The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by odo banks on Tue Feb 15, 2011 12:48 am

A certain woman I know, the wife of an upstanding gentleman I know - and only too well - is a teacher too. Hearing daily accounts of "school" issues, I can yet again agree with you Kafria. Utilizing "peer" group pressure to help teach kids to act thoughtfully towards one another is a practical method of training good citizens (respectable ones); and smaller class sizes is a boon to all who care about education. I'm also only too aware that nobs at the top always wreck it for the conscientious workers at the bottom, give them nothing but criticism, much of it unfounded, and expect everything and beyond in return. As Biffo might say, "Ussols!" ((("Ussols" is a slang word used in the Kimberleys as an alternative to "Prigs." "Prigs" is never used down the mines btw, it's just not the environment for it, just not Kimberleyan, if you know what I mean.)))
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:24 am

Religious fanatics so extreme the European churches sent them away in boats- and they founded America-that's a scary thought! Shocked

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Americans, religion, and sex

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:31 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Religious fanatics so extreme the European churches sent them away in boats- and they founded America-that's a scary thought! Shocked

That sums it up quite succinctly. What I find most amusing though is the hypocrisy. Miss America pageants are supposedly as American as Mom and Apple Pie. But it's all about the swimsuit part of the competition. Same with cheerleaders at All American Football games. Hollywood understands the schizoid American Personality though, and plays it like a fiddle.

I remember seeing Deepak Chopra on Bill Maher;s show once, and he said US society was particularly Pathological. Deepak sounds a lot like Jung and Blake at times. The idea is that the more people focus on the "light" the bigger the shadow they cast. Only by acknowledging and embracing the "Shadow" part of ourselves will we find balance. And Puritans are so busy trying to stop people from having fun and being "pure" of spirit, they don't even realize the evil they have wrought.

Seriously. I worry much more about the Extremist Christian Right here than I do about Extremist Islamists.

GB
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:41 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Religious fanatics so extreme the European churches sent them away in boats- and they founded America-that's a scary thought! Shocked

To be fair, not all of them were terribly extreme (Quakers were heavily persecuted in England and thus emigrated in large numbers, but they have historically been quite progressive), though some of them clearly were, especially the Puritan-inspired churches in New England. It's an interesting contrast, how independent, competitive denominations in the U.S. have a strong influence on politics whereas state-sponsored churches in Europe have comparatively faded in influence and everyday significance. Perhaps the upheaval associated with moving across the ocean and the lack of governmental intervention breeds greater religious fervor.
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:44 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:To return for a moment to the education debate.

"And Petty, the problem isn't lack of discipline. You just don't have the same dysfunctions in Wealthier School Districts that one has in Poverty Riddled Urban School Districts, where teachers and students are operating under tremendous stress levels."- GB

Don't get me wrong GB- I am not advocating a return to beating children in class. However I do find it interesting that poverty was just as bad, if not worse, in previous generations and that discipline in schools was not the issue it is today.
I don't know why that is, but corporal punishment is one of the main differences between then and now and has to be considered on those grounds.
I am not a teacher, so I don't know how bad discipline really is, or if teachers feel they have the tools to deal with it.

Yeah, well back in the day it WAS about beating the snot out of kids! All the better to make them compliant little worker drones. But you can only beat people down so far before they snap and and return the favour. Conditions are so horrible in many poor urban districts today, it invites violence.

In the long run, beating people only breeds more violence, and teaches kids that the one with the biggest stick wins. I mentioned this on the Saoirse thread, but that is why societies are sick! It's a social pathology. When we have authority figures that preach peace but deliver violence it creates cognitive dissonance in the culture at large. It's the "trickle down" theory of Violence.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:56 am

Eldorion wrote:
Pettytyrant101 wrote:Religious fanatics so extreme the European churches sent them away in boats- and they founded America-that's a scary thought! Shocked

To be fair, not all of them were terribly extreme (Quakers were heavily persecuted in England and thus emigrated in large numbers, but they have historically been quite progressive), though some of them clearly were, especially the Puritan-inspired churches in New England. It's an interesting contrast, how independent, competitive denominations in the U.S. have a strong influence on politics whereas state-sponsored churches in Europe have comparatively faded in influence and everyday significance. Perhaps the upheaval associated with moving across the ocean and the lack of governmental intervention breeds greater religious fervor.

Very true Eldo, and not many US Americans understand why Europeans don't give a hoot what the Church thinks. They've lived with State Religions for so long they know better than to pay too much attention to religious Authorities, and are much more concerned about Political Authorities.

And in the US, which is allegedly a secular state actually has a Religious Test for Political Office. Not having a State Religion in the US has in fact bred a Religious State that far surpasses the influence of Religion on European Politics.

You are also correct about groups like the Quakers, but they are quite a Minority.

GB
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:04 am

I don't mean to overstate the importance of the Quakers, but they came to mind for me because I was raised in a Quaker meeting, albeit one on the far progressive fringe of the Society of Friends, and I still retain a measure of affection for them even though I don't identify as a Quaker any more. Smile

As for the relationship between church and state in the U.S., it's one of the great paradoxes of our political culture. I think a lot of Americans take the relationship for granted - you will hardly ever, if at all, see a politician who does not make a public show of their religion as a way to gather votes. If they don't, it's pretty much guaranteed that they will be attacked for it. The ultimate irony is how many of the architects of the early U.S. were deists. Rolling Eyes
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:12 am

I've always had a soft spot for religious groups like the Quakers. Very Happy

And once again you display a keen sense of irony Eldo. It's shocking how few US Americans know that most of the Founders were Deists.

Shocked

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:13 am

Got to agree it is strange. Especially as another influencing factor on the Founders was Masonry, also non religious. Yet the end result is a country which is far more openly religious than the supposed religious countries is was founded to get away from.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:15 am

I know almost nothing about the Quakers save what I've seen on TV- so I know nothing about the Quakers!

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:17 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Got to agree it is strange. Especially as another influencing factor on the Founders was Masonry, also non religious. Yet the end result is a country which is far more openly religious than the supposed religious countries is was founded to get away from.

Well Freemasons are actually religious. But they are essentially Universalists. It doesn't matter to them what your religion is as long as you have some sort of belief in God.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:18 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:I know almost nothing about the Quakers save what I've seen on TV- so I know nothing about the Quakers!

Quaker Myth #1: They don't dress like the Quaker Oats guy. Very Happy

I don't know if you have Quaker Oats in the UK, but it's a brand of oatmeal with a guy in an olde tyme-style outfit, complete with a broad-brim hat. The misconception that Quakers dress like that (possibly borne out of confusion with the Amish) led to Quaker Oats being something of a running joke among the kids in the meeting that I grew up with. Laughing

When I say "meeting", I essentially mean "church", though Quakers of the same faction as my meeting tend not to use that term. Quakers are more properly called "Friends" (from the formal name of the denomination, the Religious Society of Friends). The majority of Quakers are fairly typical Protestants with preachers and services and the like, but there are a few (that I earlier referred to as the "far progressive wing") known as Hicksites, after a 19th century Quaker reformer, that are fairly radically different.

They have worship by the members of the meeting sitting together silently and "listening for the voice of God". Anyone who feels moved to speak may do so and there is no formal leader during the hour or so of silence. Some members of this branch drift towards deism or at least Unitarianism in their conception of God, particularly since there is no set Quaker creed. A memorable cartoon from Friends' Journal that criticized the theological quagmire of Quakerism showed a debate between two Quakers that went as follows: "Is Christ divine?" - "Depends!"

And that's everything you never wanted to know about Quakerism. Razz


Last edited by Eldorion on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:27 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:23 am

And spotting the difference between the Amish and Hassidic Jews can be quite a challenge too. Very Happy

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:23 am

yeah but its a sort of non requirement. If you can answer yes to the question 'do you believe there is probably something going on that explains the universe?' you're in. And the ceremonies themselves are only religious on the surface. Masonry is really purely spiritualism in that its about achieving the ascension from man to god before you die- same as any good mysticism really.

Yeah we get Quaker Oats Eldo- complete with Quaker guy! But you don't all look like that? Shocked There goes another myth.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:26 am

I spent so long making my rambly edit that I missed two new posts. Laughing
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:33 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:yeah but its a sort of non requirement. If you can answer yes to the question 'do you believe there is probably something going on that explains the universe?' you're in. And the ceremonies themselves are only religious on the surface. Masonry is really purely spiritualism in that its about achieving the ascension from man to god before you die- same as any good mysticism really.

Yeah we get Quaker Oats Eldo- complete with Quaker guy! But you don't all look like that? Shocked There goes another myth.

Well, it is sort of a requirement. It's just that they don't care how one defines God. That kind of goes hand in hand with most Mystery Schools of the various religions though. They all tend to be pretty Universalist.

Strictly speaking, about the only religion that maintains a staunchly Agnostic stance is Buddhism. Even the current Dalai Lama is on record as saying that Buddhism is a Godless religion...which must come as a shock to some of his more Right Wing supporters (they just support him because they hate the Godless Communists in China, what a conundrum for them Very Happy ).


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Why the Steven Seagal shooting kids GIF in my signature this last week??? To be perfectly honest, I didn't know why I posted it until tonight! I have been posting a lot on FB the past week about the Culture of Paranoia, Guns, and Violence in the US. The GIF reflected some of my visceral reactions to the School and Mall shootings!

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:37 am

Sorry to jump back and forth between topics but back to the education debate- I just heard on the news that twice as many Scottish pupils as English are taking maths and science at higher level. Apparently England is looking at the Higher system as replacement for the A-level.

Back to Masons- you are right GB. And there are some overtly religious symbolism- in particular the Bible being open in a lodge at psalm 33 (the one about Brothers). However if the Mason attending are predominately say Muslim then there is no reason the Bible could not be replaced with a Qur'an. Not sure what page it would be open at though. Does psalms appear in it?

I like the mental image of a zealot Buddhist standing between two god free options in search of a deity to call their own! Raises a smile Laughing

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:11 am

The very idea of a Buddhist Zealot is an Oxymoron. Very Happy Anyone that displays those tendencies gets booted out of the temple jolly quick. I've learned as much about Buddhism from Historical Kung Fu epic films as I have from all my years of studying comparative religions. Cool

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:25 am

Grrrrrrrrr! Mad Have you seen this?:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12453248

It's despicable. It's what you get when you underfund and understaff a vitally needed service. It's bad enough that NHS budgets have been cut since Maggie ruined the UK. Now the Tories want to double-down on the pain and suffering by privatizing the NHS and quadruple these problems overnight. It makes me sick it does. Evil or Very Mad

Privatized Medical Practices in the US at their finest:

Coming to the UK soon. PLEASE STOP THE TORIES NOW BEFORE THEY DO THIS TO YOU. March in the streets. Go on Strike. It shouldn't take the French or the Egyptians to show us Brits how it's done.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Kafria on Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:03 am

And so it spreads!

bahrain
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12471243

Iran
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12475824

Yemen
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12476469

So are we witnessing the fall of the Arab Autocracies in the same way we saw the eastern block fall!

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Eldorion on Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:08 am

Kafria wrote:So are we witnessing the fall of the Arab Autocracies in the same way we saw the eastern block fall!

I think it's too early to say that, but there is certainly a trend sweeping the Middle East. Wikipedia has a neat map on the revolutions and protests sweeping that part of the world (in the sidebar at that link; the legend is part of the image so I can't copy it). A big part of what remains to be seen is who will managed to grab power next: military forces or democratic coalitions? In Egypt, the country I've been following closest, that probably won't be determined till after the elections in September at the earliest.

Still, one can hope! It's awesome to see the power of people - aided by technology - at work. It's literally history being made in front of us, in real time. Cool
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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:11 am

That depends on who takes control now Kafria. I agree with Eldo that its quite amazing to watch such momentous events unfold.
There is a chance of real change in the world here.
Which being frank will make it much tougher for the rest of us. In a world of democratic countries its much harder to justify and maintain slave labour, poor working conditions, poor health care and the like- in short everything gets a lot more expensive, as economies grow after years of being stifled or corrupted resources become more in demand too, pushing prices up more.
I'm all for everyone having these rights but I'm just saying there will be unwanted consequences, even if everything politically turns out well.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Gandalf's Beard on Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:41 am

Kafria wrote:And so it spreads!

bahrain
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12471243

Iran
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12475824

Yemen
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12476469

So are we witnessing the fall of the Arab Autocracies in the same way we saw the eastern block fall!

Pretty much Bad News for the US. Wink

They might not be able to continue usurping the resources of the Middle East if this keeps up. Which I think is great as long as the revolts don't allow the Extremist Religious Zealots to take control.

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Why the Steven Seagal shooting kids GIF in my signature this last week??? To be perfectly honest, I didn't know why I posted it until tonight! I have been posting a lot on FB the past week about the Culture of Paranoia, Guns, and Violence in the US. The GIF reflected some of my visceral reactions to the School and Mall shootings!

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Ringdrotten on Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:59 am

Pettytyrant101 wrote:
Which being frank will make it much tougher for the rest of us. In a world of democratic countries its much harder to justify and maintain slave labour, poor working conditions, poor health care and the like- in short everything gets a lot more expensive, as economies grow after years of being stifled or corrupted resources become more in demand too, pushing prices up more.
I'm all for everyone having these rights but I'm just saying there will be unwanted consequences, even if everything politically turns out well.

I think this is a point missed by many who want democracies in every country of the world and wealth for the poor. They say they want it because it sounds "politically correct", but they don't give much thought to what would actually happen to themselves if it was realized. Like you, I want everyone to have equal rights and opportunites, but like you say: This will be paid for by us, the wealthy West, who are currently sitting comfortably on the vast majority of the world's resources/cash/valuables (I'm lacking a good English word here, sorry Embarassed You know what I mean Laughing ). Many simply don't see this, and these people will be the ones who blame the governments and cry for change when the consequences bite their asses.

It'll be interesting to see how China develops over the next 5-15 years. They're buying companies everywhere these days, so I expect they're planning on bettering the situation for the Chinese population (in addition to becoming a more powerful nation of course). Imagine if every Chinese was to have the same standard of living as we have - a nice thought, but it will be on our expense. I'm not saying I don't want it to happen, but it is the reality of the matter all the same.

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Re: The Bigger, Badder, Even More Serious Thread

Post by Pettytyrant101 on Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:01 am

Got to agree Ringdrotten, sadly, because its a harsh truth.
But there is only x amount of resources available- if you have to divide it up equally among everyone, everyone gets less.

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