Archive for Islam

Mindfuck #3: I Am

Posted in All, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by marushiadark

“No matter what ya calls me, I am what I am an’ tha’s all I yam.” ~ Popeye

Very little thought is given to the way in which we use words, especially in reference to ourselves.  Often times, we place a great deal of our identity into things that are not us.  We equate who we really are with an object or concept that is not who we are, but rather something that we have.

For instance, people often say things like, “I am black” or “I am Christian” or “I am a redhead.”  Oh really?  That’s what you are?  Are you sure you don’t simply “have black skin” and “have Christian beliefs” and “have red hair”?

Such behavior is not inherited; it is learned.  We aren’t born identifying with things around us.  That line of thinking is socially conditioned into us.

Would you say that you are your car?  No, that’s ridiculous.  You’re very clearly not your car.  You have a car, but you are not your car.  A car is simply a vessel that you move around in.  You just attach yourself to the vehicle temporarily for the purposes of travel, carrying heavy loads, and doing other such tasks that you wouldn’t be able to do without it.

How about when you play a video game?  We often refer to the character as ourselves.  We say “I did this,” “I moved that,” “I shot the enemy,” and so forth.  But we are not the character.  The character is simply an avatar – a vessel – that we attach ourselves to by way of the controller in order to move about the digital world and do things like fly, shoot lasers, etc.  If you’ve ever been on a forum, you know that the little icon to the left of your post is also called your avatar.  It’s not you, either.  It’s merely a temporary representation of you that may not have anything to do with who you really are.

So what about your body?  Do you identify with that?  Your body is just a collection of cells that grouped together to form a collective unit.  It has more in common with a pixelated video game character than anything else, and your mind would then be the controller.  If you lose a few cells, do you necessarily stop being you?  If you lose an arm, a leg, or a kidney, do you stop being you?  No.  At least, you don’t have to stop being you.  It’s your choice whether or not you let such physical changes affect who you are.  Ultimately, all that really changes is what you can do with your body, but that doesn’t change who you are.  Even if you die, who you are will continue to live on in some form (even if it’s just a memory).

You are no more your body than you are your car or a character in a video game.  Who you are is the person in the driver’s seat, pushing the controls that make the body run, and your mind is the steering console.

“I think, therefore I am.” ~ René Descartes

During the early 17th century, a French philosopher by the name of René Descartes speculated on the basic principles of existence.  He wanted to know what was actually real, or at least what could be proven to be real.

There are two basic ways in which something can be known: empirically or logically.  Empiricism has to do with observation through the senses, while logic has to do with mental reasoning.  Descartes began with the simple observation that there are times when the senses appear to fail to accurately depict the world around us.  For instance, you see something out of the corner of your eye, but it isn’t actually there when you go to check on it with your full vision.  It is a mistake in observation.

Descartes reasoned that, due to the inaccuracies of the senses, it is suspect as to whether or not they can be trusted at all, so he rejects them entirely.

This establishes the notion that any and all physical things observed are potentially nothing more than mere illusions, fabrications of the mind.  It also leaves Descartes with nothing but logical reasoning, and all of that is just a fiction in the mind.  There are no perfectly straight lines in nature, no perfectly three-sided objects, no perfectly round objects; such things are mental short-hands of our own invention.  They do not actually exist.  They are illusions as well.

So then what does that leave?  Nothing, really.  Or does it?

If everything is merely an illusion, then there must be something that is being disillusioned.  There must be some observer of the trick.  Descartes himself referred to these illusions as the act of some demon.  But if there was a demon, the demon must have a victim to play his tricks on, even if that victim is simply himself.

Descartes’ method does not really give us much detail as to the qualities of the observer, just that there is one and that we can be 100% certain of this.  For all anyone knows, the world could be completely accurate as we observe it, or we could be a free-floating consciousness in a void without a body; but it can never be proven one way or the other what the actual nature of reality is.  So everything besides “I am” or “I exist” must be taken on faith.

This tends to piss off a lot of empiricists and scientists that rely heavily or even exclusively on their empirical observations.  Such a conclusion would pull the carpet out from under their feet by establishing the fickle nature of even their most basic assumptions.

“And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’  And he said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ … This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations. ” ~ Exodus 3:14-15

Scientists aren’t the only ones pissed off by this conclusion.

Among those that believe in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, there is much time spent worrying and debating over pedantic little details like “Is God’s name YHWH or YHVH?  Jehovah or Allah?” “Is Jesus, Yeshu, or Yeshua the correct name of Christ?”  “What color was Jesus’ skin?”  “Is it sinful for me to take only the bread and not the wine during communion?” “If I eat meat on a Friday, am I going to hell for it?”  “If I forgot to say PBUH after Mohammad’s name, will God hate me?”  “Do I need to wash my hands before prayer?”  “If I have a cheeseburger, is God going to punish me for not staying Kosher?”

If your focus is on minor details like that, then I’m sorry to say that you have missed the forest for the trees.  Without seeing the bigger picture, these little things are rather irrelevant.  If your car doesn’t even have wheels, what does it matter if the dashboard lights aren’t working?  Even if the engine worked perfectly, you’re not really getting anywhere, now are you?

All three faiths respect and defer to Exodus and to Moses.  So if you claim to be a believer of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, there’s really no excuse for not knowing and understanding this particular passage.  God spells out rather clearly here as to who and what he is.

God is.  It’s as simple as that.  Most everything else is just minor details.

You are.  I am.  That’s as much as anyone can ever truly know for sure.  If it turns out that there is no God and we’re just a consciousness in a void; then by definition, you are God because you are the creator of the whole universe, since you are the one creating the illusion.  You call the shots, so why would you cast yourself, or anyone else, into eternal torment?  Why would you make yourself perform rituals and subjugating acts of worship?  You are the God of your own universe.

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Symbols, Part 4: The All-Seeing Eye

Posted in All, Media, Miscellaneous, Politics, Psychology, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by marushiadark

“He who experiences the unity of life sees his own self in all beings, and all beings in his own self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye.” ~ Buddha

Besides the pyramid, there is probably no better-known symbol amongst conspiracy theorists and their opponents than the all-seeing eye.  Among its names include the Eye of Ra, the Eye of Horus, the Wadjet, the Eye of God, the Eye of Providence, the Eye of the World, and many others.  It is seen prevalently in Egyptian and Buddhist art and, perhaps most notably, on the back of the one dollar bill.

But why is it there and what is the purpose of this symbol?  To understand that, we must understand a bit about the history of the symbol.

“The sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The ancient Egyptians worshiped the sun as a god.  To them, the sun was the giver of life, the creator, the one who revealed the truth, and the protector and savior of humanity.  In their art and literature, the sun was portrayed as the falcon, Horus, among others.  The right and left eyes of Horus were said to be reminiscent of the sun and moon.  In many other cultures as well, the sun and moon play a central role in mythology.  For instance, the Mesoamerican tale of the Hero Twins in the Popol Vuh is an allegory of these astral bodies, as are many Greco-Roman myths.  This is hardly surprising, given how important the sun and moon are to the systems of the natural world.

As we know, the circumpunct is a symbol of the sun.  The all-seeing eye is also a symbol of the sun.  Its different iterations derive from either the eye of the falcon (Horus), the circumpunct, and / or the vesica piscis.  Being a symbol of the sun, it represents many of the same things: power, divinity, wisdom, life, creation, enlightenment, goodness, etc.

The all-seeing eye is also symbolic of the Ajna Chakra (also called the third-eye chakra).  This is a point in the energy level of the body that sits roughly in the middle of your forehead and corresponds to the pineal gland of the endocrine system.  The Ajna is said to be the source of intuition and is what makes us aware of our connection to all things in the universe, as though we were a single root in a very big tree.

The all-seeing eye is a symbol of God, the almighty creator, and his ability to see and know all.  Unfortunately, like a great many symbols, the all-seeing eye has been hijacked for its ability to affect the psyche.

“Every messenger of Allah did warn his nation about the trials of the Dajjal … He will claim to be God and try to create doubts in your minds.  Have a firm belief, the one-eyed creature cannot be your Lord … He will claim to come with the gifts of paradise and arsenal of hell.” ~ Mohammad

Many people are familiar with the idea of the Antichrist.  Despite the fact that it’s never mentioned in Revelation, they often associate it with those events and believe that he rise of the Antichrist will precede the end of the world.

In Islam, there is a similar concept, known as the Dajjal, or great deceiver.  According to Mohammad, the Dajjal can easily be recognized by its one eye.  More specifically, its right eye (the moon, feminine, yin, compassion, submission) will be blinded and its left eye (the sun, masculine, yang, power, dominance) will be bulging.  This suggests a great deal of suffering and control that is not balanced or offset by anything.  In Revelation, we know that the Antichrist will bring war and famine and disease.  In Islam, the Dajjal will emerge in a time of falsehood, usury, corruption, and oppression to bring about more of the same.  The documentary Shadows in Motion explains a great deal about the history of the Dajjal, along with its true form.

It is important to note that, in both religions, the offending party is not just a single man or woman, but is in fact anyone who goes against truth, justice, love, and goodness.  To do harm to humanity is to serve the Dajjal, while to help your fellow man is to be on the side of goodness and light. In our modern world, the all-seeing eye has become a symbol of the forces that would seek to corrupt and destroy us for the pleasure and power of a few.

But the Antichrist / Dajjal isn’t just one, or even a few, specific people.  It’s not the President, the government, America, or money.  It is a cancer of society and the mind, and the idea that causes such persons and organizations to become corrupt and evil.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the all-seeing eye has become the banner of that idea.

The eye is most famously associated with the Illuminati – a name that has come to embody the collective forces of evil.  In Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, the shape of the oval is really meant to be the all-seeing eye.  It also appears in movies such as National Treasure and Tomb Raider.  Some other examples of its use are on the dollar bill, in Freemasonry, and logos of media groups like CBS, Lucas Arts, AOL, Time Warner Cable, and Nickelodeon.  It’s also used in Toyota, Lada, Big Brother, Information Awareness, the MI5 logo, Illuminati Online, Sagem, Endemol, and many others.  Frequently, it is used in companies responsible for the dissemination or safe-guarding of information, since the all-seeing eye is also the eye of truth that sees everything.  Those that don’t want you to know the truth can be identified, in part, by their one eye.

In both Islam and Christianity, it is believed that the Dajjal or Antichrist will be defeated with the return of Christ.  Just as the enemy is not one man, so too is the Christ not one man, but an idea.  The word “Christ” comes from Greek and means “the anointed one.”  It is not a name, but a title.  Anyone who is “baptized in fire” that is, open to and aware of the Spirit, i.e. their connection with God as a part of him, is anointed and thus is Christ.  So, in all practical terms, to defeat the forces of evil, you must become aware of who you are and stop subjugating yourself to the institutions that use these symbols and ideas against you.  You have your own all-seeing eye in the back of your head.  Start using it.

Pride and Prejudice

Posted in All, Politics, Science, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2010 by marushiadark

“The folks who conducted to act on our country on September 11th made a big mistake … they misunderestimated the fact that we love a neighbor in need.  They misunderestimated the compassion of our country.  I think they misunderestimated the will and determination of the Commander-in-Chief, too.” ~ George W. Bush

Today is the ninth anniversary of September 11th 2001, a day that means a great many things for a great many people.  It evokes anger and sadness and feelings of pride in our nation and hatred of its enemies (whether you believe those enemies to be foreign or domestic).  It’s a day that is burned into the memories of everyone who was alive to remember what happened.  It’s one of those days, like Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy Assassination, that changed the course of history forever.  But that doesn’t mean we should let it change us forever.

My heart goes out to the victims and their families and to the people of this country as a whole.  Mostly because I believe that 9-11 was nothing more than an excuse made by the Bush Administration and the economic puppetmasters behind them to drag us all down to hell.  I know there are many who disagree with that sentiment, but that’s rather irrelevant at this point.  What matters is what effect that great tragedy has had on the American people and what legacy it’s left behind.

Here are nine thoughts for 9-11:

  1. I Share Your Pain – Today I learned a very sobering truth: that my favorite uncle was in Building 7 nine years ago to the day.  From what I can gather, he was in the building for some sort of meeting.  When the planes hit, the meeting was adjourned and he intuitively got as far away from there as he possibly could.  He hailed a cab and crossed back over to the Jersey side within a short period of the bridges being closed.  He’s still alive, thank God, but it’s apparent to me and my family that he had someone watching out for him (and us) on that day.  For the past few years, I was told he was either a few blocks away or across the street from the buildings when it happened.  I had no idea that’s where he actually was.  I don’t know what kind of shape our family would be in if he’d died that day, as he’s more or less the humorous one in our family.
  2. Who Dunnit? – If you were in the buildings and got out before they went down, or knew someone who did, or knew someone who didn’t, or had a loved one that was involved in the aftermath or the rescues … wouldn’t you wanna know what REALLY happened on that day and why the towers REALLY fell?  For all our talk about honoring the victims and their families, wouldn’t the greatest honor be to get to the bottom of the dirt with a bulletproof, watertight, beyond any reasonable doubt investigation?  If the Bush Administration wasn’t the group that caused it, they most certainly knew about it in advance and did nothing to prevent or deter it.  Yet we gave them an eight-year pass, carte blanche, to wreck havoc and destruction on America.  Don’t the victims deserve a little more than that?  I think they do, considering I was very nearly a victim of it myself.
  3. Rescue Remedy – There’s no question that the men and women who risked their lives to rescue people caught in the 9-11 tragedy are heroic and deserving of the highest rewards we can bestow upon them.  Unfortunately, our own government doesn’t think so.  Many of the rescue workers contracted fatal lung diseases from the asbestos fireproofing that was used in the WTC buildings, along with other diseases.  Michael Moore, in his movie Sicko, invited them to travel to Cuba to receive medical treatment, but when it came time for the United States government to offer its own support, it turned them down for the sake of political expediency.
  4. You Mosque Be Joking – A great deal of controversy has arisen over the conversion of an old Bloomingdales in Manhattan into an Islamic community center.  Opponents claim that the mosque is too close to Ground Zero and that this is disrespectful to the victims.  Opponents say they’d be happy if it was moved five or six blocks away, yet Masjid Manhattan has been four blocks from Ground Zero since 1970 and no one seemed to have a problem with that.  Furthermore, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is on record as having said that both he and a number of the victims’ families support the right for Muslims to build their Islamic Center in lower Manhattan within two blocks of Ground Zero.  Anyone that believes in American freedom would have to go back and reread the First Amendment, which states that no law shall be passed that prohibits the free exercise of religion.  Of course, any person of faith takes actions that infringe upon the rights of others is not protected.  This brings up the second major objection to the building of the mosque, which is the belief that it is funding and/or funded by terrorism.  However, as Jon Stuart points out, Alwaleed bin Talal, the same person accused of linking the mosque with terrorism, is also the majority owner of Fox News.  Point being, not all Muslims are terrorists.  Let them build their fucking mosque!
  5. Engineering Disaster – America claims to be a bastion of freedom, but we’re also well-known for our ability to overgeneralize.  Sadly, many people presume that all Middle Easterners are terrorists and all Hispanics are illegal immigrants.  Now it seems we’ve found a new demographic to link with terror: engineers.  Why are so many terrorists engineers?  Good question.  Could it possibly be because engineers have the technical capacity to, I don’t know, MAKE BOMBS?  Currently, there’s a debate about which came first: the engineering degree or the radical belief.  Personally, I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as that.  Some people probably had radical beliefs and then figured they could best apply those beliefs by studying engineering to learn how to make bombs, hack data, and take down buildings.  Others probably became engineers and then were targeted by radical groups for their unique skills.  Probability states that at least a few of them would turn under pressure.  Just watch the movie Traitor for an example.
  6. What’s in a Name? – In the category of things that are disrespectful to the victims of 9-11, few people seem to be talking about the so-called Freedom Tower, whose name is reminiscent of things like Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast.  Such childish tags arose in protest of all things French.  Even Congress took up that banner in an effort to appear more politically “correct” in a post-9/11 world.  Why did we do that again?  Oh, right.  Because France expressed strong opposition to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 – the invasion that kicked off a war that many Americans now believe was both illegal and immoral.
  7. Extenuating Circumstances – In the past few years, most of us have had terrible experiences in airports.  From unbearable wait times, to unwarranted searches and seizures, to limitations on baggage, to moms being forced to drink bottles of breast milk because of suspicions that it might be a combustible liquid, to increased air fare costs to pay for it all, air travel has become one of the least enjoyable forms of travel.  Rather than actually check all these things at the door before entering the airport, travelers are forced to go through a maze of hoops and bullshit protocols that don’t really prevent anything from happening.  All of these inconveniences are the result of measures implemented in a reactionary, band-aid approach to dealing with lapses in security.  It’s only a matter of time before someone finds a new way around current airport security and then even tighter measures are imposed upon the millions of passengers that have no intentions of harming anyone.
  8. Serve and Protect – As a result of September 11, the Bush Administration enacted many new policies including the USA PATRIOT ACT, illegal wiretaps, detainment and torture of non-hostile American citizens, closure of the borders, and engaging in a very costly war.  All of this was done under the guise of protecting the American people, but all we really did was trade a foreign enemy for a domestic one.  We were angry and scared and looking for vengeance when cooler heads should have prevailed; and that energy and drive and unwaivering pride and patriotism, along with the lives of many young men and women who volunteered for armed service after 9-11, was all used to advance what amounted to nothing more than an economic and political agenda.
  9. How Long Will We Sing This Song? – The attacks of September 11, 2001 and the events that followed were by no means the first of their kind and I very much doubt they will be the last.  Though it’s a day that changed the course of history, we cannot let our fear and grief and anger get the better of us.  Tragedy happens and life will go on.  And at some point, we will each have to decide for ourselves what the appropriate point in time will be when we stop living in the past and start living in the moment.  Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but those who continue to live in the past are already repeating it.  Let us take what we have learned and move on with our lives as best we can.

“If you’re sad, then cry.  When there are no more tears to cry, you still have to live.” ~ Fearless (2006)

The events of September 11 came dangerously close to home for me.

Those who are old enough to have lived through the event say they know exactly where they were when Kennedy died.  For those who are old enough to remember the events of 9-11, I think the same principle applies.

To this day, I remember being in my freshman year of high school, having just gotten out of homeroom when the principle announced to everyone over the PA system that we were to have an emergency assembly.  I turned to one of my classmates who was sitting next to me in the auditorium and asked what this was about.  He had a set of headphones on and told me that someone had just flown a plane into the World Trade Center.  “Bullshit!” I said.  Imagine my surprise when the principle finally got up on stage and announced to the entire school the very thing my classmate had just told me.

We got let out immediately after our principle explain to us what was happening.  I remember standing in the living room of my childhood home watching the events unfold in real time on television.  I didn’t understand, back then, all that was going on, but something deep inside of me awoke that day and I took it all in with a sense of wonder and terror that most reserve for encounters with the divine.  Though it wasn’t the first instance of such things in my life, I think that day was the day my innocence was finally broken and I stopped being so naive to the world around me.

When President Bush finally announced his intention to go to war with Afghanistan, I intuitively wondered how in the hell they were able to pin this on Afghanistan so quickly after the event just happened.  At first, I only had questions.  Years later, I began to finally come to some definite answers and I didn’t always like what those answers were, but I’m starting to become more accepting of them because I found even more answers that gave context and peace to the scary ones.  And those answers began to become freedom for me from my negative emotions.  I just hope that everyone can find the same answers and peace and freedom that I found.