Monday, March 31, 2014

Something I've noticed (of slugs and slug cases) (image)

Maybe this is just me, but for me it seems to work like this:

For those who can't read my writing:
Slug = disgusting, ick, kill it with fire
Slug Case =  Pretty!
Slug + Slug Case = Snail.  Acceptable as long as the slimy bits don't touch me.

Friday, March 28, 2014

What I've been doing

This was kind of meant to go on in the "I'm back" post but I was sort of in a hurry when I wrote that because I wanted to notify people I got my computer back as soon as possible, but I also wanted to get to sleep.  So instead all that had was notification I was back, a correction about when the ides fall, and info on the bullshit at the University of Southern Maine.  I'll probably have more on calendars and USM in the near future.

Of course the entire time I was not posting I was thinking about posting.  This, unfortunately, did not yield as many posts that just need to be transferred to this computer as I would like.  The effects the concussion visited on me were on the milder side of what that kind of a head injury can cause --just drowsiness and headaches-- but they're also hell when it comes to composition.  Also very bad for not getting failing grades in differential equations.

But, anyway, one thing that did happen was that I thought about the post I'd make when I got back and at one point I thought I'd end up throwing in a line that I'd acquired a strange desire to make Kim Possible fanfiction in which Kim and Shego ended up together while Ron, who came out as a transwoman, started dating Bonnie who had become a much better person when no longer subject to constant abuse from her sisters and given time for self reflection.

Then my computer continued to fail to come back and do you know what you can do when you've got a computer with an intermittent internet connection and a keyboard that's missing keys and various other annoying things that prevent you from doing much on the internet or much typing?  You can go to web pages that consist only of text.  They load fast, and once they do it doesn't matter when your internet connection craps out because you've already got the text on your computer in your cache.  So by this time I've ended up reading a bunch of fan fiction and have seen no less than four different origin stories for the children of the Kim-Shego relationship.

So, yeah, random new fandom on my radar.

Of course a lot of what I've been doing is resting.  Much of my time has been spent horizontal or nearly so.  Concussion after effects.  They make me tired.

I've also been trying, and failing, to write original fiction for an open call so that maybe I can get additional published work into existence.  If I by some miracle manage to get so much as one thing done would very much appreciate people who can beta read very fast.  The number of typos and grammatical errors that sneak into my works is positively absurd, so pointing out those alone would be a huge help, but also things like, "You know this is a plot home you can drive a fully loaded 747 through, right?" or, "This part doesn't make a lot of sense/is hard to read," and whatnot would be good too.

Any volunteers for that?  Because if there are I need the beta reading to be as close to RIGHT NOW as I can finish off the story.  Seriously, days remaining before submissions close approaches zero (thankfully not there yet) so it would be best if I had people I could send things to for betaing before I finished a story so I could send it out when I finished a story and not a moment later.

I think there was other stuff but I'm not remembering it right now.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I'm back

I would have liked to have a bigger return post but the timing is a problem and I wanted to let everyone know as soon as I got my computer back.  So a shorter post it is.

First, computers can be repaired more quickly than heads.  My computer is better.  The rest of me is still feeling the after effects of the concussion.  It'll be another week before I could even consider this to be unusually long for a recovery.  Hopefully a week from today I'm fully recovered.

Second, I screwed up talking about the ides in this post, the Julian calendar added days to months AFTER the ides so none of the ides changed.  Our modern calendar, the Gregorian calendar, is a simple modification of the Julian leap year system which gets about a day out of whack every hundred years (but not quite every hundred years.)  When it was made there was a reset involved but it did not reset to the Julian intended standard.  Instead it reset to what the calendar was like around 300 years after that when certain church holidays were given dates.  Julius' idea was to get the Roman festivals on the right dates.  Gregory's idea was to get the Christian festivals on the right dates.  Hence the discrepancy.

Third, my school is going to shit again.  In a certain sense it never stopped going, but the new President seemed like a nice enough person and high hopes were had.  Those hopes, however, came crashing down when it turned out that while she wasn't as vindictive, sadistic, and evil as predecessor she was just as incompetent, shortsighted, and lacking in appropriate priorities.

The face changed, the policies didn't.  And finally the hammer dropped last week.  Based off of bad data and inconsistent accounting the layoffs started, they're not about to stop any time soon.  A reporter asked for the spelling of my name, but my words didn't make it into the paper and my image did only as another face in the crowd.

The good news, such as there is any, is that now that the stupidity has moved from plans to actions the response has moved from laconic to verbose.  Before a meeting about the future of the university was lucky to get 12 participants.  The one on Monday got over 200, this in spite of the fact that the Administration responded to news of the meeting by shutting down the entire building it was to take place in, restricting parking in hopes of preventing people from reaching it, calling the cops, and securing the doors shut by handcuffing the handles together.  Plus the temperature was below freezing, so people had a strong incentive not to stick around once they realized they weren't getting in the building.  Wind wasn't nice either.  But like I said, in spite of all that, over 200 people showed.

When intentions turn to actions the people take notice.  The people you intend to screw over might not pay attention, but the people you're actively screwing over tend to notice.  The present administration at my school is learning that the hard way.

So, anyway, I have a computer again.  Look for there to be posts here again.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Still don't have my computer, a glimpse of my school

I thought I was getting my computer back today.  Two hours walking through freezing winds to discover that it was a miscommunication.  The computer is fixed, but still in transit.  But as it turns out I do have something I can share.

Some people intended to take grievances to the University President at her office.  Rather than face them she shut down the entire building.  I wrote this about some details:


The doors weren't locked. They were handcuffed shut.

Sometimes little details like that make a big difference. The doors could have been locked. They weren't. Instead it was decided that it was better to leave them unlocked with the inside handles handcuffed together so they couldn't be opened enough to enter.

Later on, a similar decision was made. An hour and fifteen minutes after the crowd of people who had wanted to go through those doors moved to a different location and the handcuffs had been removed entry through the unlocked doors was still barred, this time by a pair of police officers. The two had no comment on why they didn't lock the doors or why they felt the need to have their weapons drawn when they were alone except the odd passer by. In fact they had no words at all. Not even, “No comment.” They simply made gestures with their batons.

It seems these days projecting an image is more important than actually accomplishing a goal. To achieve the goal of keeping people from meeting inside the building locking the doors would have been sufficient, but that wouldn't have sent the same message as the use of handcuffs or, later, a pair of officers brandishing weapons at anyone who approached the unlocked doors.

The odd thing is that the message in question was received well before it was sent today (Monday). If there's any theme that's defined USM's administration through the various changes in the past few years it is that students and faculty both know that their input isn't welcome. Threatening gestures are entirely unnecessary, those who are invested in USM's future are used to their voices being ignored.

It's become standard practice to assume that when you say something no one is listening and when you're told something it probably isn't true. Whether it's the amount that enrollment has dropped (a figure neither of the last two administrations has managed to consistently get right), the amount that a program costs (see: Physics), the number of majors in a department (see: English), whether the university is making or losing money, the time of day, or the color of the sky the rule of thumb is, “If the administration says it, don't trust until you verify.” As for being heard, one only needs to look to the debacle of online classes: continually touted as something the students want in spite of the students continuously saying that they prefer brick and mortar classrooms and face to face interaction with teachers.

There is a reason that a meeting about the future of the university, something that was once sure to attract less than 20 students, attracted over 200 students. It's been made very clear that students and faculty alike are not being listened to --scare tactics are unnecessary to drive this message home-- and thus the only refuge left seems to be in numbers. The more the students and faculty are ignored individually, the larger the groups will become. Only two things could change that. One is if the students and faculty lose all hope. The other is if the administration starts to listen. Gestures with handcuffs and weapons won't scare people into not caring, and the message such gestures send was received a while ago.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

First monthly fundraising thread

So, no, I do not have internet access again.  I'm currently at school with a concussion the day after things wen't wrong.  But I wanted to start with regular fundraising instead of panicked, "Stuff went wrong, I need money otherwise doom," this month.  That was the plan.

I picked the 15th for that.  Ides of March this time, though note that it isn't always the ides, of course since the months were reformulated they're not on the 13th nearly so often.  Regardless, the point of this is to say, if you can pay something when it isn't an emergency then maybe when emergencies do happen I'll have a cushion and not be facing disaster.

(Though, that said, if you were to give me, say, $2,970 so I could go to Italy this summer I would love you forever.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I need to vent

(Content notes for financial insecurity, pain, and depression I guess.)

The reason the post for the 15th was written on the 6th, the reason that the last two posts were prescheduled rather than written around when they went up is that I don't have reliable internet access outside of school and I really don't have the free time at school to use these computers.  Yet here I am.

I have two computers at home that can connect to the internet.  One is trying to prove that an abacus can in fact be faster than a computer by lowering the bar for computer speed.  Unfortunately no one has found a way to connect an abacus to the internet and I don't think I have one anyway.  The other has stretches where it's ok but they're just to build me up for the rest of the time when it's playing peekaboo with the idea the internet even exists and makes me think that all profanity combined is inadequate for the frustration I feel.

I use them to go on and check three things:
1 My school email address.
2 If there are new comments on this blog.
3 Paypal
Then I turn whichever one I used for that right back off and pray that it will start again when I try to turn it on next.

That last one might stand out as somewhat odd.  It is not because I hope that I'll get $1,385 by the end of the month and thus be able to make the first installment on a summer course in Italy.  Don't get me wrong, it would make me happy (something I dearly need) and I want that, but it's not going to happen.

It's because, as I've mentioned elsewhere, I've become very scared of May.  It would seem that if I had started taking over paying things directly in June instead of January finances would be much easier.  Obviously heating oil you don't need to fill up as often during non-winter months so you can build savings there, but the big thing appears to be May.  A once yearly, once in a semester, and once yearly expense all line up in May.  Spread out over 12 months it's no problem, but starting from where I did it's sort of, "Jesus Fuck!"  January, February, and March have not been months during which one could build savings to pay off May.  Plus school is sort of a wild card against me, it's not figured in along with the rest of my finances so the once in a semester expense would be a problem anyway.

I don't have documentation with me, so I can't check, but I think the irregular expenses (in addition to the normal monthly expenses) are around $3,000.  And I think I'm doomed.

And that's not even what I need to vent about.  That's just getting warmed up.

A concussion, according to official documentation from the hospital, takes anywhere from a few days to four weeks to recover from.  It was a week ago today.  My head still hurts.  My neck still hurts.  Parts of my back even hurt.

Yes, I've had it checked out (twice) but apparently these things just take time to recover from, and the time is variable.

It isn't steady.  It ebbs and flows.  It sneaks up on me getting a little worse and a little worse and I don't even notice it's happening until the pain is so bad that I want to do nothing but scream profanity.

And that's not what has me writing this either.  This is: I'm really fucking sad.

I want to know if you can quit at life, crawl into bed, pull your blanket over you and never get up again.

I want to cry, but as I said before, the tears never come.  Actually that's an understatement.  I want to sob.  I want to let all of the emotion come out in a torrent of tears that could cause flood advisories.

I want to know if "can't" can be used as an intransitive verb because, "I can't X," sort of implies that there exists something that I can do, and right now I just can't.

I want the pain to stop, I want the sadness to stop.  I have no hope.  So I don't think they will any time soon.

I want to give up.  To let all my muscles go slack and just stay wherever I fall.

I am despondent, dejected, depressed, disheartened, disconsolate, dispirited, forlorn, morose, melancholy, woebegone (which in spite of its looks is not a triple compound, what a letdown.)

I am there are not words.

It's like my depression medicine turned off (no withdrawal or downward spiral, just off) and decided that I'd experienced enough of the "I can't feel anything!" depression so it decided to hit me with an inordinate amount of sadness.  A lifetime's worth at least.

I note that this struck before the concussion/computer breaking fall.

I note that even with the financial worries above, which are real and serious and should bring a person down, there's no way I should be this low.

Short of being trapped in a torture-porn movie where I was forced to watch as everyone I cared about became the movie's victims I'm pretty sure there is NOTHING that should realistically be making me feel this low.  Yet here I am.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Just to let you know that nothing has changed

So before anything went wrong I had the month-index post scheduled for Saturday.  I'm scheduling this to go up early on Sunday to hopefully strike a balance between giving the other post space to breathe and makeing sure people don't falsely get the impression I have internet access again.  I'm making this post not from my computer not from my home where I don't have time to do anything more than a short post.

If anything does change you'll be most likely to hear about it first from Lonespark in the comments because she has phone contact with me.

Something that might be useful is to mention posts here that you've liked in the comments of this post in case other people missed them when they first came around.  Or you could always give me money because... yeah.  Why that comes to mind is that after I schedule this I should have just enough time to do my first do schedule my first monthly fundraising thread because barring a miracle I won't have internet on the 15th when I had planned to do it.

Then I return to the land of no internet.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

November 2012

Before things all went wrong I was planning on doing one of these every Saturday until I was reasonably caught up.  By that I don't mean to the current month, I think it's kind of silly to post something and then the next day have a month in review that includes it.  Maybe have things run the month afterward.


The point, in addition to just recapping past work, is to create a way to navigate quicker than going through the blog's old posts manually, but more informative than just looking at the post titles on the "Blog Archive" at the side of the page.

The Underworld series and the fall of the Lycans - In real world chronology they went from peace and reconciliation, to not having speaking roles, to slaves, to EVIL in capital letters possibly with blood dripping off it.  In the story's chronology they went from Spartacus to Reconciliation to Acceptable Cannon Fodder, to EVIL in capital letters possibly with blood dripping off it.  This is a post about that.

Something that interested me about Underworld that Rise of the Lycans erased - In Underworld the circumstances surrounding the Lycan slave rebellion are extremely complex and I found them quite interesting.  Rise of the Lycans retconned those circumstances into being extremely simple and nothing like the story I found quite interesting.  A post about that.

General Stories/Ideas for Stories:
And a child shall lead them (if Kids ran Congress) - It would work out better.  Not better in general, just better than the current situation.

Greek Mythology:
NaNoWriMo 2012, explanation and excerpt - It was going to be my own translation/reinterpretation of the whole mythos.  People have been rewriting the myths in question since before there was literal writing (so originally figuratively rewriting) always to fit their ideas about how stories should be and the mores of their time.  Why not me?

The excerpt covers everything from the beginning to the children borne of Nyx after the dismemberment of Ouranos.

At this point I started everything from the creation of the universe until family lines got too many to handle and followed one line as far as it could usefully take me producing the following:

The line of Nyx - From the beginning, through Pandora's Jar, to the golden apple incident.
Some more scenes from the line of Nyx - That time Nyx made Zeus back down, Eris and Hemera watching Aphroditie and Hera backstab outside Carthage.

The line of Pontos - Medusa, Pegasus, 50 sisters of which there are actually 51, stuff!
Expanding the story of the Nereids through the time honored tradition of making shit up - Because 50 sisters of whom there are actually 51 deserve a bit more characterization than just a list of names.

Invocation - To the muses, like you do.

The line of Tethys and Okeanos (Part 1) - Part two was the next month.

Skewed Slightly to the Left:
Stops along the way - You may be doing your own thing, but the least you can do is give rescue workers respect and the potential to coordinate their efforts with other rescue workers.

From my slow trek through .hack//Sign:
Information and Instinct - More like a half post than a whole post.  Mimiru and BT meet with Sora, more on how the Crimson Knight's reputation doesn't match the reality.

Depression stuff:
Time - Another of a long string of reasons to panic for family related reasons that suddenly came up WITH NO TIME TO DO ANYTHING, and ultimately (though I didn't know it at the time I wrote it) sank back down so it can do the same thing in the future.

Me Stuff:
It's a bracelet now. - Petty bullying can still take place a university.  Beating their swords into plowshares (or arrows into ... something?)  That sort of thing.

Ok, you know what? - I commanded people to cheer me up; included for completeness

The world at large stuff:
Rat@$#*%ing - 16 years after the death of it's most famous victim, the Nixonian political tactic is alive and well in said victim's home state.

Voting Day - Me encouraging people to vote provided it is legal.

We Won, for the most part - I sum up the results with respect to the House, Senate, my state (including but not limited to Marriage equality), and the Presidential campaign.

If you're going to leave the country, do some research first - There is an odd genre where people say that they'll leave the country to flee X.  The place they'll flee to is invariably a place that has X.

I've got a sort of research project for you. (And a poem, and four versions of a song) - I wanted to find the version of the I dreamed I saw Joe Hill where the singer talks about the first time he preformed the song which was because a fan had been waiting for 20 years for another American to come to Australia and sing that song after hearing Paul Robeson sing it at the half finished Sydney Opera House.  I found it myself though.  So go there for five video versions of the song, the text of the poem, Portal's Still Alive, and Portal's Still Alive interpreted into ASL.

How many things in the world are 18 minutes and 20 seconds long? - It was Thanksgiving, meaning Alice's Restaurant, and my favorite version is the one that talks about Nixon and Watergate.  So a youtube version of that.

Blog stuff:
The past, present, and future with respect to blogging - This was to explain a lack of output and to explain why there would be so much Greek Myth in the future.

Are you not liking Greek Mythology? - Simple question.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My current mood

I want to crawl into a hole, curl up into a ball, start crying, and never stop.


I was expecting to write a happy post about how I have heating oil.  Initially got it  because I decided to take a risk of placing an order when doing so might mean I couldn't pay other the bills.  Then I got a donation that covered that (thank you very much, by the way.)

But now I feel as described above.  Something did set it off, but it was a minor thing that shoudn't have and, even if it did, never should have lasted this long.  I'm left with two possibilities:
1 My antidepressants aren't working like the used to.
2 Life in general sucks so much that it was just waiting for any little thing to make me feel this way.

Both are possible.  I've been thinking about the future.  Bad idea.  I've been thinking about the future financially: very bad idea.  I think I may have ended up with the worst time to take over paying expenses directly rather than paying the yearly expenses averaged over twelve months.  For the year I can definitely cover them.  Right now ... fuck.

And tuition is always the wild that I don't really know if I can afford.

And there's a trip that I'd like to pretend to hope I could go on for the good of my mental health but if I think about it, which I did (damn it) I know that I can't cobble together $1,385 in the next month and an equal amount the month after that. (Seriously, to the day it's one month and two months away.)  Especially not with insurance on the house (a once yearly bill) coming up at about the same time.

And all of this was bad enough when I started writing this post on the bus, but on the walk home I stepped on some snow covered ice and fell flat on by back, even hit my head which still hurts.  I didn't think about it at the time, but do you know what happens when you fall on your back?  You fall on your backpack.  And what's in a backpack?  Well at the time this computer was.

This computer that I love and was so grateful for.

The screen is broken and god knows what else is wrong from the damage of being crunched between a me and ice covered asphalt.  I've got a warranty, but it still means I'll be without a working computer until I can find someone to bring it in, then have it be sent to be fixed, then have it be fixed, then have it be sent back.


So if you'll excuse me I have to find a hole to crawl into and then curl up into a ball.  I'd try to cry but I know from experience that that never works.  I cry at movies, I cry at songs, I cry at stories, I cry during nervous breakdowns (sometimes), but when I'm just really sad and want to let the tears run free all that happens is that I get an aching sensation where the tears refuse to come.

Narnia, if the heroes did their jobs: Caspian and Coriakin

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[Bold italics from the original text.  In this version Lucy freed the slaves but Eustace was still the dragon and so that leave Caspian the magic book.]

“Well, that’s rather a delicate question,” said the Magician.* “You see, it’s only they who think they were so nice to look at before. They say they’ve been uglified, but that isn’t what I called it. Many people might say the change was for the better.”
"Speaking as one ruler to another," Caspian said ever so politely, "you're an asshole."
Coriakin shouted, "I'm a star!"
Caspian considered pointing out that he had been appointed via divine fiat, interdimensional travel, and various other impressive things, but settled on, "A fallen star!" There was a pause which Caspian used to sneak in, "The royalty of old had a word for fallen stars." This shut Coriakin up for the moment. "Now let's see, what was the word? It started with a D..."
"I'm not a... don't you dare! There is no way" the words after that were incoherent. English, but incoherent.
The entire room shook and Caspian trembled with fear. But he reminded himself that there was an entire island of slaves to this unstable being and said, "Your actions say more than your words ever could."
"They're a conceited people. First it was just the Cheif, but now he's gotten the rest to follow him. They agree with every word he says like a mindless mob. No, like children. They need an adult to guide them and teach them."
"A fine idea," Caspian said. "Now where do you suggest we find one?"
"I was put here by Aslan."
"So was I, and I say they'd be better without you."
The Magician rounded the table. "I could turn you into something. Not a Duffer. Something else. Or even put a spell on you to make sure no one ever believed a word you said. But I don't like to do that."
It took everything Caspian had not to give in and submit to this monster in human form before him. He'd spent much of his life as a prince, a short time as a rebel leader, and then a king. Never had he been so alone, or so helpless. "You don't like to do it. Meaning you've tried. What happened the last time?"
The Magician was silent.
"What transgression was the transmogrification even a punishment for?"
"Well, they wouldn’t do what they were told."
"Slaves can be like that."
"Their work is to mind the garden and raise food—not for me, as they imagine, but for themselves. They wouldn’t do it at all if I didn’t make them.
"Possibly owing to the fact that the land here is rich enough to live off of without a garden."
"And of course for a garden you want water."
"Which would explain the water pump I spied earlier."
"There is a beautiful spring about half a mile away up the hill."
"Is this going anywhere?"
"And from that spring there flows a stream which comes right past the garden. All I asked them to do was to take their water from the stream instead of trudging up to the spring with their buckets two or three times a day and tiring themselves out besides spilling half of it on the way back."
"Three questions. One, asked or ordered? Two, did you ever ask why they went to the source? Because there are many good reasons to do so. Three, this justifies body modification how?
"But they wouldn’t see it."
"Did you try explaining?"
"In the end they refused point blank.”
"As is their Aslan given right."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Evil is what you do

If it weren't for Nick Armstrong's various posts I presumably wouldn't be writing this, but this isn't a response to Nick.  In fact I've written much the same thing elsewhere, just never (as far as I can recall) here.

Intent does matter when discussing evil because there's a difference between doing something bad out of innocent ignorance (which is very different from various other kinds of ignorance) and doing something bad because you know it will hurt someone.  The second stands a chance of being evil, the first not so much.  Intent isn't magic, what is being done is wrong either way, but it does matter.

The thing is that intent doesn't matter all that much.  Very few of the things that qualify as evil can be judged based on intent.  In fact, even the ones that can be tend to use intent as proxy for knowledge.  Something like:
"If I had known that it made you feel that way I never would have called you that continually for the last seven years but you're so good at keeping your real feelings hidden that I never suspected."
Yes, the intent was good, but it's the knowledge that makes the difference between that non-evil act and this evil one:
"I knew exactly how it made you feel, that's why I've called you that continually for the last seven years."
Also, remember what I said about innocent ignorance?  Why the knowledge is lacking is important, this is pretty evil too:
"If I had known that it made you feel that way I never would have called you that continually for the last seven years, mind you there were indications that something was up with you and being called that, but I never bothered to find out what."
In fact, the callous evil of "I don't care" or "It was expedient" tends to disturb me more than the evil of, "I don't like you."

If you hurt people because you're trying to hurt people then at least there's some limiting factor on what you'll do.  You're going to hurt the people you're trying to hurt.  If you hurt people because you don't care about the consequences of your actions then there's no limit, no end, no stopping point. You don't even know what evil you're putting into the the world unless someone brings it to your attention (and if they do you don't care) so the potential is unlimited.  Ditto for, "It was expedient."  If the ends justify the means then recall that there are some pretty good ends out there, enough that you can justify basically any means up to and including destroying the entire universe (bring an end to all pain and suffering as just one example of an end that can be the means to.)

If you're willing to do evil things because they're expedient ... well that's where we find most actual evil in the world.

Hell, "It's expedient," is an apt description of all three of the biblical temptations of Christ in the wilderness by the Devil.  Especially the last.  Way easier to rule the world by kneeling down and worshiping the devil than death by crucifixion, resurrection, 40 days on earth, return to heaven, seeing your followers martyred, seeing your teachings twisted, and waiting an unspecified time to return which thus far has proven to be at least 1980 years, 9 months,  and 17 days using certain traditional dating techniques.

There are some who would argue that the world would be a better place if Jesus had taken the expedient route.

The point here is not to get all religious though, but being on religion provides a nice segue into the next point.  Ever heard the word Antichrist?  Ever wondered where it came from?  It's mentioned in couple books of the Bible (literally: two books) and in them it's about orthodoxy vs. heterodoxy which is a debate that I have no interest in but the key thing is that John is saying, basically, "Make sure that you don't become one of these Antichrist people."  People who were once orthodox Christians have become heterodox and John is writing to those who are still orthodox to say, "Watch yourselves to make sure you're not taken in and become one of those people too."

The idea starts off as, "We must be ever vigilant of ourselves lest we become something bad," (I happen to disagree with John that heterodox=bad but that is neither here nor there) and yet by the time that it gets to us it's been entirely externalized.  It's not, "Those people who used to be like us have become Antichrists and we could too," it's, "We must be ever vigilant of others because evil is external.  There's no way I will be an Antichrist, but I must always keep a lookout of Nicolae Carpathia."

We do that a lot with the idea of evil, in all its forms.  We push it out, we externalize it, we make it so it's not something we can do.  I'm not a misogynist --I love women-- so clearly I cannot do misogynist things.  I'm not a racist --I think everyone is equal-- so clearly that thing I did was not racist.  I'm not evil --there is no malice in my heart-- so what I do is not evil.

And this in turn is used to justify and cover for evil.  Love this sinner, hate the sin.  But it's tough love.  Really, really tough love.  Painful knock them to the ground and kick them when they're down ... we're seriously calling this love?

That action was evil when he did it because he hated the Cardasians and did it out of malice, but it was totes ok when I did the exact same thing on a weaker population less able to deal with the blow because I did it out of expedience.

I'm not being misogynist when I create these rules for women to live by, I'm trying to protect them.  Only good happy things in my heart.

I'm not being homophobic when I try to make it hellish to be non-straight via public and private means of discrimination, I'm doing it out of love.  I'm trying to save them from Hell by discouraging behavior that would send them there.

I'm not being racist when I say we shouldn't talk about race, I'm just trying to jumpstart equality on the basis of believing that we pretend there's nothing wrong then soon there will be nothing wrong.

I'm not preforming these morally questionable acts because I'm evil, I'm doing it because the ends are good and that's what matters.

Evil is something that other people do while twirling their mustache.  What I do is done via the best of intentions.

Hell, even the Dungeons and Dragons "Evil" alignment doesn't see itself as evil.  It sees itself as Callicles / Nietzsche / Ayn Rand Beyond Good and Evil return to the natural and proper state in which the strong dominate the weak.  No malice, just a desire for things to be as nature says they should be (according to their philosophy.)

We reduce morality to intent and suddenly, "It was Tuesday,"* becomes much more acceptable than, "I hated him all my life and if I couldn't take his village at least I could have him killed."  I see it the other way around.

Then again, I'm much more willing to trust someone who compromises all morality on the basis of being bribed than someone who does it for free.  I know how to keep the first person on the right track: Stop zir from being bribed.  I have no idea how to make the second person not be evil.  I realize this is a heterodox position to take.

But leaving aside the bribes and sticking with evil.

Certain actions are not evil
Certain actions (the vast minority) are liminal and in these cases it depends on why they are done:
  • Innocent ignorance: merely bad, not evil
  • Not caring enough to find out: evil
  • Willful ignorance: evil
  • Knowingly: evil (note that it doesn't matter whether the person doesn't care or is trying to cause harm or anything else: knowingly is evil.)
Certain actions are evil.  Intent doesn't matter.  Knowledge doesn't matter.  The actions are in themselves evil.

One's internal state only matters when trying to classify the cases that occur on the margins.  Cases that are already bad, it must be noted.  In all other cases evil, or lack thereof, is what you do, not how you feel.


Callous uncaring evil is worse in my eyes than malicious evil.

"It was expedient," a more damning explanation than, "I hated them all."


* For those unfamiliar, Bison has just been told the story of a man who gathered, organized, and led a defensive force to cast him out of a village he was trying to raid for supplies and slaves and was thus, basically, singlehandedly responsible for his defeat.  While retreating Bison gave the order to have that person, the one person who represented a threat to him who happened to be the father of the person he's currently talking to, shot.  It's not something that he remembers because it's no big deal to him.  Threats are eliminated all the time.  It's expedient.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I really think posts like that should get more legitimate traffic than spam

I was interested to see that the Daphne and Leukippos story was suddenly getting traffic.  I wondered if someone linked to it, if people thought nice thoughts about it, if anyone had anything new to say about it, stuff like that.

I was somewhat crestfallen when I realized that all of the traffic was spammers.

So, real people, if you haven't read it yet, maybe you should take a look.