LGBTQ Identity and Me

personal Leave a reply

It’s currently Vancouver Pride weekend here, and that’s as good a time as any for self-reflection, especially with regards to self-identity and orientation. This article is entirely about me and how I see myself with regards to the LGBTQ labels, and no opinion about how I do (or do not) see other people should be inferred.

Moreover, this article deals with my sex-life, so if that’s not something you’re interested in stop reading here.

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Beliefs Don’t Change in “Real-Time”

culture, Education, freethought community, psychology, science Leave a reply

An acquaintance of mine sent me a link to a conversation between Dan Dennett and Sam Harris, wherein Dennett attempts to explain the holes in Harris’s puerile arguments against the concept of “free will”.

In any case, this particular post isn’t about Harris, but a particular point he reiterates repeatedly: that we can (and should) change our beliefs “in real-time”.

This view, regardless of who holds it, is incorrect, and here’s why.

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Anxiety and Hunger

Mental Health, personal, psychology Leave a reply

Here’s a thing that I attribute to my anxiety, but perhaps other people (not suffering from anxiety) deal with it too.

I’ll get engrossed in reading articles/playing games that time passes and I get hungry. Not “omfg, I’m going to die if I don’t eat”-hungry, but the pangs aren’t minor. Noticing them, bringing them into attention, is uncomfortable.

So I’ll go back to reading articles/playing games “for just a couple more minutes”, moving the hunger back out of awareness such that I don’t feel the pangs anymore. Then I’ll think about getting some food, and the cycle continues.

This can mean that sometimes (on a day off) I don’t eat from the moment I wake up for 10+ hours, until I finally suck up the wherewithal to just go make something to eat. Or if I’ve made the mistake of doing this for several days in a row, such that I keep failing to go for groceries, I end up ordering food (which is, of course, expensive, but I can do it through the computer, so I can avoid thinking about it some more…..).

This is one of the many shitty things that anxiety does, and contributes to me not showing up places (because I’ve put off eating, which requires me to get groceries, and oh look, I’m supposed to be at x in 20 minutes…..), and wiping out my money.

(Posting this as a way of motivating myself to get to the grocery store before in closes in 75min. No suggestions/advice sought)

Brexit: Britannia’s Stumble

economics, politics Leave a reply

“Left out in the cold, cobbling our own shoes” or something like that. I don’t remember the exact phrase, but my father’s words to me leading up to the vote on the Maastricht Treaty left an impression on my 14yo self that has not left me, not for one second, even though it was over 20 years ago.

As someone who grew up in the growth and development of the EEC, then the EC, then the EU, it’s been as much a part of my life as anything else in Ireland. Without the EU, it’s clear to me, Ireland would have been locked out, looking in at the well-to-do folk, over near-impassable trade barriers that would have left us in the continual state of poverty that Ireland was ever so slowly dragging itself out of in the 1980s and 1990s.

And the UK just voted for that outcome? In the immortal words of Miley: “Well, holy god……”

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Physician Assisted Dying and the BC Catholic

civil rights, culture, ethics, philosophy 1 Reply

Physician assisted Dying (PAD from here on, aka active euthanasia) is currently being legislated in Canada, so it’s being discussed by a number of outlets, with a variety of opinions being put forward. This is a topic that has a storied history within philosophy, and I think it’s important that we have informed conversations on this topic as much as possible, rather than just repeating the “common sense” nonsense that we’ve grown up with all our lives.

Unfortunately, having a degree in philosophy apparently can also mean learning how to really cement the foundations for that nonsense, and can add an air of authority to what should be obviously ridiculous babble. Kreeft’s nonsense has been written up in that bastion of fact-checking, the BC Catholic, and the amount of errors (or intentional falsehoods?) in that article are staggering…..

I feel that doing a general overview/correction would make it seem that I’ve missed some key line here or there, so I’m going to do a point-by-point rebuttal. Which means that this is going to be a long article. Strap in.

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Boundaries and Abuse

culture, ethics, freethought community, health, personal

I’m going to start with a recent pair of conversations in my life, and use that as a jumping off point to talk about who gets to define what abuse is, and who gets to set boundaries. People in my local community may well recognise the people involved from their behaviour, and while backlash due to that bothers me, it bothers me more that the abusive behaviour is tolerated.

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Studies in Mediumship

philosophy, skepticism Leave a reply

As someone who spends a fair amount of time reading philosophy, I find that I have pretty strong commitments to physicalism/materialism (i.e. the physical world is all that there is, and all non-physical things can be reduced to physical objects). I’m also extremely confident that any forces that can affect objects over long distances have already been discovered (i.e. gravity, and electromagnetism), and as such whether psychic powers (of any kind) exist is an answered question: psychic powers are not a thing. Neither is speaking with the dead. Given my stance on physicalism, the concept of a consciousness surviving the death of the brain is just not at all viable.

That said, I’m open to being proven wrong. Not hugely open: anyone attempting to demonstrate the existence of psychic powers, or mediumship, are effectively claiming that all studies to date that have found only four physical forces are in error, and that there is an additional force/energy/whatever that the lump of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen known as the human brain can access (but only some of them), but other lumps of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen cannot. In terms of proportioning the evidence to the claim, this particular claim is going to require quite the mountain of evidence.

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Laundry and Anxiety

Mental Health, personal

I did laundry today.

I can appreciate that this seems like a minor thing. ‘Seriously, Brian? Posting about doing laundry? Ffs…..’

My anxiety has been pretty bad the last couple of weeks. The threat of job loss hanging over my head, alongside dealing with incompetent and unprofessional HR staff (I know, I know, ‘HR staff’ would have been sufficient…..), plus some kind of low-level fever that I’ve had for about a week now……. It’s all pretty difficult. I’m fortunate to have good friends.

‘Doing laundry’ takes me roughly 2 hours. I don’t own a washing machine or dryer, and the nearest coin laundry is 10-15min away, depending on how long I have to wait for a bus. I need to sit there while it runs. So I need to find a day where I can set aside 2hrs of basically doing nothing (there’s insufficient space to do the marking that I’ve committed to doing), and I need to spend some time getting physical cash (because why the fuck would I carry cash when debit is ubiquitous?). For everyone else, this is a bit of a pain in the ass. For someone with anxiety, where every step in this process requires a chunk of additional effort: This. Fucking. Sucks.

[Here’s a visual aid. Imagine, though, that this is required for *every* task. Like going to the ATM to get money. Get clothes into a bag for bringing to the laundry place. Actually going to the laundry place.]

It’s been [a socially unacceptable amount of time] since I did laundry. Y’know that scene in Ghostbusters 2, where Weaver is going to stay over at Murray’s apartment, and she discovers all his unwashed clothes, and he’s like ‘no, no, they don’t smell bad, they’re still good’, and it’s hilarious? It’s not so hilarious when you’re living it. Especially when hygiene is particularly important to you. I mentioned having good friends: if they noticed my situation, they didn’t comment. And I appreciate that.

My local laundry place does a drop-off service. I’m thinking of doing that just to take the edge off my anxiety: I’ll only have to set aside 20-30min twice in a week, about twice a month (2 round trips each time, drop off then pick up), and I won’t need to worry about change. It’ll cost my about $17 a pop, instead of $4, but it might be worth it to ensure that the laundry gets done. (I’ve looked into pickup services: they don’t charge for the pickup, but they charge 2-3 times what my local place charges, and their minimum is often $30-$50)

Anywho. I did laundry today.

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The Irrelevance of the American Presidential Race

culture, politics Leave a reply

At this point, it’s agreed across the political spectrum that the American Presidential race is a disaster of epic proportions. With Drumpf clearly in the lead on the Republican side, much ink has been spilt over how we (or they) have gotten here.

I think that Samantha Bee (on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) has come out of the closest when she laid the blame at the feet 2010 midterm Congressional elections. She’s absolutely correct that that election is the cause of the deadlock of the US Congress over the last several years, but I think she doesn’t go far enough.

The issue is that Congressional elections matter far more than the Presidential elections, but TV has confused the populace.

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Medication

personal, Poetry Leave a reply
The slightly bitter wetness on my lips,
The sharp cold in my throat;
All preceeds a warming glow
In my centre.
The numbness spreads,
My mind calms.

My medication;
My saviour;
My beer.