(TMU Opinion) — What does it mean to be born free? For that matter, what must we be free from so that we may be free for something? Philosophers have been attempting to answer these questions since the dawn of human consciousness. One can argue that there has been progress, and yet we still find ourselves born unfree.
What does it mean to be born free? It means to be born into a state where the tyranny of culture (whether religious or political) does not confine or limit a person in either mind, body, or soul. What must we free ourselves from, that we may be free for something? Again, the answer is the tyranny of culture. It’s just a more proactive way of asking the same question.
So, what is the tyranny of culture? The tyranny of culture is the conditioned state, the indoctrinated state. It’s societal pre-programming and brainwashing, whether political or religious. It’s the prison of the status quo that most of us are unaware of.
Governing this precept, it stands to reason that if Spinoza’s opening quote is to become self-realized, we must first admit that we were not born free, second, find a way to get free (from tyranny of culture) and third, replace our conception (misconception) of good and evil with something more grounded. Something more in alignment with the nature of things. Something more conducive with universal laws and the way the cosmos actually work, as opposed to the way we’ve been indoctrinated to think it works.
Easier said than done, no doubt. But becoming free was never meant to be easy. As Epicurus said, “The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it.” So what is this more grounded “something” that we should replace the concept of good and evil with? The concept of healthy and unhealthy on a sliding scale of moderation. Let’s break it down…
Healthy & Unhealthy vs. Good & Evil
“In everything, there is a share of everything.” –Anaxagoras
When we peel away the layer upon layer of culture from the human condition, we discover an extremely insecure animal wrestling with the knowledge of its own mortality, who is forced to contemplate its own tiny existence within an ancient and dwarfing universe. What else is such a creature to do but balk and then create concepts of good and evil based upon fear of the unknown? Well, for one, such a creature could evolve and then create technologies that bring it more into alignment with the unknown. Rather than fear, rather than balking, such a creature could realize that things are not based upon good and evil at all, but upon healthy and unhealthy.
Here’s the thing: we are all going to die. There’s no way around that. It’s how we live our life that matters. And in a universe that dictates health rather than goodness, it behooves us to come into alignment with the universe’s healthy dictation. This way, goodness is health and the very concept of goodness itself is more conducive with the way the cosmos actually works rather than the way our fear-filled forefathers falsely imagined it works.
Focusing on health launches us beyond good and evil. It gets us out of our own way. Caught up in the concept of good and evil, we rely too much on the fallible opinion of mankind. Whereas, coming into alignment with healthy and unhealthy, we can rely on the infallible dictation of universal laws. For example: universal law dictates that you need oxygen to survive. If you breathe oxygen, you are healthy and you live. If you don’t breathe oxygen, you are unhealthy and you die. This isn’t a matter of opinion. It’s not up for debate. It’s dictated by the cosmos that evolved us into a creature that needs oxygen to survive and be healthy. Health then is about survival, and the healthier we are, the better we will be at surviving.
The problem with the concept of good and evil is that it muddies the waters of health by forcing the unnecessary middleman of culture’s opinion into the mix, and such opinions are usually unfounded and outdated, usually having nothing to do with universal laws or the way the universe actually works. For example: A priest could have the opinion that sex is a sin (evil), but his opinion would be unfounded since universal law dictates that sex is a healthy function of a human animal. Health trumps cultural opinion, across the board. Whether its sex (healthy) or cigarettes (unhealthy) cultural opinion is irrelevant under the almighty dictation of universal law.
Let’s say for example, murder (unhealthy) is evil (opinion). But even still, the two-sided unhealthiness of murder trumps the two-faced middleman of cultural opinion. So, you might as well just bypass the notion of evil altogether and get to the point: that someone is dead (unhealthy) by the hand of someone else (culturally unhealthy and threatening the survival of other people.) The opinion that murder is evil is irrelevant compared to the dictation that murder is unhealthy both for the murdered person and for the other people in the vicinity of a murderer. Again, healthy/unhealthy trumps good/evil. One can imagine a series of scenarios and almost always, they can be resolved by bypassing the muddying middleman of opinionated, good/evil and focusing instead on the dictation of healthy/unhealthy.
The Concept of Moderation:
“Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily.” – William of Ockham
Inevitably such ponderings will lead to the concept of moderation. This is where things get a little more complicated. This is because moderation works on a sliding scale. It’s situational. It’s applied differently, and in varying degrees, depending upon the particular scenario. For example: the moderation one would apply to the consumption of water is considerably different to that applied to alcohol, but both degrees of moderation we dictation by universal law, although applied differently to different people depending upon weight and body type. The consumption of alcohol is neither unhealthy nor evil, but it can become unhealthy if consumed beyond the dictated scale of moderation. Once again, the concept of evil is an irrelevant, outdated and parochial abstraction.
The sliding scale of moderation can be applied to all things, and when we use the concept of healthy and unhealthy to guide us, we leave the concept of good and evil on the parochial woodpile of outdated nonsense where it belongs. Moderation and the concept of healthy/unhealthy is all we need to evolve in a progressive way.
Too much of anything can be unhealthy. Even too much water can kill you. Although it takes much more water to kill you than alcohol, you can moderate alcohol and still remain healthy. Unlike certain things like crack c******: the sliding scale on this drug is so unhealthy even a “moderate” amount could kill you. And even if someone’s opinion was that crack c****** is healthy, their opinion would be invalid according to the universal law of health and moderation, just as the opinion of a priest who believes alcohol or coffee is evil would be invalid according to the same law.
Validity of opinion is not based upon the tyranny of culture, no matter how many people believe it; it is based upon the dictation of health, no matter how many people don’t believe it. Universal law cares not about human inconvenience. And no matter how convenient it is to brainwash each other through the indoctrination of outdated notions of good and evil, it will stand that the concept of healthy and unhealthy makes notions of good and evil irrelevant. We might as well cut out the middleman-get rid of parochial good and evil and get better at using updated healthy and unhealthy with the sliding scale of moderation to determine right and wrong.
Indeed, the quicker path to Truth is not the pot-hole-riddled, muddy-watered, zig-zagging path of dogmatic good and evil which falls short of aligning itself with the way the universe actually works (invalid), but the open-ended, clear watered, bridge of updated consideration of healthy and unhealthy which falls into sacred alignment with the way the universe actually works (valid). See also Nietzsche’s concept of Perspectivism.
At the end of the day, the escape from good and evil is the adoption and practice of recognizing what is healthy and unhealthy while using moderation to navigate your way through the uncertainty and insecurity of being a fallible and mortal species.
Cops TV Series Cancelled After 33 Seasons Amid Police Brutality Protests
(TMU) Op ed – In most mainstream television shows, movies, or books, the police are almost always the heroes of the story, and much of the real-life experiences that people have with police are often let out of the picture entirely.
This has helped to maintain the prevailing narrative that the police are the good guys and that they spend their days dealing with the worst elements of society, and protecting the world from thieves, rapists, and murders.
In many ways, Hollywood has acted as a propaganda agency for both law enforcement and the military, by always deferring to authority in their depictions of people in these roles.
These types of shows aren’t a small phenomenon either, cable and streaming services are flooded with them and they have had a profound impact on the public’s perception of the police.
This has slowly started to change, as cell phone cameras have allowed for widespread documentation of police brutality.
However, the death of George Floyd and the protests that have followed have accelerated the conversation about police reform to the point where it is becoming less and less socially acceptable to be affiliated with the police.
This shift in the global consciousness will undoubtedly push networks to reconsider airing shows that glorify the police. In fact, this has already started to happen. Cops, one of the longest running shows on TV, was canceled by the Paramount network amid the growing protests.
“Cops is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return,” a Paramount Network spokesperson said, according to Entertainment Weekly.
There are over 1,100 episodes of Cops, and the show was preparing for its 33rd season.
The footage presented on Cops has actually been controversial long before this recent interest in police brutality. As far back as the 1990’s, the show was accused of propagating harmful racial stereotypes.
A 1994 study from Old Dominion University found that viewers of the show were more likely to associate crime with people of color because the suspects depicted in the show were overwhelmingly black or latino, and the police officers were mostly white.
Again in 2004, additional research showed that the content on the show was so biased that it could be used to justify racial profiling.
The show’s creators John and Morgan Langley responded to these criticisms during a 2018 interview, saying that they have long since corrected this problem, but the efforts seem to be too little too late, and the format itself is quickly becoming offensive to most people.
If the sentiment to bring extreme reforms to policing continues to grow, this style of cop show may become a thing of the past.
The future is also uncertain for the show Live PD, a successor to Cops which appears on A&E. According to THR, A&E pulled last week’s episodes of Live PD and there is no clear indication when or if the next episode will air, although the network is promising that it will be back at some point.
Why Can Cops Use Chemicals Weapons That Are Banned In Warfare During Protests?
(TMU) Opinion – Over the past 100 years, the use of tear gas has become ubiquitous among the police and military forces of authoritarian regimes all over the world. This chemical agent is commonly used, and is often called a “less-lethal weapon” by authorities and their supportive media, which causes many people to forget that this is a chemical weapon that is banned in warfare by the Geneva Convention. Sadly, people all around the world have become desensitized to this chemical weapon being used in the streets of their neighborhood.
Jamil Dakwar, director of the human rights program with the American Civil Liberties Union, says that tear gas was initially developed during the first World War for use on the battlefield, and while the chemicals have since been refined for use against protesters, they can still be extremely dangerous and sometimes even fatal. He also pointed out that the risk of hurting or injuring innocent people is extremely high with a weapon like this.
“In general, it could be lethal. In fact, there are incidents where people were killed by these canisters. The problem with tear gas is that it’s also an indiscriminate weapon. If you think about the way that it’s being deployed, it doesn’t really distinguish between young people and elderly, the healthy and the sick, people who are peaceful protesters or those who are using violence. But the idea is that this has become the first trigger — the first thing that law enforcement would use — as if it is going to be the way to de-escalate and end the protest. Most of the time, it’s really used to suppress protest and that’s really one of the fundamental problems with it,” Dakwar told PRI.
Despite chemical weapons being banned in international conflicts, individual governments insisted on the power to use the gas against its own citizens, because they claimed that it was their only option to suppress demonstrations without using lethal force. However, this excuse entirely ignores that allowing the protesters to demonstrate, or succumbing to their demands could be a potential option.
The use of these chemical agents on protesters sends a clear message that their voice is not welcome and that their demands will not be taken seriously by authorities. In many cases, the use of tear gas causes further blowback from protesters, and does little to de-escalate conflicts between protesters and police. This was seen during the past week’s protests in Minneapolis, where demonstrations were largely peaceful until the streets were filled with tear gas.
When used in enclosed spaces, tear gas can also become combustible, and in many circumstances, including the high profile Waco siege, deadly fires have been blamed on the use of tear gas. Furthermore, the long-term physical effects of these chemicals are not very well-known, especially when it comes to children, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions.
According to one study using data collected from protests in Bahrain, women who were exposed to tear gas were more likely to have miscarriages. In those same protests, a man with asthma was killed from inhaling the chemicals.
Tear gas is a chemical weapon banned in warfare, so why is it used so often?
Posted by AJ+ on Friday, November 30, 2018
Local Business Owner Shot And Killed By Police Enforcing Curfew On His Weekly BBQ
(TMU) – The Kentucky National Guard fired live ammunition at a crowd while enforcing the recently imposed curfew in the very early hours of Monday morning, leaving at least one person dead.
The incident took place just after midnight, according to Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad, who said that the city’s police were sent to a parking lot to break up a crowd along with the National Guard.
The police and the National Guard claim that they were shot at during the altercation, but as of this writing they have given no proof to support these claims.
The police have not recovered any weapons or bullet casings from the scene to prove that it was someone in the crowd who fired the first shot, and they have offered no video evidence.
“Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at. Both LMPD and National Guard members returned fire, we have one man dead at scene,” Conrad said in a statement.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Monday morning, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear repeated the claim that the someone in the crowd fired first, once again, while offering no evidence or information about potential suspects, or the person who was killed.
Statement from Governor Andy Beshear: pic.twitter.com/MyHxcE3Ntn
— Governor Andy Beshear (@GovAndyBeshear) June 1, 2020
However, the family of the man who was killed later identified him as David McAtee, and they say that he was an innocent bystander.
“He didn’t hurt nobody, didn’t deserve to get shot down like he did. I don’t know what happened, but whatever happened here, my brother didn’t do nothing wrong. He was an innocent person, and innocent bystander. He did not deserve this at all,” McAtee’s sister told WAVE3.
His sister also said that McAtee and the group that he had assembled with were not even a part of the protests, and that they had gathered in the parking lot for a barbecue and live music as they do every Sunday night.
McAtee, who is the owner of a local business called “Yaya’s BBQ Shack” was helping to serve food at the event as he does every week.
Police and National Guard were reportedly going after any crowd that was violating the city’s curfew, and this peaceful weekly gathering was targeted as a result.
In addition to protests relating to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the city is also protesting the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her home by Louisville police earlier this year. The police were conducting a “no-knock” in search of her ex-boyfriend.
While George Floyd has been a spark for the protests, each city has its own list of people who have had their lives taken or otherwise ruined by their local police department, and now as many of these police departments are responding with even more brutality, those lists are only getting longer, further escalating the growing conflict between citizens of the US and the police.
With their heavy-handed tactics, police are only increasing the hostility that people feel, and they are proving what the protesters have been saying all along.
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