Relics of the Past Destroyed? Is it Islamic Extremists Again?

Back when the Taliban Government under Sudam Hussein was destroying relics and statues of Buddha in Afghanistan that were thousands of years old, historians were horrified. Could you imagine, for example, blowing up the pyramids of Egypt? The Taliban’s actions were reminiscent of the Nazi’s burning books, or of the Spanish burning all of the Mayan civilization books and with it their history.

Although the war between the North and the South was largely about slavery – owning people – it is still part of our history. It may not be the brightest point of our history, much, I suppose, like the Taliban saw their country’s roots in Buddhism and Hinduism (Afghanistan is a word coming from India’s Sanskrit language). They destroyed statues, figures, relics, historical monuments and every remnant of the past that they could get their hands on. Should we do the same, or should we see the bigger historical perspective?

Is it okay to have statues of important figures in the Confederate States of America? They went to war against the United States much like the thirteen colonies declared independence against the King of Britain and wrote the Declaration of Independence. The outcome of the two wars was different, but both were states fighting for independence.

Had the colonies lost their war and America stayed part of the British Empire, would we now be destroying the Declaration of Independence and all evidence of the revolutionary war? Probably not. It would be history nonetheless. Similarly, should we now destroy all evidence there was a war – our deadliest war – now that there is no more a Confederate States of America?

These symbols – the Confederate heroes statues and flag – are seen not just as reminders of our unfortunate past of slavery but in today’s climate as a line drawn by white racists against the rest of us.

Admittedly, the issues are boiling over.

Once again racism rears its ugly head. We see the revival of the KKK and an alt-right president who comes just after the first African American president. The country could not be more divided – except perhaps in civil war.

Historically, we’re in a time of extreme pendulum swinging from left (Clinton) to right (George W.)  to left (Obama) to alt-right (Trump). The swinging is getting wider and wider and different views seem irreconcilable.

Despite the troubled times of the present, would the destruction or removal of these statues be met with blessings from historians four hundred years in the future, or will they see it in the same light as destruction of the Mayans, blowing up of Buddha statues or burning of books?

People will do what people do and this article will not change history in any significant way, however it’s one liberal’s opinion.

To Be or Not to Be

My wife has gone all religious on me. I’m not used to that. For years she was leaning towards atheism. I was uncomfortable with atheism even though I lean heavily toward physics.

Atheism makes sense. More sense then most evangelicals, ISIS, Catholics, Jews and so on. At least to me. I think all religions could use a dose of atheistic realism.

However, I’m mortal, like you, and I’m sixty-four, like Paul McCartney’s song. Days flow by into months which flow by into years. I’ll die. Now my fascination with science kicks in. Survival of the fittest: evolution. All species seek to live, not die. The fittest survive longer than the weakest. So I seek to live, not die. I really don’t want to die. That’s what all people feel except those who are mentally ill and want to commit suicide.

So we dream of never ending life. Religion is born and we convince ourselves we won’t die forever.

There’s glitches in that theory, I know. Science points us to galaxies, expanding universes, black holes, the possibility of life on Titan, Saturn’s moon. But is that it? Is there no mystery to life itself?

An atheist would say no. In my heart I feel otherwise. For most of my life I’ve been devoutly religious. There’s subjective as well as objective. I really don’t feel the subjective is due to chemical reactions in my brain or the brains of many people both now and the past that have had religious experiences.

And my wife is suddenly, almost inexplicably, drawn toward religion. I mean, like, it’s her only thought all of a sudden. Weirdly, I’m the best one to teach her in the direction she wants to go.

There’s probably more to this thought on this post, but that’s what I’ve got for now.

What is the most beautiful thing on the planet?

Wow. This is a very beautiful place we call Earth.

You’re going to get a lot of interesting answers to this one.

However, in my mind, after having traveled to 37 countries on five continents during my life, your question brought one thing to my mind: Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada. It’s about the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. It’s glacier fed, which makes the water such an incredible aqua color.

Lake LouiseAlbertaCanada

Do people believe that aliens are real? Why or why not?

I don’t know why people believe it, but here’s why I don’t believe it.

Where do these aliens live? A hundred light years away, a thousand, a million? Traveling at the fastest speed ever achieved it would take about 150 to 200 years to reach the nearest star 4 light years away. To travel to the Trappist-3 system would take about 1500 years one way.

The same problem exists for spacecraft building societies on other worlds. It is even unlikely they know we exist because of the vast distances, anymore than we know they exist.

Space is mind-boggling big, bigger than most UFO believing people realize. There is almost no chance we are being or have ever been visited by aliens from another star system.

My best friend is dating a guy who I think is gay. Should I say something?

I’m not 100% sure that he is gay but I have a feeling that he is. One of the reasons is because I found in me Instagram’s feed that he likes many pictures of shirtless men. Should I tell my bf about it? (For the record, I have nothing against gay men, I’m just worried that my bf might get hurt)

He may just be wanting to have great abs and looks up to men that have them.

If he’s dating her and they’re having sexual relations then he’s not gay. He could be bisexual, meaning a person attracted to either sex, but a purely gay person wouldn’t have interest in dating her, only being her friend.

Now if he is bisexual, that doesn’t mean a bisexual person can’t have a monogamous relationship with someone of the opposite sex, or even of the same sex.

She doesn’t need you to protect her. This person isn’t any more likely to hurt her than anyone else might.

That being said, my wife points out that a gay person might date a heterosexual person just to avoid being identified as a gay person (due to fear and stigma), putting off sex “until later”. Although that is very rare, when it ultimately comes time for sex he may keep stalling and stalling, causing strain in the relationship.

What do you fear will happen within the next 50 years (and why)?

I fear losing wildlife. Whole species going extinct. Rising tides. The middle-class almost vanishing completely. Hate crimes higher than ever. No health care for elderly Americans and insufficient funds for social-security and Medicaid. People will die. Increased terror attacks around the world. A lot of chaos and that sort of thing. The reason? Politics, I’d probably say.

On the other hand, I think there will be a lot of good things, exciting things, to look forward to, especially in the fields of science, astrophysics, technology, artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, medicine (despite being too expensive for people to pay for without health insurance).

I don’t think we’ll ever have flying cars for common use, but many people will have IoT connected homes (that trend is just starting to catch on) and fun virtual reality devices. It will be a different world, but futures are almost always different than they were predicted. It’s fun sometimes to look back and see what was predicted for today.

What are the worst commutes in Amarillo, TX? What are some tips for making them better?

I live in Amarillo. I’ve lived here 15 years. All these years there has been no direct exit from I-40 Westbound to I-27 south without going through local streets. This is now being corrected and the entire area around I-40 and I-27 south (I-27 begins in Amarillo and ends in Lubbock, TX) is under massive construction.

That being said, and knowing there are ways to drive around this area without getting on an Interstate, Amarillo only takes 15 minutes to drive from east to west on the highway in normal conditions.

The worst of Amarillo traffic is a good day in any other city in Texas.

However, the busiest street in Amarillo during the morning and evening rush is Coulter Street, which starts from the north by two major hospitals, Northwest Texas Healthcare System, and BSA – Babtist Saint Anthony health care system. Besides these two excellent, huge and major hospitals, there are dozens of other medical facilities nearby, plus motels, Waffle House, the Cinema, etc. It can be busy with lots of lights during rush hour. Further south on Coulter you’ll find many shopping areas, a bank or two and even a Walmart. You will be okay, though. Nothing like what you might experience in bigger cities.