This blog is not intended to be a politically-focused one, though naturally many topics I may discuss here will blur the lines.
As many of you, hopefully all of you, are aware, the G20 Summit in Toronto this weekend past had a number of regrettable incidents. This video is not particularly clear, and there are others shot from above that show clearly the distribution of the protesters and the police and the actions of both.
I’m posting this video here because I would like to ask, of the handful of people who follow me, that it be reposted. What is being displayed is a police tactic called ‘kettling’, where crowds of protesters are surrounded by police without opportunity to withdraw, and then held there for hours. On occasion, police will rush into the crowd and arrest those that they can grab, while dispersing whatever formation the protesters have fallen into. This is, theoretically, supposed to limit chaotic movement of protesters and prevent harm to property and citizens. Property and citizens, in that order.
No matter your opinions on what the protesters were doing, or on the act of protesting itself, I would like you to watch this and ask yourself how this tactic, used on peaceful protesters singing (albeit badly) our national anthem, diminished chaos and the possibility of injury.
I was at this protest, but prevented from reaching the main group of protesters by a second cordon of police. I was dressed inoffensively, behaved politely, and was only carrying first-aid supplies in order to help anyone who might be injured during a tactic such as this. We were prevented from exercising our right to assemble, and what I believe is my right and duty to assist my fellow citizens.
Please, repost. You don’t need to include my comments here, and feel free to respond to it however you feel, but I would like this to achieve wider recognition. Thank you.
I can believe things that are true and things that aren’t true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they’re true or not.
I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen - I believe that people are perfectable, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkled lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women.
I believe that the future sucks and I believe that the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone’s ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state.
I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste.
I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we’ll all be wiped out by the common cold like martians in War of the Worlds.
I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman.
I believe that mankind’s destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it’s aerodynamically impossible for a bumble bee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there’s a cat in a box somewhere who’s alive and dead at the same time (although if they don’t ever open the box to feed it it’ll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself.
I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn’t even know that I’m alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck.
I believe that anyone who says sex is overrated just hasn’t done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what’s going on will lie about the little things too.
I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman’s right to choose, a baby’s right to live, that while all human life is sacred there’s nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system.
I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you’re alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it.
Stolen from someone’s flickr.
At about the third day without sleep, as I am now, I imagine that I can feel my mind actually detaching from the weary, sluggish, sensible body that normally holds it in. I also become rather more combative (I know from countless witnesses) and rather more eloquent (this might be benevolent interpretation of my normal rambling). I’m skittering across all the normal pages, checking and checking as if the world might have turned sideways in the last half a second (and if it did, that’s precisely how it would, you must admit).
I won’t cover checking right now, as that’s a rather broad topic to go into, but I think I’ll talk about religion. It might seem like an odd segue, but bear with me.
I think, of all the very many things that I get into arguments about, there are two attitudes that never fail to infuriate me - diehard atheists and equally diehard fundamentalists. I understand their respective arguments, but I cannot comprehend the world that either of them see; they see too little, and try to explain too much. My own beliefs are so mutable, so syncretic and adaptive, that I sometimes feel that the only thing I really believe in is retaining a sense of mystery and wonder, which is hardly any belief at all.
There are times, though, when I just feel that a thing is true, or right, that surge of instinct that accompanies a decision, where any sane person checks themselves to see whether they’re listening to pride or wisdom. Everyone has this. It’s on those third-day-evenings - when every muscle feels like it’s contemplating a bid for freedom if given half a chance, when my thoughts have gone from curious to driven to spitefully unsatisfied - that I tend to mull over that little line that means so much. Is there, or isn’t there. God, a god, gods, things stranger and more profound that defy naming or description.
I know what side of the line I’m on, as I’ve always known; “there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.” I’ve had moments of clarity, of understanding, when I could feel the world a certain way, or see things for a moment, and felt sure that there was more.
Things become difficult, however, when you realize that there is more in your mind than just yourself. If I can be bound by something so meaningless as an uneven strand of hair and know that it’s irrational despite how true it feels, how can I place my faith in such an abstract concept? How does one distinguish between one set of projected values and another? How can I know that they don’t spring from the same source, indivisible, opening me to a world beyond the world even as it places wall after wall of rules between here and there?
It is at this point that the atheists would say, “Ah, see? Religion is the same as madness, it makes no sense.” That is not what I’m saying, however. No one with OCD is really mad, or else it wouldn’t be OCD, it would be something far darker and less troubling for them. I know, like I said, that a thing can be wrong even as I recognize the lie behind the thought. So where does that leave the certainty of faith? Does it make the feeling more true, or less true? How can you even say that the essence of being spiritual, of being blessed or god-touched or enlightened, isn’t making that distinction in your mind? Feeling the fundamental falsehood of a thought, or many thoughts, and in feeling that knowing what it is to feel truth.
I suspect there’s a lovely Buddhist who will be reading this sooner or later with his own opinions on the matter.