Category Archives: Philosophy

Is a vegetative brain alive?

It looks like some medical books will be redrafted.  A patient who woke from a coma a decade ago and has been vegetative ever since, has now communicated with carers through brain imaging.  It’s the first time an uncommunicative, severely brain-injured patient has been able to give “answers” clinically relevant to their care.

It will be interesting to see if Peter Singer has comments.

BBC: Vegetative patient: ‘I’m not in pain’

The Old Lie: dulce et decorum est pro patria mori

The lie that inspires people to kill, and to die.  Don’t forget.  Remember the shame of war.  Remember the cost of war, which honour and glory can not repay.

Dulce Est Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime …
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Wilfred Owen, 1918


Wikipedia: Dulce et Decorum est

Wikipedia: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori


Peace on earth. Can it happen again?

Chuck Lorre Vanity Card #392

From what little I know of prehistory, man roamed the Earth for hundreds of thousands of years in small tribes — probably no more than two hundred people per group. During this time all wisdom was passed along according to the oral tradition. Everything you needed to know in order to succeed as a human being was told and/or shown to you, whether it be how to find a girl, find a guy, have sex, have a baby, find food, raise children, deal with family, argue with neighbors, care for the sick, elderly and dead, fight, work, sing, dance, play and get really loaded in order to hookup with the universe. (Side note: I’ve always loved the term “prehistory,” which arrogantly implies that prior to the emergence of our culture, nothing happened.) Anyway, this state of affairs lasted for a long, long time. It was relatively stable. Peace on Earth, if you will. Then, with the advent of large-scale agriculture and the need for ever larger swathes of land to accommodate it, the tribal system collapsed and people began to live huddled together in towns, villages and cities. In short order, the priceless wisdom that taught us who we were and how we could live a happy life was forever lost to mankind. Which brings us to today. I don’t believe that we became a neurotic and self-destructive species because we’re born in sin, or otherwise flawed. I believe our fall from grace was simply a forgetting. Speaking of which, don’t forget to buy my book of vanity cards, which is chock full of wisdom-rich oral tradition — that inadvertently got written down — and can be preordered online right now! Hurry, supplies are limited. (I don’t actually know if that’s true, but it sounds cool. What is true is that all my proceeds go to charity.)

Chuck Lorre Vanity Card #392

Sitcom Church

How can a sitcom (like The Big Bang Theory) facilitate communion with god? Well, …


ME: I believe that watching tonight’s show might constitute a spiritual experience.
YOU: That’s a pretty bold statement. How do you figure?

ME: Glad you asked. Since the concept of past and future is entirely man-made (ask any other living creature about past and future and all you’ll get is a dumb, non-comprehending stare), then it follows that if there is a god, a unifying spirit of the universe, be it “intelligent” or simply a pervasively unifying quantum particle sort of deal, then the present, “the constantly unfolding now,” is the only possible place it can exist. Which brings me to my bold assertion: If you laughed at any time during tonight’s show, you had to be paying attention. If you were paying attention it means you were, for that moment, in “the now” — the same place as the previously mentioned pervasive, unifying quantum particle we, as a species, enjoy worshipping and committing genocide over. Ergo, you had a spiritual experience.

YOU: Assuming you’re right, so what?

ME: So what?! This is huge! If a simple sitcom can lead to communion with the eternal, then I can make a case for my work having religious significance. Next step… The Church of Chuckology and a tax break! Ooh, maybe even a sleepy little burg in Florida I can call my own.

Set yourself on fire to change the world.

It must demand the greatest will power.  It must demand selfless sacrifice.

To set yourself on fire to bring attention to injustice.

It still happens in our world in which we think everything is OK.  (BBC: Tibetan men in ‘first self-immolations in Lhasa’) We may not need to martyr ourselves though our political system is not free from autocratic methods.  Very sad.

I keep this image of a Thai student self-immolating against government corruption in 1990 to remind me of what other people do to make the world a better place:

Chuck Lorre Vanity Cards

For a meaning of life …

for example:


I believe that in order to walk through grief, fear, loneliness, despair, confusion and anger without recourse to drugs, alcohol, over-eating, over-sexing, or the endless mind-numbing distractions provided by Western culture, one must become a spiritual warrior. I further believe that the pay-off for enduring suffering, for soberly embracing the inevitable bouts of emotional pain that life brings, is wisdom and serenity in the face of calamity. But make no mistake here, the path of the warrior is treacherous and cannot be walked alone. To survive, he must have brothers and sisters-in-arms to carry him when he buckles. When we lived and died in small tribes, this principle of mutually supporting one another through the trials of life was deeply woven into the fabric of the group mind. With the advent of towns and cities we were forced to live with the daily dilemma of being desperately alone and yet desperately needing one another. Which is why we are, by design, always seeking new tribes. With that in mind, I humbly offer a simple guideline to evaluate the efficacy of any tribe you might encounter on your path to becoming a spiritual warrior: if they ask for your money or access to your crotch, run away. If they ask for your money, smile unceasingly, never blink, and guarantee to make you a demi-god, running away will not suffice. Change your mailing address and briefly reconsider drugs, alcohol, food, sex and TV.

Don’t give up.

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”   Mahatma Gandhi

This is the struggle to change for good.  You are facing the torrent of fear and greed and trying to turn the flow, and yourself, to love.  Until all humanity knows and feels the honesty of cosmic law, trying to do the right thing the right way will be a challenge.  The reward is possession of your own conscience and spirit, without which you are a hollow person.

More wisdom from Ghandi:

“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”

“I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.”

“An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind.”

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”




“Ai,” the traditional Chinese character for love (?) consists of a heart (middle) inside of “accept,” “feel,” or “perceive,” which shows a graceful emotion. It can also be interpreted as a hand offering ones heart to another hand.

is patient

is kind

does not envy

does not boast

is not proud

is not rude

is not self-seeking

is not easily angered

keeps no record of wrongs

does not delight in evil

rejoices with the truth

always protects

always trusts

always hopes

always perseveres

never fails