Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Atheism, Strip Clubs, and Beer

It’s almost 11, and I am awake. I not awake because I am not tired, I am very tired. I just don’t want to face the night alone. The guys went out tonight, and I was invited. Their plan was to chill at the enlisted club then go to a strip club. I don’t want to be alone tonight. I’ve been away from Becky for a week now, I am tired and lonely. I hate bars and strip clubs, but it seemed less lonely then sitting in my hotel room, watching Telemundo and imagining a funny story line in English. I called the wife, and told her where I was going and why. She understood, though was not excited by it. Frankly, I wasn’t excited by it. I just wanted to be distracted from my situation.

The drinking began at six at the enlisted club. I watched. I’m done getting drunk. I’ve done it twice in my life, once as a Christian, once as a atheist to see if it is different without Christian guilt. Not different enough. I basically like myself, and if I drink enough to change my personality I don’t like me anymore. Besides, I have no problem yelling, singing in public, crying pathetically for lost love, or telling obscene jokes to strangers without alcohol. I guess for people who are all pent up inside, it’s a big kick to be uninhibited. For me, I’m the exact same person, but I’m just not as good as good at it. So, I watched. I sipped water and watched everyone else drink. I did not watch everyone else have fun, because they weren’t having fun. They kept saying “one more pitcher”. And they drink slowly, I guess to get maximum buzz value. The juke box was too loud for us to talk, the dart board was broken. They just sat a drank, chatting between songs. Being that I wasn’t drunk, and they kept pressuring me to drink. They were being kind, by their understanding, but I wasn’t even tempted.

I watched them not talk. Stare into the distance, and play some computer trivia. At 10:30, I decided that my empty hotel room had officially become less lonely than room of drunken strangers I was sitting in. I don’t know if they went to the strip club or not, because I came home, chated with some friends on facebook and went to bed. This gives me two reflections. First, I find what happened amusing. I am atheist, the bastion of amorality according to many. Last night, I made the decision that going to strip club would be less lonely than my room. I’ve never gone to a strip club, and wanted to be sober and right minded so I could ponder the experience and my reaction to it. However, I knew I would not like it that much. Oh sure, I’d get an erection. But because I was sober, I would know that the woman on the stage were not dancing for me because they liked me, they were dancing for me because it is their job. But the largely Judeo-Christian ethicated class I was with had to be drunk to let loose, and drunk to go to the strip club. It was a source of much irritation to them when they found out I called my wife and talked to her about where I was going before I went. Somehow I made them look at something they didn’t like by being man enough to call my wife and tell her honestly where I was going, and to say that I was going because I was largely lonely and sad, and that I wasn’t especially horny, if I was I would stay in the hotel and masturbate. I watched the drinking for about 4 hours as they got good and wasted to go to the strip club. And I kept thinking, if it’s not fun until you are awareness impaired, why would you do it? (I always used to wonder that about guys who slept with drunk woman. To my feminist readers, I apologize. It never occurred to me until a feminist told me so that to do so would be rape. However, desperate as I was for sex, I never did it because if a woman couldn’t find me sexually attractive until she was shit-faced drunk, I would be too depressed to sleep with her.)

Sitting there reminded me of other bar I’ve been too, and the handful of parties. I recently spent about 27 hours traveling. In a car, waiting in air ports, in a cab, etc. And that feeling of being stuck, of waiting, of not being able to move, yet constantly moving was same in a Boeing 777 as it was in that bar. And I thought about when I worked in a nursing home. I though about nudity out of the context of someone who loves you or least sincerely wants you. It is so totally sexless. I have no problem going to a strip club, but I have a huge problem with doing things to be numb instead of joyful. So, I walked out of enlisted club dead sober and didn’t go to the strip club. I thought about what really makes me happy, and what it means to feel lonely, and I walked away. Moral-less atheist that I am. [More…]

February 28, 2009 Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Religion, Self discovery, skepticism | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

To spank, or not to spank.

Proverbs 23:13 “Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.”

The Hebrew word euphemistically translated as rod, in fact, means club, like a war club. This is not hyperbole, this is talking about beating the hell out of your own children.

No longer believing that I should simply mindlessly obey scripture, (not that I ever did in this particular regard) I, regardless, feel that I owe it to my daughter to research the whole spanking debate and discipline her in the way that best sets her up for success as an adult.

I believe as a parent, my goal is prepare my daughter to be an adult. I want her to be successful human being. “Successful human being” doesn’t mean rich, though I will be frank and admit that I do hope my daughter is rich. (A lot of people would say “comfortable”. Bull. Money opens doors, and I want my daughter to have as many open doors as possible. When I say rich, I mean rich.) However, rich is up to her. “Successful human being” means self respecting with due cause, thus making her a good friend and (perhaps more importantly) a good chooser of friends. Finally, it would mean she is independent and strong.

So, believing that my goal is to raise her to adulthood, apparently puts me at odds with the vast portion of parents out there who want their children to have a magic twenty-four year childhood of chaste romance and never paying their own way which ends (equally magically) finally and cleanly when said child simultaneously finds a wonderful white collar job and kind and rich spouse with perfect teeth.

Where was I? Ah, yes, corporal punishment. So, here’s my two problems with not spanking.

One, time. Yes, in a perfect world, I would always have the time to imagine a perfect punishment. Real life, not so much. Example: staying up playing after being put to bed. This is a problem because she will stay up later than she should, and be a cranky little…darling…in the morning, which often leads to the whole morning to afternoon nap time period being a lousy day for all concerned.

The problem is: She wants to stay up, and we, the parents don’t want her too. At some point, probably closer that I want to admit, if she wants to stay up and have a lousy day thats her business, but right now, we know whats best for her. I have to make her go to bed.

The effectiveness of any punishment I give her in this particular case is inversely proportion to how long it takes. A punishment that lets her stay up for another 15 minutes, for instance, isn’t really a punishment at all.

Now, I am sure some well meaning person will read this and say something like this:

Modern, peer reviewed research by behavioral scientists says that reward is a more effective method of motivation and faster engine of behavioral change than punishment.

Which leads me to problem number two.

Thats not how the real world works. I believe those studies are true and accurate. I’m just not sure that raising my daughter in that world of rewards prepares her for adulthood.

I can’t think of a single time a boss has ever rewarded me for showing up on time. I can’t remember a cop pulling me over to give me a cookie for driving the speed limit. No neighbor has ever even thanked me for not breaking into their house. No store manager ever made me a pan of brownies for not shoplifting.

The world we live in categorically, does not, run on rewards; it runs on punishment. The reality of life is that you can do exactly what you are supposed to do for 50 years and no one gives a shit, but the first time you get caught breaking a rule/law/norm people will go nuts.

Spanking is a quick punishment, and the world runs on punishment. But, is it really a good idea to hit people (even little people) when they don’t do what you tell them? Is the expectation that she can hit people who don’t do what she tells them more or less damaging the idea that she will get rewarding for merely doing what she must?

What should I do?

Post Script: I pursued my local library’s parenting shelf. Bloody useless. Having a “PhD” behind one’s name does not make one right. No controls and no peer reviews = probable BS.

So, please, to any readers, please post a comment, I am interested to hear what different people have to say.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Politics, Religion, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 12 Comments