Who Is God?

 Some people go to church every week. A church is a place where people go to learn how to live. People need to learn how to live. But the church doesn't really teach you that. Instead, it teaches you how to keep God happy—to do what he likes. Who is God, and why do people want to keep him happy? It's strange, but God is an extra-strong, pretend person that someone made up long ago. People want to keep him happy because they want a strong friend. Children sometimes have imaginary friends, but give them up after a while. God, though, is an imaginary friend that lots of people don't ever give up. Instead, they forget he isn't real. How can people forget they are pretending? It's sad. It happens when they become afraid of not pretending. People like God because he is big and strong. But God isn't always nice. People say that sometimes when God gets angry, he hurts lots of people, even if only some of them have made him angry. God, the imaginary friend, is also a bul

What Is Freedom?

"Freedom" is a term used to mean many different things, even when limited to the political context. To some, freedom means the ability to speak one's mind in public without being put in jail. To others, freedom means having affordable health-care, and gainful employment. To still others, freedom means the ability to take over the media or make demonstrations that disrupt private functions. However it is defined, freedom is something that all people want, and believe they deserve. This makes the term particularly valuable to politicians. By advocating "freedom," they can promise to satisfy each person's desire—while evading the fact that the desires of people often conflict. Why Define Freedom? Why define any term? To have a clear understanding of it, and to assure that people understand each other when they use it to communicate. When a term is misunderstood, confusion occurs, and bad things can result, ranging from hurt feelings to broken promises, to wars.

The Extraordinary Spirit of "Extraordinary Attorney Woo"

No spoilers here. I just finished watching Extraordinary Attorney Woo, a Korean legal drama/comedy, on Netflix. Actually, the season finale was released yesterday, just in time for me, since I saw the penultimate episode last night. I give this show my absolutely unqualified recommendation. I'm stunned by how great a show it is. I'm stunned that a show this good even exists in our world. It shows me that something once present in our world is not actually gone yet. Extraordinary Attorney Woo has an unabashed emotionality. It presents its characters, it shows you their tribulations and triumphs, and and it makes you care about them. The whole show is about high stakes, and the emotion of it all hits hard. Few characters in the show are repressed. They almost always show their emotions. There is no cool, stoic presentation of events. Every scene has emotional impact. The love relationships in the show may seem conservative or innocent by American standards, but to some extent th

Open and Closed Objectivism

People remain confused regarding whether or not Objectivism is an "open system" of philosophy. Many people completely miss the issue at hand (hint: it has nothing to do with copyright). Perhaps the confusion is because people on both sides of the issue represent the issue differently.  The people on the "open" side represent the issue as regarding the freedom to innovate and integrate ideas. They hold that to close Objectivism means that any hidden errors in it should be preserved and adhered to; that closing Objectivism means stopping or at least impeding philosophic progress within Objectivism.  The people on the "closed" side represent the issue as regarding both the integrity and the identity of Objectivism. They hold that opening Objectivism means that Ayn Rand's ideas may be undermined by philosophic inflation—the introduction of counterfeit Objectivism. They also claim that those who want to open Objectivism wish, ultimately, to increase the sta

Regarding Addiction

In November of 2013 I watched an interesting movie called “My Name is Bill W.” It’s a movie about the man who founded Alcoholics Anonymous.  Before watching the movie, I expected to have two concerns with it:  “They’re going to call alcoholism a disease (i.e. an excuse).”  “They’re going to emphasize the ‘higher power’ or God thing.”  I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, they did mention both of these things, but they did not dwell on them. And the result is that I came away from this movie with a better understanding of addiction than I did going in. As well, I’m now able to recognize the borderline addictive behavior which I exhibit in my own life.  With that context, I wish now to tell you my understanding of addictive behavior, and my new take on the above two bullet points.  Addictive behavior is a challenge we all have the potential for. Addictive behavior, as I’ll define it, is to make the same bad decision over and over. This bad decision is generally to engage in some pleasurable

Some Hard Facts About Love

One thing I cannot abide in my life is people who morally condemn me for not loving them.  Love, genuine love, is not born of obligation, moral or otherwise. Love is, instead, a terribly personal desire to associate and affiliate. It grows out of one's own private observations and judgments of another person. And if it does not grow, no degree of admonishment, threat, or moralizing will cause it to grow.  Those who expect you to love them because they say you should, are trying to get you to substitute their judgment for your own. And to get you to comply, they almost always appeal to a mystical authority like God or "karma".  Rather than being someone you'd actually love, they instead try to get you to feel a fear of not loving the people you supposedly should. Let us be clear. Love is a personal choice, and it exists or does not exist, completely independent of whether any person is a member of your family. Family members do not get, or deserve, automatic love from

Abortion Is Every Woman's Right

The abortion of a pregnancy is every woman’s right. Rights are not "God-given" nor "nature given". "Natural right" is a mistaken idea. Rights, instead, are moral principles which are identified and recognized by means of rational thought. Thinking is where moral principles come from, including rights. A right (meaning an individual right, which means a right of an individual) is a moral principle entitling an individual to act in a particular way in the presence of other people. Rights concern what individuals must be allowed, by others, to do, morally speaking. When I say "I have a right to do X", I mean "If you try to stop me from doing X, I will do what I must do to physically stop you, and I am morally entitled to assistance from the government in doing so." With that in mind, in the context of a woman being pregnant, how might individual rights apply? A woman, before she becomes pregnant, is an individual. Does becoming pregnant