postmodern headache

On Tuesday in my first writing workshop we were introduced to postmodernism. The central concept is, as far as I can gather, that there are no absolutes, since the postmodernists reject the ‘grand narratives’ i.e., religion, science. These are social constructs, transmitted via language which can never be objective since it inherently is imbued with the speakers biases. Thus, what we perceive as real is entirely subjective.

This kind of makes sense to me, but I have problems with it. It seems incompatible with science at first glance, until one remembers that science offers us no absolute truths, only theories which must be tested and may one day be superseded. Even time is relative. Yet science is the search for the truth – or as near as we can get to it. Is it, or is it not,, attainable. Uncertainty says god plays dice, but particle physics is based on maths, which is constant. One plus one must always make two, so postmodernism and science contradict. Do they, or don’t they?

What is fast becoming certain is that I’ll have fun exploring this issue.

me clever

According to grey, last night may have been the last disco for a while. The student’s uunion has fallen out with the chaps who put the event on – the latter are too greedy. They make a killing on the bar and the door: must be about 750 ppl attend, each charged 2 quid. None of that money, however, goes backinto the venu, so greys organising something else.

With this in mind, I took my opportunity to dress up. Out camethe bunnygirl outfit. It was, however, blowing a gale out there, and the last time I went outside in winter in a leotard and tights I cought cold. I had learned my lesson, and put my jumper and joggers back on over my outfit so I could disrobe at the bar, hopefully with help from a pretty girl. Me clever!

This plan worked well. I took my manual chair – I never take my electric to the bar: recipe for broken f55 and a seriously peeved dad. I went to join the football social, having the security guy take my clothes off as the party got started, before the main lights went off. I behave myself more when I’m iin those clothes, and try to keep them clean, so I stay sober, which I did.

What else can I say? I didn’t get cold, and one of the footballers redressed me and took m home. Quite a cool night.

cripcomic

I just noticed i can no longer play rock paper scisors on weebles stuff.com. college wont let me download macromedia flash, which is rather tiresome, but not the end of the world.

talking of cartoons, cripcomicwas launched yesterday. thusfar, tthere is only one strip, but its interesting stuff. Inasmuch as it subverts the status quo bu having a disabledd person as its main dramatis personae, it can be seen as postmodern. It uses the languag of our subclture (if such a thing exists), and thus can be seen as a statement of pride in dusability. hehehe…academic language rules!

philology

Maybe itts the writer in me, oor the philologist, but it’s surprising how just reading a simple turn of phrase can cheer me up. This morning, I was doing my rounds on the blogs of my friends – luke b’s, Kate’s etc. I came across one which uses some words which have now sadly fallen out of use.

Spiffing’…’good egg’ what wholesome expressions. My friend Will at macc college used to use them. They seem homely, old school.. English, like cricket, or punting. I find the fact that they’re still in use somewhere kind of comforting, especially in today’s world of coarse language and vulgarity. I often hang out with Sports students, where every second word is a vulgarity, and we all know how much swearing there is in film. Of course, I have nothing against swearing, but it seems the old phrases like Good Egg are dying out. The fact that they’re still being used by some people, without sarcasm, is kind of satisfying to me.

I cant explain why.

Bappou, I love you.

Today, my uncle, aunt cousin and his Girlfriend, Saran, were here for lunch. Although they visit way too rarely, I’m fond of them. We were talking about religion, and my concern with creationism, and Uncle Aki told us aboutt the time when some mormons visited my bappou. They were showing bappou any yeaya a slideshow, when suddenly bappou said, quietly and slowly, ‘I think this is a herasy.’

You might not understand why this amuses mme unless you knew buppou: this quiet, gentle man, who was deeply religous, suddenly saying succh a thingg. I can’t explain.

If theres one thing about my aethiesm which trroubles me, its that it would have hurt my grandfather.

heres mmore on yesterdays entry

worryingly missleading

I am worried about the state of American culture, and especially the rise of religion there. I have no problem with people believing as they wish, be it in some bearded God or in a flying spaghetti monster (with his noodly appendage). No, what worries me is when they try to foist their beliefs on others.

Marxists say that religion is a repressive state structure, designed to control a population. For a long period of time, church and state were linked, so the church was an integral part of enforcing the law of the land. Government took it’s authority from the church, which, in turn, took it’s authority from god. To an extent, the two were symbiotic.

Now the symbiosis is gone. With the rise of science came secularism, and governments draw their mandates from the ballot box. Hence, now the church is a competing, unelected power base, and in America at least it is thirsty for power. It seems to be trying to draw people back to the pew, and I think this is so it can once again control the people. The priests and the pastors have no mandate from the ballot box, but instead have chosen to seize power through going into the church. They want to control people, just as coca-cola wants to control you enough to buy coke. Religion is like any other business in capitalist America – it is designed to make money.

Only it is much more dangerous than the Disney or Microsoft corporations, as they just want your mmoney. The churches want your minds too.

For religion faces a problem in the form of science. Two centuries ago, the bible held unopposed authority – it offered an excellent explanation of how life came into being, where we were going and how we should act. This authority, I would argue, stemmed largely from the genesis story, but after Darwin that was called into doubt. More and more evidence is being found in support of evolution, from the remains of homo Neanderthalis to red shift, and this poses a major problems for religion as it shatters the bible’s authority and thus the church’s.

Marx famously called religion the opium of the people, and like any good drug dealer religion must find a way off keeping it’s clientele hooked. Thus, religious people in America brought about ‘Creationism’, a science set up to prove the story of genesis. This, needles to say, is logically flawed, as it’s stated objective is to come to a pre-set answer, and to discredit or ignore any data not pointing to that answer. True science is open-ended – a theory may be posited, tested, proven or superseded. Indeed, this weeks new scientist speculates that Einstein’s general relativity may have to be rewritten slightly to incorporate new findings like Dark Energy. True scientific theories are not, and must never be, set in stone. Thus to create a science with the sole intention of proving the claims of the bible is to distort the underlying logic of science.

Further, to present creationism as scientific is worryingly misleading. Such people are deliberately blinding others to proper, scientific thought in order to make money. Thousands, if not millions of dollars are made through Televangelism, I suspect. They need people to accept the biblical stories as fact, and do this by attacking established scientific theory. At a time when the world needs all the scientists it can get if it is to solve such problems as global climate change and energy shortage, these people are making such claims as

”[quote=”www.creationscience.comurl:http://www.creationscience.com/LifeSciences4.html”%5DSpontaneous generation (the emergence of life from nonliving matter) has never been observed. All observations have shown that life comes only from life. This has been observed so consistently it is called the law of biogenesis. The theory of evolution conflicts with this scientific law when claiming that life came from nonliving matter through natural processes.”[/quote].” http://www.creationscience.com/LifeSciences4.html

While some may say that it is wiser to let these people believe as they wish, I would maintain that, for them to try to force their way of thinking onto others, especially schoolchildren, is harmful. While all perspectives should be engaged with, I feel that to allow these people to continue to expound their ideas so vehemently is dangerous. All theories should be tested empirically, and the biblical model has been superseded, so it should be done away with, like theories linking ethnicity and intelligence. It is harmful to scientific thought, and the public in general in that it now serves only to line the priest’s pockets with money and power. No doubt, however, that they will continue to do as they are doing, trying desperately to blind congregations to an ever-increasing mountain of evidence, while simultaneously presenting themselves as the only valid authorities on the truth, just as McDonalds portray themselves as the only place to get good burgers.

If it wasn’t so sad and dangerous, it would be funny.

fighting bigfoot

Two things got my goat today. I was at the freshers fair, helping out, going around the stalls talking. Most stalls were quite cool – inviting people to give blood, or join the poets society – but two stalls got my goat. Firstly, the army stall. They were their in their camouflage suits and berets, saying things like ‘are you brave enough to join’ and so on. They had a video f people in Iraq hugging soldiers, which was amusing because it was the army who helped bring about what is fast becoming a civil war there. I almost bought a poster in the sale in the wes with this famous Einstein quote.

‘He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.’

Another stall which got my goat was one offering bible classes. I was brought up on rational argument, and I find nothing rational about people trying to convert others into their power structure, simply by using quotes from an ancient book. I tried talking to these people, but its like trying to win a fight with Bigfoot. Its pointless. How can they ignore all the evidence, claim it all points to a sudden creation event, then say they’re the rational ones? As a student of culture, I think I should look into this phenomenon.

Talking of which, I got my results from last year today. A 61 average, or a two-one. Not bad for a stupid spaz.

the intersite bus

You have no idea how relieved I was to hear the intercom sound this morning. It meant everything was back to normal. I had worried that my home care – the ladies who put my shoes and socks on, and get me breakfast – weren’t coming due to the natural confusion caused by summer. But no, Julie came at 9 a.m. prompt, smiling. We have known each other for a year, but we met like old friends after along absence. It meant all was well, and the day would be good. If she hadn’t shown, Esther would have had to give me breakfast, wasting valuable time sorting things out for the new year.

Here’s where it went wrong. I had been promised that the intersite bus would be fully accessible, but I decided to verify this by rolling over to the bus stop, Esther in tow. We waited for 5 minutes, and the bus came. I then realised I had more chance of riding a woolly mammoth to Crewe – the bus was an ancient double decker with steps up to it and a bar in the middle of the entrance. I wasn’t happy.

Nor, for that matter, was Andy Grey. I went directly to the head of the Students Union, who seemed to take personal umbridge at what I told him. Although I explained that Bill could drive me over, he said, ”That’s not the point.” It seemed to grieve him personally, as if he’d just discovered some terrible scandal.

That, however, is my point. People – most people – do not realise the type of problems disabled people face, bringing about a type of discrimination through negligence. The promises of accessible transport hadn’t been acted upon, and it was only when I brought this matter to Andy’s attention that he went and sorted it.

Back, and it feells good

I just got back into my little room at university. It’s good to be back. The place reeks, and I haventgot my posters up so it doesn’t feel quite like home yet, but its getting there. the day promisses to be a good one – noo academic work, just sorting stuff out, confirming my timetable etc. I pplanto catch up with dave to see if theres any preliminarry reading i can do, but thats about it. well, heres to a good second year.

I doubt I’ll cry tonight!