Friday, November 24, 2006

Thoughtsgiven Laughedovers

Ever since I started blogging, out of necessity I’ve been very diligent, in a chaotic sort of way, about keeping track of any wisp of a hint of an idea for an idea that might eventually form the basis of the kernel of a post. In the past I would just catch and release these thoughtlets, but now I have to make sure I reel in at least one big browser trout a day, whatever that means.

I have notebooks and scraps of paper everywhere. In fact, I even have things written on the walls of my office at home, as Dilys knows. Today I’m going to rifle through them and empty out my “down box.”

I’ve got a big stack right here in front of me. I’ll just start at the top and go from there. (Why do I feel like Andy Rooney doing a piece on junk mail?)

Let’s see. A couple of possibly direct quotes from Schuon, “God does not give the gift of intelligence only to require you to admit what is contrary to it,” and “if everyone were capable of understanding metaphysics, there would be no atheists.”

Ah, here is a very subtle point by Schuon, which, if you can grasp it, does indeed prove the metaphysical necessity of God: “An indefinitely augmentable beauty is meaningless and empties the very idea of beauty of its content.” In short, if there is no hierarchy that is conditioned from the top down, there is no beauty, and if beauty exists, there is a hierarchy conditioned from the top down. We can discern relative degrees of perfection only in light of the Absolute. In this way, the relative world proves the Absolute, otherwise we would truly live in a meaningless, arbitrary, and indistinguishible mass of flatland nothingness, like the university.

Another good quote: “The man who is integrally mature always keeps in equilibrium with wisdom the qualities of simplicity and freshness, gratitude and trust, that he possessed in the springtime of his life.”

Questions for Petey: “How is it that we are not trapped within our own nervous system?,” and “How is it that the cosmos continually surpasses itself?” Nah, too obvious.

Here’s a note to myself: “In any field above the level of the hard sciences, there is a huge difference between received knowledge and realized knowledge, so much so that to treat realized knowledge as if it can be received knowledge is to convert it to a lie and render it sterile, as do both atheists and false teachers.... One cannot replace concrete experience with abstract, secondary theory, without inhabiting a false and reified version of reality.”

But “this is what intellectuals habitually do -- i.e., live in their abstractions, and there is no theory more abstract than atheism, for it entirely superimposes a sterile dogma over the mystery of being. While this ground is a mystery, it is not an absurdity because it is infused with the very same logos that illuminates the mind and allows us to comprehend it. We see beauty or know truth because both are logos calling out to logos.”

Likewise, we may know God because God, who is infinitely distant from us, at the same time radiates to the perimeter of creation, where the breath of Spirit whispers to the divine spark hidden in the depths of our heart. This divine spark is far too beautiful to be untrue.

As you age, you have more time, not less -- the fullness of time, the wealth of time, the dense interconnectedness of time that the young cannot see. They have only duration. Spiritual growth converts duration to time and time to eternity, and then pours eternity back into duration. You're again like a child, only knowing the place for the first time.

Here are some notes taken while reading Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences. Sort of sums up the book: “Without imagination the world is simply a brute fact -- there is nothing to spiritualize it. In the flight from the center to the periphery, one becomes lost in details which cannot be understood. Fragmentation leads to obsession with parts. Downward pull that puts an end to ideational life. Specialization leads to deformity. World shrinks. As compensation, modern man is puffed up with vanity of being able to describe some minute portion of the world. Modernism is provincialism.”

More notes on Weaver: “Truth is an antecedent reality perceived by the intellect and not the senses. Denying universals denies everything transcending experience, therefore denial of truth and acceptance of relativism. Immersion in matter makes man unfit to deal with the problems of matter. Facts are substituted for truth, but there is no knowledge at the level of sensation. Facts do not speak for themselves and experience cannot tell us what we are experiencing. The world is our primary datum, but we do not end our days with a wealth of sense impressions.”

“The problem with this generation is that it has not read the minutes of the last meeting” (Weaver, anticipating dailykos).

“How can men who disagree on what the world is for agree on the minutiae of daily conduct?” (Weaver).

Egalitarianism creates a tyrannical flatland in which the same law applies to the ox and the lion, and is therefore a disorganizing concept which assures injustice.

The separation of knowledge from religion is the separation of facts and knowledge from metaphysics.

An ontological reality called integration must precede the human personality, just as wholeness must be anterior to natural selection.

Man’s real freedom is in the dimension of height and depth.

Like a neurotic patient, history acts out what it cannot remember.

Ever since language began colonizing the brain, it has been an unending task to synthesize all those bits into a coherent self.

Liberals are always rushing to non-judgment.

Life is to matter as mind is to brain as God is to existence.

Getting paid for doing what you like is like finding a self-replicating dollar bill.

When language is unhinged from reality, evolution is as static as a dog’s bark. This explains Ted Kennedy.

Culture is personal error squared.

If you’re not eccentric, you’re probably not living your individuality, which is to say, living.

You can substantially increase your freedom if you only stop endowing things with the spurious attractiveness needed to make pursuing them worth the trouble. Few things are worth doing as well as they can be done.

Spiritual practice is arranging your own birth.

We must always have at least a few people to live at the edge of sanctioned reality and keep an eye on eternity. I wish my in-laws would understand this.

Science reduces the world to a coherent absurdity, psychosis to an incoherent absurdity, myth to an incoherent non-absurdity, metaphysics to a coherent non-absurdity.

Higher realties do not stand out except to those who stand in them.

Mystepistemology: the study of how one may obtain reliable unknowing.

Factsimian: a human who reduces truth to fact and therefore sinks beneath his humanness.

Absolute victimhood corrupts absolutely. The left creates gold-plated victims in order to make their unpalatable ideas immune from argument.

For thousands of years mankind was lost in the circle only to become lost in the line. Religion is here to show us the spiral.

Discovering the true self behind the ego is a de-mask-us experience.

Let's face it, if you don't awaken to your higher self, that old saying is true: life is a Nancy Pelosi and then you die.

*****

That felt good. Nothing like an empty desk to feel unburdened. Or as Lao Tsu said to Andy Rooney,

Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace....
In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired.
In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped.

27 Comments:

Anonymous Alan said...

Wow - a plenitude of great bobservations.

Among my favorites...
“How can men who disagree on what the world is for agree on the minutiae of daily conduct?” (Weaver).

How can questioning our politicians about their religion and worldview be so out of bounds?

Thanks to Bob and all the regular contributors who make this a special place!

11/24/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Anonymous a troll this way comes said...

Wow, just your luck; the universe has burped up a troll to read your laundry list of seed-corn ideas.

Well, let's take a sample with a certain "theme"--

"If everyone were capable of understanding metaphysics, there would be no atheists."

"...to treat realized knowledge as if it can be received knowledge is to convert it to a lie and render it sterile, as do both atheists and false teachers.... "

"As compensation, modern man is puffed up with vanity of being able to describe some minute portion of the world. Modernism is provincialism."

"Higher realties do not stand out except to those who stand in them."

The theme represents a chronic irritation with or judgment against people who deny God. The question to you, Bob, is what motivates your fascinated disgust with atheists?

If you are like me, then it is because within you lies a stubborn and buried tendency to disbelieve in God, a small doubting voice that refuses to be rubbed out. This kernel of atheism maddens the God-lover. Therefore, a response would be to project the anger onto others,resulting in a disgust with and and effort to to abolish the non-believing element in others.

Before dismissing the troll out of hand, think... could there be something to this?

11/24/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hmm. I find that is a tendancy of the horizontal man. For instance, no matter how many miracles I hear or witness (or take part in) there is always a part of me that says "Well, it was a very, very unlikely event that just happened to happen."

Despite the fact that if we applied occam's razor to, for instance, jumping a man's car without connecting it to his battery, we get 2 answers.
1. It was miraculous (unexplainable, potentially God-driven action.)
2. It was a result of a misunderstanding (the man's car actually did not have a dead battery.)

Since I didn't have time to check if his battery was actually dead (and never will) I will be caught between those two possibilities. But neither of them is 'well, the scientific explanation would be...'

To him, his car was started. To me, it didn't start until he turned it over with me holding the jumpers. (Trying to get some people to 'do' jumpstarting in the correct way is impossible!) I don't know if it WOULD have started had I not done that; the man was in such a hurry (busy street!) he didn't even bother showing me!

It is, in fact, an impossible mystery! Well, to me. And maybe that's just what a miracle is.

Of course, there is a giant difference between jumpstarting a car with your hands, and um, I dunno, raising a guy from the dead -- who was deceased for three whole days.

All shapes and sizes.

11/24/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"The theme represents a chronic irritation with or judgment against people who deny God. The question to you, Bob, is what motivates your fascinated disgust with atheists?"

I would not necessarily say "disgust." As I have written before, I have no quarrel with the individual atheist any more than I have any animus toward, say, the individual homosexual.

However, I am greatly alarmed by the homosexual agenda and by the aggressive assault on tradition by secular fundamentalists, who I believe are doing irreparable harm to our civilization. This is literally a matter of lfe and death, for Europe proves that secularism creates a new, aberrant kind of human culture that ultimately cannot sustain itself.

So while my ridicule of atheists is always meant to be good-natured and tongue in cheek, underneath it all, there really is something monumental at stake. It is a battle I willingly take on, because secularists give themselves a free pass by simply making fun of the most stupidly religious, and thereby elevate secularism to something it can never be, which is a coherent philosophy (or, like all bad philosophies, it must purchase its coherence at the cost of completeness).

As for the second point, "If you are like me, then it is because within you lies a stubborn and buried tendency to disbelieve in God," no, I deal with that tendency in an entirely different manner, since riduculing atheists will do nothing to eliminate it. There are much more efffective ways.

11/24/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

troll -

Spend some of your holiday time reading back Bob-blogs, then come back and tell us if you feel the same way. I predict not. And keep an ear out for that other still small voice. The doubting one may just be there to keep you in the hunt.

11/24/2006 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Hmm, this inspires me to exhume my own notebook jottings. I don't actually write things on the walls because I'd probably forget that I did and then take them for divine manifestations. I do write endlessly, haphazardly in notebooks. I think it's worth the time reading one's own jottings because a theme often tends to emerge. A few examples, things I had forgotten about; note the running theme:

- Let the suffering you recognize in yourself be the recognition of suffering in others. Not just one or two or family and friends, but in the whole of the world, indeed, for all that suffers, including God.

- Expect God to answer our questions through a friend or a chance meeting or a coincidence, but remember that it is God who is answering. Look to God first when you are troubled.

- Write and think as if your words and thoughts are noted by nobody but Existence Itself. Indeed, depending on the quality of your words and thoughts, Existence becomes more aware of Itself.

- Should loved ones be taken from me, I pray that I will able to recognize them in whatever new form them should gather for themselves. Only Spirit can recognize Spirit, and material form is nothing.

- If people express sympathy for me for what I have had to suffer in this life, I appreciatively thank them, but I also insist that they be glad for me as well.

- God is both the Watcher and the Watched. As the Watched, He is His own Creation and all things in it, and He necessarily suffers as His Creation groans toward manifestation. As the Watcher, He remains in eternal tranquillity As each of us is made is the image of God, we must also suffer, but we also have access to the Watcher's eternal tranquility - it is through this access that we meet our suffering as we are meant to. It is through this access that we receive divine guidance and help.

11/24/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Troll,
My question for you is: how can you be sure you were burped up and not farted out? :^)

11/24/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Does anyone know if it's possible to attach one of those motorcycle sidecars to a blog? I'd like to add one for Will.

11/24/2006 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Speaking of secularists, the battle, etc.-
Yesterday I did the fambly Thanksgiving thing, which meant that my brother and his two kids came up to for the traditional turkey dinner. My 14 year old niece wanted to use the computer. OK. I came into the den while she was on Myspace, and caught a glimpse of the page. The site was crawling with ads for PETA, all slick, neatly done with offers for cool "Meat is Murder", and "Milk is Rape" stickers, downloads and such. This in addition to all the anti-war, anti-Bush rock n' roll group crap. My loathing for PETA is only slightly edged out by my loathing for islamists. I started in about why equating human and animal life is an abomination, but I could sense the teenage wall coming up. She said ,Yeah it was probably pretty stupid, but that medical testing on animals was still wrong. I had to do it. I reminded her that I am probably alive right now because of medical testing done on animals. I hated to pull that one. Not so much because it was the big gun that shot down the argument, but because it drove home my own age, and my own mortality to me. Not only that, but employing that point come dangerously close to melodrama and guilt tripping- both of which I hate.
I rented Nacho Libre for after dinner. Of course there was a string of trailers to get through before the feature started. All of them were for computer animated movies aimed at kids. Except the final and longest trailer that preceded the film. That one was for Al Gore, and his global warming masterpiece, An Inconvenient Truth. So the last message the kids got before the movie was that Global warming was a bigger threat than terrorism. Of course, My brother wholeheartedly agrees. I don't do arguments anymore, I just don't. So I let it go. Nacho Libre didn't go over too well either, and the disc was flawed and skipped over some of the best scenes in the beginning. So went the day. And so went two small battles in the war against bad ideas.
Blockbuster wouldn't refund the rental price or give me a pass for a free rental either. All I could get was another copy of Nacho Libre. I checked my anger, and just walked off. Why take it out on the kid behind the counter? He just works there.

JWM

11/24/2006 01:34:00 PM  
Anonymous stu said...

"Before dismissing the troll out of hand, think... could there be something to this?"

Nope. Nothing at all. Without a shred of doubt.

By the way, "The Fountain" was awesome. See it. It's genius.

Still waiting for that series of posts on the meaning of death, Bob. What's it all about?

11/24/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous lurker uncloaking said...

Been following this blog for a bit, and have a sudden urge to share some insights I've recieved in dreams...

Cheer up...It's worse than you think!

Man is an uneasy blend of ape and angel. (Not necessarily a bad mixture!)

Life is a carrousel of exploding monkeys! (My kids really liked this one...)

11/24/2006 02:13:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

...then he killed the lights
in a lonely lane
and an ape with angel glands
erased the final wisps of pain with the music of
rubber bands...


Leonard Cohen

JWM

11/24/2006 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gaude said...

JWM
The youngest generation is why I'm not off doing the "own thing" that one is supposed to do when the last child leaves. I think I have a serious responsibility to the g-kids to be in their lives to counter a society full of the horizontal, the trivial and the spiritually fatal.

I eat at the non-political table at Austin T-giving - don't want to argue with persons I love but don't get to see very often.
Sent you some good thoughts, Dilys!

Will - the poem! Wonderful.

Deeply grateful, belatedly, for you all!

11/24/2006 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous fergus the cat said...

Culled jottings from Fergus the Cat as he revamps his study:

- Some think that dogs are a "mistake"; there is even a school of thought that perceives dogs as being nothing but maya, an illusion, albeit a troubling one. No, I say. Dogs are not an illusion, nor are they a mistake. In fact, being that the cosmos depends on the play of opposites, dogs must exist so that we cats may exist. (dogs being the negative polarity of cats, you understand) The wise cat knows that for inner balance to be achieved, the inner dog must be recognized and consulted.

- Egalitarianism uplifts the unworthy and downgrades the worthy, thereby creating an unstable, counterfeit cosmos. The natural hierarchy - cats >humans > plant life > mice > dogs - must be maintained at all costs.

- Despite its tendency to produce a flying shoe, 3:00 AM yowling unburdens the soul. Think of it as a form of prayer.

- Cats are not "owned" anymore that the climate is owned. We defy categorization. (ha! CATegorization) We partake of both the above and the below essence. Too much of the above and we become invisible. Too much of the below and we become dogs.

- Why is it that when my staff is reading a paper or a magazine, I am compelled to go lay on it? Well, I just am, so I probably shouldn't question it.

11/24/2006 03:37:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

JWM,
your talk with your niece was a nice microcosm of the entire leftist-islamist policital paradigm. The left and radical islam are stuck in 14-year-old mode and respond to reasonable arguments and metaphysical wisdom with teenage hissy fits and stomping up the stairs. Every argument you present to them is countered with an accusation that you are "guilt tripping"; i.e., you're being homophobic or racist or you hate the environment. And when you try to tell them that the outfit they put on makes them look trampy, they accuse you of being judgemental and narrow minded. And, after all,what are the Columbia protests and the Muslim riots but a giant, collective teenage hormone-driven tantrum? When you attempt to confront them with reason, they stomp up the stairs and write nasty things about you in their diary; i.e., dailykos and al-jazeera. And, when you're not looking or not at home, they unleash destruction.

11/24/2006 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Addendum to above: JWM, at least you can be reassured that your niece will eventually grow out of it. Leftists and jihadists have had their growth stunted, and may be beyond hope.

11/24/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

TSebring:
I re-checked my post. Let me clarify a little. My niece didn't give me any attitiude over the PETA thing, although, as I mentioned, I could feel the wall coming up when I started in on PETA. What bothered me was me. I didn't want to make my argument by trying to make her feel guilty. I was afraid that playing the "I wouldn't be here" card was doing just that. Actually, she does listen, and take what I say seriously.

JWM

11/24/2006 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger ximeze said...

Ben USN said "Cooking a bird in front of a bird?
Brilliant! That is a mysterious message to be contemplated."

To live with parrots is to contemplate the mysterious nature of consciousness & intelligence.

Parrot humor can go over one's head if one is not familiar with the little beasts & their striking abilities. My parents had an Amazon (Pedro - total hatonbackwardsnowboardergogetter)who loved chicken drumsticks - yup, you guessed it: took said by the bone end & RIPPED the meat off (see: Henry VIII) after which he would crush the bone for marrow, using nature's bolt-cutters. One quickly learns respect for those mandibles.

Thing is, "How to stuff.." is spot on. Beaky (real name Sweetie)is an 8yr old African Grey who loves to help in the kitchen & gets totally reved-up when I start making something she likes, clearly responding to some kind of "known" pattern. Watching those beady eyes dialate/contract & the change in body posture when she "gets" a concept is really something to behold. She loves to see herself in the webcam, isolating & moving various body parts & gets a charge out of herself reflect back in real time. It was patently clear the first moment she "got" that what she was seeing was herself & not some "other".

Studies have shown that Greys can have the intelligence of human 5yr olds, that they understand the rudiments of language structure & logic. Living with them quickly proves that this is so. Frankly, she is alot more intelligent than many a human. Why am I suddenly thinking of this blog's sometimesvisitors?

Anyway, today's birdiebreakfast was Turkey with all trimmings: mashed potatos & dressing with gravy, peas with mini-onions, cranberry sauce & pumpkin pie. After stuffing herself & cleaning her beak of the mess by scraping it on everything in sight, she hunkered on one foot, in the sun, eyes rolled back in her head, grinding her jaws(aaahrupp!)to show how pleased with the world she was.

11/24/2006 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

a troll this way comes said... "The question to you, Bob, is what motivates your fascinated disgust with atheists?"

Something wicked this way comes, have you ever seen the Austin Powers movie where this person comes into a meeting, seems perfectly normal in every way, until the camera locks your eyes onto this huge, ghastly hairy mole on his lip? Powers is asked a question and all that comes out is "mmMole!".

I think it's similar to that, where you have this perfectly healthy person with an ugly self inflicted disfigurement, and sometimes you can't help but gasp "mmMole!"

11/24/2006 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Will said "- Write and think as if your words and thoughts are noted by nobody but Existence Itself. Indeed, depending on the quality of your words and thoughts, Existence becomes more aware of Itself."

I really like that.

Gagdad, I don't know about the side car, but it seems like the comment section works pretty well.

11/24/2006 08:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

JWM: I don't see why you would feel guilty about saying something that's true.

Funnily enough, my position on the abortion issue is framed similarly: I'm adopted. I can't possibly be in favor of abortions with a clear conscience, because I almost WAS an abortion. If my birthparents had had even a little less determination, I wouldn't be here either. I've never met either of them - for all I know they could be dead - but I have nothing but gratitude for them.

11/24/2006 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous A troll this way comes said...

Troll is mollified somewhat by Bob's response to his suggestion that his "inner atheist" was latent and causing him discomfort.

Bob believes atheists in masse to be a menace to our civilization, citing Europe as an example. I'm going to have to look more closely at Europe to make up my mind on the validity of this charge.

Finally, Bob alludes to a method for dealing with that stubborn tendency (and we all know what I'm talking about here; see comment by "river cocytus" )to discount God; this method I would like to hear more of.

I'm a troll, admittedly. I wanted Gore in '04. But I believe in God, or try hard to. Bob's writings do help me to gain a slightly more solid purchase on the sleeve of the Almighty.

Say more, say I.

11/24/2006 11:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Ben USN (Ret) said...

Troll-
The method is 3 pronged:
1. Gain knowledge and wisdom through Truth (the "doubting" voice hates that 5 letter Word).
2. Crucify as often as necessary.
3. Wait upon the Lord.
Like the song says:
Good things come to those that wait,
not to those that hesitate,
so hurry up and wait upon the Lord.
More power to ya...

This requires a humble and thankful heart, because otherwise the power will corrupt.

11/25/2006 03:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Ben usn (ret) said...

Ximeze-
I like Beaky already, and I haven't even met him, lol!
I'm sure Fergus would like him to, but hopefully not too much.
Beaky has the same taste's as Oscar Von Spock (sans the onions), a mini-daschund who thinks he is a giant, and shadows me wherever I go.
I'm part of his pack.

11/25/2006 03:44:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Xims - I recently read something about "mirror tests" conducted with elephants. The wrinkly guys seem to be able to recognize their own images in mirrors, which would, as the article stated, make for only 4 earthly creatures who can do so - humans, apes, parrots, and elephants.

Interesting because this kind of mirror recognition is indicative of degrees of self-awareness. There are meta-implications as well, ie., it takes an image of one's self to actualize genuine self-awareness. As esotericists believe, God manifested Creation, a mirror-image of Himself, in order to actualize Himself, become fully self-aware.

11/25/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Troll said:

"I'm a troll, admittedly. I wanted Gore in '04. But I believe in God, or try hard to. Bob's writings do help me to gain a slightly more solid purchase on the sleeve of the Almighty."

Troll,
I would think that a good first step in gaining that purchase on the sleeve of the Almighty would be to begin resisting the urge to mock people who are earnestly engaged in the same endeavor (and who are actually realizing some results).

It's also interesting how you qualified yourself as a troll by admitting you voted for algore. That admission in itself would lead one to believe that you are making progress. ;)

11/25/2006 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Sirs, if the violent horizontals knew that the healings were REAL they would have rounded up the whole lot of us Christians and killed us.

Or, re-educated us and stuck us in temples. One or the other.

As for the miracles? They are both figurative and literal. And they are very real.

To discount their mystery as mere mystery and nothing more, is a sort of spiritual suicide. Sure, they are mysterious. Part of the mystery is figuring out why they happen. Knowing when or how they'll happen? Only God himself knows.

You can't 'rely' on them in the sense of the evangelist in Africa who died trying to walk on water. But then again, they are there when they are needed.

If you don't require miracles to believe in Christ, then your faith is a stronger one, a truer one perhaps.

But also, man is not rewarded based on how 'true' his faith is. Just for having it, is all. And, naturally, following the path that it shows, upwards. Paul says at one point: "We are not saved by works, but by Faith, and this Faith was prepared for us to the task of works."

i.e. true 'works' proceed from God, works do not lead one to God.

Anyway, interesting stuff. As for the explaining things away as a very unlikely event, it is the standard explanation. (not for me, mind you.)

Were you aware that the largest active Christian body is in China? The things you find out when you actually dig.

11/26/2006 03:23:00 PM  

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