Freud's suicide bombers

Freud's theories are often timed mocked as being sexually oriented. Although they were challenged over the years, it's hard to deny that libido is a strong chemical drive that does primarily drive certain individuals.

Pierre Rehov's documentary 'Suicide Killers' expresses this particular point of view. Although he isn't stating that sexual drive is the primary cause of suicide bombers in the Islamic extremist world, he points out that it's an important drive. Statistically, suicide bombers are between the age of 15 and 25 as Rehov explains, these are kids who are confused and uneducated when it comes to sexual behavior. Although considered empowered in the household, they're taught that sexual desires are considered to be wrong and the devil's work. And so, with the hope of satisfying and purging themselves of such fearful desires, they are driven by Islam's extremists into the act of suicide bombings.

Men's sexual peak usually is around the age of 18. Rehov's documentary points out several issues that, compiled with sexual frustration, lead a young man to commit suicide by bombing. Interestingly, he points out that in the past systems were establish to financially support families of suicided bombers. Which ended up being an extra reason for families to support the idea.

Historically, he also explains that Muslim teachings state that 'one day Islam will prevail on Earth'. This can be drawn in parallel with Christianity's goal that was executed for hundreds of years leading to many, many deaths.

So it seems, men's libido generate pedophiles, sexual predators and suicide bombers! Not to mention, the root of every psychological problems men and women face.



I haven't posted much recently, so here are a few collected ideas that I've gathered which don't deserve or require a full post.

1. I have a tough time understanding how people will often claim that a movie they just saw is one of their all-time favorites. When I look at Facebook, for example, I find it humorous to see how many people list movies that were just recently released. To me, this doesn't illustrate taste, but rather the lack thereof, or the fact that a person doesn't have a very broad knowledge of film. As for myself, to consider a film a favorite (ie. a part of my top 50 list), I generally have to see it more than once. This is not the case with everything, as there are some movies which just immediately spoke to me. However, as I see more films, the criteria for inclusion becomes more selective. Not to mention that most of these films have stood the test of time and critical acclaim. I fail to understand how a movie you saw in theatres last week could not be one of your favorites.

2. Are religious schools forming atheists? I went to a Catholic elementary school, and it was a wonderful experience. It was wonderful because I got a first-hand view of the problems with religion and religion-based education. What has surprised me, in connecting with friends from elementary school, is the resounding percentage of them who are agnostic or atheist. It makes me wonder if a religious education like this makes people even more jaded and enlightened about the truth once they reach the age of reason.

3. The state should not sponsor religiously-segregated schools. There has been the discussion in Ontario to merge the public and Catholic school boards. This seems perfectly acceptable to me. Religious schools should be segregated. Children should be exposed to a wider set of values, and should not be needlessly subjected to indoctrination and child abuse, as Richard Dawkins would put it.

4. Pick up your shit! I was disgusted recently when I looked around the lecture hall I had a class in, only to discover that the place was completely littered with garbage. This isn't your fucking living room. It's a matter of etiquette and respect. Here is a short list of items I noted: spilled juice, empty chip bag, glass bottle, popcorn (and empty bag), paper coffee cup, candy wrappers. There are other class etiquette rules which should be observed. First of all, what gives you the right to come into class 30-45 minutes late and disturb everyone? If you're that fucking late, don't bother showing up. The same goes for the people who regularly leave 20+ minutes before class is over. Other random crap people do that pisses me off: talking loudly, eating (and subjecting everyone else to the putrid smell of whatever cafeteria shit you're pumping into yourself), laughing, needlessly making noise, ringing cellphone, monopolizing class time by asking the prof stupid questions and not shutting up, and sleeping.

5. The cellphone and the bee. Bill Maher recently commented in his "New Rules" segment that we are killing the bees. Some may recall Einstein's prediction that the world would collapse when the bees die. Einstein was right -- the bees are dying. It turns out that cellphones interfere with bees' guidance systems and cause them to fall to the ground. Bee populations are dropping in many areas of the world. As we know, bees are vitally important to pollinating important plant varieties, and there is no known substitute. Artificial pollination has been attempted in labs, but have proven to be no substitute for bees. Maher asks the question of whether we are willing to give up our worthless phone conversations in order to save the bees. Will we give up cellphones, or will we kill ourselves?

6. Political scientist Robert Putnam wrote a book called Bowling Alone which I had not heard of until yesterday. It deals with the disintegration of civic life (specifically American being that he lives in the US). The results of his studies for the book demonstrated that every ten minutes of commuting time from home to work result in 10% fewer social connections. There is therefore a direct link between commuting time and social isolation. This would be a great companion argument to the excellent documentary The End of Suburbia. We know that the suburban way of life is an unsustainable failed dream, but when will we give it up?


Blind Barber

I don't think there is ever a time I feel more blind then when I get a haircut. I often times walk around my house without my glasses, and everything seems in order and easy to understand. Yet, the second I get into that chair at the barber and take off my glasses, I get a status update as to how bad my vision is deteriorating.

It seems to me like the color skeems are either off, or the whole mirror-in-front-of-me thing makes the whole world around me that much more difficult to see and understand. Of course, this happens to be the time I'm asked a few dozen times if my hair is cut the way I want it. I usually end up simply looking as if I'm paying attention and say "Perfect!". So far, I've not walked out with a messed up haircut, lucky me!

Another thing is the amount of talking that gets done while my hair is being cut. I don't understand how women tend to talk with their hair dressers. I have a damn buzzer next to my ear while I'm being asked questions, I can't follow a normal conversation with that. So I'm now blind, and deaf!


The problem with the latest elections

My family has always been interesting when elections days near. They don't speak about politics, and they certainly do everything they can to avoid talking about them. When my brother started to discuss his distaste with the election campaign, my father simply brushed him off by saying "None of us went into politics, we aren't better and we don't know better."

I find this sort of attitude to be damaging to society, and from what I understand, it isn't localized to my family alone. My brother had made a few statements that were incorrect regarding the electoral process, so I corrected him...but only after I dragged him out of the room where my father was discouraging any sort of conversation because "we aren't working in politics". As a Canadian, and a Quebec citizen, it is my duty to be informed about the happenings and goings of both my country and province, and I fully understand where certain people might not find it as pleasurable. I do excuse a lot of ignorance, but only up to a certain point. I fully understand how someone could actually go about their lives without hearing anything political as most of us aren't use to growing up in a politically engaging climate. I have to say that when the latest provincial election came up, I wasn't as informed as I could have been myself.

Nonetheless, when someone asked me who I voted for, I was able to tell them. The general attitude I'm getting from everyone is "who you vote for is personal". This is the sort of attitude I tend to distance myself from for good reasons. The golden rule is 'never compare anything to Hitler', but this type of behavior is exacly what helps fuel fascism in my mind. Not standing up for ones beliefs and especially being unwilling to educate and discuss them with others is a real problem our society has.


The Collapse of Society

This post has nothing to do with anthropologist-historian Jared Diamond's apparently great book Collapse, which I have not yet read. It does, however, likely deal with some of the topics that Diamond deals with. The other day we had a blackout here that lasted for about 5 1/2 hours. Blackouts have always been interesting to me, because they are a personal wakeup call for myself – as they should be for others. They demonstrate our reliance on technology, and factors such as electricity distribution, which are ultimately out of our control. We have developed a society that needs these barriers to survive and ensure its survival. I have especially always found it interesting that people don't know what to do with themselves in a long blackout. This is partially dependent on the fact that people are ill-equipped to do anything. The blackout occurred at night, so obviously light is the main factor here. It also affected some 45,000 people, so there was no avoiding its effects.

I was relayed the following story. At the local skating rink, quasi-panic ensued after the lights went off. Everyone immediately ran outside in a panic, got on their cell phones, and started calling everyone they knew to see if they had also had power. Of course, nobody in the area did. I especially had a laugh at hearing about a person who proclaimed to the whole mob: "They have power downtown!" Great. This changes everything!

A few questions arise here. There was a social panic when one main technological system failed. What would have happened had a second system failed as well – say the cellular network? Talk about mass hysteria. Terrorists! Nuclear war! Coup d'état!

Most people don't carry around backup sources of light, so they are essentially shit out of luck in a situation like this, helplessly using cell phone backlights to try and navigate. If you are properly equipped, then there's no reason that you can't challenge yourself to do alternative activities to pass the time. I was especially impressed when my mom proclaimed: "I can't believe that we're going to miss America's Next Top Model!" Really?!

I feel that these situations, while they are essentially minor, should serve as wake-up calls – though they clearly do not. We remain ill-prepared because we have good faith that the system just works. The residents of New Orleans had faith that the system would work, too. There is a danger in making such assumptions, and there are plenty of examples in which the system has failed in Western countries. For example, we associate famines with the Third World, but in the 1930s there was a widespread drought that resulted in famine, bankruptcies, and the displacement of tens of thousands of people from the American Midwest and the Canadian Prairies.

Ulrich Beck famously spoke of the risk society in which we live. He argued that, unlike risks in the past, we can no longer calculate or insure ourselves against the risks that society has created. Furthermore, these risks are entirely out of our control, and the consequences are more dramatic than ever before. How might one insure him or herself against nuclear war? The question is irrelevant because we would likely all be dead if such were the case. It's not far-fetched, either. During the Cold War, amongst other examples, there were a number of computer failures and false alarms that nearly started a full-blown nuclear war.

While they may not be useful in the case of nuclear war, survival skills appear to be brushed aside as irrelevant in today's "sheltered" world. Our basic needs, if I may refer to Maslow's hierarchy, are fulfilled in a way that is completely disconnected from our own actions. We assume that we will be able to buy food, breathe clear air, have shelter, etc. in an endless supply. Consequently, we have forgotten basic survival skills such as tool use, shelter construction, and food provision. I would further argue that most are unprepared to use the skills we have maintained in such domains.

As each subsequent generation passes and we improve our transparent safety net, I fear that we further degrade these abilities. We are a plague to the Earth. We have overpopulated it, and unsustainably raped and pillaged its resources. When other species have grown out of control in the past, their populations always manage to be brought back into check through natural processes. In our case, there's no reason to believe that we are invulnerable to natural disasters that could virtually wipe us out. Nor are we immune from inter-destroying ourselves. Who will be prepared?