Project FearNaught- ‘We’re All Going to Die’

Sad but true—we are all going to die. The awareness of death is a distinct privilege for humans—our cerebral capacity allows us to foresee our inevitable endpoint in a way that no other animal can imagine. This ‘mortality salience’ is among the driving forces of humanity, and has been the genesis of countless stories and myths, as well as a key feature of almost all major religions.

The question always becomes: What happens when we die? It’s as if some certainty to this quandary might settle our nerves when the time comes—and well it may. However, the funny thing about death is that not many get the chance to report back. So, whether it’s pearly gates, Elysium fields, an endless void, or something entirely different, we are left to wonder.

Today however, we are going to take this issue head-on—providing a minimalist view of the afterlife which should be accessible to all, and act as an effective guidepost for personal moral accountability. This is not meant to be taken as a proof or even a strong belief, but rather a fundamental jumping off point: a basic answer, and a prompt for greater personal insight.

Whether you seek admittance into Heaven, Valhalla, or any other similar notion, what I want to provide for you today is a roadmap of behaviour guaranteed to get you there.

In order to do so, I will present you with five simple assumptions. Once these assumptions are accepted, I will outline a fundamental interpretation of the afterlife which will suffice to guide the action of any man, woman, or child seeking a positive post-mortem experience.

The 5 Assumptions are:                          

  1. We have a sense of right and wrong:

Specifically, the assumption is that we can feel good or bad about actions we have taken. For instance, if we think about betraying a friend, we may feel guilty. If we consider being there to help a loved one, we may feel proud or valued.

  1. Our experience of time is relative to our experience of pleasure/ pain:

This one sounds a bit more complex than it is. What I am seeking here is a basic recognition that when we have a good time, it seems to fly, and that when we suffer, time seems to drag.

  1. Death is the greatest displeasure:

As animals driven by animal instincts, our general inclination is to avoid death at all costs. Essentially, our own death is the worst thing to experience.

  1. When you die, your life flashes before your eyes:

It may be that none of you are as well-equipped as me to accept the truth of this one. It’s an old concept for sure, and one that I myself have recently experienced and will attest to in a roundabout sort of way.

  1. A number cannot be divided by zero:

This one may come as a twist, but in order to finish this concept, we need to agree on this basic mathematic principle—specifically regarding calculus and graphing.

Now, based on the five assumptions we just agreed on, we can imagine a very interesting and poignant thing happening the moment we die. First of all, as I’m sure you can surmise, you’re going to have your life flash before your eyes. On top of that, since we agreed that you have some semblance of morality, you are going to have certain feelings—some positive, some negative—about the way you have lived.

However, we’ve also agreed that our experience of time slows down as we experience more adverse situations, and further, that death is the worst thing to experience. Considering this in relation to our final fact, I ask that you imagine a graphic function for a moment.

For this graph, we will have the X-Axis represent our experience of pain. The lower the value, the more pain we experience.

The Y-Axis will represent our experience of time. The greater the value, the more relative time any given moment seems to take.

Since death is the worst possible experience, as the X-Axis approaches death (or a zero divisor), the value of the Y-Axis (our relative experience of time) grows exponentially greater without ever reaching said zero.

This is called an asymptote. The Y-Value will veer upwards towards infinity as the X-Value creeps closer to its natural dead-end. According to the precepts of our graph, what this means is that as we approach the moment of death, we find ourselves in a single moment experienced as an eternity.

So here we are, stuck in an eternal moment, looking back at our lives, and feeling good or bad about it—or some mixture of both.

This concept affords to us a vision of eternity which compels us to virtue, not to avoid punishment—which is no true virtue at all, merely coercion—but for the reward of decency itself. It is a functional clearing of the dogma and artifice which has grown over the reliefs of truth, and tasks us simply with being prepared to face ourselves and our actions not only on the day of our death, but each preceding day as well.

This to me is the most basic understanding needed to live a righteous life. The concept we should take away from it, simply put, is that we should take no action we would not be comfortable looking back on for eternity.

Share this, and use it each day. Think on your actions, and encourage others to do likewise. For Project: FearNaught to change the world, we must confront our virtues and vices head-on. That is the purpose here. The task may be daunting, but it can be accomplished…have no fear.

Be part of the debate:Project FearNaught is an effort to start the conversation that changes the world. As such, your voice is key to our ambition. To add your input, questions, or comments, click here.

-Jeremy Arthur

‘Truth Ink.’

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Project FearNaught- ‘Just Imagine…’

Imagine if we could all work as one towards the same goals—driven by the same core beliefs. Sadly, ideas of truth are ripe with divisive discourse, and any man who claims to have all the answers is either a fool, or looking for a fool who’ll buy them.

If the purpose of ‘Project: FearNaught’ is to unite humanity—and it is—we must first cast aside many of the bonds we are subject to.

The truth and merit of any given belief system is evidenced in the actions of its adherents. Decency, loyalty, and righteousness are easy words to throw around. So too are they often described as the key tenets of most religions. Likewise, harmonious discourse is called for by nearly all movements, yet seldom achieved.

The purpose of religion, if it is to have any positive effect, is to cope with the times, rather than define them. When it is allowed to dictate the policies of society, dogmatic religion has proven to be a force of injustice, rather than the liberation it is intended to provide. Why is this?

Well, the truth of our reality is far greater than any one person’s ability to articulate, and while all of the Holy Texts and creeds are an attempt to do just that, I believe this makes them all equally valid, rather than the opposite.

Different—and yet alike. That’s the key. But to understand our unity better, we must first consider some essential distinctions. Specifically, what is humanity? What does it mean to be human? And where does spirituality fit into all of this?

To this end, I offer up the first core tenet of ‘Project: FearNaught’: ‘The Metaphorical Imperative.’ For the ease of considering the questions outlined above, let us first look to another, more familiar question: ‘Which came first: the chicken, or the egg?’

Historically, this has never really been meant to have an answer, but to act merely as a mind-expanding paradox. This is a foolish reduction however, and I believe the answer is far clearer than we commonly let on. But, as always, in order to elucidate the reality of the query, we must first define our terms.

So we must ask, just what do we mean by a ‘chicken egg’. If a chicken egg is an egg from which a chicken emerges, then the chicken egg came before the chicken. But if a chicken egg is an egg laid by a chicken, then surely the chicken must have come first.

The key take-away here is that at some point in the evolutionary lines, a non-chicken laid an egg from which a chicken emerged. Now we understand the progression, and are ready to apply it to our own dear forms.

Let us consider the evolution of man. Similar to the chicken above, there must surely be some point at which a being considered ‘non-human’ gave birth to a true ‘human’. We are now tasked with considering the defining change which denotes one such animal ‘human’ and another ‘non-human’.

To my mind, this would be closely tied to the expansion of our cerebral capacity—including things such as language and abstract thought. More importantly—and here is the crux of this entire notion—I would hold that the key point at which we became human is the moment we developed brains capable of looking around us and, rather than acting on blind instinct or natural drives, began to ask ourselves ‘why?’

Not coincidentally, the same expanded cerebral capacity that affords us this philosophic luxury is also the defining feature which allows us to answer the question, rising up to say, ‘Well, because…’

It’s found in our ability to articulate metaphor—to create abstract representations and provide meaning where our basic senses fail. This ability is the defining feature of humanity. Every temple, every text, and every brilliant idea which has graced our species has come from this singular gift. It gives us the ability to imagine the sort of wonderful stories, images, and sounds which reinforce a deep passion in your soul that you have long harboured, but been unable to articulate until this moment.

Imagination—Metaphor—is our hallmark. Our drive and ability to create meaning from madness is what separates us from the animals. All belief, all reason is the result of our divine ability to create and articulate complex ideas.

This is why, as stated above, all religious ideas are equally valid—both true and untrue. In ‘Project: FearNaught’, it is my hope that when using words like God, heaven, or spirit, the reader may take those to apply to whichever specific set of beliefs they hold most dear—or none whatsoever.

It is us who are the creators of meaning in our world, and the power an idea has is found in its ability to be understood, believed, and to make an impact.

This is the Metaphorical Imperative of humanity, and the starting point of ‘Project: FearNaught’. It is inclusive of all, allowing for anyone with the will to imagine a better world. It is free of dogma and decree—‘Project: FearNaught’ does not tell us what to think, it only demands that we do so freely.

It is human imagination which sets us free of our existential anxieties and allows us to dream up better worlds. All human thought—from religion to philosophy to politics—is the product of this imagination, and ‘Project: FearNaught’ seeks to bring together the most universal of these to act as guideposts for the future of humanity.

In this purpose we are all equal—no matter our backgrounds, our creed or experiences. If you have the power to imagine a better world—then you are among the driving forces behind ‘Project: FearNaught’.

Be part of the debate:Project FearNaught is an effort to start the conversation that changes the world. As such, your voice is key to our ambition. To add your input, questions, or comments, click here.

-Jeremy Arthur

‘Truth Ink.’

Introducing ‘Project: FearNaught’

In our recent teaser article, ‘Harbinger’, we posed a rather bold question. Specifically, we asked you, ‘What does it take to change the world?’

Now, the asking is the easy part, but damn fools that we are, we promised answers on top of that! I wonder, did you really expect them? Well if you did, then you probably don’t pay much attention to what’s going on around you. Take note, any time a Corporation offers to change the world for you, the best course of action is to run the other way just as fast as you can.

That said, we here at Brad OH Inc. are true to our word, so if answers are what we’ve offered, then answers are certainly what we’ll deliver.

Admittedly, Brad OH may not be the ideal man for this particular job, so we’ll defer to someone better suited to the subject…our good friend Jeremy Arthur, from ‘Truth Ink’.

Jeremy is a young writer with a deep-rooted passion for change and justice—and with somewhat more free time than yours truly. His attempt at addressing these large-scale problems is called ‘Project: Fearnaught’, and will become a recurring topic on this blog going forward.

So, from this point forth, let it be known that anything under the ‘FearNaught’ banner (above) is the exclusive work of this ‘Jeremy Arthur’ character, and does not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of anyone officially associated with Brad OH Inc.

That said, his efforts hinge entirely on your participation and dialogue. As such, each article will include a direct link to the comments section. Please do feel free (and highly encouraged) to use that link to discuss the issues, share your own personal opinions, and help to grow the ideas beyond merely one man and a keyboard.

Be part of the debate: To add your input, questions, or comments, click here.

-Brad OH Inc.

Harbinger…

It’s often said that we here at Brad OH Inc. have the bad habit of eagerly pointing out problems in the world, yet providing sorry few solutions. Admittedly, we remain firmly committed to the principle that the first step in solving any problem is defining it—but still, there’s something missing.

What is the problem?

How is it solved?

How do we improve our society?

…How do we change the world?

Those—in part, are the questions. The answers? Well, at this time, we can only promise that there are people—at Brad OH Inc., and beyond—who are working diligently on exactly that.

So don’t worry.

Or more aptly…

-Brad OH Inc.

Right, Left, and Everything in Between: What Will Become of America?

purelyspeculationThree days after the 2016 General Election in America, a pall of dread hangs over not just the nation, but the world. There is doubt, confusion, and no small amount of fear. The very thing which everyone said simply could not happen has now come to pass—Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States.

Not only fear, this also creates a lot of questions. How did this happen? Why did we doubt it could? What does this say about the American people? What does the future hold for the ‘Land of the Free’?

Coming to power astride a wave of grandiose lies and dangerous bombast, Trump has openly called for violence, insulted multiple races, defiled men, and debased women on his path to the most powerful office in the world. The ludicrous ideas he has espoused pale in their absurdity only in comparison to the ignorant and ever-shifting ideologies he has endorsed.

Now there are riots in the streets, which are unlikely to end any time soon. To be honest, I expect this would have been little different had Hillary Clinton won.

The madness and peculiarity of this shocking election cycle did not happen by random chance. It was a clear reflection of the state of the American political structure, and more importantly, the American people.

This race has seen the utter devastation of both traditional parties—party lines are in shambles and voters are in doubt. Amidst all of this, we must remember one very important fact.

Donald Trump was elected President.

One of the questions going through many minds is, how did this happen?

Well, words are always important, and the key word to the above phrase is ‘elected’. He won enough votes to take control of the Electoral College—quite handily at that. The fairness or effectiveness of the Electoral College is not the current purpose of this article mind you, and the fact simply remains that by the rules of the democracy, Trump had the voters he needed to win.

Who are these people?

Some of them—and possibly no small number—are just those who vote red no matter what. Both parties have always had plenty of those.

Others were likely the empowered bigots that inevitably sprout up under a vile demagogue like Trump, but I believe (and certainly pray) this number is far from being as high as many people believe.

A large portion of Trump voters, I expect, were simply just so reactionary and angry with the crooked system that they were willing to gamble. They were tired of false promises. They were tired of all the money going upward. They were tired of politicians being bought and paid for. They were tired of having no voice, and were long overdue to strike back at a political establishment which for far too long has functioned only for the moneyed interests which it serves.

As a Bernie guy, I get that.

The fact that enough people were willing to vote Trump rather than continue with the status quo is a damning condemnation on the current state of party politics. Yet, the oldest mistake in the history of democracy is to reject a failed system without due caution, and conjure into reality something even more fierce and immediate.

This election—all the way back to the primaries—was an aggressive rejection of crooked politics, corporate interference, economic mismanagement, and elitism. Yet the failure of the electorate to unite on the true issues, and the constant projection of aggression and fear onto one another has finally, in the end, led to the election of the Anti-Cause. Trump is the living embodiment of all the miserable vices which usurped the democratic process and threatened liberty to begin with.

There’s too much fear and anger. Any nerd can tell you what those lead to.

So here we are, and the question remains—what can we expect now?

One of the most common fears is the effect Trump’s antics will have on the populace, that he will inspire bigotry with confidence when it should rightly hide in shadows. Already, we’re seeing examples of this being reported, and there is sure to be more in the weeks to come.

But we must not yet take this to be the majority of his voters, or the true tone of the American people. If we listen to interviews, such hate is not the motivating factor for a great many—and we would do well not to ignore the expressed desires and intentions of the people. That, after all, is precisely what’s carried us to this precipice.

Nor indeed must any decent person trade hate for hate—to act violently or even unkindly towards these frustrated voters is to fall into the very pit of anger and hatred which most would claim to despise.

In this ailing democracy of ours, we can only hope for the best at this point. We must support what works, and vigorously fight what doesn’t. But above all and without fail, we must continue the fight against an entrenched establishment that has turned its back on the people it was created to represent in favour of its own interests. This may only happen if we step out of the cycle of blame and distrust. Talk to people on the other side of the spectrum—learn about their fears and their hopes. Share your own. Speak up against intolerance, but never slip into it yourself. Never forget how easy this is to do. Talk, share, and be honest. Set a model of decency in the truest sense—that is how you improve the world.

Finally, while so justified, while so understandable and well-earned, we must remember the very forces that brought us to this point. Avoid despair, avoid rage. Most importantly, fear not…

-Brad OH Inc.