Existential Universe 2

I previously wrote about the existential universe and I’ve started a sub-blog dedicated to my high school and college poetry, Confessions of a Teenaged Poet.

So I was a little surprise when I came across this verse:

In the space of a thousand winks
Earth, into a black hole sinks,
As Universe folds upon itself
And is put away on a shelf,
Then all Life fades away,
Waiting to be born, another day.

I was toying with the idea of a sentient, self aware universe and thinking how weird it is that the hardest science I did in school was chemisty, geology and biology, and now, I am being playful with physics.

And the verse that I wrote so long ago, was basically an earlier attempt to describe the universe, despite not having a clue about physics.

I was more a drama geek than a science geek in high school, although I was a science fiction geek. Okay, am a science fiction geek.

Anyway, it gave me a creepy kind of chill and put me in the mind of Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe where the earth is a computer, working out what is the Ultimate Question, the meaning of life, the universe and everything, to give meaning to the answer of 42.

Then, I think of Elvis, who died at 42 shortly after that radio play and novels.

And I think, clearly, that’s when you need to have done your best work by, just to be safe.

and I realize, that I am 43.

Polyamory vs Polygamy

The recent polygamy ruling in BC Supreme Court is leading to interesting discussions about polyamory vs polygamy.

Polyamory are people who engage in open relationships or may be in a relationship with simultaneous partners.

Polygamy is a religious or cultural practice to demonstrate how successful you are to be able to support multiple wives or in the case of Mormon, to have at least three wives in order to enter the highest level of heaven.

Polygamy is harmful to women, children and younger men. Women are arranged or assigned, depending on the cultural context – and if in a secular democratic nation – then this is occuring below the radar, hidden – making it even harder for victims of abuse to seek out help from the police or social agencies – because part of the social contract they are living under is a religious one – where women and children have no voice and are chattel.

This is why the BC Supreme Court ruled polygamy as harmful.

It’s okay to raise your children in whatever beleifs you want – but children have to meet social development targets to be able to function in the larger world, outside of the home.

The danger of closed communities are that the world outside the home is no different from the world inside the home – and children need to learn that home is normal for them, but not neccessarily normal for society.

Children have to learn that there are rights and freedoms that they have just for being members of the society. Bodily integrity, non-interference, no abuse, for example.

To develop as fully functioning social beings, children have to know what’s normal across the society and be able to compare, make informed decisions about how they want to live. Most importantly, children need to know that there is help and protection if they need it – because anyone who’s abused by their parent or with their parent’s consent – need to know that they are not alone, that what they are experiencing isn’t okay – that no one is deserving of being molested or beaten or under/over fed or have their psychological development impaired.

Allowing closed communities to openly operate is a breech of the social contract that the Canadian Government has with it’s citizens. The Charter of Rights guarantees the freedom to choice a religion, but the right of equality supercedes religion.

The right that women, children and young men have to equality is not trumped by the religious freedom of those who seek to impose inequality on others.

I am debating an American on a forum, and I want to share some of that:

Candi:

Polygamy can be beneficial to some women. Women who want a career and children often feel guilt free leaving their children home with a sister wife who loves the children like a real mother rather than a babysitter. Women who want to stay home and not work feel guilt free. There is a special feeling of security and acceptance when part of a close group. Some women prefer sharing tasks and responsibility of motherhood and family.

Nina:

polygamy can work if it’s entered into by choice – by consenting of age adults who are socially capable and competant

not people raised in closed communities and don’t know any better

not teens assigned to the grandpa guys who molested them and be part of his harem

women who have careers are not the kind of women that men who are into polygamy want to have in their house

polygamy as practiced by the mormons is harmful in many ways, not the least of which is the high birth defects and infant mortality rates from in breeding

polygamy as practised by other cultures – well, here in Canada, we have a court case about a man who honor killed his first wife and three of his teenaged daughters, keeping the second wife and their son (who helped in the murders)

so, there’s yet to be a case made to allow polygamy – because where polygamy is part of the culture – it’s driven by showcasing your wealth by flaunting how many wives you can support

or it’s about religion oppression of youth – girls and boys – since the geezers in charge have to rid themselves of the surplus boys

pretty much the same way that African chiefs sold off the excess young men to European slavers – to stop anyone challenging their power

Candi:
You stated…

women who have careers are not the kind of women that men who are into polygamy want to have in their house

I disagree. In Utah, there are many families who practice polygamy who are not part of the big polygamous groups. The men do not abuse children. The men do not exile the young men. The families keep to themselves. The husband and wives support the family via work and investments rather than government programs. They do not live in closed communities. They practice polygamy because of their religious beliefs and for no other reason. The men are not practicing polygamy for power or sex. Many of the women DO have careers outside the home. They raise their children to have careers and to be successful. Religious beliefs are the only difference between them and non polygamous couples.

Personally, I would not practice polygamy. But, I did have the occasion to meet several polygamous families who were not part of the large groups. The women felt the pros outweighed the cons.

Nina:

So you’re saying that mainstream mormons are illegally engaged in polygamy just under the radar – despite having agreed as a condition of becoming a state within the US, to give up the practise?

and that is somehow more moral than the handful of closed communities who exist in dark ages mentality

Clearly, this is why people don’t want a mormon president

polyamory, consenting adults who are making a choice because that’s where their emotional connections brought them to be – and all parties are consenting – leading to multiple party marriages

is different than religious polygamy, and if modern mainstream mormons are doing polygamy to secure their place in heaven, then it’s still down to religious brainwashing and glossing over adulterous behaviour with a religious veneer to sanctify the sin

Federation Rules

Gene Roddenberry gave us a bright and shiny future to achieve – a time when monetary concerns were no more, when everyone was assured the basics of life – food, shelter and a meaningful purpose.

When everyone could live to their potential, find their bliss – live on a star ship exploring or living as our ancestors did, by our manual toils, technologically assisted or not or by degrees – whatever we’d choose for ourselves.

It’s why I am an atheist, a science fiction geek, a writer and a dreamer.

The future could be anything we make of it.

While religion, religions looks to a past, to unpleasant times when slavery was the norm and women were chattel and children only as useful as the labour you could squeeze out of them.

It doesn’t matter what apologists say – oh that was then, old testament, look, shiny new testament – not a tribal god, but a santa god, who gave his only son begotten by procuring a virgin vessel. Because you know, blood sacrifice, that’s better.

Not for the women though, somehow sacrifice clears everyone but the women for original sin. Gaining that knowledge of good and evil that made god unneccessary.

So the sacrifice and all the weekly meetings, dues, offering up of your children as sex toys or as priests and nuns….hmmm or as both? How far back does the systemic abuse of children go? All the way back, I’d say.

Don’t look to the past for answers on how to be – the past didn’t hold answers then and old bad answers don’t make for good answers now.

Curious Compassion – the way forward – being curious about other cultures, historic, current and emerging. Having compassion for anyone in a lesser than you state, giving a hand, lending an ear.

Forgiving yourself, forgiving others, not holding you or anyone to impossible standards and punishing for failure.

Victims Feel Shame, Abusers Don’t

Why victims feel shame and abusers don’t.

Victims feel shame because there’s a perception/expectation that you are treated the way you deserve – that if you remain in a relationship (romantic, work, friends, family, any type)  that makes you feel bad; it’s because you must want to or deserve to be treated poorly.

Which is why things like The Secret make money, there’s a part of us that is primed by religion and magical thinking that what happens is directed, ordained, destined or that there’s some connecting or correcting mechanism in the universe to make things fair or right according to how we are in the world.

Things happen because things happen, it’s random and only influenced by the choice we make – with each choice limiting the range of options that follow. When people make the same choices over and over, then it is easy to predict the inevitable outcome – which to people who look at the pattern of events that lead to the outcome, seems like it’s behaviorally directed – but when you factor in all the unrelated events that occurred in the same time period – you can see a larger pattern of many forces and limitations on possible outcomes

However, that perception is wrong, since the abuser has no right or authority to be judge, jury and executioner of anyone.

It’s likely that the abuser may well be a victim in some other area of their life, but to my mind, that makes them the worst kind of abuser – knowingly inflicting pain that they are familiar with. As much as being abused in one area of your life may seem to balance abusing someone in another area, it doesn’t. It just contributes more pain than there needs to be in the world. Intentionally causing pain has to stop.

When an illness hits a defined portion of the population and that illness is diagnosable with a test for a viral or bacterial cause – it’s a real illness – but when Epstien-Barr was first talked about publically, it was primarily middle aged women – and there was no test – so the public attitude was women were whiny and making it up

When too many women and a few men had it, this became Chronic Fatigue and has been deemed a real illness.

Fibromyalgia is this decade’s Epstein-Barr – and it seems that it’s a continuance of the Chronic Fatigue

When you get overwhelmed – and as women juggle kids, ailing parents and more often than not a career – you get overwhelmed.

And you can’t do anything about it – you’re tired, you’re sore and your resilience is slowly lowered. Sort of a reverse frog in the slowly boiling water; you’re slowing running out of steam to operate on.

As such, those little normal aches and pains that you’d not notice or shrug off, begin to seem worse and more constant – because you are now paying attention to them – a physical pain is so much easier to manage than emotional and psychological pain – especially with all the possible medications available to numb everything.

Xena: Season Three

I’ve gotten a little behind in my Xena reviews. We’ve started in on the final season, when there was no longer any pretending about Xena and Gabrielle’s couple state – heck, even the Valkyries in the the Norse Cycle, recognized Xena and Gabrielle as soul-mates, when one Valkyrie protected Gabrielle’s body as an eternal flame that could only be cross by her soul-mate, Xena, to restore Gabrielle to the living and undo the damage that Xena wrought.

I think that it’s true, if you go looking for something, you tend to find it – and Xena was wonderful as a tease for lesbian with just enough plausible doubt to keep the censorship forces at bay.

It’s funny/sad to think about how hard that show had to work in the pre-L Word days to hide the central relationship of the show in plain site in order for people to focus on the show and not get hung up that it’s a show about a lesbian couple.

Season Three

Episode 1: The Furies

Ares convinces The Furies to drive Xena insane as part of his plan to get Xena back, but even crazy Xena is too clever for him – and it’s her love for Gabrielle that keeps Xena fighting.

Episode 2: Been There, Done That

Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer are trapped in an endless repeating day, until Xena figures out how to prevent True Love between a Romeo and Juliet being lost in a town erupting in a blood feud.

In any episode where Xena or Gabrielle come close to death or actually die, we see their true relationship – complete love and devotion beyond death, nothing comes between them.

Episode 3: The Dirty Half Dozen

Xena provides an opportunity for four prisoners slated for execution to redeem themselves by doing a good service by stopping a warlord that Aries has provided magical Armour for.

Xena, as much as she wants to be a force for good in the world, many times over the series, had to draw on her dark side to carry the battle – and her commitment to good deeds, is largely down to wanting to be worthy of Gabrielle’s love.

Episode 4: The Deliverer
Episode 5: Gabrielle’s Hope

Xena’s hatred of Caesar takes the duo to Britannia; where Xena helps Boadicea  against Caesar and Gabrielle falls into the clutches of a religious cult, looses her blood innocence by taking an innocent life and becoming the vessel for the evil god Dahak’s offspring, who Gabrielle names Hope.

And, with many lesbian couples, it’s hard on the non-biological parent – and Xena demands that Gabrielle kill the baby. Kidding – Xena knows that Hope must die to prevent Dahak from entering the world, it’s not because Xena has issues not being the baby daddy. Lesbians are blended family tolerant, but offspring of evil gods, changes the perspective a little.

The important thing that comes back later is that Xena lost sight of what was going on with Gabrielle because of her hatred for Caesar – if they hadn’t gone, if Xena hadn’t left Gabby to her own devices, if Gabby could have listened….

These episodes sets up all the future relationship unraveling.

Episode 6: The Debt: Part 1
Episode 7: The Debt: Part 2

Leaving Gabrielle behind, Xena travels to the Kingdom of Chin to assassinate an evil ruler to ensure the good done by Lao Ma, the woman who put Xena on the path to The Way.

Furious that Xena would abandon their shared path of good, Gabrielle makes a deal with Aries to get to Chin first, planning to stop Xena from murder and mostly, to find out what Lao Ma had that Gabrielle didn’t.

These episodes add more fuel to the break up and hatred that is rising between our girls.

Episode 8: The King of Assassins

A Xena light and humour episode after all the darkness, Gabrielle, Autolycus, and Joxer stop Joxer’s identical appearing but completely bad ass brother Jett, a cold-blooded assassin, from assassinating Cleopatra.

In this episode, we also discover that the Might Joxer song began as a childhood taunt – Joxer the Tidy instead of Joxer the Mighty; giving us a glimpse that Joxer’s delusions of competence are a childhood dream of belonging – and you wonder how much better his life would have been, had he settled down with a trade – because in season six, we find out that he ends up married to Meg and operating a tavern – a Xena and Gabrielle Hard Rock Tavern, but a tavern nonetheless.

Episode 9: Warrior… Priestess… Tramp

Xena and Gabrielle discover another Xena-lookalike – this time, Leah, the Hestian Virgin Head Priestess and that Meg impersonating her, but this time, Meg’s been duped into thinking she’s doing good by taking over for a priestess that she’s been told has run away.

This is one of my favorites and it’s certainly the most raunchy episode ever.

Between Leigh chastising Xena and Gabrielle for not being virgins – even Gabrielle’s protest of being married has no impact; as, Leah replies, we all have our little excuses.

Meanwhile, Xena impersonates Meg impersonating Leah and has a battle with the bad guys while the Hestian virgins are confessing to sexual feelings and encounters with garden vegetables.

Also in this episode, a bawdy brothel version of the Joxer song.

Episode 10: The Quill Is Mightier…

A miffed Aphrodite charms Gabrielle’s scroll so that anything written comes true, more or less. More less than more.

Gabrielle tries to write a fictional adventure of her own, sending Xena off for a spot of fishing – Xena fishes a lot in the series, catching fish by hand more often than by pole. If you get where that’s going….wink wink nudge

The highlight is when Joxer, full knowing the scroll shapes reality, brings three Naked Go Go Gabrielles.

Episode 11: Maternal Instincts

Xena and Gabrielle travel to the centaurs’ lands and visit Solan.

Gabrielle’s not dead daughter, Hope, returns Callisto back into the world and kills Solan with poison.

Xena and Gabrielle rage at each other over the loss of their children and at each other in a power struggle of relationship dominance and recrimination for errors in judgement. Everything that’s been pulling them apart finally succeeds.

Episode 12: The Bitter Suite

Predating the Buffy Musical episode by three years, Xena and Gabrielle face their betrayals in an alternate world of Illusia – a magical and musical place.

The most brilliant episode of the series, it dealt on an epic operatic scale the betrayals of the past episodes; subverting the usual roles of the support casting – Callisto instead of being a crazy murderer is a crazy singing guide to Illusia.

Only the most dead inside of person could not be affected by the declaration of purest love and forgiveness that Xena delivers to Gabrielle and Solan.

Episode 13: One Against an Army

Who needs 300 Spartans when just one Xena and an injured Gabrielle can hold off the Persian army of100,000 strong?

Episode 14: Forgiven

With Gabrielle and Xena completely a couple, sidekick wannabes start to show up – seeking to separate the two. Oh, and recover the Urn of Appollo which gives people second chances by purifying them of past deeds.

I never thought of it then, but this is something that seems to happen in Lesbianworld – you form a couple and all your friends want to be in a couple just like you – and the easily way to get that is to poach someone already in such a couple. Seriously, it’s messed up and it’s wrong – if you can steal one of a couple, then they weren’t that much of a couple to start with and it’s not a solid foundation for your own couplehood status, by poaching, you’re basically saying we’re together until one of us is lured away. And you start knowing who’s stealable and who doesn’t respect boundaries.

Episode 15: King Con

A humour episode wherein Joxer is beaten by thugs who operate a gambling  palace to steal back his winnings; which Joxer had lost to con artists.

Xena forces the con artists to make things right by helping to shut down the gambling palace. The con artists have a side bet where one is trying to get Xena to kiss him – but unlike other episodes where men are temptations, there is no sense at all that Xena is falling for this inside con game.

As funny as some of the episode was, and the cons inside cons, it fell down for me at the begining – after all – who is going to gamble, given that the house normally wins coupled with a gambling palace that has no qualms about beating or killing you to regain what you’ve won from them.

Gambling is about winning, no matter how remote the odds and probabilities – but even the most dedicated gambler is not going to patronize a place that literally beats you.

Episode 16: When in Rome…

Xena keeps her wits about her in this Julius Caesar encounter while Gabrielle learns why Xena hates the Romans and their political machinations. Gabrielle causes the execution of a Roman.

Episode 17: Forget Me Not

Tortured by the things she has done and suffered in the last months, Gabrielle decides to come to the temple of Mnemosine, the Goddess of Memory, where she could forget all the bad memories along with her good memories – including Xena.

Episode 18: Fins, Femmes and Gems

Aphrodite has her pet thugs deliver a stolen diamond to her temple at Parnassus, and distracts Xena, Gabrielle, and Joxer with am obsession potion – making Xena obsesses with fishing (again!), Joxer with an ape man legend and Gabrielle with herself.

The Story of Gabrielle, a musical series classic!

Episode 19: Tsunami

Xena the Poseidon Adventure  – trapped on an upside down and sunked ship, Xena has to figure out how to escape a watery death while preventing her fellow trapees from killing each other to conserve air.

Episode 20: Vanishing Act

When an enormous statue commemorating Peace is stolen from a seaside village, Autolycus fears the loss of his title of King of Thieves and recruits Xena to help him steal it back.

Episode 21: Sacrifice: Part 1
Episode 22: Sacrifice: Part 2

One of Gabrielle’s friends, Seraphin, is about to be sacrificed to bring forth a goddess. Xena and Gabrielle stop the sacrifice, fearing the goddess to be Callisto when it’s Hope, whose rebirth would be another attempt for Dahak’s entrance in the world.

Hope, appearing exactly like Gabrielle, prepares with Ares the sacrifice which will bring Dahak into our world.

Callisto, frustrated that Hope won’t give her the longed for oblivion, joins Xena, Gabrielle and Joxer, on the condition that Xena kills Callisto in a manner where there is no afterlife.