Exist, or Don’t Exist

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e(vil)-Books

I recently posted on e-Books and real books Real books Never had This and Born of Blood citing my new dislike of e-Books; the latter is more of a mini-book review.

But the upshot is, I don’t like e-Books. You can’t curl up in bed and read a laptop, a Kindle or take your pc to bed like you can with a real book. The intimacy just isn’t there.

Harking back to my marriage, TV (technology) in the bedroom is the fasted way to kill intimacy.

The bedroom is the heart of a marriage, technology doesn’t beat, it’s an inanimate object, devoid of feelings, of warmth.

A book in the bedroom spells romance

One author’s view

E-book vs. Print

There are two types of people in the world: those who realize that this world is constantly reinventing itself and are usually capable of recognizing the new directions in which the world is headed, and those who can’t.There’s this pathological fear that the world is more and more superficial; kids are dumb, the world is too fast and hungry and wants only to be fed information via an usb cable, people aren’t reading, paperbacks aren’t selling, bookstores are closing, and no one seems to read the newspapers anymore. And this is a global fear, it affects people on all continents, and yet…

The novel is not dead. Nor are short stories, or even plays. Why? Simply because there’s still a need, there’s still a demand. But the world is changing, I give you that. And the way people read has changed along the decades in such a subtle way that it requires a lot of attention to notice it. The way stories are told has changed as well; they are much more minimalistic, the style of most writers is terse, stripped naked of all embellishments.

But the novel is not dead, and it will never be. No matter what. And I strenuously believe it, simply because it’s one of our most fundamental of desires: to tell stories, to read them, to hear them, to share them. And there’s magic involved too. Imagine reading a book, imagine the solitude that the act requires, imagine the questions and the answers. And then there’s that certain empathy, the link that an author establishes with his reader. It’s a fascinating process, to be able to see into another person’s mind, to find another human being functioning in a different way than you are, to compare, to absorb ideals and beliefs in such an organic way. The best of books are not read like books. As cheesy as it sounds, they transfigure their medium, they become much more than just words.

And this leads me to my topic. That’s all that matters: words. I really don’t care how people read, whether is on a computer screen or on their cell phones, I care about the fact that people are reading, they are taking pleasure from this act, and the novel isn’t dead nor dying. Indeed, I have to admit that I prefer paper books. I like the touch, the feel, the smell, I like to stay away from a shiny screen for a couple of hours, but in the end, all that matters is the fact that people are reading.

Source: Christian Mahai Blog Read the rest.

His last sentence is the most telling; the feel, the smell…

It’s time to change the system!

Here in Brazil hardly a week goes by without the news reporting a serious assault in schools, not just playgrounds, but school halls and classrooms; often watched or observed by other pupils, teachers and staff who do nothing to interfere.

This short video shows a brawl between two girls outside the classroom watched by a teacher. It’s a short clip, and quite tame by the standards of the clips shown last night on Fantastico, a programme that often exposes scandals and social problems.

Some of the scenes in the classroom were quite horrific.

I’m pretty sure that this is not restricted to Brazil, that it is becoming a worldwide trend. Occasionally we see some of the more serious cases of violence and bullying overseas in England or the USA, which supports my theory.

Classroom size must be a catalyst, because this trend is becoming more evident in society as politicians cut costs and increase the classroom numbers caused by rising populations.

Of course this is not the only factor, TV has to carry a huge part of the burden of guilt. The Globo (Brazil) channel has one of the longest running kids’ programmes, Malhação, which happens to be the worst possible influence on society that I have ever seen. Five days a week, violence, gossip, jealousy and vengeance are all portrayed as acceptable and normal in and out of the classroom.

This programme and others of its ilk around the world should be done away with, scrapped, because there is absolutely no social value. Quite the contrary, they are as anti-social as they can get.

The violence extends not only between students, but also against teachers.

But, I wonder if it is not time for a major change in the way we educate, the way we force children into mass programming (it is no longer deemed worthy of being called education) situations.

Huge schools with massive rolls have become totally unmanageable, we need to look at breaking up these brainwashing units churning out half educated cattle many of whom don’t have even the basic reading and writing skills.

If there is ever to be a positive change in education we have to shift away from the paradigm as it is, because, socially, it is not working.

The costs of sending your kid to any school, public or private are horrendous, most families can’t even afford the public school system.

I have worked in a private (Catholic) primary and secondary girls school in Peru. Class sizes of 45 were the norm. The school was more interested in paying bums on seats than education. I had the worst behaved class in the school, secondary 3B, 13 year olds, 45 of them. Every teacher complained about this class, every teacher had girls from this class sent to the profesora titular (disciplinary teacher) daily, every teacher that is except me. I was questioned as to whether I found the class a problem, I fought for their exams results when I was told to scale them down in-line with other teachers, I cried when I left that school at the end of my contract and this class formed a guard of honour to the school gate.

I am not a trained school teacher. I have been a military teacher since I was 14 and some fool had the silly idea that I should be a corporal in cadets, which led me to being a teacher for 21 years before I got to Peru. But I look around me at the quality of teachers and I wonder, not castigating the many who range from good to brilliant, but they are out numbered by the ones who rate bad.

There has to be a change. Massive changes in teachers, numbers, methods, because what we have got isn’t working.

The Prayer of an Atheist

This is reblogged from: northierthanthou because it says what I think, but far more eloquently.

Okay, believers, you got us!

Atheism really is a religion after all. Yes, I know, some of us have been denying it for years, but I personally just can’t keep up the pretense. I am tired of living a lie, and I must confess to the true nature of my beliefs. I have to open up about my faith and let my spirit-flag fly!

I pray every night. Yes, I do! It goes something like this; “Oh Father who art not in Heaven…” On special days, I ask my non-God to give me a nothing, or maybe a pony. I ask it to confer its non-blessings on those whom I love, or at least I would do that if we atheists were capable of loving others. When I am really mad I say imprecatory prayers in those hopes that the nothingness will embrace my enemies in its nonitude.

Does that surprise you?

Well, we let me tell you about the scriptures! I read a passage from Dawkins every night. And then I meditate on it. (It used to be old Berti Russell, but I have come to see him as a false prophet.) The important thing to know here is that I do not merely think about Dawkins text, I meditate on it. I have to get in just the right frame of mind, and let the spirit of the nothing come upon me, and then it all comes clear.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster

Those of you who do not carry the spirit of the nothing in your heart will never quite understand the writings of atheists, for it will close your eyes and lead you astray. Seriously, the nothing will take one of your socks (or maybe a pen) every time you approach it in a false spirit. You may think this is unfair. How could an unjust nothing be so cruel? But you have only yourselves to blame for rejecting the nullitude.

We atheists always keep our socks!

So, what do I do when I have to make a decision? Well, I used address every moral dilemma by deducing he proper action from the non-existence of God, but in time I came to see this is a pointless theological exercise. Nowadays i simply ask myself “What would Chuck do?”

I can also go to one of several living authorities on the subject. American Atheists are always happy to provide spiritual guidance and direction. One does not simply speak to Dawkins or Harris on these matters, and the scientifically impure burst into flames when meeting PZ Myers in person. You have to go through intermediaries. I am always a little fearful when speaking with these ministers of the Non-God, because I do not wish to anger them and face ex-communication.

Her Hornyness!

I dabbled briefly in the cults of Pastafarianism and Her Hornyness, The Invisible Pink Unicorn, but through careful reading of scripture and some intense personal questioning (to say nothing of guidance by properly constituted non-believing authorities), I have come to realize that these are but cults leading those new in the faith (the “Baby-Atheists”) astray from the one true path.

To help me stay on course, I consult either the Positivist’s Creed or the Essential Doctrines of Existentialism.

Sometimes I go door to door with The Origin of Species. When people answer, I say; “Do you have a personal relationship with Charles?” If they will talk to me about it, I always ask if I can come into their environment and adapt with them.

Yes, all these things are true and more. We heathen don’t share these things with believers, because atheism is a gnostic faith after all. You have to go through at least 3 levels of initiation before you get your secret decoder ring. Only then will the prophesies of Nietzsche become clear to you.

It’s all true.

Atheism really is a religion.

***

I should also say that my favorite hobby really is not collecting stamps.

You should visit the original blog, the comments are quite intriguing.