No Blog Today

My youngest daughter, captured on camera here:

image

…has been throwing a tantrum today from the moment she woke up until she passed out in the car five minutes ago.

I still don’t dare leave the car for fear that she’ll wake up. Poor thing, she must be exhausted. As for myself, I suppose I must look like an extra in “The Walking Dead”.

So I haven’t been able to put two words together today. It’s too bad, really: yesterday I was quietly cackling to myself about what a clever choice of topic I had made for this blogpost. Today I’m having trouble spelling my own name.

So bear over with me. There will be offensiveness, occultism and bare-naked ladies with big bottoms tomorrow.

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Would You Like Some Bacon To Go With Your Cognitive Consonance, Rabbi?

Cognitive dissonance is the origin of this blog’s title, and refers to the discomfort one experiences when attempting to reconcile two opposing ideas in one’s head, like trying to be both an optimist and a pessimist at once.

The reason I chose this title is because the ability to entertain an idea without necessarily accepting it is integral to surviving in modern society. If we didn’t try to understand one another, we’d all be in big trouble. It is my fervent hope that everyone who reads this will make a wholehearted attempt at understanding an idea they do not agree with.

If you’re an atheist, try understanding the bliss of God’s presence. If you’re religious, try understanding the liberation of a godless universe. Both sensations appear dangerous, and could very well result in cognitive dissonance. It would definitely take you out of your comfort zone.

And so what? Should you live inside your bubble, insulated from opposing viewpoints? Should you learn to agree with yourself to such an extent that opposing viewpoints drive you into fits of rage?

Take my advice: try to entertain an idea or a concept directly opposed to the one you cleave to. The results may not make you change your mind, or even feel remotely tolerable, but you’ll learn to accept diversity. Also, you’ll cause your mind to grow. And that’s never a bad thing.

Happy Easter, or whatever holiday you prefer to celebrate.

If You Keep That Up You’ll Go Blind

As a firm believer in the adage that what two or more consenting adults get up to is probably not only good for them, but none of my beeswax to boot, I’d like to rant about sexuality for a bit. It’ll be fun, and I’ll probably talk about breasts at some point.

Robert Anton Wilson, that delightful paranoid maniac, wrote a brief text in which he enumerated the ways in which we are sexually repressed and why we are kept that way. One can only assume that our tendency for self-suppression is somehow indicative of some kind of higher self and its need for conformity.

Or is it? Could it be that some of us crave the presence of sex laws, the better to transgress against them? I don’t know, and I can’t say that it was ever a very relevant question for me. Some of us are just not very complicated, sexually speaking.

When we speak about sexual freedom, people usually assume we mean homosexuality and how homosexuals should be accorded the same rights as heterosexuals. Which they should. I have tried to follow arguments written by proponents of Natural Law, the better to understand the opposition, but it all looks to me like using a jackhammer to fit a square peg in a round hole, somewhere there wasn’t a hole in the first place.

Homosexuality isn’t unnatural. Telling other people what they can and can’t do with other consenting adults is unnatural, so you can stop your inner monologue right now.

There.

A more interesting aspect of sexual liberty is the plethora of fetishes and kinks out there. They’re all considered perverts for deviating from the heterosexual norm. Like the BDSM crowd of “Fifty Shades of Grey” fame. From what I am given to understand, the societies in which these sexual practices are common hold the books in contempt, much like the heterosexual male with an IQ score above room temperature would hold reality TV in contempt.

If we want to understand BDSM – and we should: what if you go through life denying yourself out of fear? – we need to look at those deeply-rooted feelings we keep to ourselves out of fear that people will think us crazy.

You go for a run, and get a “runner’s high”; an endorphin rush that is almost sexual in nature and force. A long-planned scheme or business venture comes to fruition, and the exhiliration gives you a powerful, orgasmic release. You have built a structure according to strict requirements, and gaze upon it in the sweet, post-rapturous buzz that is the domain of the builder.

If you understand any of these feelings, you can understand the BDSM practitioner. They revel in that area of human experience where pain and pleasure are mixed in a synergistic harmony that would be an absolute impossibility without trust. Shakespeare’s so-called ‘Trouble Plays’ did the same, mixing comedy and tragedy in such a way that the comedy was more hilarious and the tragedy more profound, and yet you could always remain assured the narrator would hold your hand throughout the entire ordeal of the play.

The BDSM crowd share in the mystery of placing their trust in each other in such a way that one is subservient to another, and the other in turn is subservient to the former’s needs. Control, and relinquishing it to revel in the maelstrom of emotions of pleasure mixed with pain and humiliation, is the key.

Yesteryear we called homosexuals freaks and perverts, deviants from beyond the pale. In short order, they will be given equal standing with heterosexuals, and in a couple of generations we will read about it in the history books. Then it will be the turn of the other freaks and deviants, like the BDSM crowd.

We could save ourselves a lot of trouble right now if we only realised that we are all sexual creatures and what consenting adults get up to with each other is fine. But at a pinch, I suppose this mad struggle to deny each other and ourselves sexual freedom will be good for print media for still another while.

You are, after all, still waiting for me to mention boobs. Lovely, smoothly curved boobs that quiver to the touch and with titillatingly responsive nipples and aureoles. Those boobs? Feel guilty about recalling them? Then you’re unfree.

All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace

In recent Norwegian news, we learn that a social democrat politician wants the responsibility for his actions to rest with the legislators. He is incapable of controlling his urge to buy and consume sweets, and so calls for legislation to outlaw the discount sale of holiday sweets.

Maybe he has a point. The Norwegian Health Institute has published findings indicating obesity and obesity-related illnesses are on the rise, and we need to take steps to ensure this doesn’t negatively impact our health statistics. Because that would be bad. People suffering from obesity-related illnesses die messy, expensive deaths that are funded by our public health care system. This is, apparently, a problem.

So we must pass laws that make it illegal to sell sweets at a discount, because it might lead to obesity-related illnesses that we pay for through our taxes.

That’s a little cold, isn’t it? How about this instead: upon reaching maturity, you have to sign a paper declaring you mentally fit and competent to take responsibility for your own actions. Or… you get to live as a ward of the state, protected and cared for by a government apparatus of loving grace. Your needs will be met with moderation and your desires and wishes accomodated within reason.

You will not require the right to vote. Your civil liberties will be allowed you as and when they become necessary.

All watched over by machines of loving grace.

Self-ownership, If That’s OK With Everyone?

“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche, the second-most-badly-quoted man on the Internet, after Einstein.

For today’s ruminations, let us look to the morally-constipated majority of the Western world. The Supreme Court of the U.S. are currently deliberating the constitutionality of gender-neutral marriage laws, and everyone is in a tizz over how wrong everybody else is to deny how right THEY are.

Like laws should be founded on what offends us.

To tell you the truth, I think there should be far fewer laws protecting our delicate sensibilities from the horrible vicissitudes of reality. Offensivity could use some legal protection, frankly. America, the ideal of individuality and freedom, has become a de facto bastion of groupthink and consent manufacture.

The rest of the west is little better. For all our ostensible enlightenment, we are offended when somebody offers up an alternate interpretation of morality. Think about it.

The solution isn’t MORE laws. It’s the RIGHT laws. The laws that allow free, consenting adults to do what they like so long as they don’t harm or compel anyone else to act against their will.

If you agree with me on this, you are in a lucky minority of people who will rarely be offended by much, and who find others take offense when we find them hilarious.

In the spirit of the holidays: “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.”

I can’t hear the voice of reason for the brass band.

Bad Self-esteem Advice

Here is one of the worst self-help tips I have ever seen, and it describes a trend: the belief that you are somehow a beautiful and perfect butterfly and people just can’t see it.

I am of the conviction that yes, you are most likely a unique and perfect butterfly, but not in the same way as everybody else. That’s what we seem to fail to grasp: the concept that “unique” actually means unique.

People call it like they see it, and if what they see isn’t superlative, they won’t call it superlative. There’s no reason to go around complaining people can’t see what a beautiful and perfect butterfly you are.

Show them.

When we say we’re perfect and unique, we don’t mean we’re perfect and unique JUST LIKE mr. or ms. So-and-so from that TV show everybody likes, so stop pretending right now.

You can’t pretend you’re beautiful and perfect and unique and complain when people don’t partake in your preferred view of reality.

The same goes for people who strive to be more popular for their looks than others. “I am more unique and perfect than everyone else, because I conform to the ideal more perfectly than anyone else.”

And therein lies the rub:

If you are no longer an insecure teenager, you’ll realise this – that being unique and perfect is about striving to do your own thing regardless of what people think of you. Do that, and you’ll be perfect and unique and beautiful to the people who matter.

Don’t be a watered-down copy of what you saw on TV last night. To thine own self be true. It must then follow, the way the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.