I had a short review due today, a paper due on Thursday, another on Friday, and a third on Monday. Therefore things here will be slow for a little while.
I believe that not only are there no perfect people, but there is not even a single person worthy of emulation. There is simply no such thing as a saint, in the sense that most people would understand it; every person is a sinner (and no, I do not want to hear about Jesus, if we're going to discuss characters whose actual existence is questionable, then why not Yoda?).
My point in all this is that since all people are flawed, it is therefore flawed to idolize a man; one ends up either in denial of his flaws, or worse, an apologist for them. Ideally, we should seek virtue, but recognize that that is not perfectly epitomized in any particular person. Now, this is based on my opinion of virtue; the existentialist in me says that yours will be different, and the nihilist says that there really is no such thing anyway. In any case, I challenge you to examine your heroes and see if they are the perfect and complete zenith of what you consider to be virtue, and neither more nor less. If you find them wanting, as I believe you inevitably will, ask yourself if they are really worthy of your adulation.
I shall offer some examples, all of whom are generally held up as modern-day saints.
First, Mahatma Gandhi. Known for non-violence, preaching tolerance and love, right? Except if you were black, in which case Gandhi considered you a subhuman, irreformably lazy and stupid, who should be kept segregated from the purer races (i.e. the whites and the Indians, or at least, upper-caste Indians). From a speech he gave in Bombay, on 26 September, 1896:
Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desires to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.
For those unaware, "Kaffir" is a South African derogatory word that refers to black people and roughly translates to North American terms such as "nigger," "jigaboo" or "darky." This was by no means an isolated quote, Gandhi's anti-black-African racism rears its head many times.
For his professed pacifism, Gandhi actually signed up for the British forces as a stretcher bearer when they were suppressing the Bambetta Uprising, a Zulu rebellion against British rule in Natal, and wrote plenty about how great it was to be out shooting Kaffirs, and how lazy and shiftless the loyalist Kaffirs were. You just couldn't win with Gandhi.
He also supported segregation, as he wrote in his newspaper on 15 February 1905:
Of course, under my suggestion, the Town Council must withdraw the Kaffirs from the [Indian] Location. About this mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians I must confess I feel most strongly.
Basically, for all the satyagraha, Gandhi was also a racist scumbag. Oh, and that train he was thrown off of in the opening of Richard Attenborough's movie? He didn't want Indians per se to be able to ride in the first-class cabin. He just wanted upper-caste Indians to be able to ride in it. The scummy Indians could stay in third-class.
*The picture doesn't have much to do with racism (although it does have cops, which is kind of a racist link), but it is amusing and it features Gandhi, that is enough.
This is every bit as exciting as it sounds. That is all.
So, let me get this straight: when the Rapture cometh, all good Christians alive and dead are taken up to Heaven to be with their God. Excellent! It should get rid of a lot of sanctimonious wet blankets, and those who are left can have some fun. I'm looking forward to gambling in a brothel while doing hard drugs, since it is only hangovers from Christian morality that really keep these things underground.
I'm sure I won't be amongst those picked since one has to be in the Church, and I have never done that. It all just seems so silly. Pascal's Wager has never convinced me, since the rationale behind worshipping God "just in case" is like painting your entire house using a rigger paintbrush - no, it technically won't do you any harm, but if the reason to do so turns out to be nonexistent, the entire exercise is therefore a colossal waste of your time. This is time which could be valuably spent elsewhere, even spiritually; as Brandon Lee quoted from Paul Bowles, in between making terrible movies:
How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.
Perhaps the Rapture really happened in 1992, and it was merely that God found nobody on earth he was willing to bring back with him. This is not actually that hard to imagine.
I have mostly been relaxing and recovering from oral surgery this week. I have been making full use of Reading Week by not reading; after all, this is what everyone else does (or, perhaps, does not do).
Also, proving that I have become a naturalized Canadian to all but officialdom, I took the garbage to the curb tonight wearing flip-flops, track pants and a t-shirt. In November, everyone appears sporting bulky coats, hats and scarves when the temperature first starts to dip; in February, people can be spotted going to the convenience store in a single layer of cotton.
This is the weather I braved, so clad:
Winter storm warning for
St. Catharines - Grimsby - Northern Niagara Region continued
Heavy snow and blowing snow this morning.
This is a warning that dangerous winter weather conditions are imminent or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements.
A winter storm over the eastern seaboard will continue to spread snow to Southern Ontario today. Snow bands will cross the regions through the morning and then taper off later today. Storm totals of 15 to 25 cm are expected before the heaviest snow ends. Strong north winds gusting up to 70 km/h are causing blowing snow reducing visibility and causing hazardous driving conditions.