Category: From the Mind of SepTo

Dive deeper into the Mind Of SepTo as he delivers his monthly contribution on a wide range of topics, from music and entertainment, to politics, philosophy, current events and social issues…

Faith and Fact

There used to be no distinction between religion and science. There was only knowledge. Creation stories, even when involving the existence of giant turtles, a war between higher beings or an omnipotent god, were steeped in as much of what our ancestors considered fact as allowably possible for their time. Our early indigenous tribes and start-up societies did not debate over a distinction between religious belief and that which was scientific. In a sense, everything was scientific. The simple act of examining one’s circumstance, and making sense of it in accordance to previously attained knowledge is the very essence of scientific inquiry; the essence of deductive thought and reasoning. Just as one practices scientific method under controlled circumstances through testing and prediction today, it is without argument that all knowledge even before our current scientific standards ran through an identical process. The way our kind first learned what was poisonous, what was tasty, what was healthy, how to create a fire, how to extend our life expectancy and the ways in which we created our earliest inventions (even those as simple as the wheel) involved repetition, setting up controlled parameters and the redundant act of trial and error. Science, as a word, surpasses lab coats, evolutionary theory and the new millennium. It is the process in which we attain and compile knowledge. Science, knowledge fact and explanation are all cousins in the same family, branches of the same tree. Granted, today our procedural standards for verifying new facts and coming to a consensus of what should be accepted as truth and what shouldn’t be in the scientific realm has become much more stringent and rigorous, but that is simply because we today have accumulated such an abundant amount of information. Our predecessors far in the past did not have the ability to cross reference facts with previously discovered facts to the lengths that we can. And thus, they came to different conclusions. They examined their landscapes, the animals and plant life they knew of, the personalities and moral biases of the people they were raised by and surrounded with. They used what they discovered and applied it to what they were already aware of, and told stories of gods that looked like them or resembled the animals in their region, gods with human personality traits similar to those of their siblings and acquaintances. Surely, no tribe’s origin stories incorporated animals and environmental phenomena foreign to the land they resided. One can even find ideological differences, differences in opinion concerning what’s right and what’s wrong, in the stories and texts from region to region (a tribe that practices cannibalism differs in some cases ideologically from one that is vegetarian, for instance). Each society taught and accepted their stories as truth, and as science. As fact. The lessons learned were reliable and relevant for their time. However, as humanity grew, our frame of reference and knowledge base did as well. The ancient Egyptians who worshipped “God’s Eye” had already discovered micro organisms and celestial bodies beyond human site. They examined human biology and used the resources they had in their time to culminate electricity and quite a few other technologies, all the while remaining what we would consider very religious. And as advanced as we were then, we have continued to grow and learn in the several millenniums that have passed since. The growth and eternal vastness of our accumulative knowledge on a whole is completely natural to our evolution, and frankly quite beautiful. It is from this profound beauty of self-discovery that I praise science and a constant thirst for knowledge. One’s theoretical and opinion-based conclusions about the meaning of life and consciousness should not impede our collective growth. The problem is that somewhere in our recent history we have placed a firm distinction between God and Science. Our unified intellectual growth has come to a near dead stop as we focus more on smashing our opposing belief systems together than on continuing to grow. The god or origin story you may subscribe to should not denounce your thirst to learn. If you were to stumble across some information that threw your current beliefs into question, you should be all the more passionate and interested to learn, to PROVE or DISPROVE one stance or another, rather than denounce and wipe from memory. From a religious point of view, all knowledge attained through scientific discovery is only a testament to how incredible your god is. The more you discover and the further you allow science and thought to take you, the more praise and appreciation you should grow for life. Your god or your religion is not under attack by the quest for knowledge, the urge to learn. To think critically of your surroundings, to not accept anything at face value, to cross reference your bible with other scientific sources is not to denounce your relationship with our creator. Science and Atheist, contrary to popular belief, do not arrive hand in hand. Who are these people who do not believe in evolution? And all in the name of a literal interpretation of their 2000 year old text… Do they also not believe in fossils? Or microscopic germs? These are not questions of belief, these are matters of fact; Things we have discovered. A fact’s absence from the bible does not take away from its existence in reality, nor does it denounce your holy text. Perhaps it is appropriate to reference that ancient book with your current knowledge base and come to your own conclusions. Maybe the magically depicted god and the stories you believe in so literally have scientific explanations. Perhaps God’s knowledge and power is mathematical and scientific, but magical to the limited perspectives of our predecessors. Tales that described sea monsters in recent human history have since turned out to be describing volcanoes. Giant fish turned out to be giant mammals that we call blue whales today. (God Himself was chronicled in the Old Testament to have visited us in what today could be described as a spacecraft…) The terms and analogies used so many millenniums ago should be read with reference to the times in which they were written. Maybe there are deeper explanations today for those words. Don’t let stubbornness or fear of change keep you in the dark. Many of us may have different individual beliefs (and you are entitled to them), but we all share the same facts. Just Sayin’.

@MindOfSepTo

-This was NevR supposed to happen.

Lights and Cameras*

Lights and Cameras
Flashing at ya
Vibe is captured
Damn Disaster
Half of you faded
Crowds of dancers
Shots of that sh*t
Hangover after
Forget your whole life
Yes you can, just
Put on that dress
And line up after
Time won’t catch up
Dad has cancer
What’s the point
You don’t have the answers
Push that thought out of your mind
You look fly
Pose for pictures
Crap don’t add up
Frown on the inside
Smile at bouncers
Dance and wine
Head down, your ass up
Bottles, sparklers
Booths and ballers
Alcoholics
Marijuana
Lights and Cameras
Flashing at ya
Vibe is captured
Damn Disaster
Lonely people
Horny people
Empty people
Sexy people
Put on your best clothes
Pretend to people
Eyes deceive you
Mask the see-through
Forget your problems
Your boss and job with
Your bills and nonsense
Dim to darkness
Light and Cameras
Flashing at ya
Vibe is captured
Until the lights go on
And the smoke is gone
And the drunk wore off
And the music stops
And you see they’re flaws
And you hear your thoughts
And you start to feel
That bottomless pit that you try to fill, with the
Lights and Cameras
Flashing at ya
Vibe is captured
Damn disaster
Half of you faded
Join the crowd
And escape your life
If only just for now.

@MindOfSepTo

-This was NevR supposed to happen

Social Media and the Real Life In Between

There is a type of person that lives amongst us all who does not look inward for happiness. It is not there. In an attempt to avoid the dissatisfaction they feel deep within themselves, they seek meaning out in the eyes of others. They present an impossible (or at least an inaccurate) portrayal of their life for us to feed into. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have provided us all with an opportunity to portray what we consider the best of ourselves and hide the things we aren’t as proud of. We are able to pick and choose our lives and identities, to dictate our satisfaction and happiness to whoever is interested enough to have a look. We are able to compete with the best, the most successful, the most content, with our families and friends over awe and admiration. These are MY thoughts; these are photos of MY life. Don’t I look happy? Aren’t my opinions and the way I say I live my life something to be admired? Doesn’t my life look lovely, productive, exciting and accomplished? They portray an idea of the person they would like to be, rather than truly acknowledging and fine tuning the person that they are. Today, with the help of social media, we have defined happiness and success in tangible items. You are only as accomplished as what you post. Your satisfaction with your life is determined by what you have allowed others to think of your life. If you do not upload any photos on to your Instagram profile for a full 7 days, onlookers may find it safe to assume you did nothing of interest that week. The truth is, however, we are all very much alive outside of our fantastic photos and posts. We are washing dishes, doing laundry, daydreaming, arguing, bonding, sleeping, watching movies and eating microwave dinners. We are all very much the same. There is a real life that we all have in common in between these wondrous posts. The woman you have fallen in love with online, whose mind and ideologies astonish you, who goes on trips to the far reaches of the world and posts photos of her travels lives by the same rules that we all do. She budgets and finances, researches and works, saves and sacrifices, eats in, dresses plainly, prioritizes and can’t afford the luxuries that you yourself may currently enjoy. The super couple who you idolize, who always seem to understand one another, who throw events for the community and are guests on a panel for a discussion about rising divorce rates in our generation for a prestigious university also live by the same rules as you and I. They too experience strain and heartache within their relationship, argue over finances and work hard to keep up consistent and open communication with one another, even when it feels difficult to do so. We see these people and assume greatness personally unattainable. You throw bleach in your wash of white clothes and look down on your life, wondering what amazing things your favourite characters online are up to. And in an attempt to feel content with yourself, you feed in to YOUR online character. You go out to an event you don’t enjoy just for that perfect snapshot to upload. You keep company with people you aren’t particularly fond of merely for their online presence. You post words that represent the ideologies you subscribe to rather than those you realistically uphold. You crave to have people idolize you in the way you have idolized others. Maybe then that emptiness will be filled within you and your life will feel more meaningful. This existence reminds me of the words to a song by Black Star called Thieves in the Night. What an unfortunate existence, to portray happiness rather than be happy. Sadly, most of us will NevR stumble across the thin line between “good deed” and “good person”.  With all this said (and at the risk of sounding self-righteous), I’d like to share some words with you in hopes that you might find them useful. Embrace your reality, appreciate YOUR life. Your dreams are attainable, alongside your happiness. The poor souls you grow jealous of online are begging for that jealousy. They would rather impress you from an artificial place than be proud of themselves. Enjoy your humble walks to No Frills with your significant other. Dirty dishes and laundry are to be expected. Find peace and be content with your quiet nights at home. Appreciate all of your life, not just what is worth a post. And if you do feel unsatisfied or anxious, if you do have a dream unattained, work toward it. These things often take time and sacrifice. Take that time, make those sacrifices, and put in the work to reach those goals. There should be no expectation for spectacular life moments without hard work, patience and positivity (alongside some “less spectacular” moments) in between them. Your life is not a television show. The opinions and judgments of others are of no benefit to you. They don’t need to be entertained and astonished at your every move. Separate from those who live through their avatars with a fantastic online story and a painfully drab real life. Simulating satisfaction of your own life on the exterior will not arouse it within you. Start with YOU and the rest will follow.
Oh, and the lyrics to that song….

Not strong
Only aggressive
Not free
We only licensed
Not compassionate, only polite
(Now who the nicest?)
Not good but well behaved
Chasing after death
so we can call ourselves brave
Still living like mental slaves
Hiding like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis making you look twice
Hiding like thieves in the night from life
Illusions of oasis making you look twice

@MindOfSepTo

-This was NevR supposed to happen.

The Reason You Celebrate Xmas

T’is the season to engage in all sorts of ritualistic behaviour without any forethought for our actions. We are hopelessly surrounded with bright decorations, trees, wreaths and mistletoe everywhere we turn. You are to decorate your space as such or be frowned upon by an overwhelming solidarity and social acceptance of mandatory Christmas cheer. And I am not downplaying this ‘cheer’. The emotion in the air is real. Strangers are smiling at one another and exchanging positive emotions more often than any other time of year. Everyone is excited to spend time with family and loved ones, gathered around the decorated tree on hand and knee, taking turns bowing to reach the gifts beneath it. We are taught how to participate in the ritual long before our oldest memories. We reminisce on the fond emotions of Christmas from our childhood and crave to re-create those moments with our families. We are taught that this is a Christian holiday and subscribe to that statement so adamantly that some of us become genuinely offended when one says “Happy Holidays” or “Xmas”, omitting the word ‘Christ’ from the phrase. We are told we are celebrating the birth of Christ, and frankly, it seems as though that’s all we need to know. We believe so strongly with so little thought. We believe from an age long before we can think for ourselves. Anything we ask is readily accepted as God’s truth. Say no more. It brings happiness to you and everyone around you. There’s a sort of magic in the air. There is no urge to denounce something that feels so right. We are celebrating the birth of Christ says mom, pastor, sister, friend, stranger, radio, TV show, etc. NevR mind the fact that it cannot be disputed that Jesus was not born Christmas day. Or the fact that our whole world switches into Christmas mode quite literally the day after Halloween (and I would argue this is much more for the benefit of commercial enterprise and corporate profit than anticipation for the special day. Let’s also NevR mind the profound financial and emotional burden this holiday has on so many of our underprivileged). Disregard the phenomena of plant life like trees, wreaths and mistletoe being symbols that come from Pagan tradition eluding to growth, everlasting life and next year’s successful harvest. And I won’t go into other similar Pagan/Christian mash-ups like eggs and Easter bunnies being tied in to the death and resurrection of Jesus. There are real answers and origins to all of these things; however my intention is not to write a 10000 word essay. My point is this; are these inconsistencies not absolutely obvious? What inspires us to not ask, to not look up, to not study, and to not make up our own minds on the issue? Do you know the reasons behind why you do things? Are you content with not knowing? I’m sure the idea of the subconscious warrants a degree of comfort in regards to making irrational decisions. It’s perfectly human to react instinctively to things or make choices steeped in emotional response before thinking things through. There are many things we all do, many staples in each of our characters that are formed outside of our knowledge. “I don’t know why I’ve always done this, or why I have always been this way.” Many of these reasons lay in a realm beyond the surface of our conscious mind. But what if it’s not simply instinctive … or inherently human? What if something was taught to you a long time ago and over time had simply become a part of you… And more importantly, what if you weren’t taught correctly? That would mean something as inherent to your being as the emotions you feel on a day to day basis was stuck inside of you in an unnatural way, like rape or a poison in disguise, forever hindering you from profound truth or a complete understanding of the world you live in and interact with. It is for these reasons that I suggest we all draw a careful line between what we call inherent, and what is simply ritualistic. I understand it can be difficult to change certain things within you. Some glitches can’t be corrected short of a total meltdown, one’s entire world and life’s meaning shattering into sharp, falling pieces around them. To unplug from the matrix can be a severe emotional and psychological strain. Sometimes a person may even instinctively attack a threatening truth in anger or label a fact as foolish to the point of complete disregard in order to continue feeling safe and unharmed. Please be aware of these subconscious defenses now. My intention is not to convince you of anything. My only hope is for you to think and develop an opinion of your own. You are no sheep. Nor is this the walking dead. Think outside of the herd, and look deeper into the things you don’t understand. Create that expectation for yourself. That’s all from me for now. Have a Merry Christmas. I hope Santa answers all of your children’s prayers.

@MindOfSepTo

-This was NevR supposed to happen

Your Misdirected Opinion on Rob Ford

In light of my participation regarding our mayor’s recent infamy, I decided to resume the topic on my first “Mind Of SepTo” piece. It is likely that the subject of Mayor Ford has been a point of discussion in innumerable barbershops, work spaces and living rooms across Toronto. I’m aware that the man and his actions have garnered worldwide attention recently; however I omit those “outside” conversations mainly because the contributions of Youtube, late night talk shows and political satire are of no impact to the lives of this city’s population. Can humour and entertainment be found in this debacle for those not from our city? Yes. For sure. However I am fairly certain that the conversations between those who call Toronto their home regarding the matter take a distinctly different tone. The competency of this man as a mayor directly affects our lives, and thus, even when we laugh and poke fun at the situation in a head shaking chuckle of subconscious shame, there is likely a more productive conversation being had here. I have had these discussions myself. In the studio where we recorded #RobFord, we spoke on politics and our mayor in a very serious way, alongside light-hearted pokes and jabs. The song only captures the latter side of that discussion, and thus, I feel it my social responsibility to shine light on the thoughts not discussed on record. First, the term politician comes hand in hand with the same stereotype of moral ambivalence as a lawyer (or rapper) in western society. What is said and done publicly by many of these people is usually not a direct reflection of their personal ideologies or lifestyle. Even with the best intentions, a politician is forced into the game of winning over hearts and expanding their demographic. What schools they visit, issues they tackle, and statements they make are carefully planned and executed with an air of premeditation. Many of their smiles and frowns are merely painted on; a veil over a blank slate, willing to say and do whatever is conducive to the majority of public opinion where they run. Keeping secrets and hiding your true personal feelings on things is a part of the job description. The occupation of politician requires so much objective insight and impersonal execution that it is safe to say we know absolutely nothing of the politician’s personal nature. That is unless they slip up. A bad politician isn’t necessarily one who is bad for the people. Given the job description, a bad politician is one who loses the popular vote, or is seen in a bad light. Rob Ford is not good at being a politician. This, in the least, is obvious (He seems to be very good at staying in office though). Now, I’m aware that most of us speaking on the matter can detail an up to date timeline on Mayor Ford’s scandals. Perhaps some of you can even take it back before the crack-smoking to his conflict of interest trial a few years back, alongside his sloppiness in public (i.e. drunkenness or abrupt and thoughtless public outbursts). Let’s forget that most of us who are able to list off all of these incidents really know nothing more on the doings of Rob Ford when it comes to responsible budgeting, tax increases and freezes, essential services, office expenses, city council or his impact on Toronto’s funding for the arts. Regardless of all of these things, Rob Ford has officially run his campaign image into the ground. We now see him for who he is (perhaps depending on whether you gravitate toward the Sun or the Star). He is an obvious liar and seems to be no stranger to criminal and underworld dealings. He has been found out and the public has spoken. Let us not lose sight of the overall picture however. The only difference between Mayor Ford and another politician that you may support is what you know about Ford, and what you don’t know about the other. The game is to hide what is not flattering, and portray what your public would like to see. Don’t think that just because it hasn’t become public knowledge that someone is racist, prejudice, dumb, criminal, sexist, hateful or any other negative characteristic, that they aren’t. Let’s remember we know nothing of these people’s personal lives beyond what is made public, and that the job of a politician is to only make public what they consider beneficial to their image or campaign. Before the week that you became a political expert, and knew every scandal, every slip-up and fumble reported to the public, Rob Ford was the same person he is today, even before you threw aside your support for him. I would like to make it known that I don’t mean for these words to reflect a bias for or against the man; this is not in his defense. There are legit arguments for one person or another to not support Mayor Ford. Let’s just make sure we are acknowledging what matters and disregarding the irrelevant.
Until next time…

@MindOfSepTo

-This was NevR supposed to happen