Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Reality-Based Community of Base Emotionality (10.02.08)

As mankind falls from plane to plane, we can see how realist man opens the door to vital man, for as Peggy Lee sang in one of the most weary and cynical lyrics of all time,

If that's all there is my friends,
then let's keep dancing
Let's break out the booze and have a ball
If that's all there is

Let’s have a ball! There is an age when doing so is appropriate, probably somewhat inevitable, and even charming. You don’t want to prematurely disillusion a child’s pure vitality and joyful engagement with the world. They’ll become disillusioned soon enough. If not, they will become pathetic, as they fall into the vital as a means of escape from boredem, meaninglessness, and the emptiness in the heart of one who has severed their contact with the divine planes.

I’ve been thinking about this category of “vital man,” and for some reason I’ve been having difficulty putting it into words, even though I am quite familiar with the type of person we are talking about. I can tell in an instant if I am dealing with a vital man, but it happens on such an intuitive level that I’ve never really put words to it. But the more you develop spiritually, the more you will recognize a gulf between yourself and this kind of person.

Incidentally, it does not matter whether this person is outwardly “religious,” because there are plenty of vital types who get involved in religion--and not just exoteric religion. Even creepier are the vital beings who get involved in esoteric religion, for then you start to touch on the demonic. I’m sure my Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement will be able to explain what I’m talking about here.

If, like me, you are intuitively repelled by Bill Clinton, this is probably why. Now, I am the first to admit that there was a time that I was not repelled by him. The repellence has only come with spiritual development. And it has nothing to do with ideology per se. After all, he largely governed as a rudderless, poll-driven moderate, and he seems to have no ideological core that isn’t negotiable anyway. I was certainly never a Clinton hater, nor am I now. Rather, he radiates a very specific essence that bears on what we are discussing today. For Clinton is a purely vital man in all he thinks and does.

Clinton is obviously not an unintelligent man, but that doesn’t matter either. For as Sri Aurobindo noted, there is a realm of the psyche called the “vital mind,” so it is not at all uncommon to encounter a vital intellectual, just as it is not uncommon to encounter a noble and light-filled common laborer. It’s all about the light, not the intellectual content. If you were to attempt to slog through Clinton’s autofellatiography, I believe you would find it tedious beyond belief, and this is why. For although he is a passionate man, his passions are on a very low “earth plane,” while spiritual development specifically involves the “subtilization” of emotions.

In fact, you will notice that some exoteric paths involve the repression of emotion rather than its transformation. I am afraid that I have noticed this pattern on a fairly widespread scale in the religious movement of which Clinton is a part. This is not to tar everyone with the same brush, as the exceptions are obvious and many, but there is an aspect of southern Christianity that seems to almost express itself in a bipolar way, going from vital expression to vital guilt and manic reparation and then back again.

I recently got an intimate glimpse into this dynamic in reading the biography of Elvis, who was a profoundly spiritual man in the sense we are discussing. I’m now reading a biography of Johnny Cash. Same thing. So too Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke, Hank Williams, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and so many others. They never really escaped from the vital, but instead swung from pillar to post between expression and repression.

But true spiritual growth involves a spiritualization, transformation, and subtilization of emotion. Emotion becomes “finer,” lighter, more translucent. I am now at the point that I have some difficulty being around crowds of vital beings, such as a sporting event. But part of the problem is that the teams now increasingly pander and cater to vital beings.

For example, I used to love to go to Dodger Stadium, because it was like going to a park. It was positively edenic. No loud and annoying rock music blaring from the speakers, no ads filling every square inch of unused space, and a certain gentility among most of the fans. But now, they literally don’t give you a silent moment to ruminate and enjoy the natural rhythm of the game.

And the fans are much more loud, vulgar and animalistic. When I was a kid, no one cursed in public at a game, but now it’s constant. I sensed a real shift about a decade ago, when they had a baseball giveaway promotion. The umpire made a bad call in the seventh inning, at which point baseballs rained down of the field, endangering the umpires and players. Fans wouldn’t stop, so the Dodgers had to forfeit the game.

You may think this is a small thing, but on a cultural level it is huge. When I attended games in the 60s, 70s and even 80s, this type of behavior among Dodger fans would have been unthinkable. Perhaps they would have done something similar in San Francisco or Oakland--Giant or Raider fans always attract and celebrate the vital--but not in the Sacred Temple of Dodger Stadium.

Something “tipped” in the 1990s, and hasn’t stopped tipping ever since. No one set fire to their city after winning a championship until what, 1991, with the Chicago Bulls? Now it’s a barbaric tradition. You can easily hear the same phenomenon in music and see it in TV, movies, and modern "art," as our culture becomes increasingly crude and falls into the vital. Here we are at the cusp where vitalism slides into destruction, the fourth stage of the nihilist dialectic.

This is obviously going to have to be a two parter, because I’ve barely cleared my throat....

Father Rose points out that the fall into vitalism is at the heart of the reverse utopias of the left, which immamentize Christian hope and try to create a “vital heaven” on earth. For if higher truth is eclipsed as a result of “realism,” then leftism results from the flight from despair that such an erroneous and subhuman metaphysic entails.

Bear in mind that, as we discussed a few days ago, the spiritual impulse remains, but now it is no longer guided by traditional channels. It becomes “unhinged” so to speak. I am quite sure that most of you bobbleheaded Children of the Light can read dailykos and know exactly what I am talking about. The well attested creepy feeling one gets from any writer or commenter on that site is your own higher mind sensing the unbound vital, completely detached from more refined emotions and from the intellect properly so called (i.e., the nous or noetic faculty). {Shudder.}

As Father Rose points out, “there is no form of Vitalism that is not naturalistic,” which again goes to the many pseudo-religions that are an expression of vitalism. Here again, if you are remotely sensitive, you will notice this with regard to most “new age” spirituality, which is vital to the core, a cauldron of subjective fantasies, a “rootless eclecticism” of half-understood fragments, earth worship, narcissistic "realizationism," and sometimes frank satanism (even if unwitting). In reality, these pseudo-religions are “a cancer born of nihilism.”

It looks like our coming election this November is going to be a purely vital affair, giving voice to the lower vital and sanctioning the "ideas" of the vital mind. Even more than this or that policy, this is what makes it so frightening. Because there may come point when vitalism swamps the light of the higher mind, as it has already done in academia and the mass media. The prospect of an awakened multitude animated by the “terrible simplifiers” of the left is not a sanguine one... then again, "sanguine" comes from the French word for blood.

38 Comments:

Anonymous Karl Vincent said...

Bob,
Again, thank you for a thought provoking read! I think I'm developing an addiction for One Cosmos... but not on a vital plane (lol).
Look here, I'm an atheist... no not agnostic... atheist. However, I have a very deep spiritual commitment to honor, integrity, and charity. I demand it in myself and I demand it in those whom I offer respect and friendship. I've been married 42 years to the same woman, have a very close relationship with my children and grandchildren, and am a strong supporter of libertarian/conservatism. Spirituality can reside in humanism, Bob, and may in fact be more genuine than feelings motivated by a fear of Hell, a desire for Heaven, or embracing proscriptions from that guy in the sky. I think you need to search more deeply into the nature of spirituality. Organized religion is as vital as "sin". I won't demean your intellect with historical examples. You know what I'm talking about. I consider the "Minutemen" volunteering time at our borders, or "Doctors without Borders", "or a young man or woman genuinely embracing their oath to serve in our Armed Forces as far more spiritual than most church activities. It doesn't have to be about God to be spiritual. It's all about humanism. It's about finding purpose and meaning in community service, and service to family and friends. It's a gre3at feeling...spirtuality... and God need not be a part of the process. Karl Vincent

10/14/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

My Dear Karl--

What you cite as problematic in religion is presicely a result of the humans you celebrate in your humanism! Religions would be heaven on earth of only they weren't composed of humans.

Humanism soon leads to subhumanism, as was vivdly demonstrated by the 100,000 deaths that resulted form utopian secular ideologies in the 20th century.

Atheism, unlike agnosticism, is a highly spiritual stance, for you are making ultimate metaphysical truth claims. Problem is, as soon as you have set yourself up as a being who may know the ultimate truth of existence, you have exposed the logical contradition at the heart of atheism.

Just because you are an athiest, it hardly means that you are not animated by spiritual impulses, any more than a celibate person eliminates the sex drive. Has it occurred to you that your goodness is evidence of another force, for goodness is nowhere found in a state of nature?

10/14/2006 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Missing a few zeroes there, Bob?

10/14/2006 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Sorry. One Hundred Million deaths brought to you by the atheists of the left.

10/14/2006 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Were I an atheist, I would, by definition, have to reject the very term, wouldn't I? That's why I like Bob's term, "vital", as a more apt description. I know "atheist" is a term of convenience these days, but I would hope that they, as a group, could find a term that can describe themselves without having to assume that everyone else understands the concept of "God" first.

I don't mean this as a mockery, Karl, I bring it up as a lack of mental acuity on my part.Perhaps in some corner of the world where there are untainted folks have no concept of any god, not the faintest notion, an atheist wouldn't even have to worry about having to describe themselves beyond the normal human labels of husband, father, craftsman, etc.

I haven't found that place where folks don't look around their cosmos and start to wonder aloud to their friends, what does it all mean? And there it goes again, they'll posit a god. But until that moment, with nothing to be "a-" about, an atheist doesn't even exist in that corner of the cosmos. I dunno, it's kind of fascinating, almost a Schroeding's Cat sort of dilemma, this being defined by what you don't believe, but not until another person believes. If an atheist opens the box and finds another atheist, how will they recognize one another?

Sorry Karl, having a bit of mental gymnastics at your expense! :)

It's Saturday and the wind is blowing cool over the beaches and the Harleys are arriving in droves, and Daytona's half an hour from here. The bobbleheads are safe from my inanities for the next day or two. Talk about vital! Gonna go gawk at it for myself!

:)

10/14/2006 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

Not to defend Chicago where I live - (I'm IN Chicago, not OF Chicago) - but I believe the city of Detroit has the patent on riotous behavior following championship sports events.

And here come the Tigers. Watch for it.

When the vital mind is mixed with an interest and even a "technical" understanding of the esoteric what can result is this: an attempt at gaining the glory of the Whole with and through the mindset of the Fragment. In other words, the vital mind attains toward the power behind the glory, hold the glory. And make no mistake, we're speaking of considerable power, the power of the primeval fire.

I would think Hitler, whose occult interests are well known, would qualify here. Then again, all power partakes of the primeval fire in a way. Stalin, Mao may not have had esoteric interests per se, but they did wield tremendous, unchecked power, which, as they say, is all-corrupting - because unchecked, un-sublimated power is in itself an "occult" enterprise, I believe.

In short, the grab for power for its own sake is an attempt at playing God. And nobody sings God like God.

10/14/2006 10:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A circus of egregious vitality can be beheld on daytime TV--Judge Judy, Judge Alex, Judge Wapner, Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, etc.

Our culture is not unaware of the vital mind and has a horrified fascination with it, as attested by the popularity of these shows with the masses.

For those unfamiliar with the usual content, ordinarily there is a sexual betrayal, unattributed pregnancy, theft or deceit that is hashed out in excruciating detail; the audience hoots and yells in derision. Check it out sometime.

The vital mind is present in more aware people as well, such as B. Godwin, myself, Dicentra63, Van, Will, BigOpussum, etc. Nobody is completely free of this this stuff.
___________________________________

Note to Karl Vincent: atheism works as long as things go tolerably well in the life.
However, to maintain atheism in the face of adversity, (as some humanists do) is the pinnacle of human bravery, in my opinion.
I am in awe of the existentialist. Alone he confronts the cold universe and whatever it brings; God may well hold a special affection for such people, for they play the game of nescience with full intensity.

You can't get that kind of pain anywhere else but here, and God notes the experience and nods, yes, so that's how it would feel to be alone and hopeless.
God is an "experience collector." He vicariously "enjoys" atheism.

10/14/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

I am in awe of the pathetic incontinent alcoholic existentialist Jean Paul Sartre, who courageously adhered to his self-deluded philosophy of stupidity until he dropped dead. Not to mention the brave existentialist Heidegger, who never apologised for his existential nazism.

10/14/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

May I assume from this fine-line observation by will that he is the Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement after all?? I had a few bad minutes over that offhand reference :-(

In other news, putting aside his demonstrably undemonstrable mind-reading conclusions as to what inferior supersition and shabby self-regard motivates the religious, Karl's otherwise considered civilized atheism can certainly be sincere, but, like so many things, lives off the capital of an elaborated dogma and civilizational system we have all inherited. Indeed, the opportunity to lay aside the widespread religious impulse is a great luxury, especially as to the tendency of simpler folk in les autres temps et endroits to enforce basic observances -- death if you miss the date for fertility sacrifices, etc.

It also doesn't "travel," or "preach." That is, even if Karl is the legitimate exception to the pervasive religious impulse and longing, sometimes exceptions are just that, which the healthy polity can absorb and enjoy, but careful, careful how you handle hijacking the norms and the mythic explanations.

So, the "you're wrong, because I'm the exception" argument has "data is not the plural of anecdote" problems, as well as inability to demonstrate real independence of the Doubted Deity, who in the viewpoint of theists, fortunately for us all puts up with a lot.

That whole "vital" piece is big for me, loving luxurious comfort, wild laughter, and attention as much as I do. The Orthodox admonition to let the passions settle and clear the landscape for the deeply reasonable is quite foreign, but it proves profitable. Less vulgar fun, more peace and vision and intuition. But vitalism easily seeps under the radar, and constitutes the biggest portion of what passes for Loving Life in this era, masquerading as a multitude of oceanic and counter-conventional "spiritual" feelings.

10/14/2006 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

I mentioned him on this Blog a while back, but I find this guy hideously fascinating, and didn't fully understand why until I read today's post.

He's a textbook example of the kind of "vital being" Gagdad and Fr. Rose describe. Note that he uncritically embraces all manner of exotic "spiritual" conceits, while never missing an opportunity to take a potshot at Judeo-Christian faith and values.

This column, more than any other of his scribblings, led me to believe that he's not just a particularly vile example of a snide, hateful Bay Area uber-hipster, but an active proponent of real metaphysical evil.

What say the Bobbleheads?

10/14/2006 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Big Possum said...

Karl -


As atheists go, I can imagine an ejoyable conversation with you over a couple of pops, maybe even a Grey Goose Martini....straight up, olive dirty, perl onion garnish. No doubt, about halfway through said goose, I'd likely come atcha with the 'ol silver bullet. Goes a little something like this.

Think of a "special place" in your life, somewhere that in its own way is sacred or has real, soul-level meaning for you. Perhaps it is a favorite family vacation spot. Maybe it is the place where you took a knee before your then-future bride. Or maybe a particular bench on your old college campus where you experienced a lot of heart-to-heart conversations with friends. It is different for everyone, of course, but most of us have one or two spots where we can go and feel a connectionm with, even an appreciation for, something bigger than ourselves.

Anyway, whilst nibbling on my perl onion garnish, I would challenge you to go to YOUR spot and to there pen the following "letter to God", or some paraphrase that suffices for the same purpose through your unique expression.

Dear Living God,

If you do exist and are in truth a living, loving being that I may count on to influence me in a manner that enhances my total life experience in ways that will necessarily contribute to the experience and well being of ALL life, then I surrender everything that I am and will ever be entirely to you. Come be with, live in, work through, and love me as you will.

Love,

Karl



Try to imagine doing this, going to your special place, writing this letter, and then lighting it on fire as if to send a smoke signal to the Heavens that contains your message to some living, loving Higher Power....if it exists within the parameters that the above letter describes. Will you do it? If not, why? Do you experience any anxiety imagining this? If so, where does the anxiety come from? What does it signify?

If you can leave our conversation, go through with the recommendation to send the message, and then come back three years later, I would be interested in any arguments you would have against the existence of God. Otherwise, I would suggest that your "atheism" is an aversion mechanism to looking hard at and diving into the anxiety I have just described.

For what it is worth, I have written my version of the above letter and repeat some derivation of it nearly every day in my prayers. Greetings from the "Big River", 'ol chap. I'd be pleased if you would consider one of my most recent expression from an experience of an inflowing tide.


Through our experiences of the many scenes and characters in an emergent Universe narrative we can, if we look for it, see God winking at us as if to say, "I AM here, the water is just fine, leave the bank, come on in". Over time, the more we encounter such overtures, the more we realize that this living water is not only inviting us to jump in, it is calling us to join it and, as it runs through us, to emerge as participants in its expression. As one who could sit on a hillside for hours just looking at a river, and enjoys floating in a canoe, one thing I love in the world is the conjoined experience of "seeing" the flow of divine currents throughout my city and being ushered along by them at the same time. Where is God in this? God is in my experiences of learning who God IS through this magical combination of observing grace in others, realizing grace in myself, and in the marveling I do in the moments of their interaction.

BP

10/14/2006 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Bob,
Sorry to nitpick, but arent the words to that Peggy Lee song actually by Kurt Weill? I think that adds an interesting twist, Weill being the master of musical absurdity that he was (he also wrote Mack the Knife and the Doors' song Whiskey Bar).

10/14/2006 02:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

tsebring,

Considering Weill was a Communist, it's not surprising he'd pen such an anthem to horizontality and vitalist resignation.

10/14/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

tsebring--

No!

The song is actually by Lieber & Stoller, who also wrote "Hound Dog" and so many other great R&B songs.

10/14/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

But Lieber and Stoller are the quintessence of sophisticated New York horizontal hipsterism. My father in law is the same way.

10/14/2006 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

aquila--

Yes, Morford is a fine example of someone who has fallen all the way, but is still digging.

10/14/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I can't imagine such behaviors yet in St. Louis. If the Cards happen to get to and win the World Series, there won't be any fires or riots. Many reasons, I think, tons of Catholics and Jews, and a very long-time population.

10/14/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Aquila,
wow, did not know that..thanks for the additional info. I think that adds and even more interesting twist, and lends further creedence to Bob's central thesis; nihilism leading to absurdity and childishness. There are few songwriters more nihilstic than Weill. Condsider these words from the Alabama Song, done by the Doors (Which I mistakenly called Whiskey Bar); they're another good example of a mind given overto nihilistic absurdity:

Show me the way to the next whiskey bar
Oh, don't ask why
Oh, don't ask why
Show me the way to the next whiskey bar
Oh, don't ask why
Oh, don't ask why
For if we don't find the next whiskey bar
I tell you we must die
I tell you we must die
I tell you, I tell you, I tell you we must die

Considering Morrison's drug-addled career, it's no suprise that he chose this song.

10/14/2006 03:22:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Bob and all,
sorry for the error on the Peggy Lee song - some radio guy said it was by Kurt Weill some time ago, and he was obviously wrong. But it sure sounds like something he might write. I know that Alabama Song definitely is by Kurt Weill. Should have waited for Bob's response before further posting - this blog commenting can make one kind of impulsive sometimes.

10/14/2006 03:30:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Aquila,
This Morford guy seems like one of those adolescent intellectuals that delights in "getting in your face" and dismantling every tradition and institution he can get his unclean hands on. What a freakin goon. Speaking of musical anthems like "Is that all there is" or "Alabama Song", Morford's anthem is probably this one from the musical Peter Pan:

I won't grow up
I don't wanna wear a tie
Or a serious expression
In the middle of July...

Or maybe this old Beatles classic:

Day after day
Alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still...

....you know the rest.

10/14/2006 03:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Ben usn (ret) said...

Outstanding, Bob!
Vitalman...Malignant, narcissistic anarchy.
Malarcanarchy.
I dread crowds also.
It would be easy to be a hermit if I weren't married.
Malarcanarchy vitamen are painful to be around (and not a good pain).
They are like zombies, seeking spiritual brains to eat.
Parasitically repulsive, and can be deadly.
I put on the Armor, and try to avoid the zombies (thank God for 24 hour stores).
It's exhausting.
Like running a spiritual gauntlet.

10/14/2006 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Connecticut Yankee said...

Bob-- Your comments about Southern-fried religion reminded me of Flannery O'Connor's short stories. Granted she was writing as a Roman Catholic, she still got the hysterical (for want of a better term) as well as the bipolar quality of the local piety exactly right. And speaking of WJC-- I can't help thinking that Jimmah Cahtah and Al-the-Vanderbilt-Divinity-dropout Gore are two other prime examples of the manic guilt and expression/repression swing you described. Al's just exchanged the heart-warming of Wesleyan revivalism for the Gaian obsession with global warming.

10/14/2006 04:27:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

"Even creepier are the vital beings who get involved in esoteric religion, for then you start to touch on the demonic."
Yeah, or religious people who become "vital", such as Jim Wallis, who has managed to merge Christianity and Marxism together into a grotesque, Orc-like hybrid. To me, this cocktail is about as appealing as blending orange juice and bovine excrement together. The same can be said of Muslims who become "vital", and use their vitality to fly airplanes into buildings and eviscerate children with nail bombs.

10/14/2006 04:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Karl Vincent said...

PUhhleazze, my dear friends. Don't throw the number of 100,000,000 million human beings killed by atheists. I don't think atheism was the defining quality of these killers. Modern Jihadist are not atheists, nor were most Nazis. C'mon, that line of argument is very weak. As far as sending god a letter by smoke express... well... I frankly find it silly. To be logical, we must presume that your God is independent of time, after all, he created it, right? So he knows tha first day at that same moment of mind that he perceives the last moment. It couldn't be a temporal creation that keeps him guessing. He created ouyr las breath in the his same moment that he created our first breathe. For his eyes there are no surprises. So, your God fully intended me to bean atheist, and I am dutifully fulfilling my service. I think you get the drift of my argument.
Karl Vincent

10/14/2006 05:28:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Karl--

That lone statement betrays so much ignorance on so many levels that we are temporarily speechless. We recommend that you find another blog that is more congenial to your low-watt cogitations before we recover our powers of speech.

10/14/2006 05:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

That second "karl vincent" did not seem as the first "karl vincent", unless of course, alcohol was involved.

10/14/2006 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

And speaking of nihilistic anthems,

Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind...

Actually, I read somewhere that the writer of that song came to embrace Christianity.

10/14/2006 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

Karl's posting
because he wants to be heard.

he's not Morford.

don't chase him off.

he's attached to his worldview,
but within those limits,
imo,he sounds sincere.

of course his world view is still better than any other.

just so long as you get that part.

10/14/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

cousin dupree said... "That lone statement betrays so much ignorance on so many levels that we are temporarily speechless. "

Which statement is that? I thought Karl was playing it pretty straight forward, I think he's missing something, but unless my detectors are clogged, I didn't think he was being anti-spirit, only questioning where that spirit is legitimately to be found.

And I agree with him, the communists may have claimed to be atheists, but they were rabid fundamentalist worshipers at the church of Marxism, and similarly for the Nazi's as well. There are benign, reasoning atheists who balk at going any further than they can touch the evidence, and there are 'atheists' who only use the term to attack rival churches - and I'm guessing that Karl is more the former than the later.

Except for the last sentence, that is:
"So, your God fully intended me to bean atheist, and I am dutifully fulfilling my service. I think you get the drift of my argument."

Karl, that has just a wee bit of the smell of determinism about it, and I don't think you'll find any adherents of the deterministic variety at this site.

I could be wrong, but I don't see Karl as a troll - of course we'll see better as the sun comes up, if you turn to stone Karl, I can't help you out.

10/14/2006 06:37:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Okay, I withdraw my comment. I was specifically objecting to the crude caricature of God, who, we all know, may be omnipotent but cannot act contrary to his own nature, which includes the desire to create autonomous beings separate from himself, not atheist machines.

10/14/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

While Jesus invites us to walk on the water and breath the air, vital people like their fishiness and actually prefer the rush of emotional juices in the stormy sea. Unfortunately, once you have made that choice, this sea has no bottom, as Bob is pointing out in this series of postings. It only leads to deeper darkness where the fish have no eyes and can't recognize the light anymore.

10/14/2006 08:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

I dunno, Ms. Argghh -

The "all we are is dust in the wind" line could be read as spiritually liberating in a sense.

We have to embrace our insignificance before we embrace our true significance.

(my bumper sticker wisdom of the day)

10/14/2006 09:16:00 PM  
Blogger Eeevil Right Wing Nut said...

“All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see”

To me the words to Dust in the Wind speak of the fleetingness of life and the temporary nature of man and his works on the earthly plane so one should not put too much emphasis on the physical realm.

Alan –

“It only leads to deeper darkness where the fish have no eyes and can't recognize the light anymore.”

Good analogy!

10/14/2006 11:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will: Why not bring Socrates and Tyler Durden into it?

"When I left him, I reasoned thus with myself: I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know."

Durden, paraphrase: "It is only when you admit you know nothing that you can learn anything."

10/15/2006 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger jw said...

Bringing Jim wallis into it is quite interesting. He speaks of a merger of left and right, taking the best of both. Yet, all of the words and actions are of the left. Where is the good part of the right?

Now, I'm very interested in reducing child abuse. A good thing to do, EH?

Yet, to do it we must bring the treatment of the female abuser up to that of the male. We do a very good job with the male abuser and an attrocious job with the female. The current system is so bad in its treatment of the female abuser that we can say with all honesty that the sexism itself is the greatest threat to children.

Yet, for Wallis's purposes any discussion of the female abuser is heresy: Typical leftist response, typical leftist viewpoint. Where is the rightist female viewpoint?

For it is in the rightist female and the father's rights men that we see true effort to make a real reduction in total violence. (Sadly to say most rightist men object quite loudly to stopping female violence as it distorts their view of the perfection of the female: This is an error which must be fixed!)

This dualist reaction on the part of Wallis and crowd (plus the rightist male) is part of Bob's vitalist concept. Although I'm sure I've lost you Bob by holding the rightist male to the same standard as the leftist of either sex.

As you state the thing vitalism is the factors seen in a society stripped of true Godliness, goodness and responsibility. I think I'm correct there?

Thus, the anti-vitalist is that set of factors which work for godliness, responsibility and goodness. This is indeed a major part of the Pauline Principles from the Bible, the Rabinic traditions from Judaism and also valid teachings from some other religions.

10/15/2006 03:09:00 AM  
Anonymous sehoy said...

Jihadists are nihilists. So are Nazis.

Nihilists. Anti-theists. Destroyers.

If I'm understanding Fr. Rose correctly, he pretty much says there are no such things as atheists or agnostics. They are actually antitheists. And at heart, ultimately nihilists.

The Father Rose chapter is eye-opening and so is Dr. Bob's commentary on it and I thank this blog for directing me to it.

10/15/2006 03:52:00 AM  
Blogger Jauhara said...

"For example, I used to love to go to Dodger Stadium, because it was like going to a park. It was positively edenic. No loud and annoying rock music blaring from the speakers, no ads filling every square inch of unused space, and a certain gentility among most of the fans. But now, they literally don’t give you a silent moment to ruminate and enjoy the natural rhythm of the game."

I used to go to movies for this same reason. The theaters were like temples. Quiet, where you could think. Anticipate an upcoming movie. Now they all but tell you the outcome of the upcoming movie, so why bother to see it.
And commercials! They are on from the moment you get in. They made stadium style seating, but put in these annoying lights that make me want to have a seizure every time I go up the steps to my seat.
The movies are horrid....a perfect example of vital man at his worst. I guess the theater experience is a good summation of the vital around us.

10/15/2006 05:51:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"However, I have a very deep spiritual commitment to honor, integrity, and charity. I demand it in myself and I demand it in those whom I offer respect and friendship"

There may be an argument to be made, that this is the true (this worldly) aim of religion, and the dreaded anti-target of the vitalist.

I dislike hypothetical’s, but for grins, imagine if you took two people, one deeply and truthfully religious, and one intensely atheistic of the 'do your own thing' anti virtues vein, and if we, in that 'someway' only imaginable in hypothetical’s, removed any religious information from their lives, wouldn't Karl's description describe the earthly essence of what the religious person's view would be? And isn't the opposite what the atheists view would still seek after?

The vitalists core is that they seek after possessing and interacting with Stuff here and now with no idea of further values or purposes than the sensory pleasures to be derived from that Stuff for them here and now, or in rare cases to be gotten from Stuff in the (not too distant) future. Those misophosies they uphold will be focused solely on praising and pursuing Stuff and especially those who attain the most prodigious amounts of Stuff.

For when the Capital 'Q' Quality of spirit is taken off the table, physical quantities of Stuff will become the focus of worship; the substitute for a sense of self is a grasping of quantities of stuff that the self can acquire. Such a focus is directed not only to physical stuff, but is also determined to turn Quality of thought - integrated concepts and Truths, into unrelated, disintegrated particulars, denying even the possibility of there being a One Truth, mocking it into a fractured collection of many facts.

As Gagdad said "But then, these subhuman philosophies become the justification to fall further into vital animality. Postmodern philosophies use the spirit to deny the spirit, leaving us with a wholly horizontal wasteland of matter and instinct."

The spiritually attuned religious persons focus is on the higher values to be attained and realized inwardly, from their incidental interaction with stuff, but that stuff has no significant value for them other than what their disciplined handling of it helps them to build within their own character and those they care for, Quality of thought and deed is paramount, quantity is incidental.

A seeking after what you can lay your hands on as the focus of your goals, leads you no higher than what you can lay your hands on. I've taken religion, and more specifically religious dogma, as being vehicles for carrying a persons thoughts towards the ideal of the One, but I think that that can only authentically be approached after realizing the One of your own self; a self that is not fractured, disintegrated, by contradictory vital pursuits, but instead is a self that is integrated and purposive, which requires a commitment to honor and integrity.

If that sense of One is attained within yourself, then the foundation for a contemplation of the wider One would seem to be a natural next step, the hitch for the incidental atheist, is that the step must be found by looking not only upwards but at the same time by inwardly seeking outwards. However I don't see their position as being in any meaningful way opposed to those who do seek further, while the Vitalist most assuredly is.

10/15/2006 10:59:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home