Part 4 of Life and Death Magazine.
MASTERPIECES OF ART
Leonardo's masterpiece Woman with Henid (more commonly known as The Mona Lisa) has probably done more to destroy truth than any other work of art in all of history. In this woman Leonardo personifies the pure essence of the henid (unconscious thought) and leaves nothing left over to distract our attention.
Painting is an expression in the veiling medium of colour and Leonardo has shown us just how effective this art form can be. The woman knows something, but then she knows nothing at all, least of all herself, and this is precisely her wisdom. She does not enter time, nor existence, and wonders why we, her doting admirers, are having so much difficulty.
She is not beautiful, but she is not ugly. Who is she? - this goddess of this world. She could be the woman who works in every corner store, every prostitute, every sister, every mother, and every daughter: She is every woman, the mother of the species, part bird, part reptile.
And how much we can learn from Leonardo's technique! Notice the lack of sharp boundaries and perspective. Indeed, notice the entire lack of contrast and colour. And when there is a hint of colour it is only to draw us to what is human, and warm, and feeling. Such a delightful painting makes one want to nod off to sleep!
Our modern, aimless, scattered, abstract art has certainly gone far to ensure that thinking and truth will never arise, but too much of anything can cease to inspire. Variety is indeed the spice of life, and for as long as there is the threat of truth arising in our world there will always be a place for Leonardo.
First there was
Then there was
And then there was
NOW we are proud to present
ZEN AND THE ART OF
Zen and the Art of Child Abuse continues the tradition of its predecessors
Look out for forthcoming titles,
Also in print: The Tao of Torture, Zen and Genocide, and Loving Your Hate.
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by popular columnist, Tibby Lake.
Once I had hair that was bleached blonde and permed curly, my eyes were shadowed blue, my lips shone red and my cheeks glowed with dabs of pink. My underarms and legs were of course dutifully shaven, my eyebrows were plucked and my bikini line waxed. I starved myself with religious zeal and poured myself into contraptions designed to conceal all those areas of my body resistent to the latest diets and to enhance the rest. I darkened lashes and brows, fried myself for hours under the summer sun, spent hours in boutiques looking for the perfect outfit and yet more hours seeking the bag, hat, shoes and jewelry which matched. And then came that special night when the moon was out and romance floated languidly through the air, and having dressed beautifully for the occasion, perfumed and powdered to perfection, I remember venturing forth in order to make my glorious entrance, only to be overwhelmed by dizziness and be forced back to my room, gasping for air, utterly consumed by anxiety and fear over the possibility that I had missed something, some tiny but infinitely important detail and that, horrors upon horrors, I would very thoroughly be found out.
Don't be alarmed, I have changed since then. No longer am I the naive, little thing of my youth. The madness of those years has long since disappeared. It was one morning in particular, in the middle of an early morning exercise routine, when the transformation happened. I remember suddenly stopping in front of the mirror and asking my reflection: "Just what on earth are you doing, Tibby? Who are you trying to impress? Who are you trying to fool? Why all this pretence? Why all this endless pursuit of a beauty which is nothing but a sham?" As you can imagine I became very, very angry at the realization that I had been duped all these years.
"What a stupid girl!", you may be thinking.
Oh, it is easy to see now, but back then I never realized that all those years spent on making myself beautiful - applying make-up on my face, bleaching my hair, shaving and plucking my body, searching through the many thousands of clothes racks stocking clothes designed only to fit Aushwitz survivors - were wasted. I never did see that it all had nothing to do with the real me.
But now I have seen the light. Yes, my dears, I have had what you might call a religious experience, and I am now happy to live according to what I truly am. No longer do I have to dress to please others, but only for myself. For the first time in my life, I am living selfishly. As my dear friend, Marilyn, told me the other day, it is my right as a woman to be free to express myself sexually and revel in the glory of my own feminine existence. No longer will I be merely a chatel for men.
I now wear my thick red hair in controlled dishevelment; my large eyes are content and sleepy, my lips are small and flushed pink, and my breasts lie gently reposed above hips and thighs and belly, all Rubenistic and delightful, all of it possessing a strength and beauty that no amount of artifice could ever create.
What is so wrong with being natural? Is it such a crime to be who you are? I can just hear my mother saying, "Well, Tibby, if you want to attract a decent man willing to love and cherish you, then you must take care to look your best." Thanks, Mum. I know you mean well, but I'm afraid you belong to a different era. Things have changed since then. We have more options these days, and one of them is to stop living the lie you were forced to live. Perhaps men in your day were repulsed by hairy armpits and faces without make-up, but such is no longer the case. We live in an age of diversity and freedom!
Oh, how I thank God I do not live in those dark, dark times of yore, when women were little more than the slaves and playthings of men. Can you honestly imagine it? Can you imagine the time when women were regarded as frivolous beings without a brain in their heads? I can't. Especially considering that nowadays wherever one looks women are at the forefront of every human endeavour: science, philosophy, corporate activity, the arts - the list is endless. She may be running a multi-national company or a home with six kids, but whatever the case she is out there giving her utmost to make it a success. Feminism has indeed created a vast array of pavers, enough for each and every woman to pave a way for herself. At no other time in history has the ordinary woman been able to take control of her life in such an all-encompassing way. Today I can choose to shave my armpits or my head - it's up to me.
This morning I felt happy, because I looked into the mirror and observed the real me. Gone is the bleached hair and the garish make-up. In their place is the flowing red hair with it's chestnut rinse and the natural cosmetics so effective at enhancing my true self (and none of them have been tested on animals as well!). My wardrobe has a casual appearance with lots of free-flowing skirts and colourful blouses. Together with a pack on my back and sandals on my feet I travel the highways and byways of life blessed in the knowledge that at last I am free to be the woman I am meant to be - and I'm loving it!
- TEN TIPS ON FINDING A BRIDE -
We asked Dr Katherine Jenkins, world-renowned expert on male/female psychology, to devise a list of the best methods for seducing women. Here is what she came up with!
- Establish a career for yourself. This should be your highest priority. A woman likes to see a flash porsche to go with your smile. It shows her you are genuine. It reveals that you are prepared to sacrifice your entire life for the sake of a woman's well-being.
- Learn to be unconscious, like a boy. Women hate consciousness in a man: it immediately implies he is against her. A man who continually removes himself by way of reflection clearly shows that he is capable of independent action and is therefore not to be trusted.
- Learn to cultivate a violent disposition. Woman love violent men and mastering them. If you can manage to be aggressive towards everything in the world except the woman you love, you can be sure she will regard you as a good man. If you can then manage to be aggressive towards her as well, she will be yours forever.
- When approaching a woman for the first time, don't worry overly much about your "opening line". The words you use are far less important than the messages given out by your body language. A woman is not so much interested in a man's linguistic dexterity as in his ability to promise a rosy future. Always remember that the first thing a woman looks at in a man is his shoes. She thinks: Is he reliable? Will he be able to pay the bills? Will he be a good father to the kids? Or is he just a self-serving creep? All these questions are assessed and resolved within the first moment of the initial introduction, so if she accepts your offer of a drink, you could well be on the brink of a long and loving relationship.
- Learn how to make women laugh. This more than anything could ensure your success in winning them over to your side. The trick is to appear harmless, like a clown.
- If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. In the matter of seducing girls, persistence always pays off. Always be ready to flatter. Tell her how beautiful she is. Lie if you have to - a woman will always take it as a compliment.
- If in doubt, buy her flowers. Flowers are magical pieces of vegetable matter capable of totally overwhelming the female mind and producing in it strong feelings of goodwill to the man who gave them to her. The man may have recently confessed to being a multiple murderer and serial rapist, but in her eyes he is the sweetest man in the world. All of you should take note of this marvel.
- Having captured her, the next task is to keep her.
- The perfect husband is a chameleon, capable of adapting to the ever-changing moods of his wife. He is, alternately, a provider, protector, stud, little boy, wife-beater and girlfriend - depending on what her needs are at each particular moment. Therefore, you would be well-advised to shed your own personality completely. This is but a small sacrifice and not as painful as you might think.
- Good Luck!
- ARE MEN STILL NECESSARY? -
by Mark Burrows, London
As the present century draws to a close, the time has come to consider what all of us have put off for far too long. I am not talking here about the survival of wisdom or the state of the global environment - nothing so pretentious - but something far more serious and profound, and that is: Are men necessary? Are they still required for the well-being of society or can the human race now get on perfectly well without them? Does the male sex have a future?
The answer to all these questions must be a resounding No. As far as I can see, men in future will be little more than expensive nuisances. If this sounds extreme, consider some of the more glaring weaknesses of men. They are often regarded as the stronger sex, but when you consider the issues of health, emotional maturity, intelligence, violence, and beauty, then you will see that this is clearly a gigantic myth perpetuated by patriarchy.
Firstly, the issue of health. Boys are more often born with inherited diseases. This is primarily due to the fact they do not have the spare x-chromosome that girls have, and so boys with a faulty gene have no back-up. The effects of this deficiency can range from colour-blindness to haemophilia.
Added to this, boys tend to have more psychologically troubled childhoods. More than twice as many boys as girls are autistic - meaning they so totally fail to develop normal social abilities that they cannot function independently. They are eight times as likely as girls to be hyperactive; dyslexia and stuttering are nearly five times as common among men. And as most parents will tell you, bringing up a boy can be considerably more fraught and angst-ridden than raising a girl.
It is not much better at the other end of life. Men's lifespans are now a full seven years shorter than women's. More strikingly, male mortality is rising in relation to female mortality in every age group. One reason for this is that men are more prone to disease than women. Before the age of 65 men are more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as women; they are also more likely to suffer strokes, ulcers and liver failure. Half of all men get cancer, compared with only one-third of women.
Some say all this is primarily due to the stresses involved in creating and maintaining civilization, but this is of course a load of rubbish. The true explanation contains just one word: testosterone. The male steroid hormone weakens the body's resistance to infectious disease and cancer; it also seems to cause the body to age more rapidly. Eunuchs, for example, usually live much longer than other men.
Let us now consider the educational weaknesses of boys. Evidence is growing that on many counts girls are more clever than boys. For example, in last year's league table of British schools, ranked by exam results, the top five schools, and 14 of the top 20 were all-girl schools. Similar findings come from Australia and the United States. Some people say that this is due to the way the curriculum is currently set up, with its "continuous assessment" favouring the girls - but this is just nonsense. As everyone knows, girls are inherently smarter than boys when they put their minds to it.
Upon leaving school, our sons embark on another risk-fraught period of life as their testosterone levels reach a peak. When one talks of "violence", one is really talking about the violence of young men. About 80 per cent of murder victims are men, as are 90 per cent of murderers. Most of these are in their twenties and the cause of most murders is hot-blooded, testosterone-induced arguments over status and love. Young men also become addicted to drugs and alcohol about twice as often as women, which only leads to more violence. More than 80 per cent of drunken drivers and those arrested for drug offenses are men. And further, men attempting suicide are four times as likely as women to succeed.
Well aware of the connection between gender and crime, some American feminists have even proposed a male poll tax to help pay for police and prisons. In opposition to this, some say that this violence is a spill-over from the stresses involved in creating and maintaining civilization, but this is of course a load of rubbish.
The changing realities of the global economic system dictate that men are fast approaching their use-by date. Should a man survive the explosion of testosterone and reach the age of 30, the odds are such that he will find himself without steady work. Jobs in agriculture, manual labour, metal-working and machine handling are declining, while work in word-processing, retailing, healthcare, and services in general - all traditionally female jobs - is on the increase. Quite simply, computers are replacing tractors. Brains are replacing brawn. With civilization entrenched and our lives highly routinized, the need for the masculine has vanished. Some say that men will always be needed to make the major breakthroughs in science and to create new technologies, such as the computer, but this is of course a load of rubbish. Now that women are more educated, they can break through the glass ceilings and claim their just rewards.
Yet men are not utterly inhuman. Suppose that our under- educated, diseased, sclerotic and unemployed sons reach middle- age some time in the 2040s. Just as they are thinking of putting their feet up on the chair and cracking a can to watch the football, it all suddenly turns sour. Unaccountably, they find themselves asking, "What is it all about? What has it all been for?" But this time the old, familiar mid-life twinge has a new and nasty twist. They are struck with existential doubt, not just about themselves, but about their gender as a whole. Just what on earth are men for?
No longer needed to open doors or buy flowers, men have become an embarrassment to all living creatures. With their crude words and clumsy ways, their very existence causes pain to women. Being financially independent, women no longer have to massage male egos for their beauty-money. With the advent of self-defence courses, women no longer require men to protect them from physical harm, and with the proliferation of sexual aids, the male genitalia has been superceded by altogether longer, harder and sleeker tools of pleasure.
Men crash oil-tankers in ecological-sensitive areas, explode nuclear bombs, chop down rainforests, practice torture and genocide, abuse children, bash women, kill animals, rape the Third World, and commit other crimes too numerous to mention. To put no finer point on it, men are a waste of space. They are little more than emotionally constipated dwarfs who use up precious resources and destroy the environment.
However, there is still some hope for them. Women still need men for one thing: their sperm. At the moment, it is not possible for women to procreate without the use of male genetic material. But I wouldn't advise men to sigh with relief too quickly. For one thing, their sperm may be disappearing. Chemical by-products from modern industry appear to mimic the effects of female hormones and are reducing sperm counts in men. If you believe the figures, which are hotly contested by some scientists, the average number of sperm in the average man's semen is falling so steadily that it "portends the collapse of traditional means of procreation by the middle of the next century", according to one expert in the field. If that is true, then the situation is serious indeed, for as we all know, men spend most of their time thinking (if that is the right word) about "traditional means of procreation".
However, in the not too distant future we will have the technology to create sperm in the laboratory, and the male's final reason for existence will have vanished.
So we can now ask whether Jacques Lang, France's former Minister for Culture and someone with a fine nose for fashion, is justified when he claims in the title of his recent book that "Tomorrow Belongs to Women". Recall for a moment how men let the species down. They are more susceptible to disease, dumber at school, and more troubled at home than girls are. They are more violent, die earlier and in many walks of life are becoming less and less needed at work. Biologically, males are only useful as a "genetic sieve" for the safer transmission of the genes of the reproducing female.
A world of tamed, feminized or vanished men would be a world with less meat, which would reduce pressure on rainforests. It would be a world with less crime. Pornography would largely disappear. So would rape, in all its forms. And while it is true that children would be bought up in fatherless homes, the evidence suggests that it is mainly boys who turn bad in such circumstances, and not girls.
A world without men would hold very few fears indeed. Even though civilization owes much to men it is clear than creating cultures and technologies is one thing, but preserving them is quite another. A people adapted to the one is not necessarily adapted to the other. In the grand sweep of time, the human race will soon complete its evolution from a warring collection of romantic, male-dominated tribes, to a peaceable, cool-headed sisterhood devoted to shopping and household management - those most feminine of arts known, nowadays, as economics.
- ADVICE FOR ACADEMICS -
The highest priority of the academic is the setting up of mental blocks. This is the reason the public subsidises you, the academic, in the first place. You are expected to divert all intellectual attention away from reality. How should you go about this?
- Always teach the doctrine that Truth is unknowable and that all knowledge is processual. For example, every opinion is a never more than a "theory" which must always be falsifiable. Theories must always be built on previous theories, and the more complicated this makes things the better. Never write anything in your own words, but always include references to "experts in the field", who are others like yourself. Nothing you write or say will not have been said before by some other academic, so be sure to give sources.
- Don't make connections between what you are studying and the real world. Make sure to "reason at a distance". Making connections to the real world will make your job vastly more awkward than it already is and will eventually ruin your career. For example, be sure to avoid any logical arguments that cannot be tested by empirical means. This will ensure you do not stray anywhere near reality.
- Make learning as dry and boring as possible. Values are something for religion, not the educational institution, so keep your work value-free. Valuing truth is a serious trap and one you should watch out for. Peer support should warn you before you stray over the line into that embarrassing area of truthfulness.
- Become a specialist. Respect other people's fields of expertise. Always say, "It is not my field, so I can't make any comment upon that". Develop a jargon particular to your own field of work, and be careful to protect it from becoming polluted with jargon from other fields. This will go a long way towards preventing you from thinking about any subject outside your own specialty.
- Marry and have children. In this way, when you foolishly jabber-on at work about the need to be rational, people will see that you are making a joke.
- Complicate everything unnecessarily. When a category can be divided up, then divide it up. Never use a small word when a big word will suffice. Write books so tortuously complicated that only a few can understand them. Scoff at those who do not know the jargon. This ensures that knowledge remains locked away in thousands of tiny isolated islands with little or no chance of communication between them. This helps to perpetuate the belief that the world really is made up of discrete entities, which is of course of fundamental importance to academia as well as to the world at large.
- Give prizes to one another. In so doing we can all remain secure in the belief that we are doing something incredibly important. By "prizes" are included impressive sounding titles, large salaries, regular promotions, tenure, club ties, free overseas trips, free conferences, and giving honourary lectures. Make up as many other prizes as you can think of.
- Learn to be witty at dinner-parties. This will help relieve the guilt associated with leading the narrow and petty existence that comes with a life in slavery and prostitution.
- Be a good teacher and train the younger generation to be as dedicated a Truth-destroyer as you are. This will also make you feel a lot better.
- CHRISTIAN CORNER -
- Advice for Christians -
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FAITH
- Ensure that your concept of God is so vague that nobody can know precisely what you are talking about.
- Pay no attention to people who try to reason with you. Know that they are mere shysters out to deceive you.
- If doubts arise in your mind, then make the God-concept even more vague. If possible, move God beyond the reaches of thought where He'll be safe.
- If your beliefs seem to contradict one another, simply ignore the fact. Chant to yourself "God is infinitely mysterious" two hundred or so times.
- Learn to fully submit to God. In this way, you can cease the irritating habit of thinking and soon attain Peace.
- Never cease to harden your beliefs. Otherwise, reality will begin to seep into your life and you'll be in real trouble. If you are having difficulties, go to church services on a more regular basis.
- Take time to study the sciences. By doing so, you will be better able to distort and misrepresent them.
- Do not read the Gospels too closely as you may find some disturbing things. If you do find a threatening passage, ignore it. If some unease remains, go to your local preacher. His life is dedicated to your well-being.
- Above all, do not think for yourself. If you do, your friends will leave you and you'll be alone. God does not approve of anti-social ways.
- Listen to your feelings. If they are happy, then God is happy - for God created us to be happy, did he not?
Note: Do not hesitate to use violence, whether against a threatening thought or an evil atheist. God thoroughly approves the use of violence to protect the faith.
THIRTY PROOFS OF GOD'S EXISTENCE
- We can never really prove or disprove the existence of God. Therefore, God exists.
- The essence of being human is the freedom to choose. If there was no God, then there could be no choice of beliefs. Therefore, God exists.
- If there wasn't something keeping everything together, the whole universe would fall apart. Therefore, God exists.
- God is all-powerful and can therefore do anything He likes. Such a marvellous being would never want to not exist, so therefore God most certainly does exist.
- Life would be meaningless without God and the thought of this simply makes me unhappy. We cannot live without hope. Therefore, God must exist.
- If there were no God, religion would have no meaning and society would tear itself apart. Therefore, God has to exist.
- Life is a miracle. All miracles come from God. Therefore, God exists.
- Even though I know very little about Nature, I feel certain that it could not have, by itself, produced things like consciousness, sunsets and birds. Therefore, God exists.
- All of us have a yearning for something deeper, and God wouldn't have given us this yearning if He didn't actually exist. Therefore, logically, God cannot help but exist.
- The light in a child's eyes has to come from somewhere and it couldn't possibly be that dull, grey mass called the brain. Therefore, the evidence points to the fact that God exists.
- The determined efforts of a child struggling to stand and make his first steps would be futile if there was no God. Therefore, God exists.
- The Bible says that God exists and it would never lie. Therefore, God exists.
- Millions of people believe in God and they can't all be wrong. Therefore, God has to exist, you see.
- There are many religions in the world and they all agree that God exists. Therefore, God exists.
- If God didn't exist, then the saints would be wasting their lives. This is simply not fair, so God has to exist.
- There have been many who have martyred themselves in the service of God. Look at the early Christians in Rome! It is simply inconceivable that they would have sacrificed themselves like this had God not actually existed. Therefore, it is clear that God exists.
- I am a person and therefore important. Therefore, God really does exist!
- When I kneel down and pray for God's forgiveness, I feel uplifted, as if touched by a higher power. Therefore, God exists.
- I have just entered into a heavenly state of consciousness which was timeless and profound. Dreary old matter is not sufficient to explain this marvelously blissful experience. Therefore, I know that God exists.
- Since becoming a Christian, I have given up my drinking and whoring, and have become a better person who cares for others. I am currently at peace with the world. How can you account for this other than the fact that God exists?
- When I entered the Christian community, I felt for the first time I truly belonged. Here at last was my true family, a family I have never known. Therefore, you can have my word on it, God most certainly does exist.
- Look, the Pope says He exists. Therefore, He exists.
- Even the atheist falls on his knees in a crisis and prays. What better proof that God exists!
- When I prayed to God, He cured my mother's cancer. Therefore, how can you say that God doesn't exist?
- Love is heavenly. Love is divine. Love is out of this world. Therefore, God exists.
- Unfortunately, we are only human. We cannot become perfect, as Jesus urged us to do. Therefore, God exists in order to console us.
- To believe in God enhances one's life more than not believing in Him. Therefore, God necessarily exists.
- I don't want to know anything. I just want everything to be a great mystery, like in childhood. I just want to bury my head in God's shoulders and cry. Therefore, God exists.
- I deserve a reward for the wretched life I lead. God wouldn't walk away from His responsibilities as Creator and not exist, would he? Therefore, God has no other obligation but to exist.
- Although my head tells me that God is a ludicrous concept, my heart cries out for His existence. Indeed, the fact that I see God as being ludicrous is precisely a test of my faith. The more ludicrous God appears to me, the stronger is my faith in believing in Him. Therefore, after examining the matter from all angles, I can only conclude that God exists.
Note: The whole thirty proofs can be summed up in the one overriding proof: I exist.
"He was a wise man who invented God."
Nobody can deny but religion is a comfort to the distressed,
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) English society figure & letter writer.
Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks
The unexpected and the incredible belong in this world.
I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies,
Custom is the great guide to human life.