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Everything posted by Kale

  1. Superstitious ...? !

    Peace. Aburafay, it is weird. It is weird to describe someone who points out that looking at fish-tanks is relaxing (something scientists have in fact, proven to be so) as 'overemphasising.' Especially when that person (that is, me) was responding to the original question of this thread by saying that the psuedo-religious qualities of 'Feng Shui' have nothing to do with it 'working.' It is a simple fact that if your home is pleasant, you will be calmer. It is weird to suppose that I, a non-muslim, must have some near-worshipful relationship with my plants and pets, because I accept with gratitude the benefits given by God through them. While of course, as a Muslim, you're merely accepting their benefits. I am a Quaker. We also discourage, very strictly, symbolic attachments. There are no symbols of Quakerism. We don't keep crosses in our homes, and we don't have church-buildings at all, and certainly none with symbols in them. We discourage, very strictly, attachment to material things. Or homes are simple, our clothes are simple. We are, in fact, so known for our extreme position on these matters that if you were to say these things about a Quaker to anybody who knows what Quakerism is, you'd be laughed clear out of town. Islam is said, by scholars who write to encourage Westerners to accept Islam, to be science-friendly, yet when I explain things scientifically, I am accused of materialism. Islam is said to encourage respect, yet I, a Christian (and a Unitarian one at that) have been accused of worshipping a fish. What is being overemphasised here is your own bigoted belief that all Westerners are obsessed with material things.
  2. Honey

    Peace. You're welcome. :D You can often get them to fly out of the house if you open the brightest window and shut off the lights. Or catch them in a glass against the window pane. They won't sting in the dark, so if you can cup them in your hands before they get a chance to sting, you can carry them out barehanded. Not for the faint of heart. I don't do this, but my dad does. Almost undoubtedly, the ones outside won't do anything more than fly past or circle you once or twice, if you don't do anything about them. Unless they want to get at your drink. Isn't there a bit in the Qu'ran about how you ought to be peaceful to little creatures? I remember something about not killing ants.
  3. Superstitious ...? !

    Peace. Aburafay, I suspect that you are sorely mistaken in your weird opinion that my relationship with my houseplants and fish is any different from your relationship with your plants or any other object of beauty which you enjoy seeing and which gives you pleasure. Raja, your suggestion that I worship fish is most frightfully insulting.
  4. Superspicious Or Fact?

    Peace. I don't see anything unIslamic about the structure of eyes, which God made, being responsible for the superior night-vision of animals. Or in explaining about not-uncommon behaviors in dogs. Saying that X is true does not always imply that Y is false. But all right, I shall be silent.
  5. Honey

    Peace! Hehe! Thanks, sunshinez! Alas, I'm in the US. It's too bad, I even have an extra bee-proof suit for guests to wear -- lots of people are curious to see the inside of a beehive. Even folks who are afraid of bees usually get used to it quickly and find it fun. I don't know about the wheat. Do the bees come to the cut wheat? Maybe it's just because there are lots of active bees in the summer time. Bees attacking you around the house -- most times, when people are stung by bees or wasps, it's because they've stepped on one or rubbed against one that landed on them. Also, bees and wasps can't see the edges of things very well, and they often bump into people when flying. If they get tangled in your clothes or hair, they'll panic and sting you. If bees or wasps have built a nest near people, so that they fly through an area where people sit on their way in and out, somebody'll get stung eventually. Look for the nest. Probably there is an office you can call to have it removed. If they are really honeybees and not wasps, a beekeeper may want them, and come around to collect them. If bees are just slowly flying about and bothering you by buzzing about you, you can make them go away by blowing smoke on them, perhaps from a stick of incense. Or just breathing on them softly -- I speak to mine, saying, "Leave me alone, I'm not bothering you," and they go away, probably because they don't like being breathed on. If they're flying slowly they're not likely to bump into you. I have hundreds of beautiful dagger-like black mud-dauber wasps living on my porch in the summer. I just ignore them and we get along fine. I tell my guests that it is against the rules of the house to try to swat the wasps or shoo them away, and nobody gets stung. Being swatted at makes bees and wasps angry. Some people do pretty well keeping the bees and wasp in a smaller area of the yard. There's a plant called 'bee balm' that bees really love. It has pretty red flowers, and blooms for a long time. If you plant some as far away from where you sit as you can, bees might not bother you as much. Or you could place a saucer of jam or sugar-water (with a few pebbles in so bees don't get stuck in it) far away from where you sit.
  6. Superstitious ...? !

    Peace, Aburafay. Oh, God made my pet fish. It is calming to look at the wonderous beauty of God's fish, and witness how God sustains its grace and life. I don't think it's materialistic to enjoy this. Do you not have pets, houseplants, and things that make your home more pleasant and calming?
  7. Superspicious Or Fact?

    Peace, Aburafay! Well, the way I see it, I have a pretty good database about jinns. I know lots of stories about djinns in specific, even, and a great many stories about ghosts and pookas and manitouus and such -- all beings that you would say are people's attempts to explain djinns. Or are simply another name for djinns. I even believe in them. Well, not ghosts as in lost human souls, but things you can't see. I believe in the Manitouu that is said to live in the town I used to live in, and would, like everybody else, avoid the pretty little pool where the Manitouu was said to hang about. I'm perfectly happy to say that a Manitouu is just a djinn that likes to stay near water, in wild places. Though the story goes that if you could see it, which you can't, it would look like a blue puma with a snake for its tail. It can't really hurt you, and yet supposedly it's somehow dangerous. I stand corrected, and I apologize. True enough, I may be eager to see material reasons. I think it better to try to understand all possibilities, material and otherwise, and to generally assume that the simplest explaination is the most likely. Also, it is perhaps comforting to think that the incident was not caused by a frightening djinn, but rather by the limited cognative abilities of a dog. If they can't interfere with your life, how do you know they are there? I think the 'cold patches' that western people accociate with ghosts are not said to register on a thermometer, it's just something that some people feel when near a djinn "ghost." Like the feeling that something is staring at you that most people have near the pool where the Manitouu is said to be. That sounds like every 'haunted house' story. Usually it turns out that the 'haunted house' is burned out or has broken plumbing or is otherwise uninhabitable, and the people who own it are just taking years to get the money to repair it or to sell it to someone who can. Years ago, as a teen, I was really interested in ghosts and things and would phone finding these things out. Do you know what happened just before it was evacuated?
  8. Cultural Question

    Peace! Hmm. I have heard that Arabic is quite a lyrical language which includes a lot of repeated sounds, and, the way it is spoken, a lot of repeated phrases. Seems natural that an Arabic speaker might recreate these patterns of speech in English. I can't remember, but probably I was told this at a time when I'd hang out on a chatroom with this gaggle of Icelandic linguists, and tended to go on about how great Seven Pillars of Wisdom is. Seven Pillars of Wisdom is T. E. Lawrence's memoir, the basis for the Lawrence of Arabia film with Peter O'Toole. I wonder what our middle eastern friends would think of it.
  9. Superspicious Or Fact?

    Peace, Aburafay! Christianity doesn't say anything about djinns. It doesn't say anything about potatoes, hummingbirds, the theory of relativity, or any number of other things which I believe. As it happens, I think it's fairly likely that what you call djinns are somethings which exist. But yes, I do look for a more material reason to explain the behavior of this dog in Raja's post. In fact, I think it is very strange of you two that you are so eager to accept the idea that the dog's behavior was caused by djinns, yet appear to be almost annoyed that I suggest it was more likely caused by something else. It doesn't seem to me like a case of also looking at the possibility that it was djinns. More a case of jumping to the conclusion that it was without considering other explainations. A few months ago, one of my cats appeared to be absolutely stiff with terror over something I couldn't see. I didn't suppose it was djinns. Or ghosts, as many Westerners might have done. I thought my cat had developed epilepsy, been poisoned, or had a cerebral event (a small stroke). I took her to the vet. They don't know what it was either. Maybe it was djinns. I suppose I might have saved myself some money if I'd assumed it was djinns and not bothered going to the veterinarian's, but doing so would probably have qualified as neglecting my cat. If there's a place in the room where it's weirdly cold, I would look for a physical cause before I assumed a 'supernatural' one. If there was a plausible explaination that does not involve djinns or ghosts but involves a draft, I would accept that explaination as the most likely answer, even if I was firmly convinced that djinns exist. I'm curious: How do you know this building is occupied by djinns? Peace, Raja. Were you hoping I might explain the superior night-vision of animals by claiming it was something unseen? It is unseen. Or it was, until science saw it. Some of God's mysteries are meant to be uncovered. There are lots of things that are unseen, but can be seen by human beings in this life, should people work at it. And there are lots of things that are unseen that will not be revealed in this life.
  10. Treatment Of Parents

    Peace! Hi, Sulemaan. And thanks. :D My mother deserves the highest of praise. She's truely wonderful. God forgive me, I am sure I did not help her with my grandmother as much as I ought to have done. But I do think, that for the last year or two of my grandmother's life, it would have been better if she'd lived in the nursing home. I feel that way because I want very much to protect my mother from suffering. For years after my grandmother died, my mother could not think of her without feeling terribly guilty -- by the end, caring for my grandmother was so difficult and heartbreaking. I don't really know how to say it. But after those terrible years, what my mother remembered was that she had hated taking care of the shell my grandmother had become. The love in her heart had been buried by pain and she felt she was a bad daughter because of that. She needed to be reminded of how very good and generous and courageous she had been, and she needed to be reminded of the good and wise woman that my grandmother had been before she grew so ill with age. It's taken years. Probably my grandmother lived longer than she would have in a nursing home. But by the end she was so unaware of her surroundings that she would not have known the difference in any conscious way. It would have made a big difference to my mother and myself, though. I think that the mass-media impression you've picked up is a perfectly accurate interpretation of what Western media says about this issue. Westerners are really unsatisfied with the nursing-home system. It is ugly, and we criticise it a lot. We want something better, and are trying to work out how, mainly by pointing out the flaws. In Canada (or at least, parts of it) you can have a nurse come around to help with invalid family members living in your home. In the city near where I live, there's a small business that is offering the same service. If this becomes more commonplace, and there are also smaller, more home-like nursing-homes set up in residential neighborhoods, things will start to look better. I wonder what the statistics really are, about how many elderly Westerners live with their families and how much care they require. It's funny -- nobody accuses people of neglecting their duties to family if they have a family member who is young but brain-damaged, or suffering from a seriously debilitating disease of the nervous system, or is insane, and that person lives in a hospital. But when age-related illness creates the same symptoms in our parents, people often end up feeling that it is wrong to hospitalize them. My great-grandmother died in a nursing home. She would have been all right to care for at home, even at the last, but she did not want to leave Scotland and had only one son, who lived in Canada. My other grandmother cared for her father at home. She had a nurse come around several times a week to help, she lives where this service is provided free. The grandmother of the wonderful man my cousin married died in her children's home, after living with them for years. She was a complete invalid and I never did see her awake, much less out of bed. My stepmother's mom died in a nursing home, but she had become quite mad and did that thing where she'd make an enormous mess and risk hurting herself trying to rearrange the house if you left her alone for more than a few minutes. My great-aunt lived with her children for over ten years and was a great joy to the family. She died quite recently, at home, but unlike my grandmother she failed very rapidly and only required extensive nursing for the last few weeks. Some cousins of mine have simply moved in next door to their aging mother -- she still has her own house, but takes meals with them and they go over to clean for her at times. I don't think this is a bad record. Or that those two who lived in nursing homes should have lived with their children. I don't know how it is on average across the West, though. A good friend of mine did end up cooking and cleaning for her elderly neighbor, whos children would come by only very seldom and with hardly a word of thanks. And a lot of the old folks in the retirement home where my grandmother lived before she came to live with us would remark sadly that they hardly ever heard from or saw their children. Surely the problem of displaced and neglected parents does exist. But I think it's a mistake to presume that it's completely widespread -- in a lot of cases, placing elderly people nursing homes is not neglect, but necessity. Numbers about how few elderly Westerners live with their families don't account for those who really do need the full-time professional care nursing homes provide, nor do they account for elderly people who can still care for themselves and live alone or with their spouses because they want to. The real question is, what percentage of westerners living in nursing homes could be cared for at home without putting enormous pressures on the family and requiring them to turn a family home into a miniature hospital? I don't know that number, though I would guess that it is far too high.
  11. Haram Food

    Peace. It seems to me that you'd still want to support the halal meat producers, even if saying bismillah is enough to make the food clean for you. I take it you live in Uraguay? Is seems to me all you must do is get the name of the halal meat-packer and order some. Probably they won't sell a small amount, so you'll need a freezer and perhaps several families to split the cost, and the meat. I don't know. Where I live there are small meat-processors that serve folks who raise a few of their own cows or sheep, and also hunters who don't want to do more than field dress their deer. If I was a Muslim I could easily buy several live lambs and goats, take them there, kill them in the proper way, and have the meat-packers cut them up and wrap them for me. Killing and dressing your own meat isn't as terrible as you might imagine. If you have the space to do it, I'd suggest you get a bunch of day old chicks. If you buy them from an egg-farm or hatchery, and get the chicks that will grow into roosters, they cost next to nothing -- usually these people gas all the male chicks to death and grind them up for fertilizer or pig feed. Just give them a big yard and feed them up for a few months. By the time they start crowing and fighting and driving you crazy, they'll be big enough to eat. And easier to kill, since they're so annoying.
  12. Honey

    Peace! Hi, sunshinez. Honey is sugar, and too much sugar isn't good for you. Honey is better for you than plain sugar, though, since it has some minerals and other stuff in. Also, it won't rot your teeth, because it is so acidic and anti-bacterial that it kills the microrganisms that cause tooth decay. It's generally agreed that it's not good to give honey to little babies. This is because honey often contains the spores of botulism. Botulism can't grow in honey, so this won't hurt you unless you mix the honey with water or milk or something and then let it stand long enough for the bacteria to grow. People used to give babies bottles of warm milk with a little honey. If the bottle sat out for a couple of hours, the baby would be poisoned. Probably pure honey is perfectly safe, but honey is usually sold with a warning not to feed it to babies because of this. So, shall I give you guys updates on my beehive? I could do a little 'Year in the Bee Yard' on this thread, if folks are interested. I check my bees every few days, by going out and sitting next to the hive and watching them go in and out. Or just tapping the hive and listening to the buzz if they're all inside. Two days ago I went to do this and my bees were flying, it was sunny and very summer-like. But they sounded angry. If you keep bees long enough you will know by the sound if they are happy. A few were angry enough to attack me. I wasn't stung, but I knew something was amiss, they almost never do that. I was afraid their queen had died. They get very upset if they have no queen. I put on my bee-proof suit and had a look inside. There are lots of bees (excellent!), and I found the queen, young and healthy (even better!). It is early, but she is already laying some eggs -- from the eggs and developing larvae, I'd guess she's been laying a few dozen every day for the past week. This is great. Also, I didn't see any bees with mites on them -- tiny pencil-tip sized creatures that the blood of bees. This fall my bees had mites and I had to give them a mite-killing medicine. It looks as if it has worked and all is well. Except there's hardly any honey left in the hive! They have eaten almost all of it over the winter. That's why they're angry -- food supplies are running low, but there are no flowers. I have given them a feeder, with sugar-syrup. They're happier now. It was about time I did that anyway -- if there is new nectar coming into the hive, they start to raise more babies. I want hundreds, not dozens, of eggs each day. It takes about 28 days for a bee to grow from egg to adult, and another 18 days before a bee is old enough that she starts to fly outside and gather nectar. By feeding syrup now, I hope to induce the bees to build up a strong work-force of young bees before the first flowers start to bloom, so I get get a lot of the best light-coloured spring honey.
  13. Superstitious ...? !

    Peace. Some of that Feng Shui stuff works, not because of spirits and energies so much as because of human psychology. Some of it is great advice about how to make your living space more attractive and pleasant. That's all. May as well use it, you don't have to believe all the rubbish about spirits. If facing east helps you study better, face east and remember that it's that way because God made you and the world that way. Tortoises do not make good pets. They are much messier and harder to care for than one might be led to believe. The Feng Shui people also say that fish are good luck and bring tranquility and all, and this is sort of true -- watching a tank of fish is very calming.
  14. Superspicious Or Fact?

    Peace, Aburafay! Christianity doesn't say djinns don't exist. I don't discount the possibility that they do. I'm just saying it's more likely that there's another explaination. Peace, Raja! I did read what you wrote. I just don't assume that the dog's owner or the people standing around would know. I work with dogs for a living and meet a lot of different dogs. So, I think my guess is a good one. I had a client with an elderly dog, the owner is in her seventies and has had the dog for twelve years. It barked and growled at me when it first saw me, the owner said, "She's usually so friendly, I don't know why she doesn't like you," and I replied, "It's because she thinks my hat is a monster," took off my hat, and threw it out the door. The dog stopped barking and after a few minutes of suspicion, was friendly. I'm forever solving people's problems with their pet's behavior with simple explainations they've never thought of. Obviously I didn't see the actual incident, or I might have a different theory. As for dogs and cats seeing better in the dark -- this has to do with the structure of the eye. The eye focuses light on a collection of light-sensitive cells. When light strikes these cells, it causes a very short-term chemical reaction. The end result is that the sensation of seeing is transmitted to the brain. The light-sensitive cells are of two basic types 'rods' which simply detect light and 'cones' which are larger and colour sensitive. 'Cones' require more light to work. This is why in low-light conditions you have a hard time telling what colour something is -- the 'rods' in your eye are working, but it's too dark for the 'cones' and so you see in black and white. As animals go, human beings have a lot of 'cones' in their eyes. We have excellent colour vision (only some birds see colours better) but poor low-light vision. Dogs and cats have few cones and lots of rods. So they see better in the dark, but have poor colour vision (though they do see some colour, contrary to popular opinion) Also, their eyes are comparatively larger. And on top of that, they have a reflective membrane at the back of the eye that allows them to pick up more light. This membrane is why the eyes of animals 'glow' in the light of your car's headlamps. In animals where this structure is very reflective and well-developed, the eye-shine will be bright yellow-green, like that of cats. In humans it is so undeveloped that you can't get an eye-shine off a person unless you suprise them at a time when the iris of the eye is fully open -- then you'll get a little bit of a red shine, the 'red eye' effect in flash photographs. So cats can see unerringly in conditions that appear pitch black to humans. They simply need less light. Same is true for dogs, but to a lesser degree. Owls have nearly no cones at all and presumably see no colours, but they can see even when a cat is blinded by the darkness. Even more interesting: Diurnal raptors (hawks, falcons, eagles) have more light sensitive cells in the lower half of their eye (well, actually the upper as the image is projected onto the retina upside down and corrected in the brain) than in the upper half. So the images in the lower part of a hawk's vision are much sharper than the images in the upper part. This is why a tame falcon on a low perch will so charmingly turn her head upside down to look at a tall man. Dogs also can detect a lot of things by smell, which humans cannot detect. Our sense of smell is very weak, that of dogs is excellent. Dogs have been trained to detect cancer in living people by smell. So far, 100% accurate, even in cases where the dog signaled that it smelled cancer in someone doctors thought was clear, more sensitive tests and waiting a bit revealed that the person did indeed have cancer. None of the 'scientific' theories I've read about how animals are forewarned of earthquakes make good sense to me.
  15. Jins/ghosts Etc

    Peace. The ouija board is just a smooth board with letters and a few words (yes and no and maybe) painted on it. The people using it put their hands on a pointer that will slide easily across the board -- just the tiny tremors of your hands make it slowly move. If there's two of you. If it's just one you'll probably correct your body's tiny movements better and keep the pointer still. If it moves, your subconcious guides it to spell out words, maybe. It won't spell out words if the people touching the pointer close their eyes and get a third person to read out what it doesn't spell. It especially will not do so if you turn it around after they've closed their eyes so they don't know where the letters are. So, not magic, or djinn. Bunk. I can tell your fortune with cards and it will seem to work and I don't need to look at your face or play on the emotions I might see there. It's somewhat accurate, enough to appear moderately uncanny, but really it just has to do with the system of 'reading' cards, which produces a coherent and yet vague narrative which will almost always be consistant with some reality or another in a person's life. It's bunk.
  16. Superspicious Or Fact?

    Peace. A lot of dogs, pet parrots, and other animals are afraid of hats. They act as if they think the hat is some horrible monster attacking your head. It's just because they seldom see anybody wearing a hat. The same thing happens with bushy beards, the dog seems to think, "Ack! Some hairy thing is attacking that guys face!" and barks at the guy. It wants to help him, it doesn't understand that the beard is part of him, because it's never seen a man with that much beard. Dogs can be phobic about stuff, too. I know one who was treated roughly by children when she was small and is now afraid of children and will growl and bark at them, seeming very fierce. You can end up with similar situations where the dog fears men, or people wearing red jackets, or whatever. Anyway, it's quite possible the dog didn't see anything you couldn't see, it just had a mistaken idea about something.
  17. Treatment Of Parents

    Peace, truthful. Theoretically, what you say is all fine and good. Your parents, when you were a baby and a little child, took care of you. They dressed you and bathed you and wiped your bottom. It seems only fair that you do the same for them. However, an old person is not a baby. Caring for babies is joyful. Babies grow stronger and more responsive and more able to care for themselves. It is rewarding to watch them grow. They are fun to have around. They are vital and loving. Old people grow weaker and less responsive and less able to care for themselves. It is heartbreaking to watch. My grandmother lost her vitality, and by the end she was not loving at all. She didn't seem aware of her surroundings much of the time. Often she did not recognize me. Sometimes she seemed to find my (to her, alien) presence frightening. Babies do not weigh 90 lb. Babies learn to talk, they do not slowly stop talking. Babies are small and easy to clean and their waste is not as foul as that of an adult. Babies learn to use the toilet, rather than forgetting how to do so. Babies seldom become so constipated that it is necessary to do something with your fingers that you'd never want to do to yourself, much less your mother. And with babies, joyful but difficult and extensive care you must provide is grown out of in a few years -- parenthood does not require that you spend five years changing diapers on a person you can barely lift. It's just not the same. To invite your aging parents to live with you, to eat meals with you, to enjoy your home, to have their laundry and other everyday cleaning needs met by you? Sure, it is right that sons and daughters do this, should the parents want it. It is also customary in my (Western) family. To care for parents who are so aged that there is little difference between them and someone who is a 'vegetable'? Someone who needs a full-time nurse? This is not a daughter's duty. There is nothing wrong with turning those tasks over to professionals. Another member of my family was physically active until the end, but lost her mind such that she would destroy the house (trying to rearrange it to be like another house she remembered) if you left her alone for five minutes. It wasn't neglecting duty that her children arranged for her to live in a hospital. It was just necessary. Seriously, in many cases, it is not a matter of children not wanting to care for their parents because it is inconvenient. It's a decision that is often made when the situation is a bit beyond 'inconvienent' and is approaching 'impossible.'
  18. Peace, everyone. I feel I ought to comment on this. In my experience, 'homes for the aged' in the West can be divided into two types. The "Retirement Home": Very like a hotel. Each elderly person or couple rents a small apartment. Once a week, someone comes around and cleans it for them. There is a dining room and three meals a day are served. There are one or two medical people (Registered Nurses, usually) on duty at all times and every room has several alarm-cords you can pull to summon them. A doctor comes to the building to do check-ups. A hairdresser comes to the building to cut hair. They have games rooms with puzzles, chess-sets, billiards tables, cards, and so on. They usually have a small library and a room set up as a small cinema. Exercise classes are offered. Small-name musical acts, comedy shows and educational lectures are scheduled and are free to the residents and their guests. There's a chapel in the building, and weekly religious services are offered. The home has a bus that takes residents to the public library and to community events. Or even just out to restaurants -- my grandmother lived in one of these places and there was a little club of residents who lied to eat at resturants and would decide each week which one to try. They needed only to schedule for the bus and driver. Ones for the poor are obviously not as nice, but the one I have visited does manage its own shabbier versions of the rather resort-like amenities of the upper-middle-class one my grandmother lived in. We went to see my grandmother quite often. It was rather fun to go there. It is true that a lot of the people who lived there did not see their families often and felt forgotten and shuffled aside, but I think it quite accurate to say that she had a better time living there than she would have living with us or any of her other children -- she would have been alone in the house all day as everyone would be working or at school. The second type is a "Nursing Home" and that is the one that everyone fears. As my grandmother went from being merely very old to being quite ancient, she had some interesting problems. She didn't know what time it was, so she missed the meals at the retirement home. She had a hard time dressing herself and could scarcely walk. She had a difficult time getting in and out of bed, and was becoming incontinent. The retirement home people said she needed to move out -- calling her to meals, helping her out of bed, that is not part of the service they offer. We were phoning them up every night to ask if she had been at meals and going over there to bring her sandwiches when she missed them, often every day. We took her home to live with us. All the old people who lived there were very moved by this unusual occurance, they wept from hope. I was in college and my mother quit her job to take care of my grandmother -- it wasn't all that long before you had to clean and dress her several times a day, spoon feed her, etc. For a couple of years this was pretty cool, as my grandmother was an intelligent and interesting woman. But, oh man, people's minds go. I can't describe the troubles involved in caring for a person so old she has lost speech and appearantly all comprehension. Nor can I describe the pain of facing someone you love who is in such a state. Anyway, she lived with us until she died, but we used to take a vacation at home by taking her to stay for a week in the dreaded nursing home. Probably half the people who lived there were like my grandmother when she first moved in with us -- a bit of trouble, yes, but well worth the benefit to the family as a source of love and wisdom. Given that the family can afford to have someone at home throughout most or all of the day. A lot of them would have been near-impossible to have at home -- my favourite of these being the woman who would stomp about at all hours bellowing, "Bring me the sledge-hammer! They're coming!" I don't think it's right to suppose that it was my mother's responsibility to leave her job and become a full-time nurse for my grandmother. She went above and beyond the call of daughterly duty on this one. For a time it was rewarding and for a greater time it was a horror and a heartbreak. I think that for half of those years it would have been better for the family and about the same for my grandmother if she'd lived at the nursing home. A lot of people have to make this choice. In North America, at least, people tend to move around a lot, and not having extended family nearby makes it more difficult. But I will hazard that even a classic sort of tribal structure where you've got many children and your brothers are your neighbors cannot well cope with the age-related illnesses that nursing homes handle in their ugly clumsy way. It does make the 'retirement home' unnecessary. It also sounds awfully pleasant to me, but I'm a bit of a luddite.
  19. Things We Say.

    Peace! What's the direct translation of each?
  20. Peace, Eoin. See, that strikes me as pretty depressing. And really normal. I'm pretty much under the impression that nobody especially likes it, but continue to do it because it's normal and the other option isn't 'cool.' People who don't have sex, men more than women but both genders, tend to feel embarrassed about it. I'm just a bit of a freak and don't care if people think I'm weird, so I didn't feel bad about simply refusing to play the rotating-sex-partners game. I was so hurt by the end of my teenage first-love thing (which ended quite normally and tamely by most standards) that every memory of that relationship was spoiled and rendered joyless and I decided the whole business was just stupid and painful. I figured I'd just become one of those 'old maids' and live alone with a whole bunch of cats or something. I was suprised that things didn't work out that way. I wonder about it myself. I'm tempted to start calling anybody who has an aniversary announcement in the newspaper that says they've been together 25 years or more, and ask them personal questions: "How many sex partners did you have before you married? Are you happily married? Have you ever had an extra-marital affair? How many?" and so on. I have never asked, but suspect my parents each had just one other partner before they married each other. But they divorced. My aunt and uncle were both virgins when they married, work together and essentially spend all day almost every day in each other's company and have been happily married in this way for 35 years or so. But another great marriage I know is between a dear friend of mine who was quite shocking in her youth and lost count. They have great noisy quarrels, but they just like to. Otherwise, they embody an ideal of devotion. But I would certainly say that many people believe that the loyal, lasting, devoted sexual relationship is a myth. And many more believe it's a sort of magic trick. Like winning the lotto, only a rare few will manage to do it, but you have to play the game (essentially by trying people out) to win. Oh, I don't know if you take sex lightly. I just think a lot of people do. I don't deny the possibility that someone could take sex very seriously and still do it outside marriage, or even with a great many different people. I'm not sure how they'd manage it, and don't figure it happens much, but I suppose it's possible. Well, there is 'wrong' in the sense of hurting another, rape, theft, murder, that sort of thing. Obviously premarital sex isn't wrong in that sense. Then there's 'wrong' in the sense of being contrary to some powerful standard of revulsion -- eating human flesh, having consentual sex with your adult sister, that sort of thing. Premarital sex doesn't fall in that category for me, but somebody might have some standard of revulsion that includes it. Then there's 'wrong' in a very middle-sized dry-goods kind of way -- eating raw chicken, pushing lumber into a bandsaw with your fingers in the path of the blade, that kind of thing. It's a bad way of doing things, it's either recklessness or poor method. That's the 'wrong' I'd use to describe it. I wouldn't say that I think the purpose of life is to seek pleasure, but I certainly think people ought to enjoy themselves. It seems to me that over the long term, people don't enjoy their sex affairs. They might have a great deal of momentary fun, but it seems to me that people also spend an awful lot of time being terribly upset over their love-lives or lack of them. It seems unhealthy and unpleasant that social life in the west is so dominated by the ups and downs of short-lived romances.
  21. Peace, all. Eoin, you say there is a 0% of disease, pregnancy, or harm to others and an enormous chance that you and your girlfriend will greatly enjoy yourselves. But what do you suppose is the % chance that your relationship will, in time, end badly and leave one or both of you feeling heartbroken and betrayed? If that happens, what is the percent chance of you losing heart and beginning to believe that there can be no such thing as a devoted, loyal, lasting sexual relationship? I think many, if not most, Westerners think that the devoted, loyal, lasting relatioship is a myth. And that is bad. And it is because they have taken sex lightly and made sexual love into a cheap commodity. I don't mean to sound as if I think you are a bad person. I don't get to judge people, that is for God alone. And I don't believe that there should be any formal or legal enforcement of sexual propriety -- I think it is more important that you make the choices for your life. But I think our society would be much improved if people acknowledged that it is bad. Not criminal, but a bad idea. And that the 'mythical' devoted loyal lasting marriage can be real, and can be an everyday thing. Hi, Sulemaan. Advertisements aside, women aren't generally and always seen only as sex objects in the West. I'll freely admit that the USA is the weirdest country on Earth, but it's not as weird in actuality as it is on television. Adverts don't tell you much about reality, they just show you what catches people's attention. Actually, some of the most effective advertising campaigns have also been the ones that average people deem the most annoying. It is true that Western men love to look at women and women are pressured to make themselves something to look at. It's also true that men spend a lot of time looking for sex. But really, most people aren't so very brazenly promiscuous -- they have these relationships that are monagomous and often very like marriages, but they only last for a few months or a year or so. And they choose the people they have such relationships with based on more than just sexual attractiveness. Most folks are not really very keen on 'one night stands' and want to have a girlfriend or boyfriend they find companionable and enjoy as a person. They almost always hope it will last, and turn into a real marriage. The trouble really is that when things between them start to get a little difficult, it is easy and acceptable for them to give up on one another and look for someone else. Instead of seeing the other person as someone they must be devoted to, and work with to create a happy life together, they see the other person as someone who is supposed to make them happy. So when they stop being happy, they just move along to another person instead of really trying. And it is surely very easy to become unhappy with a lover who thinks that it is your job to make him/her happy, but seldom thinks that it might be his/her job to make you happy. I suspect this happens in a lot of lasting married relationships, too, and results in long misery rather than a break-up, but is still terrible. This is my theory, anyway. It seems very simple to me. I cannot be happy unless my husband is happy, and I know it, and he knows the same about me, so we look after each other and work at it and are happy together. Other people, even some married couples who have been together a long time, seem to think our union amazing and somehow miraculous, though.
  22. Malthus And Overpopulation

    Peace. Saufia's experience seems pretty consistant with my family history, and my theory. The side of my family where, as far as we can remember (just a few generations) people have been engineers and academics and other such upper-middle-class types, people have had one or two children per couple. The side of my family where people were farmers, they had four or six children per couple. They weren't really poor, they were very rich in food, skills and mules, but they had very little money and their farms counted on large families to operate.
  23. Who Is Jesus?

    Peace! Hi, Asking. I believe that Jesus, like every other person or thing, was made by God out of God, and that his existance was countinuously created and sustained by God throughout all time, from a moment when the carbon molecules in his body were part of a tree, or an electron in one of them was part of a star, and so on. In this sense he was God, sure, and everybody and everything is God. But saying that Jesus is God in this way is like saying that my coffee-mug is clay. Except when speaking of God this is less accurate than when speaking of clay, because you can have a thousand little peices of clay but God is always One. This is one of those things that human beings can't really understand properly, much less articulate without sounding as strange as I just did. Our belief systems seem dissimilar in ways, but you can join me for virtual doughnuts in the Unitarian's club. :D
  24. Peace! Thanks, Raging Dragon, for an excellent post. I'm sorry to hear that pornography is so prevailant in Canada. I visit family there sometimes, but don't often rent videos and never noticed it. It really is gone from the video-stores here. I remember about ten or twelve years ago when a new owner bought the video-store nearest me. I came in and said, "Oh, good, you got rid of the ," and he said, "Yeah. I threw it away. I hate it, my mom works here sometimes now and she hates it, it wasn't making money and just about everybody who's come in has thanked me for getting rid of it." I've been in two stores in my life, out of curiousity. They had movies, to buy and to rent, books and magazines, and 'accessories.' I think accessories ("sex toys") are okay, at least in the context of married people in private. There's something a bit creepy about a shop full of them, though. I agree about the falseness of moral relativism. The arguments people present for it are wrong, too. They say, "So-and-so was considered a hero in his time, but now we'd think he's evil," and think that means morals are relative. Really it just means that the 'winners' write the history and get called heroes. If morality was relative in the way they say, then how come Jesus and the Buddha are still considered examples of great morality, thousands of years after they lived? I generally do stick with the idea that free people, in a free society, are free to go to hell in their own handbaskets. But I do hate this idea that sex between consenting adults is always a good thing, since it feels good. This is simply false. In the long term, it doesn't feel good. It feels awful. Sex with someone you can really trust, someone who is devoted to you, someone who will be there tomorrow and the next day until the day he dies, that feels good. But, alas, I'm afraid all you can really say to those people is, "No. I'm not closed-minded. You're wrong." This never really goes over well, even if you give them a lollypop as you say it.
  25. Who Is Jesus?

    Peace! Where do you get the 1% figure? As a Unitarian, I tend to know a bunch of other Unitarians, so my perception of how many people are Unitarians is bound to be skewed. But there are several Christian groups that teach Unitarianism. I've also encountered a number of people who say they try to follow the teachings of Jesus, but that they 'are not Christians' because they don't believe he was God. They are Unitarians but end up as solitary practitioners because they arrived at the Unitarian position by themselves, without realising that there are entire churches of like believers. Wanderer: doughnuts!