is an on-going conversation between my friends.
I am aiming to release PROJAK fortnightly depending on the response, hence the feedback is most welcomed if not vital.

In Harvards own words, and the first two issues have provided interesting reading. You can sign up I guess and extend Harvard's audience by emailing
(image to prevent spamming his account).

Grzegorz has in his own time been painstakingly programming a point and click adventure, released in parts. The puzzles are rational, the gameplay well thought out and frankly it offers everything one demands from an adventure game. It is a labour of love and having played them I feel it. He also pushes himself to develop with each installment of the game. More than anything else 'The Misadventures of Jimmy The Squatter' inspired me to get off my own arse and do my comic. You can, and should download the episodes from -

Morley has literally gone to clown college, and he has come back with something new (for Melbourne at least) which is Improv-standup. It is standup without the preparation and Improv without the rest of the troop.
I've been to see his show twice, which at least told me his dedication to having no prepared material is the real deal. Which isn't to say he died on stage. But he does have the discipline to roll with anything the audience throws at him, he did half an hour talking about 'cones' which admittedly was not that funny, but he rejected the easy path of 'shit' that was also thrown out. Admiration aside I don't go to see standups to admire people, I go to be entertained. His show is genuinely entertaining, moreso in the first half than the second, but the first half is actually 'really entertaining' as in eye who normally only laughs at intense human suffering was sufficiently impressed to laugh pretty much the whole way through. You can (and should) buy tickets through

I have a friend that writes anonymously under the pen name '150pages' and whilst I could quip that his work is so embarrassing I'd want to release it anonymously too, a quip is all it would amount to. He actually writes brilliant stuff. Furthermore for me, his literary dipiction of Melbourne is the long sought after remedy to the somewhat whitewashed and antiquated Barry Humphries/Hills-hoist iconoclastic view of an Australia that hasn't existed for some 40 years now.
Instead he gives you the in 'It'll be Morning' and '52: Short Stories' and the soon to be released 3rd work, a feeling of what it is to be anonymous and unimportant, and yet real and important in the... well I don't know. I can't describe it, which is why you should just show up at Sticky and ask what they have by '150 pages' his breakout work 'It'll Be Morning' is usually there.

I have a friend in Sydney called Ben, he did webcomics ages ago that were quite witty in a deconstructionist/self observational way. They followed the learning curve of creating a 'Penny Arcade' type webcomic as the characters and settings gradually took on growing depth and complexity. I shudder to use terms like 'tongue in cheek' because I don't envision anyone actually 'cheekily' prodding at the establishment. Web comics just aren't that established yet. Anyway after giving a good wrap to his work I can't actually find it and suspect its been deleted. But he has a showreel for his animation stuff at

And lastly for now, my long time friend Bryce has been producing musicals and directing musicals for what seems like the last aeon. Bryce is the least likely of my friends to need my help to succeed or even to promote a show. But that's beside the point, he has created something with the colloboration of others and is going beyond to support other peoples dreams. He is one of the people in the process of trying to make Call Girl The Musical a lasting show that might have performances put on for eternity. I can't tell you how good the show is, because I've never seen it. I just came to the stage of my life where I realised not only do I not like musicals, but I actively dislike them. If Bryce were the only person putting on musicals I'd probably be more sympathetic, but this country suffers from a strongly held belief that if you append 'The Musical' to anything, anything at all it will be a comedy hit.
But if you do love musicals, Bryce does the best ones. He thinks about his work beyond just a 'passion' and thinks about the audience as well. you can buy tickets from

I do this post, because I often claim that 'most people' do nothing with their lives, whilst feeling grand about myself because I have at least drawn a comic book epic. So its two fold, I point out that many of my friends are doing something with their lives, they are creating, making and expressing shit that doesn't get made otherwise. They are not passively following easy paths to a mortgage, kids and whatever. They may in the most part even want those things, but they aren't taking the easy option of a steady career in logistics management to get them.
It's hard to put yourself out there, to be judged, weighed and measured. And yet people have to do these things to provide the vast majority of us with the entertaining distractions we need to remedy the boredome of staid careers. I think the best thing I can do for my friends, given my hyper-critical personality is criticise, but I'd hate for that to ever be interpreted as discouragement. Because I only offer criticism where I want someone to succeed, and all it ever amounts to is testable hypothesis to see if you can get better work, better reactions, better anything.
But also having produced a piece of work, something of my own, its hard to bemoan why you aren't getting better uptake when like me you've hardly done anything to recommend your friends work to other people. Recommendations seem to have poor uptake anyway, even when they are personal. FOWP currently has a 20% penetration of my personal network, despite pretty hard efforts to get my friends to read it, even bankrupting myself to give it away.

And that's the other half, if you are frustrated that you don't get time to do any of the things you want, but you have the money, support these people. Buy their efforts, and if they suck, tell them. There's nothing worse than selling a few copies of anything and not knowing if anyone actually enjoyed it. At least if someone tells you 'this was a steaming pile of shit' you can go back to the drawing board and try something new. But nothing is truly nothing. Its why those that lead a life more ordinary can absolutely do something positive by consuming. These are rare products where the creator values what you think, not Gucci's, Tommy Hilfigers or Polo Ralph Lauren items were the creator presumes to tell you what to think.

So given my ineffectiveness at recommending shit to the busy people I know in logistical management careers, this post is A Small Thing, A Poor Thing, But Something.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Style Icon 1

I'm going to keep rolling with the fashion theme. I recall when a highschool aquaintance and I were catching the bus home in Japan one time we were talking about fashion and style. This was my 5th year at BCC so by then my style had settled down. She was a country road girl, and though the details were sketchy, she was lamenting at how I totally pulled off my dirty hobo look and how cheap it must be for me.
Then if I recall correctly it turned into a comparison of how relatively less spoilt she was compared to her other friend also on exchange.

But yeah that was my style, and people accepted it. Many would find it hard to believe I've actually cleaned up my image in recent years, now it's pretty much a grunge look, whereas back then it quite literally was a homeless look. And it wasn't unique to me either, there were plenty of guys who sported the terry towelling, chesty bond and cut off tracksuit pants.
I was at my peak though when I settled down with my perfect pair of shorts, they were black, the right length and comfortable. They had been the first shorts I'd ever bothered to carry a wallet in, an awkward adjustment and I typically had never had any money to bother about before them.
But I was so deadset on wearing them every day that I would colour in food stains with a black permanent marker rather than subject them to the wash. I still have those shorts 'retired' somewhere.

So yes, I am somewhat cleaner and more hygenic now, my shorts will get washed around once a month, and I wear shirts that people give to me, even if they are remarkably clean and possibly even 'trendy' (I simply wear them for 9 years until they are no longer trendy, like my mambo shirts now).

But where does a man like me get his style cues from? There is no 'Bogue' magazine for bogans, Kurt Cobain has been dead for a million years and frankly was a little too stylish, too 'try hard' for my standards.

It hit upon me the other day that there is one man, one man whose style I cannot fault, and you may be surprised:

link via electricguitarplanet

I guess you could say he is the 'Marilyn Monroe' to my 'little girl'. A classic depiction of style, like the 2B pencil, Aviator Sunglasses or Led Zeppelin's 'Immigrant Song' he has the timelessness that will never go out of style, that will always be welcomed and worshipped somewhere.

Sure there's the obvious flair, the dye job on his neck beard is a bit dandy, but his a la naturale curls draw the eye to consider the trunk that is supporting these palm fronds. Black is the colour of the singlet, sleaveless it covers the body, a man's body like a sack whilst simultaneously complimenting the hot pink beard and whatever axe he is weilding and the camo pants. The camo pants are all that is both style and utility. In a desert he would appear as an appirition existing only from the waist up. And you can't really see it, but they aren't just camo pants, they are camo shorts. Shorts say 'I can move when I have to' and 'I'm not ashamed of my socks' to the passing observer. The sweatband on the wrist is a tasteful accessory, showing Dime knows just where to draw the line.

And here we come to another gender divide. For one, I find that a large minority of men take their style cues from somebody who does something, other than think about their style, whether it be shredding guitars, dunking on rookies, kicking the ball between the big sticks (regrettably), or being president of some small country. In fact I'd argue that when you consider the influence of hip hop, metal and punk, while no single minority takes their cues from the same source it is probably the majority of male fashion with publications like GQ making up the leftover minority of men who take fashion advice and style cues from one dimensional models.

I also exclude acting from my consideration because there's bound to be confusion between character/actor. Like there are people that dress like Neo from the Matrix, precluding them from passing on their genes in Darwinian natural selection. This doesn't mean they are taking their style cues from Keanu who actually does something.

But girls in my experience and sadly even women, seem to do what 'fashion houses' tell them, be it MYER for the more mature lady, or Just Jeans for the little girls. It doesn't come from anything, doesn't mean anything. Furthermore one could argue that far more guys can successfully imitate Dimebag Darryl and do, than women have imitated any specific look from Angelina Jolie. Even though women probably more often go under the knife with a request for Angelina Lips, than men go requesting 'A Dimebag' (whatever that would be).

And lastly, let's talk about the elephant in the room, Dimebag is probably not most ladies cup of tea in the man department. As a strategy for getting laid, Dimebag probably sucks. I have met exactly 0 Pantera fans that were female, and only 5 guys in my lifetime that were professed Pantera fans. But crucially, this insistence that the function of fashion is purely to disguise what an actual disgusting and boring person you are and thus ensnare potential mates is one we collectively need to move away from. I do not begrudge those Metal chicks, for whom the thought of sleeping with them is truly horrifying, for going with the look that reflects who they are and what they dig. Rather than begrudge them, I respect them. And I mean, who the fuck are we all to expect people to make themselves attractive to us.

In Queensland a guy called Nick told me there's a clip somewhere of Pantera's where Dimebag does a shit standing up. I don't know the truth of this, but I think such an anecdote demonstrates the defiant-self reliant style that Dime encapsulates, making him an immortal of fashion even if he'll never make the cover of Vogue. It's time to democratize style icons.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

West Eye for the East...Uh...Girl

A couple of months ago I was skipping along, skippedy dee, skippedy dah, skippity tra-la-la-la and whilst undertaking this joyous activity I skipped right into the heart of Melbourne's CBD and for some reason was struck by a peculiar thought. I don't know where it came from, perhaps my pretentious external genius came running from the horizon and passed through me but I thought for some reason 'These asian international students could leave the pricetags hanging off their clothes and I wouldn't even blink.'

Perhaps it's because of the meticulous care with which the Asian students keep their clothes in 'store bought condition' but more likely it is because to me, for the most part these south east asian princessess exude all the personality of a mannequin.

Then I came across someone that articulated this phenomena in my casual reading of recent. (actually research for my next comic):

To her belongs all that is beautiful, even the word beauty itself. All that exists to beautify her. The sun shines only to burnish her skin and gild her hair; the wind blows only to whip up the colour in her cheeks; the sea strives to bathe her; flowers die gladly so that her skin may luxuriate in their essence. She is the crown of creation, the masterpiece. The depths of the sea are ransacked for pearl and coral to decorate her; the bowels of the earth are laid open that she might wear gold, sapphires, diamonds and rubies... Men risk their lives hunting hunting leopards for her coats, and crocodiles for her handbags and shoes. Millions of silk worms offer her their yellow labours; even the seamstresses roll whip lace by hand, so that she may be clad in the best that money can buy... my lady must therefore be the chief spender as well as the chief symbol of spending ability and monetary success.

Sounds like a sweet deal right?

For she is a doll: weeping, pouting or smiling, running or reclining, she is a doll... her essential quality is castratedness. She absolutely must be young, her body hairless, her flesh bouyant, and she must not have a sexual organ... Her expression must betray no hint of humour, curiosity or intelligence, although it may signify hauteur to an extent that is actually absurd, or smoldering lust, very feebly signified by drooping eyes and a sullen mouth (for the stereotype's lust equals irrational submission) or most commonly, vivacity and idiot happiness. Seeing that the world despoils itself for this creatures benefit, she must be happy; the entire structure would topple if she were not.

I can't be bothered quoting enough of this chapter of Germaine Greer's 'The Female Eunuch' and as such cannot do this superb piece of prose justice. But I knew reading it what is so unsettling about the smorgasboard of Asian eye-candy in Melbourne's CBD, the thing that doesn't sit right.
It's that it is like looking back into nostalgia for a past that really brilliant people fought so hard to cast off. The disturbing thing is that so many can interpret having men lay down and open their wallets to feed and adorn and chauffer you around to be worshipped by him and envied by others and in return you simply have to be a mute castrate doll, essentially a more visable rolex, louis vuitton handbag or any other prestigious accessory. It's scary how many people are conditioned to think thats a good deal.

I've been lucky to have Madoka as a host sister, because she wore what the fuck she wanted, did what the fuck she liked (usually sleeping) and was a nice warm loving human being who helped out the elderly and takes what she wants. If not for her, I'd perhaps think that there was something genetic about asian women that made them submissive and boring.

The advantages to me as a guy are obvious, and that is the easy explanation for the male populations contribution to reinforcing the stereotype. Accept eye-candy is an apt name, because it's like candy. If you come home every night to a plate of candy for dinner, you've fucked up. Nobody wants candy all the time, except they may think they want it all the time.

So too, Misaki, my one 'asian' girlfriend is the onlyone for a reason, and that is because she was actually a really interesting person. She talked a lot, and even in her oft hilarious engrish she was never put off from expressing her opinion on any subject, to anyone - one of which was 'I think Australian Girls dress agressively'

If an economist was analysing my type - despite the numerous accusations I recieved from my time dating Misaki that I had 'yellow fever' they would find the overwhelming evidence that I prefered bogans/bumpkins/nay even 'bush pigs'. None of which are flattering terms, though I oft got away with calling my various girlfriends these endearing pet names (an alternative theory may be that I didn't hence my singledom now).

But to Misaki commenting on the aggressiveness of white girls dress, I would have to reply 'she don't know shit' using hick grammer. But yes, this aggressiveness is one thing you could call it, aggressive can be one way to describe the opposite of 'passive' another being 'active' and using this term describe people is to be an 'activist'.

Because that's the 'West eye' component of this fashion tip, or as Jack Nicholson's character expresses in the 'Western-eye-sed' version of 'Infernal Affairs' known to the Oscars annals as 'The Departed' - Nicholson opens with the philosophical musing 'this is what the niggers don't understand, nobody gives it to you, you have to take it' the passive/active devide is their.

For sure, western feminin fashion sense has many of its own problems resultant from the derailing of the womens movement and the absolute conquest of the sexual revolution by people like Hugh Hefner. But there is some legacy there to the women's movement, their exists a minority of women that have sex primarily for their own pleasure (even though they are thrown in with women who have sex primarily to assuage their own insecurity known as 'sluts') and there are as many empowering t-shirt slogans that portray the wearer as a demanding lover (such as the one with arrows pointing up from the chest of the shirt and the phrase 'I'm up here' a shirt I was determined to buy and wear myself, but target stopped stocking it.) as there are the submissive slogans ('If you're rich I'm single' comes to mind, as well as the simpler 'princess').

And no I would not in general say that western women have reached the promised land expressed by Bryce in the simple exchange 'doesn't your girlfriend hate your goatee?' and Bryce responded 'Why do you think I give a shit?' which rather than being a chauvinistic statement I interpret more as Bryce's appearance is dictated by Bryce. The opposite notion is portrayed in Gillette ads which give the impression women will boycott sex with men if they are not clean shaven, a threat reassuringly enough men are courageous enough to ignore.

So really, I guess I'm saying that even though western and eastern feminine fashion have perhaps 90% of the ideology in common, to transform women into castrated dolls for parading about town, its in the 10% of difference that the trends need to flow West-to-East, not East-to-West.

The key difference being, western fashions can be active, they can be demanding, they can actually say something about the wearer that differentiates them. Like Claire's nose-stud, Chantelle's big pants, Eleanore's freckles, Shona's glasses, Sarah's dock-martin armyesque boots. And all these girls were still hot, charismatic, interesting, engaging, bossy, stubborn, demanding, funny, surprising, intelligent, idiotic, emotional, cold and rational, ambitious, quirky, biting... lets just call them human beings.

In short, the uniformity of south east asian fashion trends, and perhaps more disturbinlgy the monoculture of physiques, hair cuts, manicures, perfumery all carefully chosen to remove any hint of any individual trait that might single one out for social rejection says one thing poses one hopeful question to the viewer/experiencer -

'do you like me?'

Whereas fashion should say:

'This is who the fuck I am, deal with it.'

That's aggressive enough for me, I wouldn't even care how much such fashion cost.

Projak 2

Harvard just released the second edition of projak. I don't know how you'd get your hands on a copy... but it's theme was 'Daddy' a theme I ignored completely in my submission in no uncertain terms. But since it came out and I read all the submissions that actually were about daddy, I've had the below song in my head. It makes me wax nostalgic for being a teenager in the 90's where you would have been guaranteed to see this at 2am on rage.

I wish I'd remembered this in time. But alas I don't believe many magazines are youtube compatible.

# 13

1. Accept everything just the way it is.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Never be jealous.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself or others.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
11. In all things have no preferences.
12. Be indifferent to where you live.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
17. Do not fear death.
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
21. Never stray from the Way.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Only in Australia...

Would a kid that rode from Brisbane to Sydney on a bicycle be described as an 'Amazing' journey. Perhaps because he was a teen runaway, and normally teen runaways go to their mate Steve's house.

But I suspect many Australian's would be amazed that its even possible to ride a bicycle from Brisbane to Sydney. Despite my running into a Swiss National that rode a bike from Frankfurt to Perth and back again. Now perhaps I could have been forgiven for rubbing my eyes in Astonishment at that.

Alas where is my news story for riding from Austria to Amsterdamm?

The Money Post

I have had many heated arguments with my parents, whom are like most people facing retirment absolutely shellshocked by the financial crisis. Warren Buffett has long made it his policy to not invest in things he doesn't understand - keeping him out of Enron, and also Microsoft equally. Both to his credit, indeed Microsofts astronomical success through the 80's and 90's was that nobody could have predicted how successful it would be.

More concerning though, is not just the lack of understanding in investment categories like, stocks, bonds, derivatives and property, but that most of the worlds investors don't even understand cash!

Things Cost More Than They Used To!

Nothing illustrates more how money is an abstract concept than inflation. Currently news reports run on Zimbabwean Trillionaires. Except that in Zimbabwe, a trillion dollars would struggle to buy you a tomato. The Dutch Company that was printing the money for the hyperinflation simply refused to release any new 'Gajillion' bank note denominations (probably because they saw no real prospect of being paid).

When a child contemplates the existence of rich and poor, and wonders at the cruel nature of the world that does not allow everyone to be equally rich - 'why? Why don't they just print millions of dollars and give it to everyone?' the answer is, if you give everyone a million dollars, and milk is limited. How does the seller determine who to give their milk too? Why they give it to the highest bidder. This is the simple explanation of inflation, that only happens in places like Zimbabwe.

The subtle everday sense concerns the existence of bubbles. The child who thinks about million dollar milk, should rationally be inoculated against herd mentality assett bubbles. But it seems we actually seem to never attain this level of insight.

Printing money creates 'unspecial wealth', ratcheting up debt also creates unspecial wealth. In fact, debt always appreciates faster than asset prices, a relationship so obviously unsustainable it takes a concerted lack of genius to ignore it.

Banal (but infinitely more dangerous inflation) is caused predominantly by inadequate measures of well being - simply consumption = growth. So instead of something brilliantly productive, like figuring out how to travel vast distances using relatively no energy on a bicycle, simply buring bicycles on a big pile looks like growth, because we consume a lot of bicycles. Also spending all your savings looks like growth. And spending other peoples savings looks like growth. And spending other peoples savings on a house looks like growth. And then someone spending even more of someone elses savings on the exact same house looks like growth. And then spending even MORE savings on the exact same house looks like growth...

And so, people percieve they are getting richer, when they are getting more and more indebted. Sure, in a very short time frame (say 10-16 years) it can look like its working, because each time you load up on debt you can sell off the house in a few years for a greater amount and thus pay down your debts and walk away with a modest profit. Except that this sale requires someone with more debt than you had to use their debt to buy out your debt and they use their debt to fund your 'profit'. Which goes into the bank, which the bank then lends out $9 for every $1 you put in.

This creation of 'wealth' is effectively the same as just printing money. The house it must be pointed out, gets no more useful. No more productive unless the owner can get more rent. The owner gets more rent by putting the price up. Alternatively, the rent may be regarded as the repayments in the interim between buying and selling the house that service the debt.

Thus, as debt goes up so do living expenses. Meaning that if a milk producing individual is using this 'wealth creation' strategy, they have to compensate for the increasing living expenses. So they put their prices up. This in turn is a living expense increase, so other people are now obliged to put up their prices. And everyone puts up their prices until everyone is back to where they started.

Why? Because ATEOTD (At the end of the day) Money has a job to do. Its job is to reflect the total value of the resources we can access from the Natural Environment without killing us all.

True cost economics isn't a theory, it is a force of nature.

Psychology and Economics Get a Divorce

Keynes is despised by most economists because he looks at human behaviour instead of rational behaviour.

Keynes noticed shit like 'wages don't go down, because people never accept lower wages' he noticed that in 'microeconomics' price behaviour was not elastic. In the short run, prices never went down, only up. The value of money thus had to come down.

So too does the Uber-Evil of our times GNP hate Keynes, because it is a purely rational model that ignores actual human behaviour.

In particular GNP as a measure of wellbeing, completely disregards an IMMENSE body of research that tells us that as an individual gets richer they get no happier.

Money is not useless, it just as has been percieved from a very early age - not everything.

A richer person may experience more pleasure than a poorer person, but because of their inflated expectations it also costs more to service their pleasure. As Daniel Goleman points out - it is possible to have yacht envy.

Humans are also notoriously bad at forecasting hedonistic impact, known as impact bias. They think being poor is worse than it is, and being rich is better than it is. Even when their own experience would disconfirm these expectations. They are also incredibly bad at estimating odds.

All this makes a basis in the 'rational human being' a collossally bad assumption to pin all our economic hopes on.

Other contrary elemants of the human psyche to popular economic theory are schadenfreude, or taking pleasure at your enemies demise. In 'genealogy of morals' Nietzsche attributes ALL morality to the creditor debtor relationship, pointing out that corporal and capital punishment have never done anything to reverse a crime, they merely give human beings pleasure in an act of revenge. So too, economists cant predict that people will reject a bad offer, even if its better than nothing to take a moral stance. They will punish someone out of spite. There is no room for spite in economics.

At any rate we would have a far more robust economic system if it was founded on the principles of 'people are fucking morons' with dollar bills bearing an imprint of 'this money is no longer yours after you spend it' and more crucially economists actually regarding debt as something bad to have, and entertaining the possibility that people may take on debt irrationally. As in a big sign over every mortgage house that says 'ACHTUNG! CAUTION: THESE PEOPLE MAY NOT ACTUALLY KNOW HOW THEIR HOUSE IS GOING TO MAKE MONEY'

Because at the end of the day, money has to be backed up by things that can actually sustain us - food, clothing, energy and to a much more modest degree shelter.


Adam Smith proposed classical economics to move away from an obsession with the gold standard back then. Back in the day European kings used to sell whatever grain and wheat and shit they could find for gold that they could stick in a treasury buried under ground somewhere to sit in clinky piles for the rest of its life.

Smith pointed out, that rather than maximising exports, countries should be trying to maximise imports because these were the things that actually imporved quality of life.

Because Gold whilst having some utility, its major utility in the old days was as money. It was non perishible, and rare enough that people couldn't 'print their own money' by digging up a whole bunch of gold in their backyard. But once legal tender came in it was much safer to use other shit as currency. But to get people to trust 'monopoly money' they initially backed it up with a reserve of gold.

But since gold wasn't useful as money, gold as a reserve needed the same fundamental confidence that makes any currency 'generally acceptable'. Gold is now useful in electronics, a comeback for it. But as Buffett says 'Gold is dug out of the gorund to be cleaned, melted down and burried under a different piece of ground to be guarded by men. It has no utility.' So if what makes currency useful is confidence in it being redeemable for other goods, what makes gold useful is it being redeemable for other goods.

So money then...

Money represents access to the Natural Environment

This is what money will do. It will do it on its own, no matter what economists say. This is the truly special thing about money, the thing a lot of people don't understand.

Money sits on a shelf in some bank vault and... it thinks. It thinks about its self worth, it works on its self esteem. It builds itself up when it is down, and it humbles itself when it has a swollen ego.

Look at a bank note and you will think - Its just a piece of paper. How can it think and evaluate its own self worth?

And the answer is, it doesn't really. The market has a belated tendancy to have revalations. I don't believe in Efficient Market Theory, because bubbles are irrational creations and the corrections too quantum in nature.

But basically, Money sits on a shelf and thinks - 'hang on, all these houses being built. When I really think about it, there's far more houses being built than there are people to live in them. But people are buying them for increasing amounts of me (money) even though there is no 'real' demand, just a fever. Worldwide the real estate prices have represented about 30-40% of the growth of the past few years, I gotta correct this.'

And the money decides it can buy a lot more houses than it previously thought. When money decides it can buy 30-40% more houses than it thought, a lot of shit follows.

The chain is too complex for me to describe, because it is still unravelling. There is so much unravelling that it may pause for a break. But basically that money is going to figure out what it thinks a Californian house is really worth in terms of...

Atlantic Salmon, Teak, Coffe Beans, Rice, Concrete, Wool, Beef, Apples, Pine Nuts, Pesto Genovese, Ravioli, Lemon Tarts, Pears, Mochi, Gyoza, Pork Buns, Sausage Rolls, BBQ Sauce, Bread, Sunglasses, Lead, Pine... etc.

It will figure out what everything is worth relative to everything else. But the Natural environment we must understand, cannot be beat. There is a physical law of money, like gravity that no matter what you think something is worth, will always be grounded in those fundamental human needs for survival - water, air, food, clothing, shelter. Not even the richest person can ever convince money that it is worth soooooo much that they don't have to worry about these fundamentals.

Money may (and has) indeed decided in the past that it was worth more than vast swathes of humans. That is called famine, something we sorely don't want to globalise.

Monday, April 13, 2009

There are Trees Elsewhere

I watched a TED video that posed the perplexing question that has indeed become the question of our times.

SURELY, when they only had one tree left on Easter Island, the Chieftan's knew that cutting it down was an unsustainable action. WHY the fuck would somebody push the very environment that sustains them, so OBVIOUSLY far beyond the sustainable threshold?

Or in other words,

SURELY, it couldn't go that far?

But I guess it does, and the dividing line is between hoping someone does the right thing and doing the right thing.

Or 'There are trees Elsewhere', look at Victoria, I could probably walk to Sydney in a month, pretty easily. I'd need a tent and some biscuits. But once upon a time, this was a gruelling, year long monstrosity of a journey, because between Sydney and Port Phillip Bay, was thick, unpunctuated bush, full of kangaroos to gore you, koala bears to drop on you, dingos to carry off your baby and Aboriginals so mysterious they legally didn't exist.

But now, it's just paddocks. Paddocks aportioned by squatters, sub divided and sold off to would-be farmers, that clearfelled all the bush, burnt it off and ended up with a monoculture of grass.

Each individual property owner didn't think 'hang on, if I cut down ALL my trees, and Ted cuts down ALL his trees, and Sue cuts down ALL her trees, and Graham cuts down ALL his trees...(several hours later) there won't be ANY trees left!!!' and thus each individual property owner, figured out how many trees they had to leave to ensure enough trees that if everybody followed the same pattern would leave enough trees for everyone.

Except they didn't. I mean they probably asked the question, but thought 'If Ted cuts down ALL his trees, and I DON'T, then Ted will have more grass for more cows and that cunt will be richer than me.' Not noticing that in pioneer days, you were so geographically isolated, there probably wasn't shit to spend money on, except aquiring more land to cut down trees on and plant cows.

Furthermore, perhaps pioneers also didn't understand where oxygen comes from, and thus can be forgiven for thinking trees largely value-less. They probably thought fresh air came from the bible or some shit.

But this is it, the prisoner's dilemma that drives us all into oblivion. An inability for anyone to do the right thing. So long as we are petty jealous, profit-maximising rational persons we are prisoners.

What is needed is to take a deep breath and say 'There are trees right HERE, and even though it may cost me money to keep them here on this patch of earth I control, what the fuck has money ever been good for? I mean REALLY? That new car? Feels like my old car. Those new shoes? They faded after a couple of weeks, I don't like them so much. That girl at the nightclub? She turned out to be a man. There may be trees elsewhere, but I don't trust those cunts to do the right thing. So THESE trees, THESE TREES RIGHT HERE, they can stay.'

Not 'There are plenty of fish in the sea' (one of the least sustainable industries) not 'There are trees elsewhere' (didn't stop the Easter Islanders from having to eat each other) and not 'That cunt is doing it so I have to look after me and mine' that's prisoner mentality.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Should I Even Write About Zeitgeist?

Okay straight up, I'm going to paraphrase Bill Hicks (original review on 'Basic Instinct' another supposed controversial film):

"Don't get sucked in by the phoney hype surrounding this movie. Quick capsule review: 'Piece a shit!' That's all it was, is a piece of shit."

So I'll just reiterate straight up - quick capsule review: Not even worth watching.

In a nutshell the narrative of Zeitgeist goes as follows:

1) Christianity is a lie, Jesus doesn't exist there's a conspiracy to cover up that Jesus is actually the sun.
2) The World Trade Center Attacks (911) were staged and executed by the US government (the Zeitgeist of the films title).
3) The World Bank, IMF, Federal Reserve are actually trying to create a global currency that will be implemented by implanting RDI (RDF?) satellite tracked microchips that will be used to control the people of the future.

This process is missing only two things in it's narrative: Step 4) ??? and Step 5) Profits!

There are two principles you need to know to watch Zeitgeist, the first being 'the narrative fallacy' in that human beings are excellent at retrospectively predicting the future by selecting evidence that confirms a particular story to explain events. The second is Occam's razor - mentioned prominently in Contact, albeit erroneously by all the characters that propose that 'God is the simplest explanation for existence' but basically it states that 'all else being equal the simplest explanation is most likely the right one.'

Before breaking down the various sections, the last thing I will say is about conspiracies in general (and the people who believe in them).

Conspiracy theories more often than not serve the opposite purpose of what their promoters believe. Genuine conspiracies do exist, such as the conspiracy of Catholics to assasinate Queen Elizabeth in the times of the Spanish Armada, or Guy Fawkes' Gun powder plot, the Bay of Pigs Disaster etc. But none on the level of complete control of society, control of society is as far as evidence suggests usually quite obvious and blatent, and reason suggests that subtle, anonymous control would be nearly impossible.
Conspiracy theories seek to explain why events that seem random and unpredictable are infact controlled and deliberate, whilst conspiracy nuts espouse they are trying to preserve civil liberties and question authority, behaviourally they are craving an authority that is reassuringly in control.
It is for most conspiracy promotors at least at a subconscious level, more comforting to think a group of evil men are pulling all the strings rather than blind participants colliding in a semi-random (and effectively random) environment to produce a spectrum of unforeseeable events. In other words, it is more comforting to believe somebody is in control, than to believe nobody is in control.
That is the general principle on which people should reject Zeitgeist.

Part 1: Jesus and Religion.

Where you should get information from: Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion. Or if you don't have timeto read a whole book just go here and have a browse.

This is probably the best and most credible section of the film. Again it suffers from allevating a few ideas to agrandizement, but it is a pretty neat little theory and entertaining for 10 or so minutes. However it's also the section that could most easily be cut from the film. It's inclusion in the context of the rest of the film that follows doesn't contribute to the narrative, but tells us something about the directors perception of the target audience - people who love to hate religion, government, economics etc. otherwise why bother angering the Christian faithful and maximising their chances that they will dismiss the rest of the film. These days Christianity has little to do with the economy and themes that follow.

The big drawback of the theory is that its entirely irrelevant whether Jesus is a reinvented Sun God or not. Applying Occams Razor to the Christianity yeilds much simpler explanations than a deliberate conspiracy to cover up the fact that Jesus is a metaphore for the sun.

Firstly the simplest explanation for moral codes is biological. Our moral codes are pretty universal in a general sense, excluding people born with disorders that inhibit their social abilities. This is covered at length in Dawkins' 'The Selfish Gene' which in my opinion is a simpler explanation on how people can be selfish or altruistic in differing contexts. Basically it is an Evolutionary Stable System that gives way to morality - we occasionally will steal resources off a neighbour if we can get away with it because it advantages our genes and disadvantages theirs. But we will show loyalty to a partner in a manogomous relationship if it creates an advantage for our genes. Conversely if evolutionarily stable a small proportion may leave a partner 'holding the baby' to sew their seed elsewhere. After millions of years of refinements, the set of genes that effect behaviour come up with more or less 'The Golden Rule'.

Religion comes in as social behaviour, known as gangs, its a basis of membership and the religions that survive are the ones that have the 'memes' that are evolutionarily stable for rewarding the 'in-group' and punishing the 'out-group'. Once this is understood, all other debate about the specifics of religion is frankly irrelevant. To me, reason leads to one place - 'There is no god' because it is the simplest explanation given the evidence. Whether Jesus is a Sun-god or just the Jesus we know and love is irrelevant.

At any-rate this theory is worth questioning on the principle of not accepting ideas presented as facts.

There is at least scholarly agreement, that the collection known as 'the new testement' were written at least a hundred or so years after the facts, and the teachings of the various disciples contradict eachother, suggesting the inaccuricies arise from an ineffecient transmission of the different perceptions of the origins of the oral traditions. Or, simply the preservation of the teachings was not perfect over the generations.

Only one disciples teachings actually put a divine spin on both Jesus' virgin birth and his death and resurrection. There is no archealogical evidence to suggest the person of Jesus ever existed. However it is likely that somebody existed, and contrary to 'The Passion of the Christ' or 'Ben Hur' that melodramatically depict the whole of the Roman Empire, the Jews and citizens of the middle east waking up and realising Jesus was the big deal, mostly nobody cared much. Which is why Jesus could have been one of the many profits of the time, or a combination of a few of them.

The most significant figure in Christianity is not Christ, or St Peter, or Jon the Baptist but Emperor Constantine whose conversion to Christianity brought with it the law that every Roman citizen was required to convert from paganism to Christianity. Yes, Christianity didn't survive and flourish under 'freedom of religion' but under the exact opposite. Patronage of Roman Emporers better explains why Christianity became the dominant religion of Europe, rather than the efforts of the Christian Martyrs to persuade the masses. Like most decisions, it was a matter of reaching someone of influence, rather than a war of attrition against the mass market.

This happened in 300-347 AD or so. Before that Christianity was a phenomena like Scientology today. A small unimportant community, thus it is no surprise that the origins of Jesus are ambiguous.

The Jews if Exodus is to believed were a community that originated out of the African region of Egypt, thus it is no surprise if you can accept that religions in general are stories invented by human beings to form a basis of social cohesion in the foremost and explain natural phenomena on the side, that they might borrow ideas and narratives from a neighbouring community and vice versa. That's a simpler explanation than the suggestion that Christianity was actually pure astrology for 300 or so years then later a cover up was issued when someone felt it necessary for Jesus to be a person and not 'the sun'.

I mean overwhelmingly, why should anyone care? If christianity was working as sun worship, why turn it into an anthropomorphic religion at huge expense and edict laws that punish the followers for not accepting the change?

I mean, it is known that the Vatican picked and chose and censored what went into the Bible and what was out. Furthermore, just thinking objectively about the bible story (or watching the passion of the christ) fails to impress any significance at all. I mean why really should we care that a god impregnates a virgin, allows that child to grow, then allows that child to die, and that this sequence of events absolves humanity of its sins (temporarily) and then that that person comes back from the dead (miraculous yes, but to what effect?) and then dissappears again.

It's a story, but when I look at the progress of events I just fail to see any significance. Interpreted as astrological, it could be argued that this story makes more sense. But then it provides no real instruction and nothing (really) of any importance. Jesus' return from the dead was of some comfort to his buddies. Or that the Sun takes 3 days to complete some transition over the winter solstace, so what?

So fucking what?

This section of Zeitgeist is as I said, entirely irrelevant. It doesn't matter where the Bible story drew its inspiration from, or was modelled on other religions, or that the world's religions share common features. The real debate is whether there is a 'devine creator sentience' and thus some external and universal moral code, which if there is means the debate is on what basis one should choose between the various theories (religions) that present themseves, or more compellingly, that the failure of all religions to substantiate any evidence for the existence of a creator might suggest that our default skeptical or rational position be to reject the existence of a divine being.

So read the God Delusion to get info on this debate, because YES there are rules to science and reason and logic that say that science and reason and logic must CATEGORICALLY reject religion s unscientific, unreasonable and illogical. Or as Bertrand Russell uberphilosopher puts it 'The world will only be saved by faith and courage. Faith in reason, and courage to speak what reason shows to be true'

Now the intrinsic problems of knowledge and Goedel's incompleteness theorem, there are problems to expend energy on.

Part 2: 911 & War.

Where you should get information from: Noam Chomsky - almost anything but 'Deterring Democracy' is a good starting point. And Kevin Mitnick - The Art of Deception. Also Penn & Teller Bullshit - Conspiracy Theories

For the record, this was when I switched off, and was sorely tempted to just turn off Zeitgeist, because it not just suggests but proclaims that 'the truth' is 911 was 'an inside job'. That it proclaims the truth based on 'Gap theory' or questions over the evidence to suggest it wasn't is where Zeitgeist loses all credibility as a source of information.

Put simply, this section suggests that because the official Commission has some questions surrounding it that these questions leave NO OTHER EXPLANATION possible than that The Government must have controlled it.

The movie hinges on this being the case, because September 11 is supposedly the 'Zeitgeist' by which the government creates the social unrest necessary to strip away the final civil liberties necessary for the evil men to control the world.

If you are going to use a concept like truth, I am going to assume you are adopting the generally accepted scientific definition of whether a statement is true or not. That is to say onus of proof. A theory is proven on the provision of incontrovertible evidence that something is true. Onus of proof dictates that 'you must substantiate a claim by providing proof' and NOT 'you must prove that my theory is not true'.

This is the logic of faith, ie. 'It is not up to me to prove my god exists, but up to you to prove he doesn't' which is why religion is categorically unscientific and cannot legally be taught as science in the US. Science is not democratic.

Yet after trying to debunk religion, Zeitgeist adopts this very mentality. So whether they provide evidence that the official explanation for 9/11 is not true, leaves us simply with no explanation, not a bogus dilemma where we must therefore accept that the government staged 9/11.

Which leaves us with Occams Razor to hack this section to pieces. Put simply to stage 9/11 the government had to:

Recruit 4 foreign nationals, willing to commit suicide.
Have them hijack the plane.
Issue a secret order for NORAD not to respond to the deviations from course.
Gag anyone involved in the secret orders to NORAD (permanently).
Conceal the 3rd plane which hit the pentagon, (presumably through wormhole technology) from radar so it dissappeared when the rocket hit the pentagon, killing Members of the US Defence force.
Dissappear the 4th plane and (inexplicably) fire a rocket into the ground in the countryside.
Hire at least 10 actors (and probably 40-100) to call their loved ones from the 4th plane and tell them they were going to attempt to overpower the hijackers and crash the plane before it could hit its target, then vanish all these actors permanantly OR hire families that vanished their own loved ones while putting on a convincing front of grief for the benefit of their neighbours and loved ones as they lived out the rest of their lives with the supposed dead relatives in permanent hiding as some of their partners even remarried to make sure the farce was convincing enough OR the government actually did kill civilians on the flight, whom were so convinced that the plane was hijacked and that they infact were going to overpower the hijackers and crash it into the ground that they communicated this impression to their relatives and loved ones before the government did whatever it is they did.
Sneak a 'suicide demolition crew' into WTC 1,2 & 7 to detonate explosives that brought down these 3 targets that the government decided were all necessary to create the appropriate 'Zeitgeist'.
Fly a plane into each of WTC 1 & 2 to provide pretext for the building falling down.
Have the demolition crew detonate the charges, then 'vanish' the demolition crew however large such that no member can ever come forward.
Successfully prevent any of the hundreds of people involved in the sheer logistics of such a conspiracy from ever coming forward and admitting/suggesting it was a conspiracy.

And when you look at it like that, Occams razor says - this is far from the simplest explanation and is infact the worst possible explanation.

So you have confirmation bias - we hear from 2 or 3 witnesses that recall feeling basement explosions detonating seconds before the plane impact. We don't hear from anyone that doesn't recall these impacts even though it is resonable to believe that these people might exist and have survived. The issue of silent evidence is always a big one in documentaries.

Furthermore, for the track record, as Chomsky (a notable abscence from this Documentary) puts it -

1) the government couldn't even pull off watergate which lead to the resignation of Nixon, a cakewalk compared to the elements necessary to control something like 9/11 attacks.
2) A remote failure to conceal the conspiracy would result in the death penalty for the entire existing 'evil men control group' meaning the end of the republican party, seizure of assets and probably 100-200 people being lined up against a wall and being shot. To assume such a risk for so little gain is suicidal.
3) The attacks happened in a real world environment, it would be difficult to pull off such a conspiracy in a controlled environment, where variables such as several thousand pedestrian witnesses of Manhatten island might spot a demolition crew.
4) Every single government in the world benefitted from 9/11 as a pretext to crackdown on terrorism, including Australia, China, Pakistan, India, Isreal, England, Holland, Germany, Italy, France, East Timor. This makes the US government no more likely to engineer such a plot as a group of rebels in the middle east. Terrorist groups also benefitted from the attacks and subsequent response of the US government through recruitment and so fourth.

The hardest element to explain though, remains the very real victims of 9/11 people that recieved the first hand descriptions of the hijackings from their loved ones on the plane. The fact that their loved ones are now dead.

The failure of the government to intervene and stop the attacks is most easily explanied by Kevin Mitnick, the most famous Social Engineer in history. He writes at great length to explain how the weak point common to all systems, no matter how robustly designed are people. This is why the biggest bank robbery in history was not a 'Oceans 11' type undertaking, but the result of a staff member allowing a service technician to see the days codes for wire transfers, and that technician then placing a call and having $100,000,000 or so transferred to his private account.

So too, NORAD, the Government, WTC security, Rescue Teams, and Airline staff all failed that day to prevent the attacks for the same reason. The people were the weak point in the system. Because the attacks were inconcievable to the average person, and all previous experience of hijacking had resulted in negotiations, is it not the simplest explanation that the Cabin Crew did not concieve that by letting the hijackers into the cockpit, they might fly that plane into buildings, something that had never been done before.

Occams razor says the most likely explanation is what happened. The evidence for it happening like it did, is actually compelling watch the Penn & Teller show on it I highly recommend it to free anyone from Conspiracy bullshit. They also go to the lengths of presenting evidence contrary to many of the sources Zeitgeist used, including the presence of thermite and the collapse times and so fourth.

In short, this section is just incredibly, incredibly poorly made and also in poor taste. It is disrespectful to everyone who lost friends and loved ones in the 9/11 attacks and I imagine causes them ongoing pain, whilst substantiating itself on flawed logic and ludicrously selective evidence.

And just quickly - Vietnam war was a political, ideological and financial disaster. Its repurcussions for strengthened civil liberties are still felt today, hence the unpopularity and dismal failure of the Iraq war. It is simply, getting harder and harder to wage war, not easier and easier. Vietnam was unpopular only very late in the war once almost every American citizen knew someone who had been effected adversely by the US's participation in it. The Iraq war was the first war in history to have protests against it, before it even began. Furthermore the Flower Power movement represented something like 10% of its generation. These days protestors represent more like 30% of Gen X & Y making it the most politically active generation of modern times. The US still tries to avoid ground troops. The Iraq war has bankrupted the country and crippled the republican party, the Afghanistan war also is a complete failure and the US is at it's least influential in world politics since WWII.

Part 3: Debt & Shit.

This section has some valid points, but is fluffy and just a plain bad source of information on what is happening in the world economy.

get your information from: Peter Schiff speech to Mortgage Bankers Association 2006 its hilarious because he predicted exactly how the Global Financial Crisis would fall out. Or Steve Keen with OzDebtwatch. Or Maynard Keynes! Or Warren Buffett! Or Benjamin Graham!

Best of all is Clive Hamilton's - Growth Fetish & Affluenza.

It may surprise people, but Money is an abstract concept, it has a number of qualities it must possess to be useful as 'Legal tender'

1. Relatively Scarce.
2. A store of wealth
3. Generally Acceptable
4. Easily Divisible
5. Transportable

A history of money is necessary to explain away the gold standard. If you look at everything but 1, seashells make a great currency. Except that they aren't relatively scarce, like say -- Gold! Gold became a medium of exchange to remove the problem of 'a double coincidence of wants' it is durable enough to act as a store of wealth, which meant you could sell your whole cow for 1 gold ducat, and then buy 2-dozen eggs for a piece of 8 the next week.

Soon though, people realised that when you got really rich, gold was suddenly not so number 5 - transportable. Ships were sinking, furthermore people were getting stabbed to death on the highway.

From which arose the promisory note, from someone credible that you could believe actually had the gold sitting in a vault somewhere to redeem the note for. Like a king or bank, making promisory notes suddenly fit the 5 above criteria.

Thus cheques were born, then later due to the popularity of promisory notes, banks started printing - bank notes redeemable in gold but in standardised divisions for large quantities of money, such as a dollar, 5 dollars or even 10!

Eventually somebody noticed that currency was merely confidence, and that if banks actually had to redeem all the notes they'd issue, they would go bankrupt. So the gold standard was established which said 'Banks have to carry 30% reserve of gold at all times'which was concievably safe.

the move to legal tender was simply the observation that much crime was surrounding the fact that the accepted currency was liable to exploitation, such as milling gold coins, and people murdering others, knowing that the actual money was 'as good as gold' so Banks stepped in and simply backed the currency, getting rid of the intrinsic value and just having even coins function as pure promisory notes.

This then is the best and simplest explanation for why the gold standard was dropped, because by and large the banks realised that they never had enough gold to actually honour their obligations if they all came in at once. So having 30% reserve or 1% reserve didn't matter much. Moreover, gold and other metals varied in price themselves, whereas the value of currency was determined by the negotiations in the market. Thus, instead of reflecting a gold standard, money actually reflects albeit inefficiently - the natural environment, a much broader, and harder to percieve standard than the gold standard.

Much of the fallout of the financial collapse owes itself to the abstract nature of money. Even if world governments fail to adopt true cost economics, sooner or later, reality will force it upon us.

So money broadly speaking is Inflation covered, the markets evaluation of what money is worth is what drives inflation. If we run low on natural resources like Petrol, money is worth less because the natural environment is diminished (the sum of resources we have access too) and inflation will spike. If however we can substitute hydrogen for petrol, petrol's scarcity is destroyed and money is worth more, and thus deflation will occur. It is all about our purchasing power of the dollar in the natural environment, the ultimate cap to our expenditure. When the natural environment expires, (or the parts of it that sustain life) so will we.

Interest rates, purely represent confidence. It goes like this, you want to do something risky with my money, so my confidence is low, because of the high risk. So I give you an interest rate of 20%. Your confidence may be high enough that you think you can make 21% on your investment so you accept the terms.

If you make 121% my confidence was too low, and I should have offered you say 107%. If you lose the money and declare bankruptcy, my confidence was infact too high and I should have offered you 1000% interest (which no doubt would have driven you off to find a more confident investor). Under capitalism, if I lend you money at interest and you lose it, that's my problem. Under the 'capatilism' that is practiced, if I lend you money and you lose it, thats your problem.

Or as Keynes aptly put it 'If you owe the bank $100 you have a problem, if you owe the bank $1,000,000 the bank has a problem'.

Interest rates are bastardised, so the government or reserve does the 'greenspan put' which is to lower interest rates to stimulate the economy. In other words at times where the government should be least confident that someone can generate returns, they at as if the are most confident, lowering interest rates to 0% means the government is 100% confident people will make money.

Buffett says 'In Japan you can borrow $100,000,000 at less than 1%. To avoid currency risk, you'd want to invest in Japan's market. I figure I should be able to beat less than 1%, so I keep looking at Japan for a company that will make those returns. I'm still looking'

So inflations big problem is that its a very blunt instrument for manipulating an economy. Specific investment is much better, as well as fair and equitable taxes (taxes on resource usage, rather than income).

Despite what Zeitgeist claims, the best explanation for economic downturns, the depression and current global financial crisis, is not nefarious designs by evil bankers, but incompetence. Plain simple incompetence. Which is why, quite tellingly JP Morgan was aquired by Chase Manhatten and now needs bailouts from the US government, despite 'masterminding' the global financial conspiracy of bankers and 'quietly exiting the market before trouble hits'.

I'm sure J.P Morgan the man, felt like he was a master of the universe, like so many people do, and like any large corporation, benefit from 1st ammendment rights that were not intended and the embedded American fear of Nationalization of banks. But the US Economy looks more and more like Japan's, Obama's bailout strategy exactly the expression of shortterm interests conflicting with long term survival that will drive it's big 4 and others into the ground.

Put simply, it is far more likely that 'the men behind the curtain' will destroy themselves than succeed in forming a global world government.

The better explanations of all the bad stuff happening in the world is simply the disconnectedness of society in general (the result of unpredictable technological innovation) using a terrible measure of welfare such as GNP (the flimsy philosophy that economics is, rather than hard science) structural flaws in taxation (resulting in 10,000 page long taxation policy in Australia, and god knows how many pages in the US) and the general stupidity of human beings.

Once again the weak point common to all systems is human beings. And sadly (neoclassical) economics is founded on the single flawed assumption of human beings being 'rational economisers' that is they always make the decision that maximises their welfare. This is why people are taught Efficient Market Theory, when they should just be taught they cant predict shit. Why economists disregarded the role of debt completely because they assumed it was a rational decision to be offered and taken on, when they should be taught that morons will buy a house no matter what the relative cost of a mortgage is to renting because they are emotionally invested in the idea of a house, and will accept collassal debt believing the natural environment is inexhaustable and that house prices will alwasy go up. The problem is because people speculate on shit they don't understand. They follow eachother around like sheep, and the best and brightest minds more often than not, fail to outperform blind robotic market indexes.

Furthermore one might even consider biology, your son has half your genes, your son's son has a quarter, your great grandson has 1/8, your great great grandson is 1/16 you and after that considering that human beings are 99.95% identicle, 1/16th of 5/100ths is so insignificant they may as well be a complete stranger. JP Morgan is dead, is his living heirs are genetically about as similar to him as I am. Granted he may not have considered this at the time (1913)but at any rate, at that time the US was not foreseeably going to replace Britain as the World Superpower, it was just another colony, he would not have predicted nor planned in cahoots with Rockefeller and other bankers a multigenerational plot to take over the world that had any real chance of succeeding.

Part 4: The Men Behind The Curtain

So Zeitgeist predicts that there is a conspiracy of bankers plotting to microchip everyone to gain absolute despotic control over the planet. As such, if you are still watching (or for that matter still reading this) one should contemplate why you even bothered going to school if you are going to buy into this.

Consider -

Worlds Largest Empire - Mongolian conquered majority of Europe and Asia, lasted 100 years.
Most stable dictatorship - Japanese Tokugawa Shogunate, lasted 200 years
Duration of Roman Empire - 500 years (albeit changed in size almost constantly)
US reign as superpower - almost 60 years (and arguably already over)

For all it's bluster, the US controls less territory than the British did, and far less than the Mongolians and Romans, and is a mere flash in the pan compared to the Tokugawa Shogunate which is probably as close as anyone will ever get to total control.

The US is already one of many. The very institutions Zeitgeist fingers as 'the Men Behind the Curtains' are infact owned by the Chinese, Russians and Japanese. And I'm going to put it out there and say Japan actually has the nationaistic stones to survive the Mutually Assured Financial Destruction of a US dollar collapse where the US does not.

Infact it is interesting to note, that every world power was crushed by debt. And every form of government humans have thus far survived. The real threat is the collapse of the natural environment.

So in the end, because I'm so fucking sick of such a shit film being thought of as 'information' I come back to, this is nothing but the foetal urges of an anxious infant craving a safe world where all the problems can be laid at the feet of a bogey monster that is doing this to us. Rather than facing the fact that we are doing it to ourselves.

This is the irony of zeitgeist, instead of being properly skeptical and simply raising questions, it presents answers that are as bad or worse as those presented by the mass media.

It falls down on its valid points about governments inventing enemies to galvanize public opinion, it invents an enemy in a similarly poor attempt to galvanize public opinion.

And instead of focusing on the hurt caused to reason through religion, it tries to explain away the worlds problems in the exact same manner religion explains the failings of the 'all powerful god' by inventing the devil to ruin things for everyone.

So if you have read this far, congratulations, I'm dissapointed really that I wrote anything beyond: Piece of Shit.