Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

Posts Tagged ‘Common Sense

It’s Been A Year Already!

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Yep, Just a Little Common Sense turned one. Actually, it turned one a little over two weeks ago.

I started this blog at the very end of april last year; I had been back in Germany for a while and faced at least half a year without occupation, due to my being too stupid to notice my gross misconception in how universities choose from their applications.
Being unemployed was hell – It turned me nocturnal and into a couch potato. Without any serious motivation to get out of bed in the morning and without deadlines to keep, I quickly perfected the art of procrastination. The days dragged, but the weeks whizzed by.
So I started blogging – in order to finally have something to do again, in order to keep up (and perhaps improve) my english skills, in order to finally spent my time with something marginally more useful than online-games.

After two months I had produced nearly 40 pieces of writing, most of them utter crap, but all of them good practice and fulfilling their purpose of keeping me busy. I spent serious time promoting the blog, too – and quickly reached averages of about 100 individual clicks per day.

Blogging wasn’t the only thing I did to keep my brain from turning to mush, of course. At the same time I started attending meetings of political parties and humanist/skeptic organizations in my area, searching for new stimuli, conversations, inspirations. I searched for groups of people with goals worth supporting, and I found one Humanist group whose meetings I still attend regularly.

If you have been following this blog, you may have noticed that over the last few month my output dropped significantly. My activity here declined to less than four posts per month. The good news is that that’s because things have been going well lately – I have a life that is worthy of my undivided attention again.
I’ve been stressed out for a long time now and it’s been quite a stretch emotionally as well as physically, but I’m alright now and at the moment it looks like there’s nothing but further improvements ahead. I’m finally myself again.
I feel able to write again- where in the past months the reason I haven’t posted was that I couldn’t seem to find the right words, now it’s that I simply lack the time. But I am planning to take this more seriously again, and I’ve promised myself to ramp up my output to at least six posts per month again. Because even though I started this half-heartedly because I felt I had to do something to keep my brain from decaying, I’ve really grown fond of blogging. There’s something intriguing about the blogosphere, this strange world of carefully selected and presented insights into the souls of strangers. I very much liked being a part of it, for however short and superficially, and even though my initial reasons for running this blog are gone now, I’d like to stay and perhaps even increase my presence here. It’s been helpful to write about stuff, to speak up about things that concern me, to rant about things that annoy me. To praise the things I find beautiful. Thanks to all of you who during this past year have shared their thoughts with me, who offered support or constructive criticism. Thanks even to the few trolls and religious nutbags. I appreciate it.

Written by Phil

May 13, 2011 at 01:30

Irreducible Complexity Has Been… Reduced. To Nothing.

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One of my favourite YouTubers, QualiaSoup, has put out another great educational video, addressing the “Intelligent Design” (=Creationist) argument of so-called “irreducible complexity”, which claims that evolution cannot be true since they are things that are so complex that they could not have come about by a gradual process like evolution by natural selection. The video dismantles the argument beautifully in very simple terms; it’s easy to understand and, more importantly, it’ll empower you to counter the argument yourself next time you come across it in a discussion.

One more thing: If you like QualiaSoup’s vids, be sure to check out his brother, too. He goes by the username TheraminTrees and produces videos of a very similar style which are just as brilliant.

Satisfaction is the Death of Desire

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Every single time I criticize a particular thing that I think is in need of improvement, there is always someone  around trying to stifle my insufferable meliorism by telling me how I shouldn’t be so negative and how, actually, I should be happy, because “you know, things could be worse.”
Of course they mean that I should appreciate my situation in comparison to, say, and Ugandan child-prostitute. And believe me, I really do. I am fully aware of how privileged I am by being born to middle-class parents of a first world country, that my life so thoroughly lacks physical suffering that my definition of pain comes from cutting myself in the finger with a kitchen knife, that I’ve never known hunger, nor lost loved ones to anything but natural causes. I do appreciate that. But that is no argument for not  improving upon any condition that inflicts unnecessary and avoidable suffering, however little.
Actually, it’s not even an argument to accept unnecessary inconvenience.

I consider to respond one day by punching that person in the face and then saying “Don’t complain. I could have punched you twice. Really, you should be happy  I only hurt you once, and I didn’t even break your nose. Actually, be grateful I didn’t rape you. You know – things could be so much worse.”

Bottom line: Whatever can be improved without causing any detriment to anyone, ought  to be improved. If things could be better, however slightly, the default position should be working towards that goal unless there are good reasons not to do so. Always seek change for the better, and never stop. Stagnation is not something that is worth living for.

Written by Phil

June 27, 2010 at 00:22

Protecting Children From Sexual Abuse: A Better Approach

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“Do you like children more than you ought to? There is help. http://www.do-not-become-a-culprit.de” *

I was quite stunned when I saw this TV ad for a help-line for paedophiles. I don’t know wether they actually aired it yet, as I only saw it on their homepage. In any case I hope this gets massive exposure, for this is a laudable thing. Paedophilia is a tough topic, all the more so because most people are so disgusted by the thought of it that they completely close off to rational arguments.
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Thou Shalt Always Kill

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I’ve heard this song by Dan Le Sac a couple of years back and completely forgot about it until I was reminded of it yesterday. The music is not really my cup o’ tea, but the lyrics are a real gem of common sense.

This song could easily have earned a 9/10 by including the lines:

The Bible – Just a book.
The Koran – Just a book.
Book of Mormon – just a book.
Whatever Scripture – is JUST A BOOK.

As it is, it only gets a 7 from me. Unfortunately, Dan le Sacs and Scroobius Pips common sense doesn’t seem to extend to religion – although I’m quite sure that they are not religious themselves, they seem to be classic adherents to belief in belief. In their song Letter From God to Man they regurgitate the old stereotype that poor, harmless religion gets “abused” by evil man for evil purposes, completely ignoring some of the core tennets of the major religions as well as the systematic faults and responsibilities of the faiths. Nonetheless, Letter From God to Man too is a song worth listening to.

Beneath the fold you can find the full lyrics of Thou Shalt Always Kill.
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Written by Phil

June 7, 2010 at 13:23

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