Confronting humanity with hard truths

You may think what happened to the Jews in the Holocaust was awful. But if you were a German during that time or if you’re an anti-Semite, you might well relish it.

You may feel bad for the people in Darfur. But if you’re one of the northern oppressors you could care less and even feel good for the suffering.

If you’re a murderer, you probably don’t feel sorrow for the people you’re killing. If you’re a relative of a murder victim and the murderer is going to the electric chair, you probably don’t feel much remorse for him.

The mere fact that these things that we decry happen in the first place is evidence that it is not natural to decry them.

Upbringing plays a much bigger role in shaping the way we think than we care to think, and I’ve become convinced that we never really shake what we fundamentally are. Any system of morality that is not grounded in real, tangible reasoning is artificial and no one should be surprised when it is broken.

There’s no reason for us to be compassionate; morality tells us to. We play up compassion because people would like us to be compassionate towards them, but if we naturally liked to be compassionate we wouldn’t need to remind people to be compassionate – and there would be a lot more compassion in the world today. So it is with virtually all other moral standards.

Stripped of religious undertones and their imposition by people trying to dictate how they’d like to be treated, there is no reason to care about anyone but oneself. (Don’t add “and one’s family”. That doesn’t explain wife-beating, fracturous marriages, infanticide, and abandoned babies. Don’t then turn that reasoning on me and say suicide. Suicidal people are crazy and think they’re actually helping themselves by getting away from this world.) From that one proposition, all else follows. Even things that seem purely emotional, such as caring for family, ultimately resolve to caring about oneself, about one’s sense of self and their self-esteem.

This post has something to do with the Derby, but it isn’t about it. Well, maybe a little.

Recently read:

NBC analyst Bob Neumeier correctly predicted favorite Big Brown would win. That
prompted NBC handicapper Mike Battaglia, citing confident Big Brown trainer
Richard Dutrow Jr., to say Neumeier “drank the Rick Dutrow Kool-Aid” — with
Neumeier adding “on the rocks.” Has everybody forgotten the origin of that
relatively young cliché?

Wait, I’m hardly an alcohol drinker (wouldn’t do it even if I was old enough), but aren’t “the rocks” just ice? It may be a bit of an off-color, mixed metaphor, and this probably wasn’t his intention, but it does seem to work

(All I have to say about the death of Eight Belles is that, regardless of whether or not horse racing objectively needs to change anything, they need to do something or they could risk becoming absolutely dead, as people will see it as an insensitive sport where deaths of competitors are simply brushed off, even induced in some circumstances. At this point, Big Brown winning the Triple Crown, far from revitalizing horse racing’s popularity, could actually crush it, because a big reason for watching the Triple Crown – seeing a horse win it for the first time in 30 years – will be gone.)

So, how was your week?

If it was anything like mine, I can’t blame you for wanting to go on the bottle. Just remember, you’ll only get a lot of weeks a lot worse.

It all started last Saturday night, when we got a universal remote to control a VCR my dad got from his family that didn’t come with a remote or a manual, only to find it didn’t completely work. Then, that night, I set my alarm to allow me to watch the second day of the NFL Draft. Twice. And both times, the alarm inexplicably snapped back off, so I woke up an hour late.

That was only the start of things. First, the second remote Dad got worked a bit better, but it took a while to figure out how to get it to work halfway decently, and we eventually figured out it used the play, stop, and rewind/fast-forward keys to move the cursor on the on-screen menu. We still couldn’t get it to consistently press “Enter” until this past weekend. Throw in leaning on something at the bottom of the fridge while looking for something that wasn’t there, and having it crack, and I was having a nervous breakdown because everything was falling apart.

Then during the week, my laptop stopped working yet again, only about a week and a half since the last time. Because my old USB drive has been pushing its limits and may be falling apart itself, I bought a new one. Well, the old one was briefly lost on Wednesday, and then on Thursday it became lost and I haven’t found it yet, which really curses me because I was getting so close to transferring everything on it to my desktop. Throw in the seeming randomness and vanishing into thin air and I just had it the day before and why do you hide from me and I should keep track of where I put AAAAGGGGHHHSMNJBGNDMFKMDGN!!!!!

The icing on all of this came yesterday, when we left for the Home Depot to see if we could get a replacement part on the fridge that we broke, and Dad wrote down its model number… and left it at home. Pretty important thing to leave at home, Dad!

So anyway, that was my week. In some sense it’s not done yet, because I have a hard drive to replace and I need to find out if the USB drive might have been recovered at either of the places I went to Thursday.