the true valentine loves not the vampire

This whole Valentine’s Day story is quite baffling because there’s a whole bunch of weird history behind it. It turns out the Giant Octopus of the Vatican doesn’t even really know who Saint Valentine was. This is an organization that professes it has a hotline to God via the Pope guy who happens to be in the chair at the time. Or something like that. So if they say they don’t have any solid info on Valentine’s connection to Valentine’s Day or love? Then you’d better believe they don’t have anything at all in the archives where they also keep the plans for the fusion device. But it’s okay, because we at TAP already know the true answer.

We heard tell at the Bankers Hill Bar & Restaurant located in San Diego International Airport Terminal 1 from a man wearing a Tony Romo jersey and drinking red zinfandel. He swears on his soul that he was vacationing in Bucharest in 1985 at the height of Ceaușescu’s brutal power. He spied a dark cloaked man giving chocolates and flowers to random women at the hotel bar. Thinking this man a dangerous threat and rather drunk, he armed himself with a rolled up Leninist newspaper and followed the cloaked man into the grim night. He made it twelve feet from the hotel door before being accidently knocked unconscious by a nine year old girl on a bicycle. He awoke weeks later deep in the Transylvanian Hills.

There, he proceeded to conduct a hasty forced interview with a vampire. The vampire stated that in fact Valentine’s Day originated as an excuse for vampires to drink more blood then during the other 364 days of the year. The seduction, the lust, the red color, the focus upon bleeding somebody dry, was all an excuse for vampires to consume their extra fill. The man, petrified, demanded meekly to know if he too would die that day. The vampire chuckled, and said no. For the original Valentine’s Day traditions were long gone. Instead, vampires had transformed into vicious corporate shills. They made such a killing on cocoa and flower farms that they were able to bankroll the invention of synthetic blood to sate their appetite. In particular, this one vampire confessed to working for Goldman Sachs Business Development Branch and had a supposed “killer” idea on this thing he kept calling “see, dee, oohs.”

Anyways, who or what, precisely, is the dreaded Giant Octopus establishment? To those who voted for Hilary it’s Trump’s business buddies in NYC, the 1887 KKK, etc, etc. To those who voted for Trump it’s the people in the media, DC, etc, etc. If you voted for neither of them the establishment is one of sixteen different Giant Octopi that occupy your darkest dreams. Like vampires. Or employees of Citibank. Or celebrity award shows.

Did you know the Grammy’s and the BAFTA’s were both on last Sunday? They’ve got so many award shows they have to cram two major ones into one night on different continents. How many awards can celebrities give to themselves? Don’t they know that celebrity awards are the pinnacle of the Giant Octopus’ many magical apples!? Don’t eat it, dear God, don’t eat it! The apple causes the downfall of us all! It laced with haughtiness.

Hey speaking of apples, and love, and whatever else, what does it say about humanity that the original Valentine’s Day love story ends with the downfall of all humanity for an eternity?

Anyways, but if you’re me, the Giant Octopus establishment is everything that tries to remove coherent thought from your brain for any particular purpose that benefits anybody not you. Whether it be an attempt to get your vote, your support, your time, your eyes, or more often than not, your straight cash.

America will spend $20B on Valentine’s Day this year. Or twice what the NFL makes in an entire league year. Or three times the national cancer budget. Why? There are 365 days in a year. Yet this is apparently the day that if you don’t get your mate candy, flowers, or whatever, it means you’re apparently cheating on them, or are possessed by the devil. Which is a mean thing to say, because even the devil is all about this day. It’s why he always dresses in red velvet. Go watch the Japanese anime cartoon.

Anyways, there’s certainly no connection between the Valentine’s guy and love. And yet there are references as far back as Chaucer and Shakespeare associating Valentine’s Day and love. So somehow this thing happened. Somehow humanity has a centuries long tradition of picking this one day over the other 364 for the purposes of affection.

I don’t get it, but I’ll accept it as reality. And that, as always, there just might be something wrong with me in that I wish this day didn’t exist. But even if you accept this as cultural reality, what I cannot wrap my mind around is the Giant Octopus having it’s claws in the 2/3 of Americans that probably shell out substantial gold for this event.

Folks who won’t eat genetically modified crops and recycle their used pencils are all of a sudden all too comfortable paying a 600% markup to Mars Brand Incorporated, or some faceless hedge fund LLC that owns a series of flower mills in Columbia and Kenya paying 3 cents an hour minimum wage. Nobody has a gun to anybody’s head making them buy candy this one single day. Why not buy candy on April 17th? Or cut some fresh wild flowers from a field on June 3rd?

Don’t give in into the Giant Octopi! Don’t give into the vampire! Do something different for your special person. Don’t let the vampire be your valentine instead. I don’t know what that different thing would be, you know your mate, you just find a way to make it happen. But I’m guessing, a good starting point is to try and do something that doesn’t involve spending any cash. That’d be a good start.

Turkey – Mount Koressos, House of Mary

When you travel in groups compromises are always necessary. When the group disagrees you can sometimes divide up or sneak off on your own for a while. Other times you just have to deal with it. When you share hotels, cars, buses, trains, and meals with your companions, it’s generally not a good idea to fight all the time. I’ve been on trips where this happens and it truly kills everything.

Being in Turkey I had about five-hundred things I wanted to do, history being at the top of my list. So when we were headed to Ephesus I was fired up. We only had one day there. I could spend six days in Ephesus and not get bored. But then, other members of the group wanted to take most of that one morning and visit the supposed House of Mary which is near Ephesus. I hear this and I’m like, “Oh, uh, …” [checks watch] (I did indeed wear a watch then, which seems strange now.)

I was raised Irish / English / Sicilian Catholic, so you know it’s seriously in my blood. But I was also raised with a light touch of it. My own Grandmother would frequently talk with us about this or that doctrine, Pope, etc, that she disagreed with, alongside her own take on life. It’s a very liberating American take on religion. Nowadays, depending on the barometric pressure outside, I can either truly believe or am an atheist or whatever. A lot of it depends on my mood. So basically I would not consider myself very religious, but I really do try. In this Turkey travel group though were several ultra-hyper religious types. So they wanted to go see the House of Mary and were very set upon it.

Given how much of Ephesus was on my brain I could have protested. I let it go in the name of cohesion. This was the right choice. I figured it would be nice to see the mountains, maybe say a prayer, and generally just enjoy the ride. This was exactly what happened. I don’t regret it.

The full titled House of the Virgin Mary sits atop Mount Koressos which is a few miles from Ephesus. It’s a small house and religious shrine. By which I mean it’s a religious shrine that reminded me a lot of the shrines in Asia, specially Japan. As in, it’s a commercial tourist destination. There’s very little religion about it. In say Japan, sometimes you’ll be walking around temple grounds and there’ll be these people hocking Hello Kitty fascism toys from stalls. I always found this odd, to me a dead quiet church is my pinnacle of prayer. But in many cultures it’s not a big deal to meld commercial and religious ideas on the same site. This is the case with Mount Koressos.

It’s like going to the Mary exhibit at Disneyland. There are several cafes, a wishing wall, tourist buses everywhere, magic water, it’s quite the atmosphere. And this place has quite the crazy tale as well. My first thought was, “There’s no way Mary was there.” I mean, what do I know? But still, it didn’t seem quite likely to me. I get it, Popes have visited this place, but still. Feast your brains upon this tale of discovery:

– Anne Catherine Emmerich, German nun, mystic, and later saint, has a bunch of visions which she imparts to the brains of others.

– Clemens Brentano, author, writes books based upon her visions about Jesus, etc, etc.

– In 1852, Brentano provides a rough description from a vision of a house near Ephesus that John supposedly built for Mary where she lived out her days.

– In 1881, French priest, Indiana Jones copycat, and lunatic Julien Gouyet uses this book’s description to find and identify the house on top of Mount Koressos. Nobody believes him.

– But by 1891 at the urgings of Sister Marie de Mandat-Grancey, folks get onboard with this idea and the house is made a shrine and taken under management. The first Pope shows up within a decade. Half-a-dozen other Popes have also visited.

So is one to believe this tale of visions, translated through a kook author, and a bunch of people wandering around the 19th century Ottoman countryside with a book in their hand? I’d have to say I don’t. I’m pretty sure that whatever Mary was that she died close to her birthplace and is buried out there. But whatever, it’s all good, people can pray anywhere. That’s the cool part about prayer.

And whatever the house is, it is indeed neat to visit. It’s very old and probably a good example of the style and architecture of ancient dwellings in this part of the planet.

 

Mary House.jpg

Side of the House of the Virgin Mary

 

When there, I kind of separated myself from the group and puttered around. When you go inside the house it’s a converted chapel, very small. I didn’t take a picture inside as it didn’t seem right. I prayed for a short bit and then was on my way. It was a nice moment, but not what I would call any kind of religious experience.

 

800px-House_of_Virgin_Mary2.jpg

Not my shot, taken from Wikipedia. Note the very ancient hallowed c-grade velvet rope, two Apostle endorsed codex plastic information placards, and Papal holy water blessed exit sign

 

Outside there is a wishing / prayer wall that folks can leave notes on. There are thousands of notes. There is also a water source that is said to heal or grant wishes or whatever. I did not drink the water

For me, the ground was the better experience. This was my chapel visit.  This was my Mount Koressos:

Forest.jpg

I’ve got dozens of various shots of nothing but the woods from all across the world. Two of my favorites are on my desk, one from American and one from Japan. I’m always struck by the differences and similarities between them. Wherever you are, the woods are always similar enough that you can recognize ideas, feelings, trends that join you to that remote location. In the sense that the woods near your own home and country do much the same. It’s that spark of fellowship and belonging that most closely identifies us as part of one human race and planet. It’s only there for a moment, but it’s a good feeling. Nature, God, whatever, does that to you. Amen.

when you really think about it, this Santa concept is rather creepy

My mental priorities are usually out of alignment. I sometimes can’t even check off simple daily tasks that require coherent thought to avoid problems. For instance, I had to walk to the mailbox from work today and was rather shocked to discover it was pouring rain. And I was like, “Oh, I didn’t know it was supposed to rain today.”

I had no idea. Do most other normal people check the weather? I think so, so what’s wrong with me? It might be that since my first and last acts of any day involve me standing in the backyard with my dogs, that I use that as my daily weather checks. And since no rain or clouds this morning, I didn’t expect rain all day. Luckily for me, I carry a little umbrella in my bag at all times. So in theory, I’ve already accounted for my inability to conduct reasonable routine daily thoughts.

But while I’m not bothering my brain about little things like the traffic report, or whether I needed gloves today, I had this weird thought in my brain about whether I’d tell my kids that Santa is real. This is absurd lunacy as among other things I have no date or kids or immediate prospects of such things. Soon, I guess. But right now it’s just a weird pointless thought. But then my next needless thought was, why? Why?

Because when you really think about it, this Santa thing is kind of creepy. Take heed of these basic facts about this dude:

 

santa_claus

– Regularly practices the art of belligerent unsolicited home invasion

– Can apparently fold space and time but doesn’t go back in time to murder Hitler

– Implements child labor procedures that the Burmese authorities would find abhorrent

– Demands payment in food product that adds zero nutritional value to the human form

– Thus encourages lifestyle choices that would cripple the health care system with a pandemic of Type II diabetes

– Possesses emotional and technical monitoring powers that make the NSA and Jesus jealous

– Encourages materialistic domination of a possession based culture to the detriment of a value based society

– Rewards naughty or nice block designations off an arbitrary, unregulated, and unaudited obscure process

– Pontiff of a cult religion in which millions of his acolyte followers are commanded to dress just like him and convince children of the sanctity of his divine powers and demand that they pray to him to receive a beneficial response

 

Why is this still a thing? Why did humanity not banish the idea of Santa to the gutter alongside other winning ideas such as human sacrifice?

To get to the bottom of this most urgent of human dilemmas, we decided to call Jesus at his castle in Hawaii:

The Arcturus Project: Greetings, Sir.

Jesus Christ: How’s it going?

TAP: Happy early birthday then.

JC: It’s not my actual birthday, the 25th is a construct, it’s the message that counts.

TAP: So what’s your actual birthday?

JC: Uh, you’re a, you’re not listening.

TAP: New Years?

JC: …

TAP: So about Santa?

JC: Yeah okay, what about Santa then.

TAP: What’s the deal with this creep?

JC: He makes people happy, what’s wrong with you?

TAP: I have many problems, which one in particular are you referring to?

JC: Even the most child friendly, popular creatures in existence can be twisted in a dark way. But Santa’s a likeable, jolly guy, so people have decided he can stick around.

TAP: Lies. Not all popular child friendly creations are creepy.

JC: Oh yeah, take this Elmo guy. If you left his appearance, voice, and mannerisms exactly the same, but gave him a butcher knife in an NC-17 rated slasher horror movie he’d cause grown men to vomit in the theater aisles.

TAP: Not true.

JC: Oh yeah, feast on this image inside your brain, my Brother:

 

Elmo

“Elmo has established a window into your soul!”

 

TAP: Jesus Christ!

JC: …

TAP: Oh, sorry. [shudders] I mean, I guess I see your point.

JC: Santa’s just about the dumbest creation in human history, except for yo-yos, but what he does is encourage family togetherness, the idea of somebody jolly watching over you, and the idea that you can happily pass traditions onto your kids like your own parents did; even if those traditions are somewhat foolish or creepy, like flying reindeer.

TAP: I guess I see your point.

JC: Nobody thinks about me during Christmas anymore. And I suppose eventually, if everybody told their kids Santa wasn’t real, that eventually he’d fade from Christmas too.

TAP: But he’s backed by Macy’s, so he’ll probably stick around. You’re only backed by all the powers of the universe, so eventually you might fade into benign oblivion.

JC: Good point.

TAP: What do we do?

JC: Tell your future kids Santa is real, have fun with it, like your parents did with you. And then tell them about the real point of Christmas too. Keep the traditions going that are worth preserving.

TAP: Got it.

JC: Cool.

TAP: …

JC: …

TAP: …

JC: Anything else?

TAP: So if the 25th isn’t your actual birthday, what do you normally do on that day?

JC: I usually go on a pre-New Year’s bender with my other religion bros. And we generally go see a movie, this year we’re of course seeing Star Wars.

TAP: Oh, that should be fun.

JC: Not according to your last post.

TAP: Uh, yeah, I guess. Sorry.

JC: It’s okay, but if the movie isn’t any good, I’m just going to blame you for ruining all of Christmas.

TAP: Isn’t that a little harsh?

JC: I have high standards that encourage positive thought and behavior.

TAP: How am I doing with that?

JC: Yeeaahh.

 

Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto, and that one great shot

If you want to discover what really matters to a cubicle goon of the modern era, gaze kindly upon whatever framed pictures they possess inside their hovels.  This impact is magnified where I work, for we have no windows.  It could be 70, sunny, with a bird, squirrel, and komodo dragon frolicking playfully together outside in the grass.  But inside for us, it’s the same stale air, harsh light, and incessant office sounds.

A lot of people put pictures of their family there.  I’m a weirdo who lives alone with his dogs, but I suppose I could put pictures of them in there, or of my Parents, Brothers, and Sisters.  But I guess I’m too much of a closed book for that kind of public display.  So instead I’ve got two pictures in there, the first a few folks may have seen me post a while back, which is essentially my Parents’ backyard.

The second photo is of Kiyomizu-dera.

 

Kiyomizu-dera2

 

I breathe every part of this photo: the forest, the winter haze, the isolation, the distant pagoda (Koyasu Pagoda).  This is Kyoto in February.  This is Japan.

The dirty little secret of this shot is that to my left, right, and behind me is a sea of humanity.  My Parents had come out to visit me for my birthday that year.  And I took them to Kyoto and Nara, because it had to be done.  I haven’t gotten into it at all on this blog, but I lived in Japan for three years.  I guess it’s just too close to the heart to write about much, or something strange like that.

Anyways, I’d been to Kyoto before and so we visited some of my favorites, but Kiyomizu-dera was new for all three of us.  We’d visited Chion-in that morning, for that was the one place in all of Japan I wanted to show my Dad (more on that later, eh, maybe).  Then we cabbed it south to Kiyomizu-dera probably after just randomly picking it off a map.  The place was mobbed, almost subway style.

 

Kiyomizu-dera6

Looking back west toward Kyoto

 

Started in 778, the main temple buildings date from the early Edo period, about 1630.  Elaborate temples and a return to emphasis on traditional Japanese religion were among the Shogunate’s many methods to get out of the business of perpetual civil war.  It’s awfully hard to be in the sword killing trade when Shogun needs that seven year temple building project completed in three years.  And you don’t want to disappoint Shogun, do you?

Translated as “Pure Water Temple” it sits atop of mountain waterfall that you can still drink from in various attempts to cheat the Gods / Nature out of the path they’ve set for you.  What do those dudes know anyways?  All they do is make all the rules of the universe.  And rules are meant to be broken, right?  [shakes fist at sky]

My memory is truly horrible (photographs help save me), so I’m not sure where we went next.  But given the time of day, we probably went back downtown for dinner.  Which knowing Kyoto, it was undoubtedly unspeakably awesome.

 

Kiyomizu-dera5

Kiyomizu-dera Main Hall; this was taken after the crowds had begun to thin out

 

 

Kiyomizu-dera1

looking east up the mountain you really get a good idea of how perched the temple is upon the heights

 

Kiyomizu-dera8

looking up from the base of the Main Hail through the branches of a random unrelated species of Japanese tree; these pillars stand as is despite the fact that they didn’t use a single nail in the construction

Halloween costumes – when did this go off the rails?

When I was a young useless lad, mine own dear Mother made me and my Brothers into orange Crayola crayons by hand. These costumes undoubtedly took her hours to make, but probably cost $8 in material. And nobody’s ever forgotten them. But now this quaint, wholesome activity has been conquered by, by what?

First off, let’s start with a little history. Halloween is a cult Pagan festival honoring the dead; likely in a creepy grinding ritual that back in 553 BC probably involved a pile of bones, human sacrifice (which seems to defeat the purpose), or at the very least a bunch of club beatings.  They probably did this for three days straight, because what the hell else was there to do back then?

In order to quickly attract converts, the Catholic Church allowed the adoption of Pagan rituals into the Christian calendar. Depending on how you count, this emerged as All Hallows or All Saint’s Day around 1400 years ago. Thus the original purpose of involving the dead, leads us down the road of horror, vampires, fear, boy bands, gargoyles, Miley Cyrus, etc.

But this costume thing is only about 150 years old. And it always seems to have taken on a rather tame tact that gives one the impression that the culture mostly left to whole violent death concept behind. Here’s a photograph from 1924, not too many decapitated horror movie themes going on here:

1924

In my youth days, I remember the parents walking around in street clothes. All the kids wore either homemade or rather bland costumes which were actually street clothes just slightly altered. Maybe other kids wore ridiculously elaborate costumes back then and I just never saw it? I’m not sure, we didn’t exactly live in a rich neighborhood and so who knows what folks were wearing on the Giant Octopus mansion street.  Maybe those kids went around in $600 Monopoly Man costumes?

The Monopoly Man

“Terribly sorry Sir, but my Father is very wealthy, as the saying goes, and states that if you peasants do not provide me with the very best candy I am to slice you.”

 

But as to my home,  I just remember loving the simplicity of it all.  The family and neighborhood flavor of it.  When you’re wearing a homemade crayon around, your expectations of life are formed accordingly.  And I’m the better for it.  So are my Brothers.

Well, that was fun, for those days are over.  When did this go off the rails?

Culturally the planet’s gone from:

 

Pagan death ritual => Catholic soul day => wholesome costume culture / candy day => what?

 

What’s it now? Well, here’s a pair of screenshots that I think answer’s that question. And I hate the answer.

amazon

walmart

1) sex

2) sex

3) Diz-Nee

4) Mon-Nee

5) Other generic Giant Octopus product

6) Mon-Nee

7) sex

 

Uh, [shakes head], I want my crayon costume back.

Seville Cathedral – building upon history while not detonating the human race

This Francis guy seems like a big deal right now, so we thought we’d venture back into a past journey that carried a bit of a Catholic flavor. Seville was a day trip, in the sense that me and my fellow drones woke up late, and had to work in the evening. But we had a day to kill.

Our first idea was to see a bullfight somewhere. But it was not the season locally. So we got the idea (with the zero research that made the pre-smartphone era more entertaining) that if we went to Seville, surely they’d have a bullfight, right?

Well, no, of course not. The bullfight season is the season. So instead, we ate lunch and decided to tour the cathedral. Then we had to rush back to work via the train. The sidewalk cafe lunch remains the best paella I’ve ever had. And of course the cathedral was quite the wonderful memory.

Depending on how you count, it took about a thousand years of building, destruction, re-building, and on and on until the cathedral took it’s current completed form. It started as a mosque in 1184 under the Moors. It was not to last, for in 1248 the city surrendered to Ferdinand III of Castile.

Parts of the mosque were left intact, and this became the basis of the cathedral’s design. But construction was slow. It didn’t help that the dome kept collapsing, or that eventually all that Spanish gold and effort would go into conquering half the planet instead of building at home.

One of the old mosque’s structures, the minaret, was built upon rather than destroyed. It became the cathedral’s tower. Thus, one of the most beautiful structures of human history in La Giralda was created on the wisdom, beauty, and humanity of two religions.

 

La Giralda

La Giralda

 

We’d never see this happen today. The political, religious, and social media goons wouldn’t allow it. There’d be too many people offended by such an action. Too many folks trying to blow it up. And yet somehow the Castilians and the Moors are supposedly the barbarians? Eh, whatever. I’d rather drink with those dudes. They were more tolerant than us.

Everybody’s so self-righteous today, like they walk on water. So Francis will make Junipero Serra into a saint but there are people using this as a reason to purge history of him. They literally want to bring down statues of the guy. Well, if you ask me, there is no benefit to humanity from destroying, ignoring, or otherwise purging history.

Junipero Serra was a good guy and a bad guy. Unless your name is Lincoln, Jesus, or that Buddha dude, guess what, you’re going to be the same. So calm down, and put down that stone.

Instead, we need to be like La Giralda, and build upon our history rather than detonating the human race along with it. All the good and bad, embrace it, breathe it in, and admire the beauty so we can appreciate it and learn from it.

 

Seville bullring

Seville – from La Giralda looking toward the Seville bullring or Plaza de toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla

 

Door of Conception

the side of the cathedral at the Door of Conception

 

Door of the Prince

Door of the Prince – inside this door lies the bones of some guy named Columbus; another dude who did much good and much bad

 

orange tree courtyard

Patio de los Naranjos – it is said these trees date back to the Moor mosque; who knows if it’s true; but for certain they add some color and life to what is a truly beautiful but still bland color of the cathedral’s exterior

 

cathedral side

just a random side of the cathedral that undoubtedly took years to carve

 

Archivo General de Indias

looking down at a cathedral chapel; the rectangular building in the background is the Archivo General de Indias; or the archive of much of the Spanish Empire; given my love of history I will likely never allow myself to walk in there; as once I go in, I might never come out

 

cathedral center

looking down from La Giralda to the cathedral’s center dome; note the exquisite work on the multiple contoured roofs; nobody would do this today because it would add 0.45% to the cost of a building on some spreadsheet; which is one of the reasons I find modern architecture so boring and soulless

 

Seville

thank you Seville, for inspiring a young drone with your beauty to travel more

on death and social media

The odds of you checking out on camera via violence or accident are infinitesimal. You’re probably sixteen times more likely to get struck by lightning. Your last moments are hopefully to occur peacefully alongside family. And while that event isn’t going to end well for you, at least it’s what we’d consider natural.

I’m of the opinion that despite the exciting pages of history, the vast majority of humans have never seen or experienced brutal violence. Still, when there were no cops around and everybody carried a club, I’m sure we had our fair share of cave related deaths. Or vicious renaissance era coffee house brawls.

The difference between today’s world and say, a Vienna stabbing in 1734, is that everybody’s holding a camera. More than that, everybody’s holding a full-motion-video camera right in their pockets. Even the fixed-site big cameras are different now. It used to be the only time a security camera’s footage was shown is on the news. Now a security video makes its way to the Internets six minutes later.

Whereas we were once a race that traditionally never saw actual violent death with our own eyes, now every single person carries it at their fingertips. And please understand that I consider this light years from movie or video game violence. One is real, the other is not. It’s that simple.

A thought occurred to me a few days back while watching the video of the Tianjin blast in China. Put simply: “Is this wrong?” And then: “What is it doing to us?”

Everybody loves explosions. We’ve been enjoying fireworks for thousands of years. So like countless others, I got a real kick out of watching one of the biggest blasts you’re likely to ever see.

Here’s one of the better examples. Warning, big time profanity in it (even more than you’d usually read on this blog):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q04fV4j7A1w

Cool, right? But if you really took a step back and thought about it, as these major blasts occurred, probably about fifty firefighters were dying, incinerated. While it’s neat for us to watch, it’s also rather horrifying, and deeply disturbing.

You can take it a step further too. Here’s an example of security footage that found its way online quickly because some guy took smartphone video of the camera’s monitor. It’s of a guy having the blast collapse the entire entranceway and wall in front of him. In other words, his last few seconds of life:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=7a3_1439409813

If we’re not careful, our inner-freak-human-self can degenerate to the part of our psyche that used to get a kick out of watching medieval public torture executions. It’s a special form of darkness.

The tale continues with yesterday’s murder of two reporters live on camera by a truly deranged individual. You had the unique ability to watch the killing from the perspective of both the victims and the killer. It doesn’t get any worse than this. Oh, but wait, except it does. For the Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) goons have posted some of the more vicious videos in human history, hundreds of them.

Tens-of-millions, perhaps hundreds-of-millions, of humans have watched these videos. I’m sure tens-of-millions worldwide have watched the Virginia murders from both perspectives in the last 24 hours.

I intentionally have never watched an Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) video. But I’ll admit it, Virginia I did, both perspectives. And I think it’s broken my brain, and a corner’s been turned.

“Is this wrong?” Yep. You bet.

“What is it doing to us?” Nothing good.

We’re supposed to evolve, right? Thanks to the Internets we now possess the ability to watch somebody die, right before our eyes, at the click of a button, just because we feel like. Or because we’re fascinated by it. Or because we’re just curious. Or because everybody else watched it. Or because maybe in our dark-inner-selves we enjoy it.

Or maybe you think it’s important that we watch, so we truly understand the darkness we’re facing? No, instead you should read any number of United Nations reports on what the Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) has done. It’s all there in black-and-white. You get a real good idea of just how truly wicked those dudes are by reading ten pages. We don’t need a snuff video to understand or appreciate evil.

No more. Not for me. I’m going to try and evolve. Certain things are wrong even if many have accepted them as commonplace. The culture seems to have decided that you can drink your coffee and watch somebody die. No thanks, I’m getting off this train.

Or put in another more practical way, the Islamic State (neither Islamic nor a State) goons and yesterday’s Virginia killer have one thing in common: They did the videos because they want you to watch.

It’s generally considered a bad idea to wake up in the morning, pour your coffee, and do what evil wants.

Like all human inventions, social media and the Internets are going to do a great deal of good and bad for us all. Choose the good. Discard the bad. Evolve. Do good. Live well. And hopefully others do the same.

It’ll never happen, but perhaps think of the positive change to humanity if some day, an evildoer posts their murder video online, and nobody watches.

internet death

No more.