10:18 PM Comment0 Comments

Today I attended a youth group at a Baptist Church. Of course I went in with a healthy dose of skepticism so that I would not be indoctrinated into their cult (as I've been brought up to call all forms of religion or belief systems). I also went in with an open mind however. I must say, as much as the experience fueled the fires of cynicism against religion within myself it also was an enriching and educational experience.

The truth is, bible study does have merit, as boring as it seems, it has historical context. The events told in the Bible however exaggerated they may be have a grain of historical truth, but also, a whole rice platter of moral truths or lessons. What's important is to look past the Bible's literal translation and see the areas of truth. You can see the lessons it teaches and ask yourself if they are right for you, and not all will be right for everyone. Let's not stone adulterers, but let's love our neighbours.

This being said, there are still aspects of religion that infuriate me, and that make me uncomfortable in a youth group. For one, they always pray for the believers in Christ. They say, "My prayers go out to all the kids who are believers in here." What about those who are not believers, they do not deserve prayer? It crossed my mind that it may be an issue of sensitivity rather than snobbery that atheists or agnostics may not want to be prayed for, but I'm unclear on the issue.

The other thing is that justification for any rule laid out in the Bible is that it is the word of God and God is God. Well today I told someone to shut up, they should have listened to me because it was the word of Me and I am Me. What is the significance of God being God? Why did he tell us these things? Why should we blindly follow these rules just because we believe him to be all-powerful and wise? Its a question of standards, no one should submit to any authority that cannot justify their position. We are taught from a young age that, "Because I said so," is not a good enough argument. So why is it good enough for God.

5:18 PM Comment0 Comments

Hurray! I'm too lazy to make a blog today so read the Comic I made in Adobe Illustrator. Yeah I know, I'm hilarious, and a talented artist. NOT!

12:26 PM Comment0 Comments

Planning for any reason is selfish. If you make a plan it means you have an agenda and all agenda's are ultimately self-serving. Whether or not your plan benefits others your actions will still benefit yourself in status and reputation. There is no way to plan unselfishly. Any act of pure selflessness must be unplanned and spontaneous. It has to be in the moment or else you have sowed the seeds of intent to reap personal rewards.

There is no such thing as a selfless plan. You plan to give a loved one a present at great cost to yourself, but in the back of your mind you still look forward to that personal gratification at knowing you made them happy, or knowing that they love you more. Some may argue that the personal gain in giving can be smaller than the personal profit, even when planned but do we not almost always go into gift-giving assuming that our gift will be reciprocated equally. We exchange presents during the holidays, usually of equal monetary value. Plans are selfish, giving is selfish.

If we strive for selflessness we should strive to one day take a bullet for someone in the heat of the moment. But here we are planning yet again. Don't stress about your planning; though it may be selfish, you are impossibly easy to sabotage if you lead a life without plans. Total spontaneity is not an easy thing to achieve, and selflessness is overrated. Selflessness feels good after the fact, but then you could get a similar feeling from selfish giving. You won't be an enlightened being, but that's life, we can't all be perfect.

Unfortunately you also can't plan to be spontaneous. The only way you'll ever achieve that goal is if you accidentally fall into a coma, but then what's worse than not being spontaneous, being predictable. Even this blog was planned, technically, I had a conversation with a friend about how plans are selfish. He suggested I write a book about it. I said I thought about it, and he told me that he smelled a plan coming on. There's the sabotage.

Well, this was pointless. I just stated something everyone already knew. That planning is good. Except I put a spin on it and said that plans are selfish, but still important, because there is no other way to live. If anyone reads this, they'll think I'm an idiot. If you're reading this, post a comment.

9:41 PM Comment0 Comments

We are in the end of days. It is told by countless sources. Ancient and modern. Mystical and mathematical. Sweeping changes are coming our way. Changes that could bring about the end of humanity and any recognizable world. Our actions are leading us down a path to disaster and incalculable destruction. Our decisions could mean the difference between survival of our species and Armageddon. Every minute of every day our world as we know it changes. But as more time passes and more conscious minds are lit up in the world around us, the change grows ever quicker. Steadily then exponentially. When our consciousness can be spread around the world and seeded to millions of minds in a matter of seconds it is not a question of whether we have an impact, but how much of an impact we have. And whether our actions are leading toward destruction or salvation. We all have a choice. To be generous or selfish. Proud or meek. Forward thinking or stagnant. We are the Architects of the Last Day. Our lives are the design for the world to come. We are at a turning point. Sacrifice, development and preservation are the mantra of the new generation of Architects. We are profoundly shaping our world in everything we do. For better or for worse, it is our design and we will be accountable.

7:29 PM Comment1 Comments

I'm not posting a photo with this one because, putting his photo up would only serve to boost Kanye West's ego more. I'm doing enough by writing this in the first place (not that he's ever going to see or read this).

Does Kanye West have a Narcissistic Personality Disorder? If so, is it bad enough to be considered Malignant Narcissism? Every day he seems to get more self-absorbed, more anti-social and more narcissistic. Everyone by now has heard about his antics at the VMAs but let's recap anyway. For the award of Best Female Video Beyonce's "Single Ladies" was up against Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" and the 19 year old country singer took the prize. Teary-eyed and halfway through her speech Kanye West marches onto the stage grabs the microphone from her and says, "Taylor Swift, I'm gonna let you finish this, but Beyonce's video was one of the best of all time." Taylor Swift is obviously visibly shaken, Beyonce shocked and Kanye completely apathetic.

What drove the fabulously rich and famous Kanye West to break every code of sportsmanship and in a single moment obliterate any respect the populous had for him? The only logical conclusion is his narcissism is getting worse. This would not be the first indication of a narcissistic personality disorder from the 35 year old rapper. He has a history of violent outbursts of language and fists, including assaulting paparazzi. He is as self-promoting as a famous rapper can be praising himself as the "voice" of this generation.

Now, he did release a short-lived apology, on his website, to Taylor Swift, MTV and fans, but not only was the apology hollow towards Taylor and lauded towards himself, it was quickly removed. He described himself as Soooooo sorry, but then quickly added that Beyonce's video was still the best and he was just being "real." What most of us would call being egotistical, insensitive and ignorant, Kanye West calls "keeping it real." Spouting a distasteful rant to millions of fans live on tv in the presence of the rantee is not keeping it real.

What kind of god complex and love of self-indulgence does one need to think that they can go ahead and do something like that? Sure it doesn't take much physically to steal the microphone and say a few words but emotionally and morally it would be difficult if not impossible for a thoughtful, empathetic human being to do such a thing to someone who has done absolutely nothing wrong. Does Kanye empathize? Some would cite his philanthropic work in charity and benefit concerts as proof of his empathy, however, it doesn't take much out of you to sign a paper and spend a tiny fraction of your money off to the less fortunate in order to gain the much needed public reputation.

Kanye West is self-appreciating, anti-social, egotistical, self-centered and a narcissist. His faults grow day by day as he strives to "keep it real" for the generation he speaks for. If he's the voice of this generation I guess that means we have no respect for the people around us and only live to see our own profits. His personality is characteristic of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and it seems to grow worse day by day. Kanye West the Malignant Narcissist will not stop until the day he's suffocated by his own over-inflated ego.

Also, by his old song Jesus Walks, it can be concluded that he thinks he is Jesus incarnate.

11:01 AM Comment0 Comments

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others."

-Nelson Mandela quoting Marianne Williamson in his 1994 inaugeral speech

I heard this powerful quote on the Family Channel movie "Akeelah and the Bee". Akeelah was a young African American girl growing up in a poor Los Angeles community. She was an exceptional young speller and overcame peer-pressure, poverty and her own fear of success to win the National Spelling Bee. It doesn't sound like much, but it was an exceptional movie and one of those feel-good inspirational films. This quote, and how Akeelah embodied it in her struggle to overcome her fear of greatness, moved me to say the least.

There is so much truth in this quote. It is a truth I never realized until last night. Modesty is always looked upon as a positive trait, making others feel equal and comfortable around you, but we are all capable of greatness. Every last one of us, and we just enable each other to be meek and unsuccessful by not bragging our talents and skills and prizes. We need to flaunt our successes, to drive and inspire others to be like us, to show them that anyone can do it. We need to fight the status quo in today's society, where the youth follow trends blindly like a lamb to the slaughter and we fear standing out or being successful for fear of looking immodest. We need to change this.

Nelson Mandela is an example of this, by straying from the status quo and flaunting his power and his talents, he fought the evil apartheid government of South Africa. Even in prison for 34 years his words and actions were not forgotten and when he was finally set free he became president of the country he fought long and hard for. It was not modesty and meekness that brought Nelson Mandela to that place it was defiance and confidence. He was not afraid of success; he revered it from the very beginning. Like Nelson Mandela you are born powerful beyond measure. You are born capable of greatness. It is just a question of embracing it, and overcoming your fear of immodesty.

Modesty is overrated. Granted immodesty starts wars, on the other hand it is not modesty that invented the wheel. Modesty is a flawed philosophy. Modesty is stagnation. Modesty is static. Besides there are checks and balances to immodesty. Immodesty to the point of hubris will be your downfall, as demonstrated by empires throughout history. Then again there is a difference between modesty and generosity. Immodesty does not rule out generosity. Knowledge and wealth can be shared without sacrificing ones "greatness" in fact, arguably, generosity increases ones brilliance. Striving to be the best you can be and sharing your greatness, is the best gift there is. It excels the human race and drives civilization forward.

Remember the line, "the meek will inherit the earth."? I don't believe it for a second. Each and every one of us has it in us to be great, to "inherit" the earth and you won't get there by sitting around being modest and fearing what others will think of your dreams. You could go on to be a politician and become the leader of a country, or to become a scientist and save the planet from eco-disaster, or a doctor and save people from disease. And you don't even have to save people or the planet or be a world leader, you just have to do what you want to do, what you strive for and dream of, then you are a true leader. If you think its too late, you can't turn back, then take it in another direction. You can be a teacher and preacher of the cause and create big change, on a small scale, by invoking in others this message, Do not fear success.

Here's a little song that embodies the idea of this quote: Get Up - Shad

11:01 PM Comment0 Comments

Oh Québecia! Our home and native land! Oh seperatists, how you never cease to amaze and disgust me. I designed this graphic to put on a t-shirt. It's meant to be ironic because I don't take Québec nationalism seriously in any way shape or form and I just find it funny and ironic to praise Québec nationalism in big block English words.

Well anyway, a little while back, there was this plan to hold a reenactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in Québec City. For those of you (likely most) who don't know the historical significance of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. Well it's basically the defining Battle in which Britain took control of Québec. Its a big moment in Canadian and Québec history and was scheduled to be reenacted in Québec city, like the Civil War reenactments in the United States. Of course unlike the mock Civil War shows, that go off without a hitch, one crazy high-profile separatist decided to threaten violence against the event. You know, they call that terrorism and instead of being put in jail or questioned he's been made a keynote guest at the show.

Needless to say, the whole reenactment has been cancelled and apparently is now being held in New York at some point. Yes, this is very historically accurate. Now, instead of having the Plains of Abraham Reenactment they're putting together this Québec culture event including reading of Québecois literature. Now one of the proposed literary readings is going to be the FLQ Manifesto. That is the Front du Liberation de Québec, (for those who need another history lesson) a Québec terrorist group from the 60s that senselessly bombed English businesses and kidnapped high profile politicians (including Pierre LaPorte who they murdered). Its also noteworthy to mention that the event is being held on the anniversary of the confrontation with the FLQ, which is, disturbing in itself.

Now, I'm all for Québec history, but reading the Manifesto of the FLQ as "great" Québec literature is absolutely inappropriate. So inappropriate that even hard-line separatists from the Parti Québecois are boycotting the event. Anyone who lived through the FLQ crisis will remember how comfortable it was to have bomb threats at their children's schools and to have people in military fatigues patrolling the streets. To look at that particular chapter in Canada's history as "great" is a disrespect to anyone who has ever lived in Québec. My own mother recounts stories of being nine years old and not being allowed to go to school because there was a threat against her English school.

Not only is it inappropriate to praise the only terrorist group ever in the history of Canada, it's just ridiculous to consider the Manifesto "great" Québecois literature. Technically its a meager few pages, hastily written and mostly plagiarized from the works of Karl Marx by a bunch of anarchist hillbilly french baffoons. So I'd just like to say, that these Seperatists, take themselves too seriously, and undermine what little respect they have in the international community through actions like this. At this rate, Québec will never be its own independent country. There is more to Québec history than a struggle against the evil English. Its about time the separatists give in, if they can't have basic respect for "their" own culture, history and people.

Here's a few links: Manifesto of the Front de libération du Québec
More information on the actual event
Decide for yourself.

9:17 PM Comment0 Comments

This is an essay I wrote as a summative in Grade 9 Geography, I got 90 in the class. My teacher was kind. I edited it up a bit just now, so it makes more sense, but still it makes absolutely no sense.

Urban Dictionary defines the word “Emo” (ee-moe) as, like a goth but much less dark and more like Harry Potter. Is emo a growing subculture in North America or just a fad amongst overdramatic teenagers? This essay delves deep into the history of Emoism, the arts, social structure and the history of sacrificial cultures proving that emo culture is, in fact, more than just a fad.

To truly understand the issue you must first look at the history. In the mid 1980s emo rock music surfaced in Washington DC. Then it was called Emotive Hardcore but has since been reduced to Emo. The music lasted in waves and still has a wide fan base today. The music is generally soft and has emotionally based lyrics meant to invoke a feeling in listeners. Since the inception of the music scene other aspects of the culture have developed including fashion (usually dark clothing sometimes with bursts of neon colours). This history in itself proves that Emo is not a fad. Where other alleged fads, such as chia pets, failed emo music and its culture alike succeeded in lasting over two decades.

The definition of culture in terms of anthropology is, the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another. Essentially it is the way of living of a group of people. Some important aspects of culture to remember when judging whether something is valid as a culture are language, art, music and fashion. Emo culture meets all such expectations. When it comes to language, many poems are written by self-proclaimed “emos.” This also ties into music with some language and poetry being put into the emotionally potent lyrics of the culture’s music. This music has also inspired a mix of fashion and art with amazing artists basing graphics and drawings on their favourite emo bands. Using this irrefutable evidence it is obvious that emo wave is, in fact, a culture.

Many argue that emo could not be a culture because it praises self-mutilation and suicide. If a culture committed suicide it would not have anyway to transmit knowledge from generation to generation. The fact of the matter is that most in the emo culture do not practice self-destruction although their lyrics and words do praise the same. Instead of taking ones life, most in the emo culture channel such emotions and problems through art mediums such as song, poetry and visual arts. The culture has evolved to channel frustration and sadness through their art-forms lowering the likelihood of violence and suicide. Many others in Western culture have learned to hide their emotions from friends and family which results in violence, even against oneself. This is counter to culture. However, the emotional nature of this emo culture reduces the prominence of suicide and violence, proving that the argument against Emo as a culture is debunked.

In proving that emo is a viable culture capable of growth and prosperity, it is relevant to look at historic cultures. The fact is that many cultures and religious movements in the past, up to and including Christianity have praised death in the form of sacrifice and martyrdom. Many cultures have also prospered for millennia actively practicing ritual sacrifice and to this day practice mock sacrifice. Emo culture is no exception to this rule. Emos praise physical and emotional sacrifice in their lyrics as part of their culture. Through looking at historic examples of death-worshipping cultures Emo can in fact be considered a viable culture.

Throughout this essay it has been proved without a doubt that emo is a culture. It meets all requirements for culture and has its own distinct characteristics from others. The culture supports open emotion, sociality and creativity, all characteristics of a distinct culture. Emo culture is evolving and is making an impact on modern music, art and fashion; its about time we accepted Emos as a viable sub-culture in Canada and all of the world.

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