Monday, September 18, 2006

Attacks on Truth (or Let's Play R.O.P.-a-Pope)

Truth is sacred. There can be no doctrine or religion higher than truth. It is the most important societal value and the prerequisite for any kind of growth, whether it is spiritual, psychological, anthropological, or scientific. Because of the truth-loving nature of the primordial, uncreated conscience, if you can establish a lie as the truth, the furtherance of evil will take care of itself.

This is why the Lie is satanic, because it is the great enabler of immoral violence. For example, in the Arab Muslim world, the reason why they hate America and Israel--and therefore feel justified in their aggression--is that they are inundated with vicious lies about us, just as nazi Germany murdered Jews because they were were steeped in lies about them.

I believe it was Burke who said that culture “reconciles a man to everything,” no matter how foolish or barbarous the custom. But some cultures are so immersed in the Lie that they cannot help producing lying liars, most dramatically in the Middle East, but obviously here in the United States as well, only in a more subtle form. For example, the pressure of political correctness is an instrument of coercion designed to reconcile you to the lies of the left, or to punish the thinker who speaks certain impermissible truths. 

Amazingly, the Pope is being attacked for uttering a banal truth about Islam. But it is not really the Pope who is being attacked. Rather, this is an assault on truth itself, abetted by the world’s major news media. For if the media were interested in truth, why would they even note the Pope’s words, except perhaps in passing? If the Pope had said something outrageous or controversial, that would be worthy of attention. But the fact that the media give so much attention to what the Pope said about Islam only underscores their belief that what he said was somehow open to doubt--as if any doubt is possible based upon the violent reaction to the Pope's words.

The psychoanalyst W.R. Bion coined the term “attacks on linking” to describe a certain pathological mental mechanism that dismantles the thinking process so as to be unable to recognize an unwanted truth (it was later turned into a virtue by leftist academics who call it "deconstruction"). The reaction in the Islamic world to the Pope’s statement is a fine example. In order to not perceive the simple truth that Islam has a long and bloody history, the mind must unconsciously “attack” any evidence that leads to that conclusion. Thus, it may look like the Pope is being attacked, but he is incidental to the deeper process of attacking and dismantling a reality that Muslims do not wish to see. And this angry attack on reality is at the very root of the problem we face with both Islam and the left.

In the past, I have written about what I believe to be defense mechanisms against the “upper vertical.”  Broadly speaking, the upper vertical would be the realm of truth, beauty and morality.  We can also apply Bion’s concept of attacks on linking here.  Understood this way, it would involve a sort of willed stupidity that dismantles the ability to think clearly, not just in the realm of truth, but in the realm of morals (“the good”) as well. This is why any society that assaults and devalues truth is going to engage in immoral violence, whether it is the Soviet Union, nazi Germany, or the Muslim Middle East.  If any of them were capable of assimilating truth, their violence would stop in an instant.   

You will have noticed that one of the reasons you cannot debate a leftist is that they do not (and perhaps cannot) meet your argument on the plane from which it arises. Instead, they hijack that plane and try to drag you down to the level from which their minds operate. This is why they never address the content of your argument, but attack your motivations.  And this is one of the major reasons why left wing talk radio cannot succeed, as the constant attacks on truth and on motivations quickly grow tedious.

You know the tiresome drill: if you are for tough interrogation of terrorists, you are for torture; if you are against government enforced racial discrimination, you are a racist; if you are against the redefinition of marriage, you are a “homophobe”; if you are against the Kyoto protocols, you wish to destroy the earth; if you are in favor of tax cuts, you want to line the pockets of the wealthy; if you are in favor of the liberation of Iraq, you are greedy for oil; if you want to control your own retirement, you just want to give a boon to mutual fund companies; if you are against inefficient socialized medicine, it’s because you want poor children to be sick; if you want to control the borders, you hate Mexicans; etc. The list is endless, and although it is superficially diverse, the same mental mechanism is at its root: attacks on linking.

In his heart, even absent a divine commandment, man (a normal man, anyway) knows that he should not lie.  This is why you will also have noticed that liberals never give straight answers in interviews.  They like to say that this is because the answers are too subtle and  nuanced, and that you can't just blurt out a liberal idea the in the way that conservatives blurt out their simple ideas.  So they habitually obfuscate, dodge, dissemble.  In the words of their guru, the linguist George Lakoff, they must frame their ideas, as it is the frame that makes the lie appear true and thus eases the conscience.

Not for nothing did Jesus crack that the adversary “was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own substance, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

This is an interesting statement, for it suggests that lies are somehow a "human substance," somewhat like a spider that spins a web out of its own body. Truth, on the other hand, is not, and cannot be, of human origins. It is somehow anterior to us, and it is only for us to discover or remember it. And oh what a tangled web we weave, compared to the spider.....

Animals cannot lie. While they can have certain naturally selected mechanisms of deception, they cannot live a lie. But living a lie is in the normal course of events for human beings. Talleyrand once remarked that language was given to man so as to conceal his thoughts. Interestingly, this problem is fully recognized in scripture, as the very first conversations recorded in the Bible are a tissue of lies. The serpent lies to the woman, the woman transmits the lie to the man, and the man lies about it to God. The very emergence of self-consciousness seems to be inseparable from lying.

A cursory glance at history--or at the idiotorial pages of the New York Times--establishes the fact that lying is absolutely fundamental to human existence, even though the idea wasn't systematized until the early 20th century, in the works of Freud and his followers. Bion in particular developed a sophisticated epistemology showing how a vital lie is at the basis of most all forms of psychopathology.  He made the provocative observation that the lie requires a thinker to think it, whereas the truth does not, for it simply is. We discover truth, but it takes a thinker to concoct the lie (and, I might add, a brilliant thinker such as Marx or Chomsky to create the most grandiose lies). And once the lie is in place, it causes the psyche to enter a sort of parallel universe, for it constructs itself on the foundations of that primordial lie.

Just as freedom and truth are necessarily linked--i.e., no one who is living a lie is actually free--those who are in thrall to the lie are slaves. While they may enjoy a subjective sense of freedom, it is an illusion. In fact, they have forfeited their freedom and are attached to a spiritually suffocating demon generated out of their own psychic substance.  And this is why Muslims wish to spread their lie around the globe, for until the entire world is caught in the same web, they will have the nagging sense that something is deeply wrong with their lives.  Out of unconscious envy for the living, they want everyone else to be ruled by the same demon that enslaves them.

The left is powerless against these Islambies, for the secular mind cannot in good faith object to nihilism. After all, a nihilist is simply a good faith atheist, humanist or secularist--someone who has drawn the implications of their impoverished philosophy to their logical endpoint. A nihilist is simply someone with the courage of their lack of convictions. They are no match for those who are passionately attached to the Lie.

Meaning--any meaning--always involves the bringing together of diverse details into a higher unity.  In reality, it is a sort of higher vision that sees through the surface to the inner unity of a mass of data. It is very much analogous to those Magic Eye pictures, which look like a bunch of random markings on the page. But when you relax your eyes, out of nowhere pops a three-dimensional image. The image was actually there all along, but was buried amidst the phenomena. You might say that it was a message awaiting a messenger capable of seeing it.

All truth is a synthesis of particulars, the reduction of multiplicity to unity. There are some truths that people, for one reason or another, do not wish to know. One way to rid the mind of unwanted truth is to attack the links that allow the truth to emerge.  In order to accomplish this feat, inchoate meanings must be beaten down, attacked, and strangled in their crib before they can emerge as a full-blown catastrophic Truth that the liar knows but does not wish to Know. On some level, knowledge of truth must always precede the lie. Such a person is condemned to living in a mass of meaningless particulars that actually make no sense. But, as always, the mind will covertly elevate this cursed condition to a courageous virtue, whether they call it "extending the caliphate," "speaking truth to power" or giving you "all the news that's fit to print."

Which is why the Pope must apologize. 

43 Comments:

Blogger Nagarjuna said...

I agree that truth is a vital quality for any religion. But I believe that there is an even more vital one. That quality is love. For truth preached without love is a "clanging cymbal," while truth preached with love can warm our hearts, sustain our souls, and bring us together in peace rather than drive us apart in strife and war.

9/18/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Well, an old preacher friend used to rectify that with, "you can't drive your ten-ton Truck of Truth over a 3/4 inch plywood Bridge of Love."

It's just that the English word for Love is so inadequate. To love Truth is to be embodied in Love. Truth is what makes Love inexpressibly beautiful.

9/18/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

nag:

Such sentimentalist tripe is so wrong it is not even wrong, for love in the absence of truth is a monstrosity. Suggesting that love is higher than truth means that it is permissible to love the lie or to love evil, which is the whole problem in the Islamic world. Truth by definition is what unifies, because all good people naturally assent to it. To put it another way, I am divided from people such as yourself because we love very different and incompatible things.

9/18/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

I think the Lie can accrue a certain compelling force because it is often the mirror image of the Truth, it becomes the "ape of God". It's very much like the original meaning of "heresy", that is, a doctrine which is 99% Truth but for the flawed 1% which turns the Truth on its head.

Considering that knowledge of the Truth must precede the Lie, a mirror image of Truth would make the Lie just that easier for a mind to swallow, would even lend it a comforting, if stolen, inspiration.

9/18/2006 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the best insight I have seen for a long time on Muslims:

this is why Muslims wish to spread their lie around the globe, for until the entire world is caught in the same web, they will have the nagging sense that something is deeply wrong. Out of unconscious envy for the living, they want everyone else to be ruled by the same demon that enslaves them.

The left is powerless against these Islambies, for the secular mind cannot in good faith object to nihilism. After all, a nihilist is simply a good faith atheist, humanist or secularist--someone who has drawn the implications of their impoverished philosophy to their logical endpoint. A nihilist is simply someone with the courage of their lack of convictions. They are no match for those who are passionately attached to the Lie.


Thanks.

9/18/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

Anonymous's post above is a perfect example of the Lie as a mirror imaging of the Truth. Anony takes the insane religious vehemence and hatred of the jihadists - a truth - and then pastes it on the "Crusading" sensibilities of the Judeo-Christian West - a despicable Lie.

9/18/2006 10:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Bob's reply to Nag I would furthur add that it is also the problem with mushy newage (rhymes with sewage) philosophies and modern liberalism in general. That's why adherents of above worldviews cannot call Islam for what it is and defend our culture with forthrightness.

9/18/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke 21

For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

9/18/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

Arguing about whether the more basic thing is truth and knowledge or the good and love, is like arguing over whether the more basic thing is value or validity. Which -- importance or legitimacy? Which -- vibrancy and wattage, or structural integrity and balanced forces? Which -- rest mass, or momentum?

The good is a culmination, an end, the desirable telos -- and fuel for more. The true is a firming-up, a settlement, the knowable entelechy (even in cases where it would take indefinitely long to learn it) -- and a foundation for more. Love, knowledge, and other things must be there from the start, before any lies, though not before the possibility of any lies, the possibility which makes truth salient and impels questions about it.

It takes more effort to think a lie than the truth only when one knows the truth. The truth is not always obvious. Obviously.

Many who are in denial are in denial about a truth-awareness which is itself somewhat mistaken or deceived. I mean that, when one closes one's eyes, one does miss things! The truth may turn out to have been not as bad as one had secretly feared; and the truth may also turn out to be worse, much worse. One of the dangers of denial is being in hidden error about the content of one's denial.

9/18/2006 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Excellent post, a greatest hits integrated into a very powerful point.

I suppose this:
"And once the lie is in place, it causes the psyche to enter a sort of parallel universe, for it constructs itself on the foundations of that primordial lie. "

answers my question from yesterday, wondering what your take was on my suspecting that "spending too much time trying to understand they[leftists] and their kind's reasoning is potentially destructive to your own mental state... it's as if their ideas begin trying to literally dis-integrate your thoughts."

I'm particularly interested in this idea of linking:
"One way to rid the mind of unwanted truth is to attack the links that allow the truth to emerge. In order to accomplish this feat, inchoate meanings must be beaten down, attacked, and strangled in their crib before they can emerge as a full-blown catastrophic Truth that the liar knows but does not wish to Know."

, Which prompts my one Note to blow louder, Kants "I have found it necessary to deny knowledge, in order to make room for faith." has been the pattern that has set thoughts for all those who have followed him. Obfuscate and lie for your higher 'value'.

9/18/2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

Bob, I believe that genuine love stems from the Ultimate Truth and delivers us to rather than away from the Ultimate Truth that "Tat tvam asi"--"Thou art That"--and that the more fully we are filled with genuine love for others, the more we strive to understand their/our nature and needs--i.e., their/our Truth on the physical, biological, psychological, social, cultural, and spiritual levels--and the better position we find ourselves in to help them/ourselves embody and actualize that Truth.

But lesser truths and even Ultimate Truth can be artificially separated from and spoken without genuine love by unenlightened human beings such that they needlessly distress and divide us rather than draw us together. Don't be afraid to speak the truth, but also don't be afraid to speak it with love.

For I also believe that the "love" of evil against which you rightfully caution is a false love, a pathological attachment to destructive falsehood masquerading as love. It is the "love" of the religious fanatic pathologically attached to false beliefs on the one hand and of the one who opposes him and his beliefs with pathological contempt and hatred in his heart, words, and deeds.

Of course, the enemy of the fanatic believes he opposes the fanatic and his falsehoold out of love for the Truth. But his opposition stems less from love for the Truth than from hatred that obscures the Truth.

Don't mistake your hatred of falsehood for love of Truth and continue to obscure the abiding Truth that love is paramount.

9/18/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Bubba Steinapfel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/18/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Bubba--

That comment is way too long. Please just provide a link.

9/18/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nag--

I know what you believe. That's why we disagree. To believe "thou art that" before realizing the extent to which thou definitely aren't that is the deepest form of metaphysical arrogance and futility. Given such a half-correct--which is to say, false--belief, your search will continue to be confused and fruitless.

To quote your own confused analysis, either "love stems from ultimate truth" or "love is paramount." Both statements cannot be true.

9/18/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And to say that there is "false love" only highlights the primacy of Truth. There is no false truth.

Let us pray that this pope doesn't let up, and that he continues to speak truth to demons, as did his predecessor with regard to communism. You can continue with your spiritually impotent love of the mortal enemies of both love and truth. Maybe they'll kill you last.

9/18/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Samuel Brompton said...

Bob,

Would you please start deleting Anonymous' posts?!!! They are contributing nothing to the discussion.

His sarcasm is completely destructive and does not even portend to try and get at the truth.

Even more annoying is the fact that he is not the least but funny or clever, but clearly thinks he is.

Oh, and he doesn't even have the balls to attach a name to his innane banter.

9/18/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous joseph said...

"Many who are in denial are in denial about a truth-awareness which is itself somewhat mistaken or deceived. I mean that, when one closes one's eyes, one does miss things! The truth may turn out to have been not as bad as one had secretly feared; and the truth may also turn out to be worse, much worse. One of the dangers of denial is being in hidden error about the content of one's denial."

This kind of quote, from tetrast, is one of the reasons I come back here often, though they usually come from Bob. I often find myself in such agreement with Bob on principles, but in such disagreement about the application in the realm of current events, in particular the support of a progressive administration that merely masquerades as conservative, while our enemies, such as those in Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan?, it is falling apart), are able to grow deep and wide. Further, all the relevant evidence points to an absolute intelligence and military response failure before and on September 11th, facts that very few wish to consider, or assign any blame. In particular, I would point out that the Pentagon, our military center, was hit by a plane over an hour after we knew many planes were hijacked. NORAD was useless on that day, and yet we are supposed to take everything this administration tells us at face value. It could just as easily been a nuclear strike and our supposed defense systems would have failed utterly. Where was our president? He made no decision, according to his own admission, until after the Pentagon had been hit--again, at least an hour after he knew we were under attack. I am sorry, I can't place my trust in this kind of ineptitude (don't misunderstand, I am not suggesting it could be placed in the Dems either).

9/18/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

If "Thou art That," how is Thou NOT that?

If "Thou art That," how is it necessarily "arrogant" and "false" to believe it?

"To quote your own confused analysis, either "love stems from ultimate truth" or "love is paramount." Both statements cannot be true."

Interesting point. Two comments. (1) Sometimes something can give rise to something higher or greater than it. (2) Perhaps genuine love and Ultimate Truth are complementary sides of the same coin.

"And to say that there is "false love" only highlights the primacy of Truth. There is no false truth."

False love is something that isn't love masquerading as love; false truth is something that isn't truth masquerading as truth (such as, "It is good to ridicule and hate your enemies.") Thus, if there is, as you say, no false truth, there is also no false love, and your grounds for asserting the "primacy" of truth are invalid.

"You can continue with your spiritually impotent love of the mortal enemies of both love and truth. Maybe they'll kill you last."

You can continue with your spiritually impotent hatred of the mortal enemies of both love and truth (and thus be a mortal enemy of both love and truth as well). Maybe they'll kill YOU first.

9/18/2006 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger grant said...

Bob, give yourself permission to love people with different beliefs, such as Nagarjuna. Love Nag; Nag has no problem loving you. I love you, no matter what you do or say. You don't need to agree with someone to love them. You can love people because they exist, because they are children crying out in the dark, just like you.
Beliefs? Sure, they matter, but beliefs are mental phenomenon that belong to the material world. Love, on the other hand, is very vertical. Get back into the love, and still fight the liberals, Bob. The two are not incompatible; think Arjuna and Krishna at Kurushetra. Duty and belief do not preclude a universal love.
Take care of business while you exist on the earth, Bob, but don't forget where you come from.

9/18/2006 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Samuel--

I used to delete the moonbats, but this generally just encourges them. Some will keep posting again and again, no matter how many times I delete them, so it's best to just ignore them. And if you do respond--as I shouldn't have done with Nagarjuna--they are not here to learn but to disseminate their own confusion, so that is pointless as well.

9/18/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Grant--

Give yourself permission to go away. To love the relative unconditionally--which is to say absolutely--is the worst sort of intrinsic heresy.

9/18/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Bob,
Not my argument, and not my position to say, but... I was really hoping you'd say that.

9/18/2006 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

Grant, you make excellent points, especially about Arjuna. Bob has cited the conflict in the Gita in defense of waging war against evil. That is well and fine, even if many scholars and sages have explained that we should see this "war" more as symbolic of the war we need to wage against the ignorance and resulting evil in ourselves than as a literal exhortation to make war against external enemies. But, however one interprets the climactic battle at Kurukeshtra, Arjuna literally respects and even loves his enemies and fights them only out of duty to uphold goodness and justice (and, I might add, fear of the shame that would attach to not upholding this duty) rather than out of hatred for his foes.

Bob keeps saying, in one way or another, that people like you and me are here not to learn but only to trollishly "disseminate confusion." I don't know about you, although I have the impression that your motives are similar to mine, but I'm here to understand how other bright and articulate people see the world in ways that are very different than the way I see it, to uncover the truth that resides in their vision, and to integrate that perspective and truth with my own. I have learned SO much that is valuable and good from reading the posts and comments here, and I've tended to learn the most when I've been able to participate in the discussion. My perspective on conservatives and conservatism has taken a profound turn since I began visiting this blog a few months ago. I hold far greater respect for both than I did originally. But that doesn't mean that I accept everything Gagdad says as gospel truth, and if I have questions or misgivings about what he says, I express them as clearly as I can and consider every response with as much thoroughness and open-mindedness and open-heartedness as I can.

It strikes me as profoundly unfortunate that Bob and so many of his faithful readers, who I believe are sincere in wanting to know truth and do good and are so gifted with the potential to do both, seem to be looking for every reason they can find to champion and spread hatred in place of the love that IS, despite what they would have us believe, paramount.

9/18/2006 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

R.O.P.-a-Pope + a-few-dopes!

Batteries not included...

9/18/2006 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Nagarjuna,

I am of course speaking for myself here, and perhaps am mistaken, but "love" spoken of in such a squishy manner as Grant and You did, seems to me to leave no room for Truth.

Love in the 'cosmic' term is for the recognition of the truth that is still there even behind the veils of the liar - and that is separate and distinct from the liar. We are human beings, and to comprehend, to understand, we must identify in order to see truth, evaluate in order value, value and integrate those values in order to widen our understanding, and I think, the wider the range of truths that are integrated with a value(s), the stronger and deeper sense of Love we are able to feel.

The happy happy joy joy love that comes to mind when I hear of "Love" being spoken of in the manner you did, carries with it no human understanding or identification, vertical or otherwise, it seems to me to be a nothingness, with no respect for or connection to truth, and so no Love truly involved, and Truth only mocked.

9/18/2006 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Van--

Not to mention the fact that if you deny your aggression and childishly imagine that you love everyone, you will just end up being as passive aggressive as nagarjuna. You know, "I learn so very much from you bright and articulate One Cosmos readers who look for every reason to champion and spread hatred in place of love."

9/18/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Bubba Spieltopf said...

Bob,

Apology for the overly-long post. I find Blogger sometimes truncates long links, rendering them useless. However, I shall try. For anyone intersted in the papal lecture that many have commented on elsewhere - obviously without reading:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2006/september/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20060912_university-regensburg_en.html

9/18/2006 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

Van, when I speak of love here, I mainly mean something tantamount to Christian AGAPE, described by Wikipedia as "charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional. It is parental love seen as creating goodness in the world, it is the way God is seen to love humanity, and it is seen as the kind of love that Christians aspire to have for others."

In my understanding, this love is the recognition of and reverence for the divine essence of all humanity, and the passionate desire to understand that essence as fully as possible and to do one's best to help that essence shine as brightly as possible through ourselves and everyone else. As such, it is not incompatible with truth but fills us with longing to know the truth of divinely human nature and to uncover the light within it, and it guides us to this truth.

It isn't "squishy" "happy happy joy." It is something much stronger and more complex. It fills us with unimaginable joy when the divine essence shines forth, and with indescribable sorrow when the light of that essence is obstructed by ignorance and hatred and precious life suffers needlessly.

9/18/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

My Dear Bob,

I don't "imagine" that I love everyone, but I aspire to do so.

You can speak truths worth hearing even when you hate and revel in your hatred for your enemies, and I can speak the truth that your hatred exists and is misguided without hating you and without speaking my truth with "passive" violence.

9/18/2006 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Nag, you're just silly. Truth is what makes Love lovely, strong and surprisingly fearsome. Beauty without strength is fleeting as a snowflake and love without Truth is a vapor, a mere seeming, a foppish charm, suitable only for a transient purpose--usually selfish--if only to make the weak-minded feel important or superior.

9/18/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous joseph said...

A Bhakti tends to see the world through the prism of love. A jnani tends to see the world through the prism of knowledge. It is a rare soul who is able to see through both prisms. A world without truth is meaningless. A world without love is not worth living in. "There is no greater right than the truth". "Though you have all knowledge...without charity you are as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals..."

9/18/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Joan--
"a foppish charm, suitable only for a transient purpose--usually selfish--if only to make the weak-minded feel important or superior."

Good stuff! For a second there, I thought you might be Dilys in disguise.

I might add that such "idiot love" obliterates the disparate levels of reality and ignores the different obligations we owe to each. Which is why even Jesus could say, "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God."

9/18/2006 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

"Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God."

It has long been a favorite meditation for me. Our best good, our best truth, our best love falls so short that it is almost devilish in comparison. That Jesus said it thusly, that he confidently cast aside a man's assertion of the "good", makes me think I'd better pay attention, and likewise cast aside my own assertion of the "good" even if it cloaks itself in a seeming "love".

9/18/2006 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

Joan, please excuse my silly weak- mindedness, but I confess that I don't really understand what you're saying. Could you explain as clearly as possible how what I've said about love contradicts what you've said about it? More specifically, what truth must a particular human being embody before he or she is worthy of your love?

Gagdad, you go on wallowing in your idiot hate, and I'll continue cultivating my "idiot love." :-)

9/18/2006 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

For what it's worth, Meister Eckhart placed "disinterest" (detachment) above love as a mystical virtue, explaining that without detachment, the truth upon which genuine love is founded cannot be fully accessed by the soul.

In other words, spiritual clarity is required in order to genuinely love. Otherwise, a sentimental emotionalism can pass for the genuine article.

9/18/2006 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger grant said...

Joseph, you've put your finger on something in your post. Truth and love are not different, nor does either have a higher value than the other. They are Bhakta and Jnana. They are collated together in God, but people tend to split them apart and live more in one than the other. Beauty is in there too. Towards the top of the vertical cone, these all merge. The best way to live is to embody the mixture.
Nagarjuna, friend, you say beautiful and true things. Let's love bomb this worthy blog. I agree with you; we wouldn't be here if Gagdad and his friends were not teaching us anything. We do not want to discourage any of them, because they are a source of wisdom.
The radical Left is really an ugly and intolerant movement; I didn't know that before I came here. My view on Islamic aggression has been greatly changed also. I came here to learn, and I did learn. I think I am representative of the audience that Bob really means to reach, people who have not formed iron-clad opinions and who are seeking information.
But Bob, I'm plenty aggressive. I've tried to teach you that love and combat are perfectly compatible, and in return you say something about "intrinsic heresy." What the F is that? It sounds like a crock.
Be love, don't just feel it or talk about it. This is an area of expertise for Nag and myself. Why not learn something? Ask us how to become love. You are already truth, now make yourself complete. Take one tiny step forward.

9/18/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Will--

That would make sense, because Eckhart was probably referring to the realm of "beyond being"--what he called ground or godhead--as opposed to being. That kind of purely apophatic approach requires complete detachment, as it is synonomous with nirguna brahman, or God without attributes--not even truth!

That's the kind of language that landed the Meister in trouble with the authorities, since they assumed he was talking about God when we was referring to beyond-God, or the source of God.

But once you are in the realm of Being, it seems that Brahman breaks into an unstable trinity--father, son, and holy spirit, or being-knowledge-bliss.

9/18/2006 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Grant--

Intrinsic heresy is not a "crock," but an idea that is inherently heretical in any legitimate religious tradition. An extrinsic heresy applies only to a particular religion.

By the way, if you were the gangster of love you say you are, I don't believe that you would experience me in the troubled way you do. Not everyone shares your perception. You may want to consider that the distortion is coming from your end and will eventually clear up, just as you say that other areas of confusion have cleared up by reading the blog. It has certainly happened to me before, that I imagined someone was one way, only to eventually discover that they were the opposite. Just a thought.

9/18/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Anonymous ben usn (ret) said...

Ummm...love the post, Bob!
Some of the comments reminded me of those guy's with the tamborine's and flowers at the airports (are they still there? I haven't flown for 23 years).
Then my thought's quickly picture that scene in "Airplane!".
Thank you Bob, for being the "Robert Stack" of the vertablogs!

9/18/2006 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

>>"Be love, don't just feel it or talk about it. This is an area of expertise for Nag and myself. Why not learn something? Ask us how to become love."<<

Hmmmm, the mental image of Grant and Nags "love bombing" each other just doesn't do much for me. ;)

9/18/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Anonymous looptloop said...

I love this "bad cop/good cop" stuff. One second raising the hackles on the dogs of love and in the next giving all of us some pause for introspection, eventually weaving a subtle web to perhaps snare a transformative experience. Is this intentional psycho-spiritual therapy? ‘Cause I too was beginning to believe you were just a "big-grumpy-meanie-guy” Bob :o)

9/18/2006 11:35:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

Will, what did Eckhart say was the "truth" that "disinterest" or detachment allows us to apprehend clearly enough in people to love them?

I believe that most who speak of an agape-like love would emphasize the selflessless or unclinging or "detached" nature of it. We love someone in this way not because of what s/he does or does for us, but for his or her divine likeness or "Buddha nature" that our love makes us want to see and foster with detached clarity. We do not love them only if they love us or make us feel good and only so long as this is the case. We love them unconditionally and desire only to know and help them fulfill their highest nature.

But, contrary to what Bob and others who criticize this perspective maintain, loving others in this way doesn't mean that we give them carte blanche to do harm without facing justice. Nor does it mean that we don't call them to task for conduct, words, or ideas they need to be called to task for. It just means that, ideally, we do all of this with love.

Bob has said before that this is a recipe for disaster, but I'd like to know why. For it seems to me that the most likely way to create the kind of disaster to which Bob presumably alludes is not to love someone in the way I've described, but to regard and treat him with hatred or even cold indifference and to be part of a world that regards and treats countless people with hatred or, at best, indifference.

9/19/2006 07:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Rokusaburo said...

A very illuminating post!

I am sure that a certain percentage of people among the believers of Islam (or other faiths) do exhibit this toxic truth-denying behavior - however, I am also sure that the Imams count on the political effect of the rage displayed by a few ignoramuses and hotheads in front of conveniently placed Western news service cameras after the Friday prayer.

You see, civilized people tend to avoid speaking about things that seem to utterly offend other's sensitivities, even if they seem to be simple truths. Take race/sex differences as another example of this. Yes, after a while, self-censorship becomes subconscious and becomes the phenomenon you have analyzed so well. But the result is the same, namely that no one will dare say anything other than praise about islamic faith and customs.

This strategy is totally working so far, and it is the best way to prepare the terrain to further spreading the Muslim plague. There is method in their madness.

9/19/2006 09:54:00 AM  

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