Announcement: Join the FF Saturnalia Party 2017.

Author Archives | Pepe Bawagan

Reverse Revelations

Reverse Revelations

I’ve been cleaning out my old notebooks, cutting out used pages, and sorting out which ones were good enough to still be used again. In the process, I came across my Christian Living Education notebook from grade school, in which I found the following failures of education written in my handwriting:

Q: Why can one who rarely talks have a longer life?
A: He/she doesn’t get into much trouble or problems because he/she does not comment/gossip too much.

There’s some truth in this, but we aren’t taught to value the quality of life. All we’re taught to seek is a long life, however devoid of integrity or meaning. This kind of education creates sheep who bleat, not people who speak.

Q: What lesson may be learned from this story?
A: That whatever pain we may experience in doing it, we must obey God.

Uhh.. just plain NO. To quote Penn Jillette:

“If god told you to kill your child and you said yes, then you are dangerous and stay away from me.”

Q: Why should we listen to the advice of our parents?
A: They have gone through many experiences so they know what I should do.

This too has some truth in it, and I’m lucky enough to have parents who are quite exceptional at raising children. But this should not apply to parents who have tendencies to neglect and/or abuse their children. Bantay Bata is there for a reason, and if children are discouraged from using it when the need arises, then we have a problem.

Q: What other values does wisdom beget?
A: Sincerity, obedience, acceptance, and responsibility.

I would say yes, no, kind of, and yes.

Wisdom begets autonomy, not obedience. Sadly, disobedience is generally frowned upon in our society, even when the reasons for it are legitimate. You don’t really need obedience if both your requests for cooperation and the people you are addressing are sensible. If you can’t motivate people, that’s your problem, not theirs. You have to learn how to make them motivated and making something illegal is hardly ever the best solution.

Acceptance is tricky. You first have to know what things are inside and outside of your control. As Epictetus once taught, suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power.

Lesson 4: God loves me because…

1. he created me in his own image & likeness.
2. I love him.
3. I am one of his children.
4. I respect him.
5. he can trust me.
6. he loves all of his creations.
7. I am the crowning glory of his creation.
8. he is merciful.

This is just an epic fail on so many levels.

1) So God is a narcissist. What. A. Prick.
2) So God’s love is conditional (and, as I would see it, pretty shallow).
3) Uhh.. what isn’t?
4) Same as #2. Actually, this whole exercise just seems to emphasize this point, doesn’t it? XD
5) Once upon a time, perhaps. Now, I don’t think so. XD
6) If by “love” you mean allow to suffer needlessly despite one’s omnipotence, sure, why not?
7) I find this statement to be fairly accurate. Good job.
8.) If by “merciful” you mean genocidal, sure.

I am a Claretian

1. I am a lover of God’s Word (Biblical)
2. I am a lover of The Holy Eucharist
3. I am a lover of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Wow. If only I had known about No True Scotsman back then. I am a Claretian because I happened to pay for education at Claret. Period. I don’t think anything else follows from there. As for the three items:

1) Ahh, God’s word. Funny how it’s always people writing and talking, right?
2) Mmm.. cannibalism.
3) Joseph may have gotten sloppy seconds thanks to the Holy Spirit, but if every previous Claretian happens to be a lover of the Blessed Virgin Mary, then FUCK ME!

TL;DR – We need more secular education. Don’t pray in my school and I won’t think in your church.

Posted in Personal, Religion0 Comments

Rethinking Economics

Rethinking Economics

MAKE MONEY

In the circle of freethinkers, it is common to question religion and government as some of the many things that are commonly taken on faith. What I find to be less common, however, is a critical analysis of monetary economics, which is pretty much the fundamental mechanism that is running the world today. I think that it is of utmost importance that we revisit economics with a fresh perspective, given the many different failures that the traditional model has been spitting out these past few years.

The foundation of modern economic models dates back to a time when self-interest, utilitarianism, and profit maximization were the basic assumptions underlying human behavior. However, recent sociological studies have relentlessly shown over and over again that these facets of ‘human nature’ simply do not explain enough about new phenomena that are emerging.

For example, nobody could have predicted the rise of Free and Open Source Software volunteerism a few decades ago. This community violates all of the old rules of economics by volunteering precious time to do sophisticated work on projects which are just given away to the public.

Another thing that the old model failed to take into account is the exponential growth of technology. In the past, as technology progressed and people were displaced from their jobs, it wasn’t too difficult to learn a new skill from which one could earn a living. Nowadays, however, automation has penetrated the marketplace so deeply that people are having trouble looking for things to do in order to survive, especially since technology moves so fast that what one may be studying now could be obsolete in just a few years. The glaring problem here is the direct conflict between employed human labor and technological advancement. Given the primary profit incentive of business, this means that people will continually be laid off and experience difficulty in sustaining themselves due to the creation of new automated machines.

This exhibits a crucial flaw in the system, wherein technology, whose purpose is actually to free humans from drudgery, becomes a problem for the common worker. Therefore when we apply new technologies, businesses end up with greater capacities for productivity, while consumers are left behind with smaller capacities for consumption because of job loss. Therein lies the paradox of having much to offer but not being able to give it simply because the people cannot pay for what they need.

Surprising as it may sound, the current state of technology is actually advanced enough to allow for a virtually complete automation of the basic industrial processes required to sustain human life. This means creating an abundance of goods so high that putting a price tag on them just wouldn’t make any sense. This could spell the emancipation proclamation of all mankind from the paradigm of “labor for sustenance” and possibly the end of money itself. At this point, I would like to introduce the concept of a resource-based economy, wherein the necessities of life are provided to people for free, without the need for employment.

Naturally, a critical thinker would respond with many different questions to this kind of proposal, which is a good thing. Some of the common questions posed deal with the timeless debate of “nature vs. nurture”. However, as can be seen from the links I have provided above, the human species does have a capacity to change and learn to be sociable. Another common question that arises deals with motivation. Simply put, what would motivate humans to do anything if they were provided all of their basic needs without a price tag? The answer is simple: stuff they like. Sure, some people would argue that most people would just lie around all day having fun. But is there really anything intrinsically wrong with that? It’s not going to be as if nobody will ever do science or develop technology as if those were terribly boring activities. There wouldn’t be any problem with someone just lying around for months at a time, although I’m pretty sure that that person would eventually get bored with inactivity and wind up looking for something to do.

Now there are probably tons of other issues that are unresolved in your mind, such as those of how to deal with property, government, crime, etc. Why wouldn’t there? This is a huge fundemantal shift of perspective from mainstream economics and having these questions in mind is simply an indicator of a skeptical, cautious, and healthy mind. However, in the interest of avoiding a tl;dr post, I shall leave you with some links that will hopefully cover a lot of your questions:

The Venus Project – an organization that advocates the implementation of a resource-based economy
The Zeitgeist Movement – the activist arm of The Venus Project; concerned primarily with spreading awareness of these issues (Here are the Philippine Chapter’s Facebook group and page)

I invite you all to join the movement. Like FF, it is open to people from all nationalities, religions, and walks of life, and also highly values reason and science as important tools for learning about our world.

Posted in Science, Society23 Comments

Facebook.com/Freethinkers