Fatwa on travel to Mars – Soon to be followed by Fatwa on looking up

I read recently that a Muslim Cleric declared a fatwa on interplanetary travel between the Earth and Mars. My first thought was, Muslim cleric? Who gives a shit. Every stupid thing said by father Ted or the lady down the road who talks to crystals isn’t hitting the headlines. How do you even become a cleric, do you have to prove you know the most about a particular book? Because I am pretty sure I’ve missed all the headlines reading:

‘Lord of the Rings Grand Master, Friend-of-Gondor Phil made a sweeping renunciation today of all interplanetary travel’.

I think these things have become noteworthy mainly because they a generally ridiculous and often quit funny, none-less-so because they are proclaimed in all seriousness. Oh well, I suppose that if I could get paid to sit around and spin bullshit all day long I’d probably do it to.

Anyway it got me thinking, that in all honesty I can see where this guy was coming from. Edicts like that are just expressions of personal fear and anxiety. I put myself in the mind of that cleric as he rolled around restlessly trying to sleep one night:

I’m tormented by nightmares filled with jins, sex, women and the baseness of the human condition – my condition. But what really keeps me up at night and gnaws at my stomach is the fact that I know it’s all meaningless. My iPhone is blinking soft white light across the top of my bedside table. How does it work? It isn’t magic, it isn’t a gift from above. It implies that someone has a greater knowledge of the universe and how it works than I do. The UNIVERSE! I close my eyes tightly and cringe at the thought, that I and everything I believe in is of infinitesimal importance when viewed in scaled against the unfathomable vastness of the universe. Not only that, but I know nothing of it. Nothing other than to fear it.
What would it be like to leave this planet? My heart sinks as the gravity of the thought pins me down where I lay. To leave this planet would be the same as openly embracing the Universe. Accepting that I don’t understand it all. That I might be a moat of dust in the eye of some impersonal galaxy, itself drifting through a void which is for all practical purposes infinite. The righteous could never gain dominion over infinite space, so what is the point!? What am I doing with my life? I am living a lie, we are all living a lie.

Our Cleric’s dark night of the soul comes to an end.

I look at my family, kneel down and pray, I eat and discuss. I look up at the blue sky and know that out there my life and the life of my family and people loses all relevance. (Cue dramatic close-up) They mustn’t go!

End scene.

I honestly think that cleric had a good point. You either stay ignorant of the Universe entirely or you may as well give up all your beliefs as to the existence of a Earth/Homo-Sapien centric God. I doubt that was the way he was thinking about it, but hey.

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Glass half-full? Dialogue of a Moron

Cue the inevitable moment. Cue the smug sense of satisfaction, followed by the soft explosion of warm honey in the mouth of every moron in the world as they ask the question.

Are you a glass half full kind of guy or glass half empty?

Why do people love this inane question? Well put simply it’s a trap. Either you agree with the contention that the class is half full, in which case the moron can happily typecast you as an ‘optimist’ without the faintest understanding of the term. Or alternatively they get to dismiss you as a mere pessimist.

It is a false dichotomy. More than that it is an annoying trick cheaply disguised as a question. And yet:

Here enters the Moron, stage left. Long limbed, cheap belt buckle, clean white business shirt. The look of a possible car salesman, business coach, pyramid scheme operator. Big white teeth, winning smile. Winner winner, a real go getter.

Moron: So, what are you, a bit of a glass half full kind of guy hey?

Me: Well it depends, was the glass empty and someone started filling it up? Or was it full and someone started to empty it.

Moron: Hu, I dunno. What does it matter, half full or half empty?

Me: Well of course it matters, either it is being filled or emptied. I assume you know which and that’s why you’re testing me.

Moron: No I don’t know which, I’m asking you.

Me: So, what you just walked into a room found a glass with a volume of 50% and you’re asking me to tell you if it was being filled or emptied?

Moron: So is that an empty?

Me: No? If you didn’t see if it was being filled or emptied I can’t have an opinion.

Moron: Sure you can, it’s a simple question.

Me: I assure you it is not. It might be half full or it might be half empty.

Moron: Ah so your indecisive.

Me: No I just figure that most glasses that get filled also get emptied at some point. So that means there is probably a 50/50 chance either way.

Moron: I don’t think you get the question. Is the glass half full or half empty?

Me: I don’t know, I just told you. What is your answer?

Moron: Half full of course.

Me: How do you know though, didn’t you say you had no idea if someone had been filling it or emptying it.

Moron: That’s not what it’s about.

Me: Evidently not. Your answer is bullshit anyway. You cannot go projecting your own outlook on life onto a glass to derive historical facts about it. You are basically just guessing so say that! Say I am guessing!

Moron: It’s not a guess, it’s my opinion.

Me: Well it’s fucking wrong.

Moron: It can’t be wrong, it’s my opinion.

Me: Even if by chance we find out from the person who filled the glass, that yes indeed it was half full. You didn’t even put forward a conjecture; you just said it was half full because you think you’re a half full kind of guy. It had nothing to do with the glass.

Moron: I don’t think you get it.

Me: No, I get it.

Moron: But it was half full right?

Me: Now you’re fucking asking me? Look even if God, that giant green triple breasted flying space mushroom were to smash right through that window and say. ‘I filled that glass!’. You still aren’t right.

Moron: Triple breasted what?

Me: Because full and empty are conceptions that we impose upon the glass. The only impartial answer is to say that the glass is at 50% of its volume.

Moron: So what, half empty.

Me: Sure whatever. Never speak to me again.

Moron: Ah forget about him, he’s such a pessimist.