October 15, 2012

Education must be realistic

CBS Minnesota: H.S. Yearbook Won't Include Student's Baby, Suicide Victim

This kind of thing really sticks in my craw. This decision, taken after consulting psychologists, is so blatantly delusional it's infuriating. On Facebook, one person commented, "Well, it's all a matter of personal perspective and interpretation."

Bullshit! The idea that these young people need to be protected from trauma is complete and total poppycock!

Reality is what it is and it is not open to interpretation. One young man committed suicide and a young woman had a baby. This is what real life is all about. This is what adulthood and personal responsibility mean. Both events should be recognized as the important, traumatic, life-changing experiences they were. Every student in that high school was impacted by these two events. These two events have changed how every single student in that school will set their life priorities and make important decisions from now until they die. To pretend that these two events did not occur is nothing short of delusional. It is completely and totally insane and it far past time for us to recognize that far too many delusional people are trying to control what we remember, how we remember it, and how we think.

This decision by this high school is no different from Pres. Obama's administration spending two full weeks denying Ambassador Stevens had been killed in a terrorist attack. There is no difference at all between the two decision making processes. Rather than simply letting the real world facts of a teenage mother who loves her baby and a teenage boy driven to suicide by the stresses of adolescence stand on their own as part of the memory of life in the 2012 school year, the school administration struggled for some way to create a "teachable moment". When they failed, they censored the yearbook. Pres. Obama's administration did exactly the same thing! When they failed to provide proper security and lost an American Ambassador for the first time in over three decades (along with three more Americans) they spent two weeks trying to pretend the entire debacle was the fault of a random YouTube video that no one in Libya had even seen!

Both of these events are direct, immediate failures to look at reality with clear eyes and accept it for what it is. Failure to face reality is delusional. Trying to "spin" reality is delusional. This kind of thinking is exactly why our modern world is flying apart at the seams. Far too many people in positions of responsibility suffer from this insane inability to take responsibility for their failures and/or to face reality head on and accept it for what it is. This kind of thinking is infantile, childish, self-destructive, and even worse, devastatingly destructive of society as a whole. If we cannot face reality then we cannot find realistic solutions to the problems we face. If we cannot find realistic solutions then those problems will destroy us. There is no exception to this simple natural law. Any species that cannot see reality and cannot adapt to the terrifying challenges it presents will go extinct.

Utopian idealism, whether Atheist, Marxist, Humanist, Neo-Animist, Traditionalist, Christian, or Islamic, is the core problem our world is facing. If we do not abandon this delusional thinking then we will vanish as completely as the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Mayans, and every other civilization that has disappeared into the mists of time. The one difference is that our civilization is a genuinely global society. If we fail there will be no natural resources left for any survivors to exploit in order to build a new civilization! Our metals are almost depleted. Our energy sources are almost depleted. Our decorative metals and jewels are almost depleted. There is nothing left to rebuild from if we collapse into obscurity. Nothing but wood, grasses, and useless stones will be available to future generations if this generation does not start facing reality.

We need to get off this planet and find a new world to exploit. If we don't then we won't survive. Period. The only way to find a reliable way to cross the vast reaches of time and space required to find a new world is for us to think realistically, plan realistically, do realistic research, and develop realistic solutions. The only way for that to happen is for our education system to be built on the assumption that their primary goal is to create realistic thinkers who leave school with real-world skills that they can apply to developing real-world solutions.

This crazy idea that education is supposed to "perfect" humanity and that this "perfection" can only be reached by denying the darker aspects of human existence is foolish, delusional, and self-destructive. The idea that we can perfect ourselves is insane. The idea that we can perfect our society is insane. It is time to recognize that "progressive" thinking founded in "social justice" is nothing short of delusional and this delusional thinking is the core reason our society has fallen into massive drug abuse, violent youth movements, and a world filled with adults who will not take personal responsibility for their own lives. We can't perfect humanity and since humanity is all we have to work with we'd better figure out how to keep ourselves focused on the real world.

We are rapidly running out of time. If we do not start thinking realistically then in half a century or less we will learn firsthand that Thomas Malthus was an optimist.

October 04, 2012

First 2012 Presidential Debate in Denver

(New York Times video from YouTube)

I suppose I could list up all the online news articles with their analysis and reflections, but at this point everyone on both sides of the aisle is saying the same thing: Mitt Romney won the first debate hands down. Even over at MSNBC they are talking about what President Obama "should have said" rather than trying to pretend he somehow won. This was, in my never humble opinion, the finest Presidential debate of my lifetime. Both candidates gave it their best shot, but Mitt Romney's cold, hard realism crushed Barack Obama's undying idealism. Mitt clearly demonstrated why we need him in the Whitehouse instead of Barack Obama.

My favorite line from the night came early on in the debate when Mitt Romney was talking about energy and the economy and he said, "You don't just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers!"

That will probably do down in history as right up there with Ronald Reagan's response to concerns about his age and possible senility.

So, there it is. As long as the New York Times keeps it online, the entire debate can be replayed at the top of this page. This is shining moment in the history of Republican presidential campaigns, but sure as the sunrise within a few hours President Obama's staff will have some kind of well-funded, well-planned, well-presented response. Until I see it I'm going to milk this moment in history for all it's worth.

Today is a good day to be a Republican!

October 02, 2012

Can City of Heroes Survive?

I am afraid to hope, but I need this game the same way I need pencil and paper. The only creative outlet that has lasted longer for me than CoH has been this blog. I started this blog in 2003. I became fully active in CoH in 2005 following the release of City of Villains. Half of my online life is either here in this blog or fighting the good fight in Paragon City, The Rogue Isles, and Praetoria. This blog and this game together define my online life in ways Facebook or Twitter never will.

I have prayed for many miracles in my life. Some of them have come to pass. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be praying for a game to be allowed to continue taking my money, but now I am.

October 01, 2012

A chapter closing

A chapter closed on my life this past week and it seems I am waiting for the next chapter to open. The changes are small, minor things that most people would regard as petty, but they were important to me. For starters, I learned this past week that City of Heroes, a game I have played for seven years, will be going offline on November 30th. Some of my earlier posts related to City of Heroes are here:

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf
Master of Her Own Universe
Have Cape, Will Fly
City of Heroes Spring Fling

The demise of City of Heroes has hit me pretty hard. I've been spending more time playing this past week than I have in the past year, often putting aside important tasks until some distant future date that is still undetermined. Sometimes I get even more choked up visiting old maps and missions than I would if I visited my hometown in California. City of Heroes has been a consistent pleasure I could return to time and time again when the world around me went insane or simply became too complicated to understand. Call me crazy if you like, but I have never felt comfortable in this modern world. Not when I was child, definitely not as an adolescent, and even less so as an adult. Reality is what it is and it sucks.

But that is not the only ending point I've suddenly and unexpectedly reached. Several of my friends, two of them people I've known for decades, have become ever more reluctant to discuss anything more than the weather. They have fallen under the mystique of "reality television" even more deeply than I ever fell under the trap of online gaming. As they spend less and less time reading newspapers, reading the news online, or even watching the nightly news, they have become more and detached from reality. I've always been drawn to fictional and virtual worlds, so I sympathize completely, but they have fallen farther from reality than I ever did even in my absolute lowest moment. Even worse, because the programs that have captured their attention are labeled "reality television", they treat the characters and personalities as equally important as their immediate family and friends. In more than one instance, a friend I have known since high school has expressed deep sympathy for a reality television personality while attacking me for simply stating that I wouldn't know because I don't watch reality television!

It has gotten to the point with some of them that if I mention that I disagree on even the most casual topic they get as personally offended as if I had insulted them directly or verbally attacked a family member. Not just reality television either. Books, politics, religion, abstract philosophy, personal decision chains, in almost everything I am suddenly expected to either copy their perspective in the most minute detail or an apology is demanded and expected. I don't understand how so many people can grow so intolerant in less than a year. They are attacking me as if I have attacked them just because I mention that I disagree. And no, I'm not being insulting. I am not aggressively demanding they change their outlook. I am simply expressing disagreement and explaining why my view is different. Have we truly reached a point in this country where we expect everyone to be identical? How is that freedom?

If I were demanding they agree with me I could understand it, but I'm not. I am simply insisting on my freedom to be different. I stopped demanding people agree with me a very long time ago. Raising two sons while not working meant early on that I had to find ways to express my view on things and then let them make up their own minds because the fact that I did not work while almost all of their friend's fathers did work immediately invalidated any parental demand I might make. It was most frustrating, but I learned and they learned and now I am far less demanding of everyone while they have grown into generous, open-minded young men.

And so it is that this blog post reads more like a bad reality television show than the opinion pieces I normally post. As this chapter closes in my life, as the most important presidential election of the past century and a half is held and decided, as friends abandon me and my favorite game ends, there is no doubt in my mind that I will change as well. This kind of sudden life change is exactly why all those years ago I named this blog, "Brian's Meandering Mind". I had just closed an important chapter in my artistic and professional life and had yet to understand what was coming next. Being addicted to writing in the way that I am, I had to write something but I had no idea what I would be writing about, so I knew it would be a long, meandering journey into an unknown and unknowable future. Now, nine and a half years later, I stand yet again on the threshold of unknowable change.

"Meandering", indeed. Always and forever it seems. Always and forever.