Friday, July 16, 2004


Why do the Christians so emphasize Jesus? Isn’t it a heresy to honor the son above the father who supposedly created it all and whose plan it is that’s being worked out on this globe? Why so much emphasis on the son who only did what his father ordered him to do? Is it that modern Christians are so full of self loathing that they honor people who also are so full of self loathing that they let the state commit a form of suicide on them? The myth of Jesus is like the story of the boy with the gun in the school who wanted the police to kill him.


In a July 12, 2004 Newsweek article, “The Secret Lives of Wives”, married women are supposedly demonstrating a new willingness to cheat on their husbands. Husbands shouldn’t worry too much. When I looked carefully at the statistics, I didn’t see too much to support the claim. A lot of the evidence was innuendo and personal observation—not very strong evidence. But my point has nothing to do with the subject of the article. I’m more interested in an observation by the authors which, according to recent scientific studies may not be true.

The writers write, “Women have suddenly begun to give themselves permission to step over the boundary the way that men have.” (p.48)

I think we need to look at the idea of “permission” expressed in this sentence. It’s almost as if the authors say that women give themselves permission to cheat, and, then, go look for a man to cheat with. Does anyone really believe that sort of scenario? Like all sorts of behaviors in this life (alcoholism, drug addiction, infanticide) the concept of choice is so far from the truth of the human animal as to be nonsensical. Darn it—just think about it realistically!

No happily married women decides on the spur of the moment to cheat, puts on her coat and heads out the door looking for a man. I’m sure a married woman drifts into an affair over a period of months and, more likely, years, driven by emotions, half noticed thoughts, unconscious drives, hurts and fears, most of which she’s not even fully conscious of. Like most of us, she’s probably well into the deal before the consequences start to well up in her, like feelings of guilt and remorse and fear of being caught. Cheating is not the act of a moment’s choice; it’s an ongoing, dynamic process, driven basically by pressing human emotions. By the time the actual “act” transpires, the decision was long since unconsciously decided upon.

And even those who we might say “choose” not to give in to the temptation to cheat are driven by emotions, not by rational choices. Perhaps, they’re just too afraid, constrained by shyness, by fear of husband killing her if caught, by fear of breaking some hammered in moral code and, thus disappointing someone or her parents, the church, or friends, by tenderness for a spouse’s feelings, by fear of punishment by one’s hypothetical god, etcetera, etcetera. At root of all supposed “choices” are haphazard, emotional triggers, often not clearly realized in consciousness.

Reason is what comes in later to make excuses for why we did or did not do what we felt like doing. We pretty well now know that reason is a myth, that the left brain follows after the act or prepares for an act by making up a rationale for what the whole body does or does not want to do, that under any superficial reason is an emotional trigger. Basically, the human animal is irrational and instinct driven and does not “choose” anything, in the strictest sense of the word.

I do believe that atheists, agnostics and Buddhists are making progress in human “choice”, first by accepting the reality of how the “body” thinks and acts, accepting the basic irrationality of human activity and, finally, by bringing the concept of “mindfulness” into their vocabulary. Ironically, those with the least freedom of choice are those religious types who refuse to accept evolution and the underlying concepts about human behavior that flow from it. It’s obvious by their irrational fears and angry intolerance of evolution that they are still pretty much under the influence of their instinctual desire for self preservation which they imagine will come to them in the afterlife.


"Whatever women do, they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult." —Charlotte Whitton (1896-1975)

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