Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Orgy of loneliness

Beautiful, isnt it.

Beautiful, isn't it.

I am often accused of being controversial for the fun of it.  Sometimes, I am.  However, often as not, I am just writing from the heart and my heart is, I guess, full of controversy.  If you are so offended by controversy that you cannot read something controversial to the end, please don’t read this, because I don’t want to deal with the questions and responses of people who only read half.  Also, if you don’t want to know about what I was thinking and doing in regards to sex when I was a teen, again, stop reading, because I am going to be totally honest.

I began looking at online pornography around the age of 12 or so.  Pornography is a available with many themes, and one that intrigued me was orgy themed pornography.  Orgy is a French loan word, which came to France via the Latin orgia, meaning secret rites or secret revels.  (For the not so literate, a revel is big party.) The idea here is a big party where secret rites are practiced.  I’m not clear on the etymology (story of the meaning of a word) but orgy came in English to almost exclusively mean “a bunch of people having sex with each other all at once”.

I wasn’t only attracted to the representation of orgy in pornography, I was attracted to the very idea of it, the concept of it.  This concerned me. As a young teen growing up in a very stereotypically Christian environment I had (obviously) the attendent sexual obsession, but also the attendent homophobia.  Half the people at an orgy were male. Though the men at an orgy were having sex with women, to be in a room where other men were having sex, even with women, seemed gay.  Homosexuality held absolutely no appeal whatsoever, but orgies seemed appealing.  I struggled to answer why.

Around the same time, I took an interest in cults.  I read everything I could get my hands on about cults, particularly ones that included sexual deviancy.  I think I did this because I considered the my desire for pornography, masturbation, sex, and particularly orgy to be a sin in and off it self. (A position, I might add, that the church agrees with.)  To look at porn and to masturbate were, in my mind, bad enough.  That I desired to do these things and to have sex with my female friends, and particularly desired to be having sex in a room full of other people having sex, was appalling to me.  I felt incredibly ashamed.  So, I guess it was natural that I looked for a group of people where everyone was like me, where my desires were not a deviancy to be ashamed off, but a communal value, perhaps, even a virtue.

When I discovered the record of the Oneida Community, it seemed that I had discovered paradise.  The Oneida Community was group of “Bible Communists” who lived in upstate New York.  They believed a lot fascinating things, but the ones of note here are their sexual practices.  Unlike many cults which have achieved infamy for their sexual oddity, the Oneida’s were not primary a “sex cult”, they were a real religious group which positively effected the world around them.  It just so happened they had some unique sexual practices.

The foundation of these practices, was called Complex Marriage.  Complex marriage was a theory.  In theory, every one in the commune was married to everyone else in the commune.  Everyone shared in parenting.  Sex was seen as both physical and spiritual.  They saw nothing sinful in sex as long it was practiced in their unique way.  They were not unaware of the procreative aspects of sex, and this figured into their social norms. They considered the ability to prevent ejaculation as spiritual discipline.  For this reason, young men were paired with post-menopausal women until they had mastered this control.  Men and women who were capable of prolonged and mutually enjoyable sexual encounters were considered spiritually mature.  Immature believers were paired with them until they learned the lessons, at which point they would also begin to rotate through the commune to spread “love”.  Each member had about 3 pairings a week.  All children were planned, wanted, and raised by all.

To me this sounded like the most wonderful state of human affairs on earth.  Of course, it didn’t last.  The values got corrupted and church leaders got the most nubile and young with whom they were not “spiritually disciplined” and had many babies, not all of which were wanted by the whole community.  Aside becoming selfish lovers, they also became selfish about those lovers.  Demanding that the laity share, the clergy refused to share their treasured few.

When I was 18, and looking to move out, I looked at several “swingers’ clubs”.  For the naive among you, a swingers club is often much more than a place where people interested in anonymous sex can meet (that’s what singles bars are for).  Swinger’s clubs have rules.  Often everyone gets together once a week.  In some clubs you can’t refuse anyone who asks, in others, there are certain formalities of asking.  Some clubs require that sex take place in front of all other guests.  Some require that it does not.   The point is, all of them have certain rules and methods of operation to prevent a sex cult from forming.  By “cult” I mean they struggle to make sure that everyone relates as equals, and no one had undo force on any other person, to ensure total consent.

None of them were attractive, and coming to undertand why helped me put two and two together.  The reason that orgy themed pornagraphy had interested me in spite of myself, the reason that the Oneida Community had seemed to call to me so much, the reason that the swingers clubs had so little appeal, was all the same:  What I wanted was the intimacy.  The reason that orgy as a lifestyle intrigued me was the idea of being so loved. To love a community of people, so much, and have that love be returned, to love the women so much that I could make love to any of them, and to love the men so much that I would share the women I loved with them was what I wanted… In short, I wanted to be loved. Not just by an individual, but loved by a whole group.

I wanted it, but I was a conservative Christian.  To me to turn my back on the values of Christianity was a death sentenence.  Once I even took one step on that road, the full consequences would be taken.  I didn’t really want to get into some freaky sex, I wanted to be loved.  I wanted, however, a love the church could not give me.  The church cannot love you for who you are, since you are at worst a sinner and at best a “saint who sins”. If who you are isn’t spiritual, then loving that part of you is sin.  They can love the part of you that prays, but not the part that works on trucks.  However if you pray and evanglize, then they can love the part of you that prays as well as the part of you that works for a living. They must love you because Jesus does.  I didn’t want to be loved out of duty or obligation, I wanted to be loved because I was unique and special.  My love of science is as much a part of who I am as my love of my wife and daughter.  I wanted to belong to a community that loved ALL of me, not just the spiritual parts.

As many of you know, when I was 18 I very seriously considered going to Philadelphia and starting a sex cult.  I never thought that this would be right or healthy.  In fact, even as I considered it, I thought that it would be corrosive to my very soul.  Ethylene glycol was an early antifreeze.  It is so like sugar that it even tastes sweet.  It brakes down into the blood just like sugar, cell by cell.  Then it goes to fuel the muscles just like sugar.  Then it metabolizes into poison, this poison is filtered out by the kidneys. They stop working, and you die.  Sex is so like real intimacy that its easy to confuse the two.  Then at some critical point in your life where you need intimacy to make it, all you have is sex, and a part of you dies.  I knew thats what would happen to me.  But I was so desperately lonely and hungry to be loved by a community of people, that I almost accepted the second best to nothing at all.  I didn’t care about the personal cost, I just wanted to be wanted, not because Jesus said so, but purely because of what I have to offer.

I didn’t go start a sex cult, I tried, instead, another avenue.  I thought maybe I should go into “ministry”.  I went to bible college, I tried campus groups, eventually, I even joined a wild eyed charismatic church who talked big about the coming revolution and change at any cost.  Let me make clear here.  My point is NOT is not about sex.  My point is that I was so desperate to be loved by a group of people that I would have used sex.  I would have done anything, I would have even given my life.  And so desperate was this desire, that knowing full well I counldn’t get it with sex, I was almost willing to to use sex just to feel like I had it when I did not.

None of it worked.  No mater what I did, I couldn’t be loved for what I have to offer, I had to be loved for who I knew, Jesus.  I couldn’t be loved for what I could do right now, I had to be loved for what I could do in some distant future.  And finally, and most painfully of all, I could not be loved for what I loved (science, skeptisicm, and rationality).  The community that I wanted so much was not available in the chuch.

Of late, I have been spending a lot of time in the company of athiests, agnostics, and skeptics.  For the first time in my life, I am loved by a group not because I am pimping Christ, not out of duty, and not because I have potential.  I am loved for what I am, and greatest of all, the things that are most important to me: critcal thought, freedom, and truth, are something that people admire about me instead of tolerate.  That which I am, is loved and respected instead of channeled into things which “support the cause”.

The desire that I have had since adolesnce to be loved by a group for who I am is finally fufilled.  The Oneida Ideal suddenly has no appeal for me as I get what I need from people who respect me.  I don’t to compromise who I am to be loved, I can simply be myself and people seek me out. That which the church denied to me for 25 years I have found in the rebels of the church.  I have that “one thing” and I won’t ever go back.


July 16, 2008 Posted by | Religion, Self discovery, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A recipe for mass murder

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(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magical_thinking) For Wikipedia’s excellent article.

To quote Wikipedia (the compendium of all human knowledge) “Like science, magic is concerned with causal relations, but unlike science, it does not distinguish correlation from causation.” Magical thinking is an import step in the process to having a vibrant and mature mind. Sadly, most people never move on to logical thinking, but continue to add and subtract from magical thinking attempting to make a suitable world view.

A wise man once said to me, “You will have a world view, whether you chose one or not.” It’s true. There is no such thing as person without world view, there are only people with logical and systematic paradigms and people with illogical and asystematic paradigms, but every person operates from some paradigm. Our world view is the product of our method of thinking about our thinking, our meta-thinking, if you will. If one never puts a thought into how one thinks, one will think poorly. Thinking poorly, one will produce an haphazard world view. Owning a inconstant world view produces an inability to perceive others consistently, which in turn, will cause an inability to relate to others consistently. This (finally) is the definition of hypocrisy, so the magical thinker will always fail by the standards of his or her own flawed value system.

Substituting correlation for cause isn’t just bad science, it’s dangerous to the human spirit, and here’s why: When a person consistently substitutes correlation for cause they will come to believe that their thoughts have the power to effect reality. Virtually everyone in the US will be in a car accident at some point in their lives, some will be in many. Use the example to a logical thinker and a magical thinker, both whom have had the statistically unlikely situation of being in 3 accidents in 3 months.

The logical thinker asks why is this phenomenon happening? He gets online and studies accident statistics. He has his tires and brakes checked, he talks to his insurance company. He is unhappy with all these accidents and and investigates the way his actions effect him.

The magical thinker asks himself why this phenomenon happening to me? Instead of searching for cause he searches for correlation. He asks what was he was thinking or doing all 3 times. Finally finding a correlating fact, he then believes that this fact is the cause. He also is unhappy with all these accidents but having reached a false cause, he solves it with a false solution.

Now, the logical thinker has removed himself from the probability of another accident, but the magical thinker, not knowing the true cause, has not. We can see here that magical thinking is endangering his life. When he gets in another accident, however, magical thinking will endanger his spirit. Since, in his own mind, he removed the cause of the accidents, this 4th accident must have a cause not bound by normal cause. In short, the magical thinker now believes that this 4th accident is not a natural act, but a supernatural act. He is now making up his own religion as he goes.

But the magic thinker only thinks about his thinking when he is looking for a correlation in his own mind. He doesn’t think about the nature of this thinking. We know this because the magic thinker is an man of average inteligence and not a imbecile. If you asked him outright “Do you believe that you have the ability to determine the whether an even is natural or supernatural by how you feel about it?” He would say no, but regardless, that is what he is doing.

It is far too simple a step from believing that the things that happen around you happen with a supernatural cause to believe that you ARE the supernatural cause. From there comes the idea that what you believe is more important than what you do, and finally, the last step down the slippery slope: that you can change reality by the belief rather than action.

Further, since he doesn’t realize that he is his own god, he has no problem belonging to an established religion. And thats when the horrors start. Take one man that has been convinced that he has unique insight into the supernatural which outweighs and overpowers logic. Add a large and powerful organization which gives legitimacy to this belief by its size and also uses its organization to provide positive and negative reinforcements to certain key behaviors . Mix vigorously with social instability and suffering. Viola! A recipe for mass murder.

But how do we stop these people? It would seem that building a large and powerful organization with a rigid belief system is not the answer. (How well has Protestantism, originally gathered around protesting the the very real abuses of the Catholic Church faired? It has become that which it hated. The Church had her pogroms, the Protestants their massacres.) If logical thinkers built a church style organization I guarantee church like results: a beautiful teaching hidden inside a holy book which the followers are encouraged to read only when it properly sanitized and commentaried, and decades of apathy interrupted by occasional movements of inspiring love and frequent movements of hate, murder, and suffering.

We can’t reason with them, because they can’t reason. Believing their thoughts to be logical, they perceive logical thinkers to be not magical thinkers, but magical practitioners. Their organization and all of their friends tell them that their thoughts reflect reality. Thus when a logical thinker presents them with reality, they have but two possible paths to take. (1.) Turn their back on their entire world view or (2.) believe that the logical thinker is somehow twisting reality, making it appear to disagree with their organization. Of course, they take the second. The logical thinker is seen as a practitioner of a foul truth magic. As human beings, we have logic hardwired in from the womb. If you show someone the logical path, they can’t help but see it. Since the typical magical thinker/cult member/religious zealot (if you are a zealot and offended by that, perhaps you should examine your zeal) has been told by everyone they know that their path is logical, this sudden attraction to the “wrong” (logical) way can only be seen supernatural influence, ie, evil.

The only way I know out of this mess is by personal example. I be seek to be the very best that I can be and wait for people to notice how much I enjoy life. I hold my beliefs up to public discussion on this blog (and in other places) not for people to notice, for if I had to tell people how happy I am for them to notice, I must not really be that happy, but for constant review and evaluation, so that I can hold on to this little toehold of joy and freedom I have bought with my skepticism and my faith. The natural state of man seems to be to surrender his freedoms to a mob so he can be one of them. I don’t want to surrender the freedom of my mind, and I won’t, so I stand in public and say “Doubt me, please! Question everything I believe! Find the holes and the gaps that I am content with till I’ve nothing less than pure truth.” That is the plan of my life. The only way I know to fight the madness mentioned above is to follow that plan.

February 16, 2008 Posted by | Paranormal, Religion, skepticism, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment