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Category: Humans

Hey Man
I’ve got a message for my fellow men.

If you blame women because you can’t find love. If gentleness is a sign of weakness to you, if compassion is for suckers, if using force is the only way you know how to gain respect. If anger and hatred are the same as righteousness in your mind. If you never learned how to be nice.

If you feel that you shouldn’t have to put up with disappointment, ever. If women are bitches…

Then my message to you is: man up.
Got Dibs
“Got dibs,” according to paleolinguists, were likely the first words ever uttered by a human being. Other animals would no doubt have made the same claim, but they don’t know how to talk, so tough titty.

Since that first declaration of rights, the practice of dibbing has had a rich history. In fact, the notion of having dibs (as theorized by paleo real estate agents) is at the very foundation of our modern concept of ownership. If you own real property in the United States, for instance, your deed rests on the original dibbing done by the minions of various kings. Native Americans, sadly, considered land to be undibbable, so all they got was a worthless section of Oklahoma (at least until White Man changed his mind and shouted “Got dibs!”).

In Europe, ownership rests on dibbing done eons ago. Unlike the royal dibbing done in North America, which rested on the direct endorsements from God that all kings enjoy, those ancient dibs depended mostly on the size of the dibber’s club and his willingness to use it. Not to put too fine of a point on it, then, all ownership is based on extortion and murder.

Dibbing has continued unabated into modern times. When The White Man took back Oklahoma, he parceled it out by way of the Great Land Rush of 1893 — one of the wildest and woolliest episodes of dibbing ever witnessed. The Rush even came with a nice legal rationale, although it was clearly just another example of whiteman giving.

A whole bunch of nations called dibs on Antarctica, and that was kind of entertaining for a while, because getting dibs is not quite as acceptable now as it used to be. Eventually, everybody made nice and signed a treaty. Which is great, but we’ll see what happens when oil is discovered at the South Pole.

Dibbing went extraterrestrial when we planted no less than six American flags, complete with spring-loaded stiffeners, on the lunar surface. No one said anything at the time about the Moon belonging to us, but nobody denied it, either. We can be sure, in any case, that we have not seen the last of lunar dibbing. The Russians are still grumpy over losing the race to the Moon, and they’ll be back to try again someday.

Speaking of humiliation-based land grabs, old Vladimir Putin has been doing some serious dibbing himself recently. His argument seems to be that there is a great yearning in the Ukraine to rejoin Russia — especially among the goons he sent there. Consequently, he’s got dibs.

And so it goes. Dibbing is a fundamental part of human nature. Whether we’re grabbing a Third World country, kidnapping a candidate for slavery, or snatching the last piece of pizza, the gimme instinct is strong in us. If we want it, we take it, and if you don’t like it, do you know what this here big club says? Tough titty.
Enemies
A tree fell on my house once. It was a hundred-foot-tall Douglas fir. We were very lucky; no one was hurt, and the house survived. I am now wary of Douglas firs. They are a dangerous plant. But I do not hate them.

Nor do I hold a grudge against poison oak. That plant has been a lifelong source of misery for me, but I know it’s not seeking me out and doing it on purpose. Berry bushes have left thousands of tiny, painful stickers in my hands over the years, but I don’t take it personally. Right now, I’m sniffling and sneezing with all the pollen in the air, but I know the plants that produced that pollen are not out to get me. I would not (even if I could) decree that any of these plants be banished from the face of the earth forever.

Mosquitoes are another matter. Them, I hate. On some level, they know I’m a fellow creature, yet they go ahead and suck the juice out of me anyway. My juice! If the opportunity ever arose to dictate a species extinction, I just might pull the trigger on the mosquito. Same with gophers. Those bastards steal my food and destroy my garden even though they know it enrages me. The thought of a world without them makes me smile.

Yes, yes… I know. Each of these animals is part of the vast, intricate balance of nature that sustains all life, blah, blah, blah. You suggest that if I tried to play Jenga with the delicate stack of species and extract just one offending animal, the whole pile might come tumbling down, me included. To which a part of me wants to respond, “Yeah? Bring it on.”

But I would stop short of total annihilation, I think. What if, in lashing out, I caused some plant species to go extinct? That would be wrong. The plant kingdom is the nice kingdom, and it should not suffer for the misdeeds of a few sociopathic animals.

You see? I may be genocidal, but at least I’m not mean.
Give Me A Reason
I’m thinking about giving religion another chance. Thing is, I’m expecting religion to meet me halfway.

Please don’t get me wrong; I do not intend to abandon reason. I need reason. For one thing, if you’re looking to find the area of a trapezoid, it’s practically indispensable. It’s also handy for finding food and shelter and the best route downtown during rush hour. And, if you’re concerned about protecting yourself from your own runaway stupidity, a little logic can sometimes head off a severe public embarrassment (or an ugly death).

Reason can even lead you to some of the same conclusions you might find by a spiritual path. The golden rule is a good example. It’s almost an equation, isn’t it? Others will do unto you the way you do unto them (as long as you’re not dealing with a real jerk).

Still, reason is not a perfect tool. When it comes to the sometimes dark affairs of human motivation, it’s pretty much useless. It’s a weak defense against fear or greed or anger (much less love). Worse, it seems to be helpless before excesses of our own egos. In fact, it seems to embolden them. Perhaps the notion of a life guided only by reason sounds so grown-up, so worldly-wise, so smart that it lures us into believing we have godlike powers. Consider the colossal egos of those who are so dead sure of their intellects that they know there is no God. These people seem to have forgotten that they are smelly blobs of protoplasm squirming around on a mote of dust in a vast and mysterious universe. Jesus H. Christ, people!

My point is that we need spirituality as much as we need reason. Those dark motivations are among the gravest dangers we face in this world. Indeed, they are the forces that urge us toward oblivion. Unfortunately, most religions aren’t much help against those forces either. Most of them got started with some keen metaphorical insight into the human condition, but they soon fell prey to the vices and foibles of the humans who run them. That’s when we begin to see the proliferation of dogma and the spewing of batshit crazy articles of faith that we are told to believe or burn in hell forever.

That said, I am completely ready for some kind of spirituality to enter my life. I want to have faith. What I need from religion, as I have said, is a willingness to meet me halfway. And so, I call on religion — all religions — to openly renounce all the dumb rules and transparent bullshit. That stuff is a real deal-killer for me. I want a ticket to see the insights, but I insist that reason come along as my plus-one.

So…no virgin births, no arks, no devils, angels, or talking in tongues. No heaven or hell, no 72 virgins, burning bushes, parting seas, golden tablets, or sacred cows — and no magnetic control freaks with a personal pipeline to God. Just keep it simple, folks, and make it believable.

One last word of advice: go easy on the God stuff. Even if he does exist, the more you tell me how well you know him, the less likely I am to believe you.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon