January 2009

Engendered Species: The Quale

To be a quale means
Never knowing what it's like
To be a nagel

To be locke'd up
And preserved in spectral form
A misleading thought

To be a quale is
To face absurd reduction
And strangely survive

To thrive in tangles
Of robustly rooted weeds
Ancient and stubborn

To feed on undead
Inconceivably painless
As they jerk and scream

To be used as bait
By the chalmer of zombies
To capture new brains

Take away the quale
An ecosystem falters
Without its guano

The circle of mind
Loses its tenuously
Balanced stagnation

Ring the bells that still can ring

Leonard Cohen is a man who takes the scariness out of aging. He refers to his young self 15 years ago (when he was 60) as a crazy kid. Of course, now he's much older and wiser...


He skips gleefully on and off stage.

I'd describe him as "One who realizes what grown-up has come to mean and dissents."

I Punctuate

I thought I remembered a previous thought.
Who had changed?
I, Thought,
I remembered a previous Thought who had changed.

Physical Connections

I stayed long in Mary's room,
too white to feel.
With an old Razor
I carved my flesh free from gnosis.
Mary gagged,
covered her eyes
too late to avert epiphany.
In an instant
a new connection
in her grey.

I got plenty o' nuttin'

Special hat-tip goes to The Digital Cuttlefish for clearly articulating a lack of belief.

An absence of belief is just that--an absence. Zero on the scale. You don't get more zero by adding exclamation points, or more zeroes after a decimal. You may have positive beliefs that are relevant--I, for instance, believe that an understanding of the psychology and neurology of belief more than adequately accounts for the reasons people believe in a god, without an actual god being required at all--but this is a separate positive belief, not a "stronger absence of belief".

Stronger and weaker are terms that are appropriate when speaking positively of a belief, but irrelevant when speaking of an absence; to use the terms is to strengthen the anti-atheist position that speaks of "atheist agenda". Catholics may have an agenda, but non-catholics? Muslims may have an agenda, but non-muslims? (note--I am not using "agenda" to mean anything other than their defining beliefs.) "None of the above" does not have an agenda.

While it's obvious that some atheists have their own additional political agenda e.g. antitheism, the atheist position has no agenda and is not something that can be weak or strong. I got nuttin'.