Internet Memes

Wikipedia definition:
The term Internet meme is a neologism used to describe a catchphrase or concept that spreads quickly from person to person via the Internet.

Internet memes in a way, are the online version of chain letters.  Most are silly and uninteresting.  A waste of cyberspace.  The blogger Nessa, tagged me on the following Internet Meme and whilst I usually avoid them, this one in particular has an appeal strong enough to compel a response.

The objective is to enter your answer to each question into Google and then choose an image from the first page.  Some cheat and swipe an image from any page.  Others choose their target based on aesthetic—either what they find ‘pretty’ or ‘beautiful’ and/or what they think others will like with a primary purpose to impress.  Whatever their reasons, they are a byproduct of intellectual laziness with a flair of conformity.

I see this meme foremost as a psychological exercise.  By sticking to the rules, it necessarily forces specificity on the author, thereby transforming it into an enjoyable logically inductive experience.  The images are both ambiguous and highly descriptive.  Many of the images in my response contain more than one meaning; specific search criteria and selective scrutiny within the confines of Google search engine.

As an example, I have chosen the first image because I will be 28 on my next birthday, enjoyed the film 28 Weeks Later, and the biohazard sign is one of the symbols for Androgyne.  My answers are all contained within the images, accessible for those that can decipher them.  It is a two-way psychological mindfuck regardless of whether or not people manage to interpret accurately.

Therein lies the full extent of the allure.

Note: Whatever you choose to believe, I will neither confirm nor deny.

1. The age you will be on your next birthday.

2. A place you’d like to travel to.

3. Your favourite place.

4. Your favourite food.

5. Your favourite pet.

6. Your favourite colour combination.

7. Your favourite piece of clothing.

8. Your favourite TV show.

11. Your first job.

13. A bad habit you have.

14. Your worst fear.

15. What you would like to do before you die.


I am Androgyne

Androgyny is a State of Mind

Androgyne (pronounced AN-dra-jine) is the term used to describe persons who are androgynous. Androgyny, first and foremost, is a state of mind, not just an attitude or fashion statement. The notion that only androgynous-looking people can be or are androgynous is a misconception. Androgynes can be said to have the gender identity of both a man and a woman — or neither. Some identify with both traditional genders, while others see their identity as more of a synthesis and consider themselves to be agendered, as in “other” or “none of the above.”

I am Androgyne.  Biologically, I am of one sex.  Psychologically, I am neither masculine nor feminine.  Most humans enter a room and identify kindred based on their sex.  It binds them together.  Conversely, when I enter a room I identify no more with those of my biological sex than I do with those of my opposite.

Masculinity and femininity are constructs to me.  I understand them as I would any other type of construct, through observation and analysis.  As such, they bear no relevance to me.  I can be ‘one of the guys’ as easily as I can be ‘one of the girls’ only it is always a role to put on in the same manner as clothes.  One can wear clothes, but at no point does one become the clothes.  Although, it should be noted that I rarely choose to take on either of the binary genders.  I find the act constricting, unnatural, and undesirable.

The human mind has a natural inclination to separate and group objects in an effort to understand.  Objects A belong on the left and Objects B on the right.  Men on the left and Women on the right.  Manhood and womanhood are an important part of many people’s identity.  It inescapably accompanies their every action and thought.  Attempt to abolish the gap between them and the greater their proximity to each other, the greater the difficulty in understanding.

Nonetheless, if you superimpose masculinity with femininity, whilst difficult to relate to for the average person, they can at least envision a mixture of the two since they are already in possession of one.  On the other hand, the concept of being devoid of the experience of masculinity or femininity usually results in a ‘does not compute’ error message.  It is an understandable response.  Humans relate to others and their environment through an inner comparison of their accumulated experiences.  In a way, identifying as one gender or even both is almost as foreign to me as lacking gender is to those in possession of one or both.

I have always been Androgyne.  Yet, it is only recently that I discovered there is a word for what I am and most importantly, that there are others like me.  I am a 27 year old retired actor.  Looking back, I realize the major appeal of acting for me is its inherent duality.  You are at once yourself and the character you portray.  Your character’s actions and words are simultaneously yours and not.

For most of humanity, personal identity is very linked to physical identity.  It is not something the average person need consider.  In my case, my physical body is not a manifestation of my psychological identity and vice versa.

If tomorrow my body were miraculously transformed into the opposite sex, it would be no more accurate a representation of me than my current one.  This lack of consistency leads some Androgynes to adopt an androgynous physical appearance whether in attire or through surgery or both.

Perhaps this offers greater satisfaction to Androgynes that view themselves as both genders.  For those that see themselves as neither gender, as I do, the experience may be less gratifying.  Of course, this is not to dismiss its appeal.  I have a sophisticated utilitarian sense of clothing style, and whilst I am identified as my biological sex the majority of the time, my appearance is androgynous enough to draw attention.

Aesthetic

The blogger Nessa, recently made a post about colours titled: The most perfect colour. This is an excerpt from one of my responses.

Just to give you an idea of how much I like colours . . . my favourite clothes, regular objects, or furniture are either black or white. My favourite wall paint? Dark grey. If you are looking for a colour explosion, just visit my blog and observe the layout and banner–or my avatar for that matter.

Just to note in case my preferences dramatically change, the tone of the quote is meant to be ironic and sarcastic.

Nessa adores colours. She posted two links to illustrate her choice of art. I am reciprocating with a personal favourite called “Invader” by Eireen on Deviant Art. It is an example of my personal artistic aesthetic, representing what I consider to be acceptable colour levels. Surprisingly, it is under the Macabre and Horror category. Perhaps it is my science fiction fascination, but I see plenty of beauty and little in the way of horror and macabre. Granted, this is coming from someone who considers the fusion of human and machine as the next desirable and logical step in evolution.

Regardless, enjoy.

Invader by Eireen

Atheism Video Resources

Understandably, few people want to devote possibly hours to searching Google and sifting through/watching numerous video links on Atheism in order to eventually find the best ones unless they possess a healthy dose of obsessive curiosity. Even so, if you are unaware of the type of material available, for example, you may not know what search criteria is best. In the end, many will conclude the rewards are not worth the effort. Therefore, in the interest of promoting Atheism awareness, I have done the work for you.

After a while of searching and compiling, a centralized source is now available.

It is useful if:

  1. You are Religious and want to learn more on Atheism/Agnosticism. If you wish to discover what we believe on a given subject, chances are you will find the answer in one of my links because many believers have asked the questions before you. The reality, is that the same themes arise time and again. Curious? Follow my link at the end of this entry and see for yourself.
  2. You are Agnostic/Atheist and know little of the work available.
  3. You are Agnostic/Atheist and have already seen many videos on the subject.

The descriptions that come with the links are fairly self-explanatory. I have amassed many hours worth of video and arranged them first under General (which includes documentaries) and later under Individuals (Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Dan Dennett and Ayaan Hirsi Ali).

If you have a link you believe is good enough to be added, include it in your comment.

Feed your mind.  Access my Atheism Video Resources page here.

A film for Atheists

The Mist, based on a Stephen King novella, is advertised as your usual plot-less monster movie, however, it proves to be far more than that. It is a psychological thriller with an obvious Religious social commentary, and as much about the monsters within as those outside ourselves.

Stephen King:
But the story of “The Mist,” in the background, there’s this idea that the military has been fooling around with something that’s too big for them, and has torn an actual hole in the fabric of reality, and these awful creatures from another dimension have come through.

In another part of the story, there’s a religious zealot, Mrs. Carmody, who’s in the market, and to begin with she’s sort of a figure of fun. Because everybody’s pretty well solemnly grounded, and nobody’s worried about anything. But once the disaster strikes, Mrs. Carmody gets a weird power. And certainly we’ve seen this time and time again in our own lives, that as the situation worsens, in various parts of the world, the religious fanatics have a tendency to become more and more powerful.

What we see is a very clear devolution in many of the characters and the worse it gets, the stronger the foothold of the religious fundamentalist Mrs. Carmody. Eventually, she presents herself as being in direct communication with God.

Only about 10 people remain who do not turn to Religion for comfort in their times of need. It is implied that the majority of these 10 are secular. At some point, one of them named Ollie says, “As a species we’re fundamentally insane. Put more than two of us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up ways to kill one another. Why do you think we invented politics and religion?”

Ollie: [Mrs. Carmody is preaching to her ‘cult’ and they’re repeating expiation] Welcome to Sesame Street, kids. Today’s word is ‘expiation’.

Perhaps because the absurd appeals to my sense of humour, I found most of this film comedic. Frankly, I am surprised Hollywood has produced a film of this nature. The religious criticism is very thick. Many reviews depict the movie as bleak, depressing, nihilistic and so forth and condemn the ending as unnecessarily ‘unfair’ and especially sadistic.’ The film is controversial in part, because of the number of suicides.

The ending is rather graphic but not gratuitous. The blood is there for the purpose of letting you know what has transpired. It is emotional, without needing to zero in on the dead bodies. As Stephen King stated in an interview, it was the necessary and logical ending to the film. It is realistic. It is what people do when they do not have the luxury of seeing into the future, and can only infer based on the evidence available. Difficult decisions must be made.

In extreme end-of-the-world scenarios, very rarely are there happy endings. I commend the film for not taking the easy way out, and creating a standard everyone-lives-happily-ever-after ending.

This film is definitely a must see.

Would you marry a Theist?

I just finished reading Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris.

“The Bible is either the word of God, or it isn’t. Either Jesus offers humanity the one, true path to salvation (John 14:6), or he does not. We agree that to be a true Christian is to believe that all other faiths are mistaken, and profoundly so. If Christianity is correct, and I persist in my unbelief, I should expect to suffer the torments of hell. Worse still, I have persuaded others, and many close to me, to reject the very idea of God. They too will languish in ‘eternal fire’ (Matthew 25:41). If the basic doctrine of Christianity is correct, I have misused my life in the worst conceivable way. I admit this without a single caveat. The fact that my continuous and public rejection of Christianity does not worry me in the least should suggest to you just how inadequate I think your reasons for being a Christian are.” -Sam Harris

Sam Harris succinctly states his position (and my own as well) right on the first page. I am sufficiently unconvinced of Christian doctrine to not lose any sleep with angst over eternal damnation. Moreover, my skepticism directly influenced my younger sister’s Christian deconversion years ago (she is now an Atheist) as well as that of a former significant other who is now a pantheist. My current offline friends whom also attended Catholic schools right up until their High School graduation, are now Atheists as well.

“If I were to turn into a deeply religious believer, my wife has threatened to leave me.” -Richard Dawkins

Hearing him say the above, gave me a chuckle.

He brings up an interesting point. How important is it for an Atheist that their romantic partner be Atheist/Agnostic?

My first significant other was a Mormon who had done missionary work in Africa. The missionary work had the opposite effect on their Faith. When we met, I was calling myself Agnostic and they confided that they had been having serious doubts about their Faith for several years since. We had many discussions about Religion and by the time our friendship turned to romance, they were defining themselves as Agnostic as well.

The sheer terror they felt at confessing their Agnosticism to their parents–much less that they were dating an Agnostic–greatly disturbed me. The fear was justified. I feared for their life as well. In the end, that former significant other died without the family knowing of their Agnosticism–or my existence for that matter. I could not even attend the funeral.

It is baffling that in many parts of the world, one can fear for one’s life for simply refusing to believe in absurdities. That people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali must live under armed guard for the crime of reason, is disgraceful.

In my case, I cannot respect and therefore accept an individual as a potential romantic partner if they see enough justification for belief in a personal God. That level of cognitive dissonance greatly diminishes their desirability. Even with the ex that was a Catholic, by the time we began dating, Christianity was out the window.

So, for Atheists, how important is lack of religious cognitive dissonance in a mate? Would you date a Theist? Would you marry a Theist? If the answers to the last two questions differ, why so? In the mate selection process, does extent of religiosity make a difference? Does the type of Religion make a difference? Let us exclude Buddhism from the list as it resembles a philosophy more than a Religion.

How many phobias can YOU get from reading the Bible?

I was thinking of phobias earlier today, and decided to compile a satirical list of phobias one could conceivably ‘catch’ from reading the Bible, believing in its contents, and partaking in its practices. I have separated them into the following six categories: Time, Environment/Animals, The Church, Unworthiness, Pleasures and the Body, and Punishment. They are self-explanatory. Within each category, the phobias are organized alphabetically.

Time
Apeirophobia- Fear of infinity.
Chronophobia- Fear of time.

Environment/Animals
Antlophobia-Fear of floods.Arsonphobia/Pyrophobia- Fear of fire.
Astraphobia/Brontophobia/Keraunophobia/Tonitrophobia
- Fear of thunder and lightning.
Astrophobia- Fear of stars or celestial space.
Aurophobia-Fear of gold.
Barophobia-Fear of gravity.
Cibophobia-Fear of food.
Ichthyophobia-Fear of fish
Ophidiophobia/Ophiophobia-Fear of snakes.
Ornithophobia-Fear of birds.
Ovisophobia-Fear of sheep.
Taurophobia- Fear of bulls.
Thalassophobia- Fear of the sea.
Xerophobia-Fear of dry things or places such as deserts.

The Church
Automatonophobia- Fear of fear of anything that falsely represents a sentient being – dolls (think Jesus and Virgin Mary representations), ventriloquist’s dummies, mannequins, animatronic creatures, wax statues.
Bibliophobia
- Fear of books.
Chrematophobia-
Fear of wealth.
Demonophobia/Daemonophobia
- Fear of demons.
Ecclesiophobia
- Fear of church.
Eleutherophobia-
Fear of freedom.
Epistemophobia/Gnosiophobia
- Fear of knowledge.
Gamophobia
-Fear of marriage.
Hagiophobia
- Fear of saints or holy things.
Heresyphobia/Hereiophobia
- Fear of challenges to official doctrine or of radical deviation.
Hierophobia
- Fear of priests or sacred things.
Homilophobia
- Fear of sermons.
Hypengyophobia/Hypegiaphobia-
Fear of responsibility.
Judaeophobia-
Fear of Jews and of Jewish culture.
Kyphophobia
- Fear of stooping.
Lalophobia
-Fear of talking.
Lygophobia-
Fear of darkness.
Lyssophobia-
Fear of becoming insane.
Melanophobia
- Fear of the color black.
Mythophobia
- Fear of myths or stories or false statements.
Numerophobia
- Fear of numbers.
Ochlophobia-
Fear of crowds or mobs.
Onomatophobia
- Fear of hearing a certain word or of names.
Ouranophobia/Uranophobia-Fear of heaven.
Papaphobia
- Fear of the Pope of the papacy.
Pediophobia
- Fear of dolls.
Phasmophobia/Pneumatophobia/Spectrophobia
-Fear of spirits, specters, and incorporeal beings.
Phonophobia
- Fear of noises or voices or one’s own voice; of telephones.
Pogonophobia
- Fear of beards.
Potophobia-
Fear of alcohol or alcoholic beverages.
Psychophobia-
Fear of mind.
Satanophobia
- Fear of Satan.
Staurophobia
- Fear of crosses or the crucifix.
Symbolophobia
- Fear of symbolism.
Symmetrophobia
- Fear of symmetry.
Taphephobia/Taphophobia-
Fear of being buried alive or of cemeteries.
Teleophobia
- 1) Fear of definite plans. 2) Religious ceremony.
Theologicophobia
- Fear of theology.
Theophobia
- Fear of gods or religion.
Toxiphobia/Toxophobia/Toxicophobia-
Fear of poison or of being accidentally poisoned.
Tyrannophobia
- Fear of tyrants.
Verbophobia
- Fear of words.
Wiccaphobia:
Fear of witches and witchcraft.
Zeusophobia
- Fear of God or gods.

Unworthiness
Atelophobia-Fear of imperfection.
Athazagoraphobia-
Fear of being forgotten or ignored or forgetting.
Automysophobia-
Fear of being dirty.
Cacophobia-
Fear of ugliness.
Doxophobia-
Fear of expressing opinions or of receiving praise.
Eisoptrophobia-
Fear of mirrors or of seeing oneself in a mirror.
Enosiophobia/Enissophobia-
Fear of having committed an unpardonable sin or of criticism.

Pleasures and the Body
Androphobia-Fear of men.
Bathophobia-
Fear of depth or bathing.
Erotophobia-
Fear of sexual love or sexual questions.
Eurotophobia-
Fear of female genitalia.
Genophobia-
Fear of sex.
Gymnophobia-
Fear of nudity.
Gynephobia/Gynophobia-
Fear of women.
Hedonophobia-
Fear of feeling pleasure.
Hemophobia-
Fear of blood.
Homophobia-
Fear of sameness, monotony or of homosexuality or of becoming homosexual.
Ithyphallophobia-
Fear of seeing, thinking about or having an erect penis.
Kolpophobia-
Fear of genitals, particularly female.
Menophobia-
Fear of menstruation.
Paraphobia-Fear of sexual perversion.
Proctophobia-
Fear of rectums.
Venustraphobia-Fear of beautiful women.

Punishment
Catagelophobia-Fear of being ridiculed.
Cleptophobia-
Fear of stealing.
Hadephobia/Stygiophobia-
Fear of hell.
Hamartophobia-
Fear of sinning.
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia-
Fear of the number 666.
Ideophobia-
Fear of ideas.
Leprophobia-
Fear of leprosy.
Mastigophobia/Poinephobia-
Fear of punishment.
Odynophobia/Odynephobia/Algophobia-
Fear of pain.
Peccatophobia-Fear of sinning or imaginary crimes.
Phronemophobia-Fear of thinking.
Rhabdophobia-
Fear of being severely punished or beaten by a rod, or of being severely criticized. Also fear of magic.(wand)
Teratophobia-
Fear of monsters or giving birth to a monster.
Thanatophobia/Thantophobia-
Fear of death or dying.
Zelophobia-Fear of jealousy.