Towards Freedom

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The VeggieChess SatChat

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I want everyone to know that I came first and waited around for the rest of you! Rachel came next and thought she was alone but she wasn't. She had some interesting information because she had adopted 10 timber wolves through a government program for a $125.

Larry and Fjord came next and I was able to tell both of them the courtesy with which Rachel had handled a rude poster a few days ago. I told several people this and it is worth seeing the calmness and composure that was demonstrated by this 12 year old who handled the admiration with grace and humility:

However, the grace didn't last long because Rachel asked me what kind of dog I was. That wasn't really the problem though. She wanted me to take this test on this site and by answering questions like what sort of stuff I would like to eat (and the choices were simply awful) and stuff like that, my particular breed of dog would be determined. Now, of course, I wouldn't answer any of these questions and so I thought it would end, but as you shall see, it didn't.

Fjord and I talked a bit about the latest developments in the Godel, Escher, Bach thread: 

and Zoe appeared not that there was any connection.

Meanwhile, Rachel was trying to talk me into trying that dog test, but I fended her off quite skilfully. Ranjana appeared and immediately started saying hello to everyone individually when a perfectly simple hello would have done. Rachel then tried to make me eat a powerbar in that test of hers, but when Zoe heard the word 'test', she immediately exclaimed, "test,huh,what test", no doubt because she had been doing so many tests recently. When Rachel saw that Zoe was interested, she told her about the test, but Zoe said she is allergic to dogs so Rachel came after me again. Ranjana said she didn't need to take the test because she was already a dog.

Larry told us his kids' names meanings. Jonathan, which he told us means gift from Jehovah, and Mae, which apparently means from Mary according to a baby names site. He thought Kyron was an interesting name and we were able to tell him that Pradip means light, Ranjana means colors - Kyron means multicoloured rays of light from the sun.

Rachel realizing that she wasn't making progress on the dog test with me, threatened another test even though Kyron did her dog test simply because he was curious about it. She tried to give me the celebrity test in which I apparently was to wear a bikini. You see how sadistic Rachel really is!

Ranjana went on to tell Larry a bit about how she and I met, but fortunately I was busy so I didn't have to think about that time nearly 4 decades ago. Besides, I had my own problems with Rachel digging up inappropriate test after inappropriate test!

Suddenly, Dyl entered and I thought I might be rescued. I exclaimed, "dyl thank god you are here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" which rather puzzled and possibly worried him. My plan was simple, yet brilliant. Give Dyl to Rachel. I was sure that Dyl would see the nobleness in the sacrifice. Instead, he seemed so confused, he left to take a shower, leaving me to face Rachel's beouty pageant test!

Before he took off, though Dyl told us that his encounter with his female friend (mentioned in an earlier SatChat) was a positive experience, I think: "The Russian kick-dance was a smashing success. I've been told I can dispense with the crutches in a fortnight."

Zoe meanwhile brought us uptodate on some strange clan proceedings elsewhere on RHP. It seems that some clan leaders are being rather dictatorial, kicking out members, making unfair match-ups and all in an attempt to 'get to the top'. This is a very strange thing to do, since it really doesn't take a whole lot of talent to get to the top, just a whole lot of time. We agree with Zoe's idea of having a clan: "i just run my clan cus i like my members".

Despite this, one of the members that I like, insisted that I take the beauty contest test because I need to let out my inner beauty queen.

Fjord then told us that he had found a wonderful new place in which to live: "a very nice place in a kind of forest. Kind of perfect for me. Very close to the city, but outside". There were still some finances to work out, but it sounds like Shangrila - especially after he gets ADSL internet connection.

Zoe, as we know, is heading out to sea very soon. She is very busy right up to departure and not just with packing: "i have 4 exams this week then fire fighting the week after and i will go on friday the 9th of july".

Rachel's next attempt was to get me to take a teen celebrity test. I explained, that I couldn't possibly take that test in the following way: "how can i take an age restrictive test when i do not accept temporal ramifications on one's existence?" and fortunately she seemed to accept that and went on to look for something else to bring on me.

Suddenly, Ray appeared in the chat after a long absence. He was introduced to Larry whom he had never met in the chat before, but i saw a great opportunity as a result of his appearance. Since Dyl wasn't present, I figured ray would be a perfect substitute. Ray thought from my request for help that I was losing a debate, but I told him it was much worse than that and that it was actually Rachel who was after me. Rachel figured this out though and said that she was going to hunt me down anyway. I appealed, "rachel is picking on me and very badly too" but that did not generate any sympathy from anybody. In fact, Larry told us that he was falling asleep and figured he should go soon since it was so late where he was.

Ray asked Kyron about linux and was told that he hadn't updated his gentoo system for about a month at which point I was able to point out that Kyron hadn't gotten his website completed for a year. Ray commented that he was most impressed with rRachel's postings on rhp echoing what everybody else had thought already.

Breaca appeared and told us that it had been difficult for her to come to the chat because she had visitors, and while she was exchanging greetings with everyone including Dyl who had finally come out of the shower, Rachel's next test for me was a kissing test. My reaction to this was "kiss!!! what are you trying to get my into!! don't you know kissing is very unhygenic?" I knew this to be a fact because I had heard Mr Spock say so on a Star Trek episode.

Dyl boldly readied himself to go where Rachel would have him go, but she, despite relishing the possibility, said that she would be going after him after she finished with me. By the way, Dyl still didn't know what he was in for but, he made it clear that he was enjoying the fact that I was squirming.

Zoe returned with a hot chocolate and then, she, Dyl and Breaca had a discussion on how the drink was prepared, while Rachel tried to turn me into a mom and then into a flirt. Dyl tried to be helpful by saying "if only she could find a russian kick dancing test".

Ray had conspicuously said very little and was much relieved to learn that Rachel was primarily focused on myself and Dyl, especially after Rachel said "Ray is nice". I tried to point out that since Ray is very very nice that he deserved her attention but to no avail. At this point Michael offered "Rachel is no Raycist".

Then Dyl, Rachel, Ray and Kyron had a discussion about snakes and Kyron mentioned that all our snakes had been released but that it was likely that we would be getting more soon over the summer which is when they are out in force and tend to get injured by other creatures (interestingly enough, a few hours after Kyron said this, our first visitor for 2004 was inside recovering from what looked like an attack by a cat).

Rachel's next attempt was a bush-gore test. Yes I know, unbeliveable isn't it? This was followed by a prom dress test, which proved to be too much for Breaca who couldn't stand it anymore and flew out of the chatroom.

The conversation switched to the debating forum. Both Dyl and Ray expressed how they don't like going to that forum because sometimes it can be upsetting, As Ray put it "I need to count to 1000 before posting". The debates can be upsetting sometimes considering the tactics and rudeness that people display there. However, what is important to remember is that that forum is a place to convey information reguardless of the ridiculousness of the opponent. Dyl said that some posts make him so angry that he has to leave the forum: "how can you argue with with people whose grasp on logic is so tenuous?" It can be difficult and there is a saying that it is impossible to win an argument with an ignorant person. However, there are several techniques that can help the situation. One of them is to turn their own argument against them, another is to reveal it for the joke it is.

For instance, the person who claimed that Mother Teresa was going to hell because she was a catholic and didn't have a personal relationship with Jesus is a case in point. One can point out that you thought that it was god who decides who goes to hell and then logically continue with the question whether this person was equating himself to god. You can also do some research and find counter arguments from other branches of christianity. The point is not to win the argument but to convey information.

Another example is when you get grotesque opposition in vegetarian arguments. The idea isn't to make the other side lose or even make them vegetarian. However, it is important that their statements don't go unchallenged and that some imformation is provided.

Some of these issues can be understantably very emotional as Ray eloquently put it "I've learned to handle personal insults (somewhat), but I still cannot accept that animal rights is a matter of opinion. It is not a matter of opinion that the Earth deserves our respect. It is not a matter of opinion that Beagles shouldn't have posions forced down their throat!!!".

AR is the most difficult of all social movements because humans have a hard time relating to other species and as Dyl put it "or even their own". That is why it is necessary to speak out against these atrocities and the forums offer a good vehicle for doing so and solidifying ones' ideas. There are some absolutes and thinking that all opinions are created equal really doesn't make sense.

Sangeeta phoned from Florida saying that she was unable to come to the chat because she was at a conference and that we were to keep our conversations dry and not have any fun because she wasn't there. She received a group hello from all of us.

I related to Ray two imaginative efforts Sangeeta was engaged in for AR. One was the video she produced which brings AR in to the context of other social justice movements such as feminism and racism. By doing so, teachers can show the connection between all these movements against oppression. The other is to produce AR material that is specifically designed for science classes. Practically all AR material goes into social science or philosophy classes, yet much of the actual 'damage' is justified scientifically. By providing a strong scientific basis for much of this rather than primarily an ethical one, the AR case becomes stronger than ever.

Ray made the excellent point that AR needs to become trendy. In fact, that is precisely one approach PETA takes, making AR 'cool' for instance, with the peta kids:

Through the efforts of organizations like PETA and improved technology, the AR has progressed faster than any other social justice movement. Thece is a long way to go, but progress is accelerated because of the sheer determination of the activists who actually have a harder job than in other social movements: after all, it is easier to relate to equal rights for a woman or a black person than a pig who you plan to eat.

Ray told us about the new feline friend that was trying to adopt them and here is a fabulous picture:

Cats seem to always be attracted to Ray and Marsha. He told us the following stories about some of them which I am reproducing in full:

"The first cat we named "Gadget". He was the most handsome cat. He had FIV, but Marsha got him adopted with this young woman. The second we named Gulliver. I was in Baltimore on a work contract, but Marsha was still in Montreal. Gulliver appeared on our second-story balconey in the middle of a freezing Montreal winter. He was sitting there cuddled with his lower jaw drooping. Marsha managed to herd him in a cat carrier and bring him into our computer room and shut the door. It turns out that he had a broken jaw. the vet suspected that someone kicked him in the face. Can you imagine being a cat with a broken jaw in freezing cold. He sat on our balconey and waited. I believe that there is a reason why he waited out in the cold at our back door."

I had to leave, but Fjord and Ray continued discussion on Fjord's up coming adventures including the zen monastery. Then they had a fascinating discussion about meditation and how it can discipline the mind, but how it also takes a disciplined mind to do it in the first place.

Ray and Fjord are both familiar with Vispanna which is India's oldest technique for meditation. Fjord told Ray how he used to go on 10 day meditations with his son into the forest.

Ray and Fjord both left.

Then Fjord came back and left us these beautiful thoughts in the silence of the room:

try to be pleasant and polite! No problem, all on my self what an amazing thing this is it is really a room I like, because I meet friends here but there is no room it is all in the mind and yet so real just like the chair I sit on just like you who reads this just like me us aum shanti, shanti