Sede Vacante

The light is on but no one is home.

Archive for Philosophy

I am a heretic: there is no hell


I don’t believe in hell. I find the notion of a locus for cosmic torment and punishment incongruous with any vision of a just and loving god–a being whose very existence is difficult enough to swallow without the mention of a place overflowing with fire and brimstone.

With any god worth his salt being perfect, shouldn’t we expect his expression of love and justice to far surpass that of human imagining? Wouldn’t such a god express a perfect justice, one that is all-seeing and all-embracing rather than one that is blind and vengeful?

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Language can set you free


Imagine a human being with only one word for the feeling in the pit of his stomach–“SAD.” Just sad. So he drops his ice cream cone, and he feels sad. His favorite football team caves in the superbowl, and he feels sad. His new car gets scratched, and he feels sad. Just sad. He knows not sorrow, desolation, abandonment, emptiness, depression…. All he knows is “sad.”

Now what does he feel when his little daughter falls into the pool and drowns while he ran inside to refill his beer. He must feel something. He runs to you and tells you that he’s sad. Of course you tell him that you know the feeling; that you’ve once dropped an ice cream cone, bet on the wrong team, and scratched your car. You pat him on the back and tell him it’s ok. Everyone feels sad every now and then. You tell him that he can always buy another cone, that there will be more games in the future, and that the insurance will take care of repainting the car.

Read the rest of this entry »

Children of war


This post is dedicated to Peter, Vic, Henri, and Erik, all survivors of war.

I’ve always been fascinated by war. The morbid drive to see people getting killed is only a small and primal part of it. Death, after all, is a proper subject of wonder–an inescapable aspect of our being, and yet totally unfathomable. No, my fascination stems from the fact that extreme circumstances provide an excellent backdrop to bring out the extremes in human beings; both the best and the worst; mass-murderers and heroes.

Read the rest of this entry »

Earning vs. wanting: a call to worthiness from consumerism


I’m sick and tired of people whining about how consumerist and materialistic our world has become. Not because I disagree. On the contrary, I’d be the first to tell you that our values have been completely fucked up by this drive to acquire iPods and BMWs. What buggers the fuck out of me is that *no one* is giving a sensible way of answering the call for a balanced and conscientious life as a consumer.

“Live simply so that others may simply live.”

It sounds pretty and poetic, doesn’t it? It achingly calls on the affluent to sacrifice so that the less fortunate (human or otherwise for all you tree-huggers out there) can lead better lives. But seriously, that’s some lazy-ass philosophizing right there. You can’t start thinking like a human being and then decide five minutes later that you’ve had enough. Come on. Philosophizing isn’t that much different from having sex: keep going until you’re done.

Some of you are grinning. Yes, I’m in front of my computer philosophizing with myself. It’s because I’m stuck in Vietnam, smacktard. Everyone’s a fucking clown when you’re trying to say something serious. Read on.

Read the rest of this entry »

Vietnamese rock and roll and transcendence


Chilling in Ho Chi Minh

It’s Sunday and we’re spending our only rest day at home just jamming with the locals. Khoa and his brother Minh are over at our apartment and they brought a guitar. And we have two dozen beers in the fridge. What do you get when you add beer to a steel strung guitar? I don’t really know, but we’re having a lot of fun. =) The post-nuclear holocaust theme of our apartment goes well with everything. Try to imagine the illegitimate child of the beatnik movement and Mad Max.

Read the rest of this entry »