Alexander: Mofo

I’m living in a hostel, I have been swapping between them for weeks, and I’m not convinced it’s good for me. Jobs are are not flying through the door, nor are opportunities to do my show anywhere. Pitching to perform in London is harder than I expected, and it seems the reviews from New Zealand – all good – are not counting for as much as I’d hoped they would. Facts need to be addressed – no one knows who I am. This has become more apparent as time has progressed. Some theatres don’t even write back to me, some theatres won’t give me work because I’m too experienced. It’s a city where being good at something is looked down upon.

You know what I look down on? Snoring. Literally. There is a man in my room snoring and I’m on a top bunk, so I’m looking down on him. He snores like a freight train carrying several loudly snoring people. He snores like a mofo.

Mofo is short for motherfucker, and motherfucker is a stupid word. Every biological father is a motherfucker. One day, perhaps, I will be a motherfucker. Why do we look down on these people who are, in part, responsible for our existence? Because the human race is an illogical, braindead species. We must be, if we see human reproduction as an insult.
“You stupid motherfucker.”
“I had sex and produced a child, thereby ensuring the continuation of our species. What have you done?”
“Drugs.”
“Exactly.”

That’s not to say drugs are inherently bad; I believe humans should be able to put what they like into their own bodies. That said, if you put something in your body that’s not good for you, I shouldn’t have to pay to fix it. If I like playing with knives and I cut myself, it’s not your job to pay for my bandages. Likewise, if you get addicted to crack and your nose falls off, I shouldn’t have to pay for your nose reproduction.
Reparation. Whatever.
Nose reproduction isn’t the wrong phrase. A new nose is being produced, isn’t it? It’s just that it’s not being produced by other noses. And if noses had to make baby noses, you wouldn’t call them nosefuckers, would you? Because it sounds stupid. Exactly.

The snoring has stopped, though there is the occasional sound of itching. I guess I know then that I’m not alone in the room, which is nice. When a room becomes available in a flat, I’ll have my own room, but not the friends I’ve made in hostels. It’s an up-downgrade, or a down-upgrade, depending on how you look at it. People won’t be saying, “See you when you’re famous,” when I leave – which at times seems like a long way in the future. I’ll miss it.

~

Mofo is worse than motherfucker because it has the pro and con of being catchy. It’s not really rude, it’s just stupid – but the kind of stupid that is addictive, like Family Guy, or New Zealand politics.

There are more sirens every night I’m here, which makes more sense than there being less – then they’d have to take away some from previous nights, which isn’t possible yet and won’t be until time travel becomes a possibility. I’d like to time travel, but be invisible and not have an effect on anything – then I can’t make changes and become responsible for future atrocities like Ebola outbreaks, or New Zealand politics.

~

I’m in love with Saorise Ronan, even though common sense dictates her name should be spelt Sersha. She can spell her name xyanl0z and pronounce it Bill if she wants to, she’d still be perfect. If I could marry her, or Noomi Rapace, or Scarlett Johansson; I’d become a Mormon, move to Utah, and pick Saorise – then I’d live in Utah where no one has the social skills to take her away from me. (Noomi and Scarlett could be my sexy maids that do my every bidding – and if you think that’s sexist, I’m perfectly willing to be their sexy waiter in their sex dreams too. Gender equality for all of us.)

~

New Zealand is a long way away, though in reality, it’s only a 30 hour journey. It’s a long time if you’re counting the seconds, but it isn’t really that far. Nowhere in the world is weeks or months on a ship anymore, just a flight or two. Puts home sickness (which hasn’t hit) in perspective.

Jim Carrey spent 15 years becoming an overnight success. Seth Rogen wrote Superbad at 14. Louis CK has been doing standup for nearly 30 years. I’m starting young, I have the time to make things happen. It’s all about working hard, playing hard . . . then dreaming of Saooris. Sarsher. Sesher.

Saorise. Stupid motherfucking name.

Alexander: Sugar Free Mountain Dew

3 October 2014

I’m in the nicest hostel I’ve ever stayed in, but at some point in the future (10am tomorrow), I’ll be back on the road – and not on the road in an exciting, unpredictable sense where I can go anywhere and do anything I want, but more where I have to stay in London to try and make it as a writer and performer. You can understand my hesitating to leave the place I’ve stayed and been more than comfortable for the last ten or so days to venture back out into the real world.

I’m in the hostel bar drinking sugar free mountain dew. Sugar free mountain dew tastes like what I imagine piss would taste like if you took out the good bits.

The hostel has given me a six bed room which I share with only one other person. The woman in my room is from New Zealand. It’s like going back to where I came from, but sharing my room with a woman I’ve never met (which isn’t bad, but less exciting than my ambiguous account may make it sound). We first met when I walked in – thinking she was a friend of mine that’s also staying in the hostel – took off my shirt, and said “It’s just us tonight then,” before getting into my bunk. A minute later I realised I’d changed rooms that morning and had no idea who was sharing the room with me.

~

Yesterday I asked for a smarties mcflurry and was given a sprite. Next time I’ll confuse them by asking for a big mac with no ice. If I was a burger, I’d want to be from McDonald’s – popular and unpretentious, but also not horrible and cheap. Don’t want to be no shitty burger.

I’ve been talking with a feminist, and come to the conclusion that people are harsh on promiscuous women; even harsher than I am on sugar free Mountain Dew. It’s allowed to do what it wants, including being sugar free, and women should be allowed to do what they want without judgement (except murder/theft/obvious exceptions).  All people should be as free as mountain dew to either be sugar free, or sugar generous. That’s all I’m saying. (Seriously, sugar free mountain dew is horrible, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to call people names. I’m starting to doubt the connection between soft drink and equality. Too late now.)

If I was a drink, would I rather be popular like coke, and more likely to go through someone’s intestines; or universally shunned like mountain dew, and destined to be alone forever? I’m glad humans don’t have to make the decision between being universally shunned or turned into piss. Those aren’t good options.

de Sade: Can God sin?

Can God sin?

Introduction

Let us assume the classic monotheistic religions claim there exists a God who is all good, all knowing, and all powerful (omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipoent). It has long been thought the existence of God is questionable based on this line of thinking.

1. God is omnibenevolent (and therefore cannot sin).
2. God is omnipotent (and therefore can do anything).
3. If God is omnipotent, he can sin.
4. God can therefore cannot sin (from 1) and can sin (from 2).
5. God’s defining characteristics are incompatible; therefore he does not exist.

It seems, from the logic above, that God – if he exists – must be either able to sin and therefore not be omnibenevolent, or unable to sin and therefore not be omnipotent. We must wonder . . . if there were to be a God, could he sin?

I will definitively answer the question ‘can God sin, or do what is morally wrong?’ with yes. God is a being defined as all good, all knowing, and all powerful. Some philosophers have either discredited the existence of an omnipotent being altogether (my writings included), or believe that impeccability is defined as an inability to sin, rather than a choice not to sin. Theists also often believe that God, as a perfect being, cannot sin. Some believe that God can sin, but cannot bring himself to do so. I will argue that if God were to exist, as an omnipotent being, he would have to be able to sin. There are disagreements here that will need to be dealt with, though the disagreement is largely down to the definition of ‘omnipotence’. My primary claims are that God is capable of sin, and that God’s ability to sin does not affect God’s impeccability. I will conclude by making clear how this apparent inconsistency can be explained.

In the end, it will be made clear that the question theists should ponder is ‘if there is a God who can sin, why should we trust him?’. That, my friends, would make for interesting discussion.

I

I define omnipotence as the ability to bring about any logically possible state of affairs, meaning my argument would be written like this:

1. Omnipotence is the ability to bring about any logically possible state of affairs.
2. Sinning is a logically possible state of affairs.
3. God is omnipotent.
4. Therefore, God can sin.

The definition of omnipotence is widely debated, with some claiming that God’s omnipotence is not accurately described by my definition. It is argued that if God can sin, then God has the ability to remove his own divine status (which is reliant on God’s being all good, all knowing, and all powerful) – meaning he would no longer exist as God. From the claims God cannot destroy himself, and sinning would remove one of God’s main characteristics (omnibenevolence), one can make the point God must not be capable of sinning. This inability to sin would preserve God’s omnibenevolence; however, it then has an effect on God’s omnipotence. If omnipotence is tailored to what a being is logically capable of doing based on characteristics individual to them, the word means almost anyone could be considered omnipotent.
(For example, I could claim to be omnipotent excluding my inability to fly – which doesn’t count because I’m human and we lack that characteristic. In that scenario, I am all powerful, but there are things I cannot do – which is clearly not a case of omnipotence.)

It is clear omnipotence needs to be defined as the ability to bring about any logically possibly state of affairs. Any philosophers wishing to challenge this definition must ask themselves what the correct definition of omnipotence is, and whether or not philosophers on both sides of the debate will agree with it. The definition I have provided has no obvious loopholes to allow beings who are not truly all powerful to be called omnipotent. A further strength is that in this case, both the atheist and the theist arguments agree on this definition – indicating it has strength as a universal definition that will not lead to arguments about incorrect usage and semantics.

Some believe an omnipotent and all good being cannot exist because they equate being all good with being incapable of sin – and the ability to sin is one facet of being all powerful. Here, we disagree. I concede God must be able to bring about any logically possible state of affairs in order to be omnipotent, but in reply to the claim God can’t be able to sin and be perfectly good: it does not follow from God’s being able to sin that he will sin. It is possible to imagine a world in which God is necessarily all powerful, and contingently all good. In this situation, God must be all powerful in order to create the world, but his perfect goodness is a conscious choice he makes that assures sin will not take place. Theists in disagreement will reply that contingent omnibenevolence ultimately makes God capable of committing sin and opens up the question of whether or not God can be trusted. My reply is that for a theist, the question of whether or not we can trust God is surely more preferable than continuing to debate whether the characteristics of omnibenevolence and omnipotence are even compatible at all. A reply to my argument may be that God’s characteristic of omnibenevolence being merely contingent opens God to the possibility of destroying himself through removing a key aspect of his divine abilities. My reply to that line of thought is that God’s necessary omnipotence – his ability to do anything – is what makes him God. Removing omnipotence would reduce God to being only slightly above humanity. God’s omnibenevolence is merely a contingent characteristic that is worthy of our respect because he has the option to sin beyond what we could possibly imagine, yet refrains from doing so. Confusing necessary characteristics (omnipotence) with contingent characteristics (omnibenevolence) is a mistake that draws attention away from newer and more important questions like ‘can we trust God?’

II

In the first section I argued that God must be able to sin in order to be omnipotent; in this section, I make the claim that God’s ability to sin would not affect his impeccability. Theists are correct in believing that hypothetically, God’s inability to sin would lead to God being all good. If God were not able to do bad things, then it follows he would only do good things (or things that were not morally reprehensible, at least). This hypothetical situation has problems, however. It assumes the ability to sin would have an effect on God’s actions; when in reality, the ability to sin does not entail sin taking place. Omnibenevolence is achieved by doing no wrong; having the ability to do wrong is irrelevant. This means it is possible to imagine a world where God is capable of sinning, chooses not to sin, and is therefore all good – because God is not doing any wrong, his actions are praiseworthy.

Theists have replied to this by saying God is less praiseworthy if he is capable of sinning. This viewpoint may come about because the idea God is capable of sinning does not fit with how God is understood traditionally, or perhaps a God who is not necessarily omnibenevolent makes them question their trust in his protection of humanity. In either case, what merits being praiseworthy is key at this point in order to persuade this group that God’s contingent omnibenevolence is an acceptable idea. If God is necessarily omnipotent and contingently omnibenevolent, then he retains both the ability to bring about any logically possible state of affairs, including sin (omnipotence); while also staying all good. Two points are in my favour – the first is the situation I just mentioned allows for God to retain both of his traditional characteristics. The second point is God is more morally praiseworthy as a contingently omnibenevolent being than as a necessarily omnibenevolent being. The thinking is this: a necessarily omnibenevolent being has no choice but to do good things. If that is the case, they are not worthy of praise – they are simply performing the only actions that are available to them. Taken a step further, this can give a direct example of why God is more morally praiseworthy as a contingently omnibenevolent being than he would be as a necessarily omnibenevolent being. If God can sin, that means the option of decimating all of mankind and starting again is a real option. If mankind and its tendency towards sin is a disappointment to God, he is certainly more praiseworthy for having the option to demolish the world and start again, and refraining from doing so, then he would be if he were to not even to have the option and so refrained from doing it. The choice to remain all good is also one way of making sense of humanity’s goal to aim to be like God – if God chooses to be good, we have the ability to try and emulate that. If God was flawlessly good only down to the fact he is necessarily omnibenevolent, then using him as an example we should morally emulate is not fair.

III

So far I have argued that God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and capable of sin – I will now compare my findings with those that claim God can sin, but God cannot bring himself to do it – thus retaining his omnipotence and omnibenevolence. This claim is similar to my argument that God chooses not to sin, although God is less morally praiseworthy in the other claim than in my own. I define being unable to bring oneself to do something to mean that one is unable to deal with the consequences of one’s actions. Essentially the implication is then that God refrains from sinning because he will not like the repercussions of his own acts. Praising God for refraining from doing something he can’t do (sin) seems unreasonable. However, praising God for refraining from doing something where the results would make him unhappy is equally ridiculous. By allowing God not only the ability to sin, but the possibility of enjoying the results of his own sin, I am maintaining God’s omnipotence, omnibenevolence, and his praiseworthiness. If God has good reasons to sin (demolishing humanity to rebuild it from scratch) and he could bring himself to do it but chooses not to, God is certainly a praiseworthy being. One may argue that God’s inability to bring himself to sin is not a weakness on God’s part, but a sign of his great love for us. In reply, I would say God’s being ‘unable to bring himself’ to sin is simply another way of saying he is incapable of sinning, because the results are the same – an omnipotent being who can’t do bring about all that is logically possible – and as shown, this is not a satisfactory conclusion.

My opponents and I both believe that God’s omnibenevolence is contingent, but some add to this a further unnecessary premise – if God sins, he no longer has the characteristics required of God, and is therefore no longer God. Here, they face my objection. If God’s omnipotence is necessary, then God must be all powerful – a being cannot be considered God if they cannot bring about all logically possible states of affairs. However, if God’s omnibenevolence is merely contingent, then God sinning and no longer being all good does not affect his status as God. You say I am challenging traditional religion too strongly. My reply is I am taking God’s necessary omnipotence and his contingent omnibenevolence to their logical extreme: God’s being all powerful is an essential characteristic, God’s being all good is not. Therefore, it is logically possible for there to be a God who is necessarily all powerful and contingently all good, who then sins, is no longer contingently all good, but retains the status of God due to retaining the necessary characteristic of being all powerful.

Conclusion

I have argued that God is omnipotent, omnibenevolent, capable of sin, and that his ability to sin does not affect his impeccability. God’s being able to sin is a good way to avoid issues of semantics when discussing the existence of God. If atheists and theists were to take on my thinking – that if God exists, he can sin – then debates can start about more important questions like ‘if God were to exist, why trust him?’, rather than continuing to debate whether God can be both omnibenevolent and omnipotent. The arguments I have outlined above challenge the traditional view of God as a necessarily omnibenevolent and necessarily omnipotent being, but the traditional theist who challenges my argument then faces the difficult task of defining omnipotence satisfactorily. The atheist who challenges God’s ability to sin is then limited to defending why if there is a God, he would fit the traditional characteristics of being necessarily omnibenevolent and necessarily omnipotent – which would be unsatisfying because that definition of God may be the reason they were an atheist in the first place.

My beliefs and your own may differ; but I have proved that if God were to exist he would be capable of sin. What kind of destruction could an omnipotent being bring about? So many questions to ponder . . .

de Sade: Friendship

Friendship

I lack the motivation to meet new people.

That is far from saying that meeting new people isn’t a joyous occasion, or that I avoid situations where it is likely to happen; I merely find that unless interactions run smoothly from beginning to end I will stand there wondering how long it is until I can leave. I crave company to the point that my work suffers for it. If there is anyone even near my cell, I feel obliged to entice them into conversation, and my writing falls by the wayside – no matter whether the person holding my attention is the most delicious washerwoman or a mere prison guard.

When the opportunity arises and there are new people to talk to, however, I don’t often see the point. I’m disappointed in the gap between my own friendships and the ideal of friendship to the point that meeting new people becomes a perceived waste of time. Friendships ensure we don’t walk this largely cold and indifferent world alone, but people always fall short of our expectations. Meetings flourish or wilt but in either case, it is impossible for our ideal to be met.

The Ideal Aspects of Friendship

1. Friends are for sharing good times and giving support in bad times.

Whether forced distance, inconvenience, or some invented distractions are brought into play, many people will abandon you in your time of need. Those that do not leave you for dead are traditionally considered your ‘real’ friends.

2. Friends are for sharing secrets and having people to empathise with (and more importantly to ensure there are those who empathise with you).

If you count the number of people you are entirely honest with – the number of people you would feel comfortable sharing everything with – that number is likely to be small. In reality, it is likely to be zero. You do not have anyone whose questions you will answer truthfully no matter what your answer is. We have too much within us we desire (or feel obliged) to keep hidden. This is a shortcoming of our own; we bring about our own lack of closeness with others.

You cannot share everything with anyone for many reasons: you may feel ashamed of a previous action, you may not trust them to keep the information between you, you may simply think they look fat in the clothes they are wearing. Perhaps you want to bed their sibling or parent (or them); there’s a chance you’re jealous of the social standing they have over you, of the attention others pay to them but fail to show you. There will always be a part of you that needs to be left to simmer alone.

If people do not truly know what it is like to be in the exact same situation as someone else, how can they ever hope to empathise with them? If your friends don’t understand you, you are alone.

The Steps of Friendship

1. Make friends.
2. Share some information, hide some information.
3. Feel the friends can’t offer you the closeness you need.
4. Meet new people.
5. Repeat.

It is with the first action I take issue. Why bother? Your friends will always change. You meet them at the market, or through a friend, in in your place of work. You talk. You arrange to meet at a later date, and behold, you both deliver. You’re friends now – you should be proud. But weeks later you find out they disagree with your stand on polygamy, or they have religious beliefs opposing yours, or they detest the use of rubbish bins, and your opinion of this ‘friend’ changes. The aspects you so loved before are now bringing you to the edge of throwing them down the stairs – what happened to your friendship?
They changed.
Months later you find out they’re attracted to you, or they love the same literature, or they share the same life philosophy – and your view changes again. A year later you find out they’re racist, or they thought you were dating. Friendships are volatile. How do you know what you share today is something you won’t regret telling tomorrow? You can never truly know the person you are talking to.

People believe this void can only be filled with love and a relationship because if you live with someone – share their space – then you know that person better than anyone else. You are present for most of their day to day life. This is what makes refraining from leaping at (on inside) the next free man or woman when a relationship dies difficult: the void left by a person that listens is large. The strength of will required to last without other people to catch you is not easily acquired. Although it makes no sense to care about the opinions of those that don’t know you, part of you will always be avidly searching for the one person that makes you feel understood. You throw yourself at people in a similar situation, but they are also attempting to fill a perceived gap.

Your lunging won’t help.

The friendship ideal is not always the best. It is only when a person is comfortable alone that their friendships become worthwhile. They become exciting. The exchange of information is no longer futile; change stops the relationship from decaying. When you are aware of the inherent shortcomings of interactions with others, you cannot help but be forced to rely on your own strength. Being around others is nice, but sometimes you will need to bite your lower lip, roll up your sleeves, and be honest with yourself.

There is one solution to this lack of intimacy between friends. If we were to be entirely honest with each other – to openly answer all questions asked of us without refraining from a single thought that occurs to us at the time – eventually we would really know one another. We would have to be prepared for whatever we hear (and it is likely we would be made aware of things we wish we didn’t know), but that is a small price to pay for connecting with other men and women on a level we have only previously imagined and never actually attained.

“Your arse looks the size of my dining table when loaded with Christmas dinner.”

“When you and I are fucking, I think of your brother dressed as a rooster.”

“You have the personality of a potato and the face of a pulled pork bun that’s been dropped in the road and put back together by a person with no hands.”

You would need to be prepared for the answers you faced, but equally, you can choose what you ask. And it is a mistake to think that everything we hold within our own metaphorical prison cells is of a negative persuasion. I believe that the best we have to offer is held back due to issues with shyness, the threat of failure, or whatever reason we can find to keep what we really want to share in the dark. Think what we may be missing out on.

“You’re my best friend, but I’m in love with you.”

“I’m not here to be a market attendant – I want to be an equestrian.”

“Ever since we met, I’ve wanted to try anal.”

Look at what we could achieve if we become entirely open with ourselves and others. We could find the drive to change the course of our lives for the better, we could start relationships that have so far been seen as potentially damaging of a friendship – we could even get anal out of it! What is there to lose, friends?

Honesty is the key. Get talking and get fucking.

Alexander: English Theatres

A quick note on London theatres – they’re freaking insane. Caught four shows so far and all the venues have been amazing.

Shakespeare’s Globe
The Comedy of Errors (Shakespearean comedy)
Julius Ceaser (Shakespearean tragedy)

Globe Theatre
It’s around here somewhere. An amazing place, I was very lucky to perform here in 2011.

The Old Vic
Electra (Greek tragedy starring Kristen Scott Thomas; performed in the round)The Old Vic

My seat is where the stage was last time. Both times seen big names here, last time was Kevin Spacey in Richard III  – which was amazing.

Criterion Theatre
The 39 Steps (Comedy version of a Hitchcock thriller; four actors play 140 characters)

Criterion
I felt like a doll here. (Because it’s pink and white like a dollhouse, not because it made me feel pretty.) I’m also really looking forward to seeing The Massacre at Paris at Rose Theatre tomorrow.

Rose Theatre
This is the stage and also the viewing platform above the remains of the original Rose Theatre. It’s five minutes from Shakespeare’s Globe and a great place to visit if you’re in the area. In short, London’s worth a visit for lots of reasons, but theatre has got to be one of the best parts of the city.