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Thoughts of GaratHack

Sometimes I feel like I was one of the pioneers of the modern internet. Why? Long before the current popularity of blogging media, I had my own weblog. Before that was even a word.

Granted, it was that way primarily because I can generate large quantities of prose without too much effort and I had next to no knowledge of html at the time; granted that it was only a silly little geocities site… it was still a periodically-updated collection of my musings, posted in reverse order, that I maintained for several months… It was called The Thoughts of GaratHack, which is only logical, considering that my current screen name was GaratHack. One reason I’m very proud of this site was that over the course of time, I received three or four emails from perfect strangers, telling me that I had made something interesting and good.

Another reason I really liked this was because much of it was stuff I actually thought about, at least briefly. And I wrote about everything: philosophy, religion, my life in high school…

If I can make it look right, I’ll offer a sample:
Archived Thoughts of GaratHack

Oct 16 00--The Our Father

Don't worry, I'm not going to write a deeply theological article about how the Our Father relates to normal everyday life. I'm not that sort of person. Still, I have to do a project on it for a course that's required for graduation, and it's on my mind.

For those of you who don't know, the Our Father is the first Christian prayer. Lore has it that Jesus himself taught it to the disciples, but that's nearly impossible to prove or disprove. Still, it's the Pledge of Allegience of Prayers: people recite it solemnly, and maybe think that they mean what they're saying. However, most people, if they think about what it means at all, just run it through spot checks as they say it. As each sentence passes through their lips, they think: "Can I possibly affirm the sentiment expressed by this? Yes. Therefore I mean what I'm saying." Unfortunately, that's just about as deep as it goes.

What few people seem to realize is that the Our Father is a prayer for the end of the world. With all the doomsayers around, it's surprising that nobody's noticed any earlier.

The Our Father is a simple five line prayer. The first and last lines can be largely ignored; they're standard statements sucking up to god, and don't really affect the message of the prayer in any way. The middle three are the meat of the prayer, and actually ask for something quite different from what people are taught they mean in third grade religion classes.

The second line of the prayer is as follows: "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." According to Jesus, god's kingdom is not of this earth. It is someplace distant and only faintly related to the world we live on. This line asks to bring it here. Also, the standard image of heaven is one where god's rule is absolute and instantaneous. Instead of having to 'work through mysterious ways,' if god wants something, >pouf<, god gets it. To make god work on earth as in heaven means that miracles should come to be expected, with physics and cause and effect taking second place to the will of god. This line asks for the end of the world as we know it, though perhaps not literally ending the world.

The third line of the prayer goes like this: "give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses." No longer will people work, or worry about evil. It's back to eden, the perfect garden where people talked directly to god. God supplies whatever people need, and is right there to forgive any evil that may inadvertently occur. This line, also, requires a complete change in the way the world works, but not necessarily its destruction.

It's the fourth line that's the clincher. It's the shortest one in the prayer; it simply asks god to "deliver us from evil." As a person required to take theology courses for 12 years so far, I can say authoritatively that the church regards the world as an imperfect place. Those imperfections take the form of evil. The world itself is inherently evil, though it wasn't at first when god created it. It became evil when people noticed that there was land outside the garden of eden. Therefore, when a person asks god to deliver him or her from evil, they ask to be removed from the world. The don't ask to have evil removed from the world; if that were the intend, the prayer would be worded thus: "deliver evil from us." Instead, the person is asking for what is known in church terminology as The Rapture.

During The Rapture, every faithful person is supposed to be whisked to heaven instantaneously to undergo the final judgement. While god's busy with them, he rest are left to fight out 100 years of holy warfare, the good taking sides against the evil, until god prevails in the end. Then the good undergo final judgement and the evil are sent to hell. And every time a person prays the Our Father, they are asking for this to happen.

That's basically the paper I'm going to write. I don't like christian religion very much, though. The ancient greek/roman religion (which we demote without thinking to 'mythology') made as much sense as this, and it had a better storyline.

Oct 09 00 -- My Obsession

The sign said: "All children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult."

I am a compulsive reader. I have been since I was very small and taught myself how to form the symbols, the letters, into words. I was incredibly happy the January that I turned seven, because that sign no longer applied to me. It meant that I could walk, all alone, the ten minutes that it took me to get to the public library. From there, I could get to any book I could think of. I could just browse, I could sit down and read a book in the library without checking it out, I could do anything. There was a five book checkout limit for the juvenile library cards, and I held furious debates within myself about which five books I would take out, which selections--by Anthony, Asimov, Duane, McCafferty, or whoever else I was reading that day--would make the cut. Typically, before the school week was over I would be back at the library, returning the used books, getting a fresh batch.

It had consequences, both good and bad. I got a perfect verbal score on the SATs recently. I've always had a rather large vocabulary, and done well in school. However, would I have the ability to score so well, or to perform at this level, without reading? Is it aptitude, or just a skill that I've been practicing since I was four? I really don't know.

The flipside of the coin is that I've been a recluse for most of my life. During recess, instead of playing kickball, dodgeball, or tetherball in the parking lot where the kids milled around, I would sit with my back to the school building, nestled in the corner where the wings joined, and read. During classes, if the teacher wasn't speaking and we didn't have an assignment, I would read. Walking down the hallway, down the stairs, all the way home, I would read. Instead of playing with my peers, I read about the adventures of imaginary people. They were far more grand and interesting than anything I saw to do with kids my age. Frendship became a very rare but little sought after comfort. Fictional characters were generally more interesting, more self reliant, and more flexible about when I could meet with them than real people.

There is really no point to this article other than to offer some insight into how I came to be the person I am.

I love to dissect things in my mind, to delve into introspective musings, to reason through the logic of everything I see. Usually, I never get a chance to write down my thought process. This project was one notable exception to that rule, and one I’m exceptionally fond of.

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