Oblivious in Dubai: Part 15

Salazar brings a serving tray to our room with twelve bottles of Budweiser atop it. A tip, a handshake, and he was gone. He did request, though, that we not let anyone see the beer.

My comrade had paid for the hotel and the beer; but I had to leave shortly to catch my plane.

We get into the beers then start talking about life and the state of the World’s affairs; talking about how we each just left an active war zone in which we were doing otherwise ‘normal’ jobs.

I don’t remember much after that.

“Nothing is true; everything is permitted.” – Assassin’s Creed maxim and primary guideline.

I recall the conversation being honest and eye opening; but I shall not reveal the nature of that discussion here.

The world is an interesting place. As long as you’re polite; most of the time you’ll be alright. Somehow I made it to the airport; though I don’t remember much of the trip.

Following along sequentially; the things I recall are still-images. Images flash of the stained-wood walls of the lobby; a snapshot of my Comrade carrying one of my bags to the taxi; a parting hug; and then of regaining coherence at the check-in line at the airport.

Familiar Canadian Comrades were also waiting to check in. Beverages were had once we traversed through this exceptionally large line. To Frankfurt and then to Montreal before we’d part ways.

Most of the rest of my journey is a blur until shortly before landing in Germany at six o’clock in the morning. The time of day is largely irrelevant while travelling over 30 hours in one shot; it just affects what’s found on the menus of the places you stop to eat. The blur, after analyzing my previous behavior and looking for patterns; was probably filled with tasting the beers of the world until I passed out and pissed myself on the plane.

At least I thought I’d pissed myself.  I’d not pissed myself before; so there was no reason to believe my bladder would cave for no reason.

Perhaps it was the cabin pressure?

I found a can of beer on the floor that had spilled all over my pants; alongside it a couple of empty Coors cans… and a full one. Sweet, I’ve got another beer.  I crack the beer and drink the Gravol; the plane should be landing soon.

When in Deutschland; eat what the Germans eat.

Sausage, beer, and a few tabs of Gravol.

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PART 17
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That Day of Remembrance

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalition_casualties_in_Afghanistan

It’s getting that time again; Remembrance Day.

There are many countries that have contributed blood and sweat and lives since 2001; and continue to do so today.

Doing so in a joint effort to contribute to what they thought was good and right.

Each country filled (and continues to fill) a role to the capacity to which they could by utilizing what they have trained for.

They do this to protect what is good and right.

Just like all of the things we learned about in school around this time of the year as young children in elementary school.

They do it not because they had to; but because they thought they should.

No political b.s. here.

Just saying that when we take that moment of silence on the 11th – to bear in mind that there are families just like yours that lost somebody and continue to lose loved ones in a war that’s still going on.

A war that I know is doing good things for the people of that region.

Be proud that each of our countries have people that are willing to put their lives in jeopardy to protect others and standing up for what they believe to be right.

Their own political opinions and creeds aside; they band together as their homelands ask them to; in order to protect those that need it.

Some don’t come back.  Some come back, but don’t.

Lest we forget.

 

The Pursuit of Truth in a World of Endless Information

“This man, on one hand, believes that he knows something, while not knowing. On the other hand, I – equally ignorant – do not believe that I know anything.”
-Apology (Plato)

By: Big Think
Featuring: Bill Nye

It’s important to criticize ideas and to hold all ideas up to an open discussion; not to prove or disprove those ideas but simply to open minds to the fact that none of us know anything for sure and what we think we know must always be updated with new information.

Education and knowledge are fundamental and have been vital to the success of the human species.  That is where the money needs to go; creating informed, educated and intelligent citizens and voters.

There’s a big difference between criticizing an idea and criticizing a person. Religion is an idea, it’s a thought process, it’s a way of thought and an explanation for some people. Someone believing an idea is true without any evidence is a choice they are free to make, despite the illogicality of it.

Personally criticizing someones un-willingness to entertain the thought they might be wrong is necessary and important.

Any criticism that comes from me about religion is about the idea of it from an objective point of view.

A couple of those objective observations would be that:

  • Religions (and all belief systems) have played a vital role in the development of our societies and our species. Both causing harmony and causing war and division. Fostering community, fostering fellowship, promoting togetherness.
  • There are good and bad things in the world; but it’s not black and white. Citing divine inspiration or religion as a moral yard stick is flawed simply because of the example set by the very people in the upper echelon of those groups. It’s never black and white yet all theistic faiths make it black and white.
  • The only moral yard stick we really need that holds true across almost all cultures and belief systems is to “do unto others as you would have them do to you”.

I believe that people should be allowed to do as they wish, provided it doesn’t harm anyone else or their ability to do as they wish. Government shouldn’t be involved in peoples personal lives.

There needs to be a separation of belief systems (a personal choice that is a reflection of the freedom we have here) and decisions made by government that affect everyone (abortion, gay marriage, pot prohibition, euthanasia and tax exemption for churches – to name a few).

I’m only militant about this stuff because societies status quo has it backwards and changes need to be made regarding how we prioritize things. Based on what I know so far, (keeping in mind that my opinion is fluid and always subject to change with the presentation of new data) most of the bad things that have happened regarding personal liberty have been a result of religious people.

For example: 9/11, The Crusades, The Spanish Inquisition, protesting Gay Marriage, anti-abortion attitudes, being against publicly funded birth control, most of the shit going on in the Middle East, the US not taking action on climate change, the US teaching creationism in schools as fact – to name a few.

I’ll basically shut up whenever decisions are made objectively regarding stuff that affects us all. Canada is pretty accepting of secularism and the non-religious; but it’s a global issue. We’re attached at the hip to the US and in essence the rest of the world. If the next generation believes in a magic sky fairy that watches everything we do and personally cares about YOU, we’re all fucked.

Think globally; act locally.

One might say, “We’ve had religion for thousands of years, why is it such a big deal now?”

I’m so glad you asked!  It’s such a big deal now because the Roman Empire didn’t have Nuclear Weapons.  Genghis Khan didn’t have M16s, tanks, or artillery.

If the next generation in America grows up believing that they are are right because they believe in a Christian God and that everyone who doesn’t is wrong; it’s an automatic, unquestionable US vs. THEM situation.  One side will never truly trust the other and they will never truly get along.

Add to that the fact that 48% of American Christians believe as fact that Jesus Christ will return to earth in the next 40 years.  (Citation:  Pew Research Center: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/03/26/us-christians-views-on-the-return-of-christ/)

Think about that.

Just think about it.

Keep thinking for another moment.

….

….

….

They believe this as undisputed literal FACT.

What we have now is half of a generation of Americans born after 2000 A.D. that:

  • Have access to nuclear weapons
  • Fundamentally believe that they are superior in morality and value versus anyone who disagrees with them
  • Have access to every piece of knowledge known to humanity (but choose to ignore it)
  • Believe that natural disasters happen because gays have basic human rights
  • Believe that we have absolutely no control over our destiny because it is all pre-ordained

Evolution is a beautiful thing.  To disregard evolution is to disregard all of our monumental achievements as a species – dishonoring our ancestors, their ancestors, and their ancestors ancestors.

Tens of thousands of years of intellectual growth; learning for ourselves, being curious, inventing tools, improving the tools we’ve built, building incredible buildings like the Pyramids, advancing our architecture by trial and error, math, biology, chemistry, archaeology  – to disregard all of that evidence is absurd.

The unfortunate reality is many Christians think it’s all hog wash.

Anyone who thinks my attitude is offensive or too much should watch that video and think on it for a bit. Our species is at a point now where we have all of these amazing tools and can truly do anything.

We have the sum total of the worlds information available 24/7 in an instant on a portable device we carry in our pocket at all times.

Fucking act like it.