Monthly Archives: September 2009

Rational Help

It’s kind of ironic that my Mother always wanted me to adopt her philosophies so that I could better “heal” people… And as admirable as that may sound, as I grew older I came to realize that her aberrant beliefs were much less about making the world a better place than they were simply a series of unfounded, self-serving assertions designed to illicit reactions from people. It amounted to nothing more than attention seeking humbug, and frankly, it was the exact opposite of what she claimed them to be. It was in fact, selfishness that came at the expense of others.

 

 As it is with any child who has beliefs forced on them, I resisted. First it was out of youthful rebellion, but as I reached the age of cognizance, no part of my sensibility allowed me to believe in psychics, magic, space aliens, invisible entities, immeasurable energies or anything else that was a departure for rationality. Therefore I also couldn’t fathom any of that drivel actually helping anyone in any way whatsoever.

 

It has been my experience that this type of self-deceit leaves people hollow, and forever searching for answers where they can’t find them…in a fantasy world. Although it would be nice if there were “angels” to protect us and crystals that could cure cancer, that simply isn’t the way the world works. When fantasy fails us in favor of actuality we are left with the choice of either questioning faith, or submerging deeper into denial. Rather than admit intellectual culpability, most indignantly stand by their puerile postulations.

 

However rationality and seeking the truth rather than waiting for an ethereal force to answer prayers is ultimately what allows people to thrive. It is the difference between someone waiting to hit the lottery, and a pro-active entrepreneur. It is also the difference between people who prematurely marry hoping they will live “happily ever after”, and those who employ enlightened interdependent interaction.

 

This past weekend I performed my relationship seminar, “UnLearn Vanilla Marriage” at the Exxxotica NY Expo. I deliver it in response to what I perceive to be the self-help industry’s irrational attempt at applying a marital archetype that frankly isn’t serving the populace very well… which is based on platitudes and convention derived from religious and patriarchal ideals.  It challenges monogamy as the singular marital standard, and offers some different perspectives on relationships and why it is that couples react to one another the way that they do.

 

The seminar only discusses things that are tangible in people’s experiences, and asks them to acquiesce to reason. It does not offer the key to any vault that contains any special wisdom, nor does it offer certain truth. It does not ask anyone to take a leap of faith, rather to draw conclusions based on acumen. It maintains that people’s truths are their own, and I try to throw in a few laughs along the way.

 

The responses I have received in the days following have been extraordinary, and quite honestly, humbling. While I will admit that the positive acknowledgment I get from people are an ego-boost, it also feels good to be able to provide couples with a rational perspective that they are otherwise unable to get in the present social climate. The truth is, I love helping people.

 

But apparently, conventional wisdom would have us believe that unless I ask people to adopt inappreciable abstractions, mine is an ideology that transgresses morality. Both ethics, and the truth it would appear, is not what we see, rather it is what serves the best interest of those selling it.

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WWJD?

Will this ever end?

The madness of networks capitulating to special interest groups who feign outrage for political advantage and financial gain has itself become a major industry in America. Fearing the cost of litigation and what they must perceive as a potentially bad public image, media outlets have adopted a strategy of giving shakedown money to thugs masquerading as concerned citizens. Extortion trumps the first amendment.

This comes at the expense of the truth, and people’s livelihoods.

Taking a page out of Al Sharpton and the National Action Network’s playbook, the rationality challenged Bill Donohue (President of the Catholic League) has decided that Showtime’s recent episode of  “Penn & Teller’s Bullsh*t!” provided the perfect opportunity to enact his self righteous indignation, get himself on television, and raise capitol.

Circumventing the truth because in interferes with the Catholic League’s business model transcends political correctness, and ventures into an entirely different brand of insanity. We have actually come to a point where special interest groups don’t feel they have to be accountable; rather they are above such scrutiny. To imply that the Vatican, the wealthiest sovereign nation on earth, that boasts among its historical accomplishments the Crusades, the Inquisition, Witch Burnings, and most recently, rampant pedophilia should not be made to answer for doctrine is outrageous.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, who voted on the Vatican’s “No Tolerance Policy” regarding predatory clergy, was party to a record settlement (approx 660 million dollars to 508 victims) because he knowingly protected child molesters who wore the Catholic collar. Doesn’t it raise a red flag with anyone that the Vatican even had to vote on this policy, or that it exists in the first place?

Accusing Penn & Teller of libel without substantiating assertions is in itself dishonest. It is standing up to such scrutiny that legitimizes an organization. Answering allegations with facts, rather than attempting to suppress free speech because YOU don’t like it is how rational people come to decide where the truth lies.

Sometimes, the truth can hurt, Mr. Donohue.

It is alarming that anyone even acknowledges an intellectually challenged dogmatist like Bill Donohue or his “Catholic League. To my knowledge, Catholics already have a person who speaks for them, and he is called “The Pope”. Why anyone gives credence to this simpleton is beyond me. Yet corporate America continually accedes to such intimidation.

The odd thing here is that the threats that these special interest groups make are hollow. Boycotts and pickets by themselves offer no real threat, rather Network management is often fearful of a personal smear campaign should they not acquiesce to the demands of politically correct gangsters. Has the Catholic League asked for a retraction? Or explained how Penn and Teller were lying? No. Why would they do that? They night have to be drawn into a debate and have to deal with facts.

Beware those who carry the banner of “Morality”. They can often be the very one’s we should fear.