Monday, May 26, 2014

Bill Maher & Richard Dawkins

I'm not a big fan of Bill Maher. He had Richard Dawkins on his show and could think of nothing better to talk about than Islam. I know enough about Richard Dawkins to know that there are a lot of other subjects, more interesting, more stimulating and more intellectual to talk about than the state of Islamic fundamentalism in the world. Why beat a dead horse? At least Jon Stewart got a little deeper on the Daily Show when he had Dawkins. Bill Maher likes to flog pet subjects to death. I suspect he likes to pose as the liberal that is "standing tall" against America's enemies. In other words, he is playing to the same audience that tunes into FOX news.

The only people who don't like Dawkins are the ones that have never read his books and have only heard of him second-hand.

If Only I Had a Raw Computer

None of my many computers are raw, and more's the pity. Each of them are fully configured with a stable Linux-based operating system. As a distro-hopper, this makes me feel glum. Why can't I hate one of my operating systems anymore? That's the problem with leaving Windows. There's nothing to hate anymore.

Xubuntu is fine. SolydX is good. Those are the only two Linux distributions I use. Their GUI environment, XFCE, is clean, fast, flexible, and customizable, and that's all I want in a desktop GUI.

I'd like to try out Linux Mint Debian Edition Cinnamon, but I don't have a raw computer and can't justify starting all over again. There's an old law I abide by. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I like to leave well enough alone. I've done all the learning I want to do in regard to Linux, and to be honest, there really wasn't much I had to learn. Linux is a lot easier for the end user nowadays than it ever was in the past. I think that anyone that can handle Windows will find Linux to be, if anything, easier to use, mainly because all software comes from one source, and device drivers are installed automatically. If all software comes from one source, then the risk of malware is reduced dramatically. It's too bad that Windows never enjoyed the awesomeness of the software repository, which in my opinion is the greatest feature in Linux.

Why Cinnamon? Just because I miss Linux Mint. I really like Linux Mint's style, and it's hard to put my finger on the reason why, but perhaps the update process has something to do with it. Updating is very important, and not all Linux distros really have that process fully optimized. Some Linux distros have not put enough effort into streamlining the update process. The Debian-based editions are semi-rolling releases which are upgradable into perpetuity at least in theory. Now the Ubuntu-based editions of Linux Mint do suffer from the defect of not being upgradable. A complete reinstall is still required apparently with each new version. Xubuntu requires no such thing, so I don't know what the deal is here, but this is part of the reason I prefer to stay with Xubuntu for the time being, although I have noticed bugs popping up lately when I am doing nothing more exciting than using Firefox or Thunar. If the amount of bugs in Xubuntu reaches a certain level of annoyance, then one weekend when I feel particularly energetic, I will jump ship for LMDE Cinnamon.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Death can be a useful device. The worst that can happen, after all, is death. If one accepts and fully embraces the possibility of dying, to the extent that is possible, then what more is there to fear? Of course, to be fearless, yet not foolhardy, is good, because courage allows one to seize opportunities and do what is necessary in the moment. Courage is the stuff of heroes. Should one be afraid of standing up in front of an audience of ten thousand and giving a speech? Look out into the sea of eyes and imagine them a mere two hundred years from now. Imagine empty eye sockets, skulls, skeletons, because they will all die, as will you. Life is just a brief moment. One might as well weave a good story rather than a bad one. Who wants to watch a bad show, let alone perform in one?

The thought of being afraid becomes preposterous and even amusing in comparison to the absolute certainty of death. Therefore I find death useful as a reminder and a guide in life. I like to go for walks in cemeteries and read the names and dates and mottoes on tombstones and imagine the people that were here before me. I like to carry death around with me, a little shadow imp perched upon my shoulder, scythe in hand, as a reminder of what matters, to help in distinguishing what does not matter. What does not matter is so much of the nonsense in ordinary life that spins our wheels. We are temporary, here for just a moment, and then we are gone, and it is as if we never were. I am not really sure what can be considered important in the cosmic sense. Perhaps principles are important. Decisions are important. At least to us they are important, to our society, and perhaps they are also important to those who watch and listen.

The Supermind

Everyone is wrapped up in their busy personal world. No one would be an exception to that, because it is the human condition. We have one pair of eyes, two ears, one brain, and so on. How often do we give a thought to what our neighbors experience? How often do we look at the "big picture?" There is a danger in getting tunnel vision, in living too close to the fire that consumes.

I find value in imagining the supermind watching all from a high level. In this respect, she is like the god of my ancestors, but is my own conception, independent of ancestral theology, and what I imagine is only an avatar and not the actual entity. She observes and is amused.

Not all may observe events from a remove. Some have chained themselves to the material world of cause and effect. Some conspire with their captors to remain locked within the material world. Theirs may be an interesting world imbued with drama and meaning. If that is so, perhaps they enjoy this drama much of the time. On the other hand, their world may be depressing and bleak. In such instances, it is most helpful to transcend, to attempt a glimpse, however imperfect, of what the supermind perceives. Some have tried and failed. Some are still trying.


I do believe in censorship in some limited circumstances. I'm not a full-fledged libertarian (or anarchist?). If the decision were up to me, I would censor news about serial killers, their personal lives and their manifestos. I don't think that is healthy for the collective mind. Killers set a poor example. By killing innocent and random people, they have pretty much disqualified themselves in my book from offering advice on any subject under the sun. I used to read such articles out of morbid curiosity but now I think it is just morbid. I have no more curiosity. On the other hand, perhaps censorship is a blunt instrument. A better technique might be simply shaming those sites that harp on the ravings of madmen. Perhaps social techniques are superior to legal ones.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Lose Your Linux Virginity

Some people are too skittish about losing their Linux virginity. After thirty years using Microsoft products (yes, I remember--and used to love--MS-DOS), this is what I did, and I recommend that you do it too. Just buy a hard drive. They are not expensive. I'll bet an 80-gigger sells for less than $30 on E-bay. Plug that sucker in and install the Linux distro of your fancy. I'm partial to Xubuntu, but that doesn't mean it's right for everybody. Due to occasional bug reports, I am sometimes tempted to try a different distro, but don't want to lose all my configurations, so I don't.

The first couple of days that I spent with Linux were on a fresh new hard drive. Everything worked, as I recall, with the exception of 5.1 surround sound via S/PDIF, and I spent a bit of time tinkering to get that working, but this was a couple of years ago, and I don't know whether I would still have that problem today. The end benefit for me is that I can reinstall an OS any old time I feel like it, and I have four computers operating without any Microsoft licenses and they work just fine. As a matter of fact, my Linux rigs have fewer problems than my one remaining Windows rig. I spent two hours setting up tasks in Windows's confusing, ill-designed Task Scheduler, only to receive errors this morning. My tasks have all disappeared due to a Windows bug, and I have had to spend another two hours entering the tasks, with no assurance that they will still be there tomorrow. With Windows, one pays a premium both in time and money. The Task Scheduler is one of Windows's hidden "gotchas". Linux is just easier to use all around, partly because it is a simple matter to customize every aspect to the user's preferences.

I think it's funny how some people assume that computers begin and end with Windows. It's a naive outlook and comes with a lot of limitations, the first being that provisioning a new rig is going to cost upwards of $75, while experimenting with a pirated Windows in this day and age is asking for trouble. I don't know why people will spend a lot of money buying new hardware and paying for a new Windows and then spend the ten to twelve hours required to get Windows fully configured and customized, but they won't spend an afternoon learning about Linux. I think the reason is similar to why people drink Coca-Cola, smoke cigarettes, and eat candy. Thinking probably doesn't have much to do with the equation at all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

China Bans Windows 8

I don't think China's decision to ban Windows 8 from government computers has much to do with the end of support for Windows XP. Rather, I think this decision is fallout from the NSA spying debacle, which is very bad news for every tech company in the United States. Can China trust Microsoft after learning that U.S. corporations cooperated with the NSA in spying on people both at home in the U.S. and abroad? The answer is obviously no. The day when people placed full confidence in closed-source systems has passed.

I avoid Windows 8 simply because I find it overpriced for what it offers. I can get the same benefits from Linux, which is free. I also find that Linux boots faster and has fewer technical problems. Device drivers are installed automatically, which means installation and configuration of a Linux system takes about fifteen minutes, as opposed to fifteen hours on Windows. Also, Linux has much less risk of malware. Some people think that pirated copies of Windows are fine and dandy, but then again, some people don't read the news and don't understand what is going on in the world. Anyone who uses a pirated OS is asking for trouble. There's a reason that pirated copies are made available, and it doesn't have much to do with generosity or vanity. Somebody is making money. Just imagine the possibilities.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Don't Look Back

One of the most difficult things in life is to accept the dissolution of a friendship or a closer relationship. When blessed/cursed with an analytical mind, one ponders all the whys and wherefores and tries to determine whether the relationship can be rekindled by some clever strategy, as in chess when one can convert a lost position into a winning one through skillful maneuvers. The answer is an emphatic No, ninety-nine times out of a hundred. People have their own reasons that make perfect sense to them. People are seldom open to changing their position, unless you are gifted with amazing charm and powers of persuasion. I am not. I have found that decisions about terminating a relationship tend to be final and not open for negotiation. Trying to rekindle a dead relationship is like sorcery. It just doesn't happen except in fairy tales. Nevertheless, conscientious people tend to be disturbed by losing friends or family. The verb "losing" illustrates the problem. One feels a palpable loss, as of a limb. Our friends and family to a large extent make up our own self-image, bolster our confidence and give us a reason to get up in the morning. Their absence or their disengagement is felt profoundly.

I have learned a useful trick. I will engage in post-relationship analysis for a long time like any other fool. I will wonder what happened and why and try to determine whether there is any possibility of salvaging whatever remains, begging the question of whether anything remains at all. Perhaps nothing remains that is worth salvaging. I reach the end of every logical path and find that further analysis is pointless. I am simply spinning my wheels, each time arriving at the same conclusion, that I am better off without Mr. X or Mrs. X because of X, Y, and Z, not to mention Q, R, and S. In most cases I find that I have more to offer Mr. X than Mr. X had to offer me, and that therefore they are the loser. This is because I am good and ruled by ethics, while their other friends may or may not be, so they must take their chances and throw dice with their destiny. Perhaps they will be lucky, but their fortune is no longer my concern.

I wish to know what is real and what is not. I do not want to be deceived, but want to know the truth. To stop thinking about people from the past who must remain in the past--a practice also known as brooding--I use a trick. I like to visualize a glass vase falling from a table and shattering on a floor into a thousand pieces. In the case of long-term friendships, the vase is instead a glass chess piece, a King, signifying resignation from a long and complicated game. Sometimes I imagine a baby crying and then ceasing to utter any sound and becoming still and cold. These images position me firmly in reality and remove me from nostalgia and sentimentality. This visual technique helps me to break away from interminable analysis, from pointless and pathetic thoughts. When a player knocks their King down, the chess game is over. That's that. Time to move on to another game.

Some relationships have a firm foundation based upon mutual interests, mutual needs, trust, and real regard and affection. Other relationships are based upon such things as convenience, locality, opportunity, and temporary, material or bodily needs. Those relationships tend to be transitory. Such "friends" come and go, but mostly go. It's good to recognize who your real friends are and stick with them. It's also good to recognize who are really not your friends and never were in the first place. Sometimes it is humbling to realize how many of our assumptions are based upon falsehoods, but the reason is that many people have no problem with lying, or have set up various parameters within their ethical code that justify lying. Such people do not possess a legitimate sense of honor. Such people can't really be friends to anyone at all. Losing such "friends" is really a net plus. One gains a greater amount of trust in one's personal sphere by discarding the deceiving entity or entities or at any rate being rid of them altogether.

Friday, May 16, 2014

China, U.S.

Perhaps America's leaders will wake up, belatedly, to the fact that Russia and China remain the chief geopolitical competitors to the U.S. Iraq and Afghanistan, on the other hand, are not as important, so spending billions of dollars over there probably was not the best and brightest idea in the world, although it enriched some folks in the defence industry. I imagine those folks are busy figuring out ways to repay the country for their windfall making vacation plans in Maui.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Job-Hunting Advice

Good jobs are hard to find, now more than ever. Some retirees just don't understand, because they enjoy the generous pensions of their generation. They keep thinking that 2014 is the same as 1984. Well, guess what, old-timers, times have changed. Jobs are a lot harder to get and keep today than they were in the past. Employers expect their workers to deal with multiple tasks at once, handle technologically complicated tasks, work frequent overtime, and do all this for less money and less benefits and less opportunity than you received in 1984 with your cushy job sitting in an office all day drinking coffee laced with vodka, talking about the football game and managing nothing more complicated than a typewriter and a secretary.

I can relate with today's young people and others who are struggling to find a good job, because I've been there myself, and I have some relevant advice that can get real results.
  1. Visit and pay $5 to have a pro refresh and revise your resume. They probably won't get it right, but they tend to have good ideas that you can then incorporate in your own revision.
  2. Dress up in a suit and go to events and places where you can network with others and potentially find employment. Sometimes visiting places in person can make a difference, and at any rate it serves as a useful experience and confidence-booster. Hunting for jobs on the Internet can be a waste of time, and most of the jobs one finds on the Internet are of the less desirable variety, with high turnover, low pay and low benefits. That's the reason one continues to see the same companies offering the same positions, week after week.
  3. Have business cards printed out at or another site. I'm not being paid for a plug here, but I did use vistaprint myself, based on the recommendation of a business-savvy gay.
  4. If you don't have enough money to meet your bills, go ahead and drop your home internet and just use internet at Starbucks or the local library for free like other people seem to do. In the U.S., home internet service is overpriced and slow. I'd drop my internet too, if I weren't such a geek.
  5. While you're out there networking and socializing with a wide variety of different people, see whether you can strike a deal where you rent from another person in exchange for doing housework, cooking meals, running errands and answering phone calls. This arrangement is more common than you might think. Many elderly folks have a lot of disposable income but do not have a partner nor anyone that they can trust. That is a sad symptom of our disposable society where friends drop their friends on the silliest pretext, and families tend to be dysfunctional and split up as soon as the kids are out of the house. There are a lot of lonely people in the world, but some of them are willing to pay for a little help around the house. Being trustworthy and honest and having a nice personality means a LOT and is worth a LOT. Being gay-friendly is a plus, as is being plain old friendly to all kinds of people. I know someone who runs errands for an older man, cooks his meals, answers phone calls, performs yard work and cleans house. In exchange, he gets free room and board, car insurance, medical insurance, a car and a small monthly stipend. He also has enough time to work a separate part-time job on the side. I call that a good deal for both sides, don't you?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Past and Present, Good and Evil

The past is fast, while the present crawls. I can remember a lot of precise details that people hope I have forgotten. If someone says or does something that strikes me as extraordinary, then that is something I place in the vault. I may not say anything at the time. I may not remind them of it ever. It is enough for me to know. I do not need to share, not to them.

I think I am good judge of people and not easy to deceive. In those rare cases where I have been deceived, it has been someone I respected that did the deceiving. I had rendered myself vulnerable by suspending my good judgement. When the deception results in an injury to me, I castigate myself for being gullible. No one likes to feel like a fool.

I am really too hard on myself. Being deceived is not so bad. Nor is it uncommon. Everyone is deceived to an extent. People deceive themselves on a daily basis. Once betrayed, the advantage to me is that the betrayer is exposed. I can be betrayed once, but not often twice. I remember and will handle the betrayer in a different manner than I would someone I admire. My impression of a person decays rapidly after I know that they have been very dishonest with me.

Is trusting and loving worthwhile or not? To never trust or love certainly renders one highly resistant to deception. This seems to be the tact that some souls take. I suppose they are tired of encountering the tedious liars in our world, and so they withdraw into themselves, so as not to risk further injury.

Perhaps love is worth the risk of being deceived and betrayed. The reward for trusting and loving can be found through another who is also capable of the same trait. Backstabbing liars must contend with their own kind after being exposed as such, and there is no honor among thieves. Still, there may not be any cosmic justice in the universe. I'm not really sure on that point. It seems to me that evil-doers get away with their evil, if they are persistent and determined. There are also advantages to good, some obvious and some subtle, and sometimes--don't be surprised--good wins. I feel I have no choice but to be good. I find the mere thought of evil distressing and depressing. Perhaps some people have the stomach for it, but I don't. If evil always wins, then eventually there will be no good left, and then the evil will have to feed upon the evil, and that in itself is cosmic justice.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Deeper Wisdom of "I, Claudius"

There was a moral lesson in "I, Claudius," despite the overall depressing, even morbid storyline. Claudius survived a corrupt nest of snakes--the Roman palace--while the snakes fed upon one another until none were left. He was the survivor. Did he survive through courage? No. Did he survive through cunning? No. He survived by being a fool. To an extent, his was a calculated act, but he was born with a speech impediment and a twitch, minor deficiencies that were little understood in Roman times. They called him a fool, but he was wiser than they. Appearances deceive. Even in our times, there are many things that are misunderstood. The beginning of wisdom, I think, is to accept that everyone is a fool to an extent. The question is only--how much of a fool?

I sympathize with Claudius and even identify with him. I think he was an interesting character. He was the only Roman Emperor of the Julian family really and seriously concerned with intellectual subjects. He was a historian. The rest of them were concerned with power and debauchery. Claudius spent his time among old scrolls and old historians. He could have been a good Emperor if he had only pulled off a splendid succession. Instead, he permitted Nero to follow him, which was unfortunate for Rome. As portrayed in "I, Claudius," the Emperor Claudius died a drunkard, his half-baked plans for succession gone awry. Perhaps Claudius was indeed a fool, a learned fool, but still a fool.

It is human nature to procrastinate, and no one wishes to think of death, least of all their own. So plans that should be made are left unmade, and much is left to random chance or to the greediest and most ruthless of the heirs. Dysfunctional families reveal their stripes most of all when the spoils of inheritance are up for grabs. That is when the ugly truth of familial relationships becomes most apparent. Perhaps it is better to know the truth and never be deceived again. Wisdom and insight have real value. Claudius had his revenge, at least in the fictional world of "I, Claudius," if not the real world. The television show is supposedly based upon a recently discovered tell-all autobiography of the Emperor Claudius. If such priceless scrolls were found, academia would be turned upside-down. Many previous assumptions would be either confirmed or challenged. Of course such scrolls have not been found, at least not yet, but it is a pleasing fantasy of revenge for a sympathetic character, one of the few really good people in a nest of snakes. The revenge of Claudius for the many wrongs done to him was to write about his family. He told their dark and shocking secrets, some of which only he knew. That is an interesting method of revenge, but perhaps not quite so unusual. I think there have been many precedents.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Talking Cat

I used to wonder why my cat made odd, uncatlike utterances sometimes. When pressed by boredom, aggravated by the overwhelming desire to go outside, which is a constant craving, he will make a long, strange howling sound. I used to worry he was suffering from a physical ailment or temporary insanity. Today, I had the inspiration that he is trying to talk. It would be only natural to imitate a human practice that he has observed every day of his life and which brings us humans so many obvious benefits. We are able to communicate and cooperate effectively due to talking, and the cat is intelligent enough to grasp that and to desire this ability for himself. If he could talk, he could express his desires and perhaps even persuade us to do his bidding. He has not enough brain development to manage any words. I have never recognized any syllables.

I wish that such a cat could be bred through successive generations for hundreds of years in a nurturing environment that encouraged the development of intellectual gifts. It would be interesting to observe the end result. Maybe Heinlein's talking cat is not such a far-fetched notion after all.


Meditation means different things to different people. To me it means sitting and thinking, occasionally with the assistance of mystical herbs. It is also possible to not think and just do. One is more productive that way, but what is the end result of this productivity? It is possible to be very productive and also wrong. Animals just do.

Richard Dawkins is widely misunderstood. I cannot even begin a discussion about Dawkins with some people, because they have already made up their mind. They have gathered enough falsehoods and exaggerations to inflame their passions against the man. They believe he espouses selfishness and capitalism. They will not listen. Those who do not listen cannot hope to understand. I do not bother discussing things with those who will not listen. They have ceased to possess a thinking mind. They are tools of another's thought.

I agree with Richard Dawkins in believing humans have a golden opportunity, because of our brains, to do other than what our selfish genes want. As Sarah Connor said in "Terminator 2," "There is no fate but what we make." No fate means liberation. Dawkins preaches a message of hope.

We can reflect upon things and try--but not necessarily succeed--to learn what is real and what is false. Everyone has opinions about things, but how often is it that one questions these assumptions? Perhaps a rule of thumb is true up to a certain point, but then the truth unravels upon further examination. Then the assumption must be cut back, reduced to reflect a deeper understanding. Thinking is the way and the light. Doing is of uncertain value without thinking.

What is true? What is untrue? These are difficult questions.

Where is safety? Where is danger? What are the threats, obvious and hidden? Some people never think about these things. From watching "I, Claudius," it is clear that Augustus was not a reflective man. He did not note the threats in his own palace until the threats bore fruit, and at the end for him, they bore literal fruit in the form of poisoned figs. Rome suffered as a consequence. Perhaps Rome was composed of fools. Romans, of course, were always doing, weren't they? Marching this way and that, shedding blood, teaching their neighbors to fear and hate and thirst for vengeance. How much thinking did they do? Rome imported its ideas from other places--Christianity, Hellenistic culture. Eventually, Rome collapsed due to bad ideas. That's the trouble with doing all the time and never bothering to sit down and think.


Negative people try to drag one down into the mud for a wallow. Usually, I find I have a choice. I look down, and there they are, my two feet. All I have to do is put one foot in front of the other and just walk away. Sometimes life really is that simple.

I, Claudius

"I, Claudius" is an interesting 1976 BBC miniseries with twelve episodes. Its success provided an incentive for the later epic, big-budget "Rome" of the twenty-first century. The 1976 show is not nearly as refined as "Rome," but the acting and writing is at least as good, if not better.

The show is close, I think, to certain historical texts, although Robert Graves did make some assumptions. I wondered whether Augustus was really as gullible as he is portrayed in "I, Claudius." The main facts are that he did indeed imprison his own daughter, and his favorites died one by one under mysterious circumstances. One cannot conclude that he was a good judge of character. I think that Augustus was an abject failure as an Emperor, because he botched his succession. Instead of appointing anyone worthy, he permitted others to choose Tiberius, which was disastrous for Rome. Tiberius was followed by an even worse Emperor, Caligula. These two mismanaged affairs of state very badly.

I think Augustus deserves at least some of the blame for the bad things that happened under his reign. Robert Graves implies that all the evil was the fault of his wife. However, Augustus was the one with real power. I doubt he was as gullible as portrayed in the show. I think he relied upon his wife for advice and intelligent ideas, which were sometimes useful, but he failed to perceive when she was manipulating him for her own ends.

The problem with "I, Claudius" is the loud, screeching theme music that accompanies both the beginning and the end. Whoever came up with that abominable sound should have been fired. A viewer would be prudent to mute the first and last minute of each episode.

Almost every woman on the show breaks down into tears and sobbing whenever there is a crisis. In my experience, this is not how women behave, but this is how women were portrayed in film due to the notions of the men that produced the films. I think that this more than anything else dates the show. I have to wonder why those actresses behaved so. Perhaps the director put them up to it, and the fault was all his. Perhaps the producers felt they had to meet audience expectations. The only really good actress on the show was the arch-villain, Livia, but "cold snake" seemed the limit of her range. At least she didn't burst into tears every time bad news arrived. I really doubt that ancient Romans behaved so, because they dwelt in a world of sudden death, unexplained mysteries, injustice, corruption and cruelty.

Monday, May 5, 2014

I Carried a Pocket Knife

A no-brainer news article points out that victims of bullies are more likely to carry weapons to school. Duh. When a person finds that their safety and well-being are at risk, that person will do whatever it takes to protect themselves. The principal is one of self-preservation.

Long ago, when I suffered from bullying, and the P.E. teacher made clear he would do nothing about it--other than punish me for complaining--I started carrying a pocket knife to school. But the little knife was not enough. I fantasized about carrying my gun and using it against the bully and the P.E. teacher. They deserved punishment for their actions, but on the other hand, I deserved only the best in life, and so I spared them. The same principal of self-preservation that led me to carry a pocket knife led me not to use it.

The desire for vengeance must be balanced with the potential cost. Sometimes, however, people are driven to such extremes that they no longer care about the cost. I fear some of the young killers of today lack the intellectual assets to calculate the costs. They are throwing away the best part of their lives and in some cases killing innocents, which is ugly and senseless and without any sense of honor at all. To harm innocents is to become a bully, to be just like the ones you hate.

The young killer's awareness about the world and about society is so impaired that he cannot predict the outcome of his deeds. I found it helpful to role-play with cold clarity and precision. This is the way to avoid grave errors that cannot be remedied. Role-play. The human animal has developed fantastic powers of imagination, because it is useful to predict the outcomes of actions. One can imagine the different futures arising from different strategies.

Many times, I imagined killing my enemy, the brutal and arrogant bully, using a variety of means. I imagined killing the cruel and heartless P.E. teacher. I imagined killing them both on the same day. I calculated the probabilities of success and the possibilities that something unexpected might happen. I imagined what would happen in the next minute, the next hour, the next day, and the years to come. I did not like what I saw. I also did not like the idea of violence. Vengeance is one thing, but violence is another. Violence is disturbing to me whether I am being hurt or hurting. It goes against everything ingrained in my personality and upbringing. The idea of committing a real crime and receiving the disapproval of others seemed worse to me than the idea of enduring further abuse.
Our society is pacifist. The only accepted outlet for violence is war, and wars happen overseas, far away. Most people are like me. We are taught to abstain from violence. There are consequences for people who engage in illegal acts of violence. There is no legal concept that permits premeditated vengeance.

In Viking society, the outcome would have been different. Vikings did not leave much in the hands of karma. Vikings were about vengeance. Vikings were about blood. There is something satisfying about that, something genuine, something that appeals to our animal nature. That does not make it right, but it does explain why the History Channel's "Vikings" is such an entertaining show. It seems to me the show is all about vengeance.

I do think it is important to eliminate bullying in schools, because violence is like a virus. Violence has a way of spreading, and not everyone calls upon their power of imagination to abstain from vengeance. Nor is everyone scrupulous in limiting collateral damage.

techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions