Monthly Archives: May 2014

Eurovision 2014

The winner of the latest Eurovision Song Contest, Conchita Wurst aka. Tom Neuwirth got fair amount of attention and outcry. I also think it’s worth a couple of words. If anyone missed, here’s the winner song, Rise like a Phoenix.

After some research you can find he is originally a male singer with the name above, and that’s about all of the important facts. Not a big deal so far.

The interesting story starts when he decides to perform as an unusual drag queen, with more facial hair that he ever had as a man. Whichever was his cause to do this, either to get more attention than an average male singer, or express his true self to the public, he teaches us a very important thing: self-confidence. I also like to have attention, I even wanted more as a child while I barely could stand up and speak to larger audiences, but I doubt I could do a thing like that man did. This man has harder balls than many of us, since no wonder he gets many haters with an appearance like that. It’s crediatble even if  he did it just to prevail in showbusiness, and admirable if that’s some sort of self-expression. An act of bravery either way.

I don’t sympathize with gay or transsexual people. Actually I don’t “like” people in general, be them gays, nuclear scientists, Jehova’s witnesses, astronauts, nazis, anything. I don’t base my sympathy on belonging to any group, religion, or having specific level of intelligence. But not liking them does not necessarily mean I have any other feelings than neutral towards them. I like individuals, based on how they think, and what they do. And I like this person. He helps us to learn not to judge. We don’t have to discuss if he’s a man or a woman. We don’t have to call him homosexual or abnormal in any way. We can form feelings of course. We can tell if this should or should not happen, but those are also judgements. Even liking someone is a decision of ours. And decisions based on emotions are often need some review.

People could tell this person should not be on tv since kids are also watching Eurovision. I have two comments to them. Nor you and your kids are obliged to watch tv. Secondly, your kid will face even more weird things, that’s inevitable. If you have kids, it’s time to teach them there are many different human beings that should be tolerated, as long as they don’t limit the well-being of others.

One of the critics reported that the whole Conchita phenomenon has spit on the face of “real” transsexuals, since there is no such group that he would represent, and he/she was only constructed to hack the Eurovision. Even is he has some point in that, I doubt that it hurts the feelings of smart people. If I were a homosexual, and I saw some manly man dancing in pink ballet uniform just to taunt homosexuals, I think I would not be taunted. I think if I’m smart enough, nobody can hurt my sexual or religional preference. And I don’t believe in “hacking” of Eurovision either. People simply vote. We make our idols. A real hack would be if someone hacked the number of votes itself.

And finally, some weird thought of the future. There are many sci-fi movies which represent a specie genderless. Who knows, maybe humanity will also take this leap someday. Maybe the border between genders is just fading, that’s why we have so many manly women and more emotianally sensitive men. Going genderless does not seem more viable to me yet, however, I have no clue what strange things can, and will happen to our bodies in e.g. 100 years. Perharps our bones will be replaced by more durable polymers, so do our organs. Maybe we’ll be only brains in containers, stimulated by computers and connected by some sort of internet. Or we leave even the biological brain behind, and copy our consciousness to some computer storage. From the moment that the joys of being biological can be perfectly replaced, there will be no meaning to continue biological life. But that’s another story. Cheers for Conchita.

Via Dolorosa

The other day I participated in a “Way of Suffering” ritual designed for kids. While I had twofold feelings about the ritual, I still joined it because my girfriend is an active catholic and took my curiousity. Actually I support all religions until they support global well-being and improve people’s quality of life by giving good principles that those people do not adapt using common sense. Long story short: catholic churches are cold, dark, most things relate to Jesus and represent his suffering. I find more “God” when I take a walk in the park, in the woods or along riverside. Long story long, as follows.

First, I participated in the preparation of the ritual, since all of us (adults and kids) were chosen to read the brief summary of a stage how Jesus suffered. Then the whole thing started, a strong highschool boy carried around a cross, two girls chanted after each stage we visited, going round the inside of the church. We got down on our knees (which was a good excercise for the thighs), and those who were familiar with the chant, joined the singing. After that, we all went back to the sacristy and the pastor did farewell to every one of us.

If I had to look for the manifestation of demons somewhere, I’d start in churches. I have very little understanding why it has to be like that. The cold, deep sadness and the chants almost turning to cries, the pointless grief over Jesus just led me nowhere closer to joy. I saw suffering there, and children are taught about suffering, too. They are thought about heaven, pidgeons, old wise men and this greatly-suffered idol of catholicism.

There were not only negative things there, though. I managed to make a small conversation with the pastor after the ritual, and I disappointed positively. The overall attitude of hers was just how I would have wanted to see. She was happy, and focused on teaching the younglings to express love towards each other. She sort of told heaven is not a place, rather a state of mind where we are happy and joyful, and her catholic concept of hell is almost the same as the satanist definition of “without God”. And I think the point of this whole thing. Religions should be tools of the same purpose, to make followers happy, not ashamed. Even their greeting “praise the Lord Jesus Christ” should be reconsidered respect to the goal, which  should be, instead of worshipping a man and talk about his suffering, to be happy, to improve quality of life. I’m not sure yet how should we replace this dogma, neither I have to bother myself about it (that’s what Pope Francis is for, lol), but these facts sort of embarass me, and even if I’m not bothered by evangelizers, I’m wishing for a change. The ideal setup for christianity, in my head, is closer to the so-called hippy culture, which focused on being happy and love each other. Focusing on “The son of God” is almost as wrong as having marijuana. It might fill a hole, but leads to nowhere on the long run. As written in the Bible (which is not such a bad book in general), even Jesus asked to follow, not to worship him. We are living in deep misinterpretations here, that should be reformed. And I see some chance for being done so. There are open-minded pastors and priests, even this Francis guy seems “cool”. Maybe changes are on our doorsteps. But until they ring – for the love of God, lol – teach the young to common sense rather to make them learn about suffering. And if you wish to teach them to Jesus at all costs, at least focus on the philosophical side of his life, not the overmystified one. Or bring fun and joy to the church if you are involved in any. Amen.

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Antisocial networks

I just recently encountered the topic of being antisocial by choosing the virtual life of “social” networks and video games over real-life activities, which as one of my friends said, is a large issue for the young generation. I somewhat agree with her, however, I think before forming such a statement, we’d have to examine many attributes of our lifestyle.

First of all, we are living a life in a far more cosmopolitan way than our ancestors had. My grandfather lived on a ranch with seven of his siblings and his family. He might have known about 50 people at most as he had grown up and joined the military. It was his only chance to break out from that environment and try to become more than a farmer. If he didn’t join, he’d just live his life in an area of roughly 20 square kilometers. My girlfriend’s mother had similar early life in a small village, not even knowing about what happens on the other half of Earth.

As urbanization and population growth continued unstoppably, we suddenly became more crowded. And with the help of technology, we can even reach people our parents could never even see or talk with. We can phone our relatives oversees, instead of visiting them only once in a lifetime by boat. We have internet, skype, facebook, whose are surely not provide direct connection, but they provide the best connection invented so far. Simply to say we are in touch with more people than our parents used to.

The other aspect, of course, people who totally give up direct interaction and only virtually exist. We can encounter high shcool students on the metro, staring their phone and other gadgets. We, “conscious people” could laugh at them, but should we? These people wouldn’t even talk to other people of public transportation anyway. Their phones are their link to something more social than we have while laughing at them. They just copy a pattern that broke out dozens of years ago, due to our increased movement space.

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I think being “antisocial” or using “social” networks over real life is a natural way to defend our private space, which we have less by every day. There are situations when we only want to take a rest, with not getting aware of anybody outside our skull. We want peace, like those men reading the news. At the same time, we are putting energy to one of our greatest desires, namely: being noticed. Sometimes we just need this one-way connectivity. Using our technology to make loneliness go away is not something we would feel shame for. It’s just the trend of the century, part of our evolution. We are not more antisocial than we were 100 years ago. We just use these half-social methods to get a taste of being connected.

FInally, if someone becomes antisocial using our technological inventions, and still manages to reproduce, this one doesn’t do anything wrong then. I believe this is also a case of foxes and rabbits. Our state of connectivity will just eventually reach its optimum.

My advice to people using indirect connection: ask yourself a question, is that really makes you happy? Is it the best thing to do with your life right now? If so, you are already achieved that many sociologists only dream of, and you should not feel shame for it. And if you think you can do something more useful, or joyful, let’s do that. You still can have friends who play sports instead of video games. You can have friends who don’t use technology to keep in touch. Or you can choose a lifestyle between those two. A little real, a little digital. Or you can go Amish. Choice is yours.

A final thought: if internet hadn’t existed, I wouldn’t have been capable to express these thoughts, only for those who I live close to.