Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Geopolitical Psychospirituality and the Struggle for Integrated Wholeness (1.10.09)

To follow up on yesterday's remarks, it is obviously important to maintain the distinction between evolution and natural selection. Evolution is a fact. Natural selection is a theory that attempts to explain the fact of evolution in a hopelessly incoherent and philosophically naive way. Analogously, you could say that the sun rising in the sky is a fact for which there are different explanatory theories. It could be because the sun revolves around the earth. Or it could be because the earth revolves around the sun. Or perhaps God intervenes to miraculously move the sun each and every moment, which would be about as useful a theory as the Muslim or Christian fundamentalist view of a 6000 year old earth that was created all at once but somehow has the appearance of having evolved.

As Will suggested, it would be contradictory to God's own nature to deceptively create the universe in such a way that it only looked 15 billion years old, or misleadingly throw in some fossils that make it look like life appeared 3.85 billion years ago, or toss in human remains indicating that human beings have been wandering the planet for at least 100,000 years. Divine omnipotence does not include the ability to act contrary to the Divine nature -- which is not deliberately deceptive, to say the least.

In response to Petey's statement that God does not give us the precious gift of spiritual intellection (which specifically integrates heart and mind in a higher unity) only to render it a farce with a literalism that undermines it, one reader suggested that he is content to close his mind in favor of receiving "the Water of Life." In other words, for this person, there is no relationship between "the waters of life" and our divine intellect.

I am going to try to pull together an argument from a number of diverse strands here. In my present condition (still recovering from this cold), I'm not sure I will be able to do so, but here goes anyway.

I am rarely "dazzled" by an intellect, but yesterday afternoon I heard a particularly brilliant person interviewed on the Hugh Hewitt show, Thomas Barnet, author of The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century. One of the reasons why I found this man's intellect so dazzling is that he effortlessly pulled together so many different strands of reality into a coherent, overarching grand strategy for the United States in the 21st century. He was "integral" in a truly meaningful sense, not in the narrow manner of the movement that goes by that name. Nor was he anything like your typical academic pinhead, as he easily ranged from discipline to discipline, showing the interlocking nature of history, culture, military strategy, economics, diplomacy, globalization, and more.

It seems that one of Barnet's key points is that there is what he calls a "functioning core" of economically developed, politically stable states integrated into the global system with deep connectivity. In the days of the cold war, the world's "core" was the United States, Western Europe, Japan, and a few other places, all open, interlocked, and flowing back and forth in an infinitely complex way with information, goods, currency, cultural memes, etc.

Since the time of the cold war, much of the non-integrating gap has become part of the core. In particular, during the 1990's, globalization rapidly expanded the size of the core, encompassing Eastern Europe, India, and even China to a certain extent. In 1980, the core represented only about 10% of the world’s population but encompassed around 2/3rds of the planet’s productive power and economic wealth. Today the core encompasses roughly half the world’s countries, but has grown to almost 90% of the world’s GDP.

At the edges of the core is the "non-integrating gap," those nations and cultures that are not part of the core. According to Barnet, the most likely threats to U.S. and international security always come from the non-integrating gap. What they are specifically rejecting is connectivity to the core, often for deeply psycho-cultural reasons. For example, globalization tends to challenge traditional gender roles. If it begins to extend into a culture in which males exert control over females, it will be resisted. As Barnet put it, "What scares most people, when globalization comes in, is the social change. You go in with those kinds of markets and networks, I guarantee you, you are messing with people’s definitions of wives and lovers and mothers and sisters and daughters and families and education, and the definition of the good life. And when you do that, it’s typically going to be educated young men who look at that package and say, 'you know what? This is not what I signed up for, and I’ll be willing to fight and kill and die under the most perverse conditions to prevent the social change that I find reprehensible.'"

This is the context in which to understand the threat from Islam. The Islamic world is obviously not integrated into the world's core -- not just economically, but in every other way -- culturally, epistemologically, psychologically, scientifically, psycho-sexually, religiously. Just as President Bush has attempted to argue -- and it will be interesting to hear how he addresses this tonight -- the entire key to our future security lies in finding a way to integrate the Islamic world into the functioning core.

Now, I am sure I am not doing justice to Barnet's complex and sophisticated argument. But I wanted to take it in another direction, for the first thing that occurred to me upon hearing him lay out this model was how similar it is to the individual human mind. For the mind too is a complex open system with a "functioning core," but with non-integrating gaps that I have called mind parasites. In order to picture what I'm driving at, you first have to reduce consciousness from its hyperdimensional manifold to the image of a three-dimensional sphere, like the earth. Imagine your conscious ego (or "self," if you like) as the "functioning core" of your consciousness, that part of it that you have "colonized," so to speak. But this colonized part comes up against the edge of many non-integrated gaps in the sphere of consciousness. One of them is called the unconscious.

When someone comes in for psychotherapy, it is fair to say that this is always more or less the problem -- that they are suffering because they have aspects of themselves that are not integrated into their core. These aspects seem to have a life of their own, and literally operate like a foreign nation within the psyche. You have your interests. The mind parasites have their's. Psychotherapy is literally nothing more or less than becoming more integrated for the purpose of becoming more actualized, for your general ability to actualize yourself will be limited by those parts of yourself that you have not integrated into your core. You can ignore them -- as we tried to ignore Islamic radicalism for so many years -- but it will place a huge road block before your evolution, as we can see with regard to the world. It is as if everything is on hold as we try to find a way to integrate these "split off" Islamic parasites.

Now, having said that, you mustn't imagine consciousness in static terms, like a two dimensional map where consciousness expands into more territory. Rather, you must imagine it as a ceaselessly flowing entity, just like Barnet's model of the interlocking core, through which all sorts of transactions and exchanges are taking place. The healthy mind does not so much "colonize" the unconscious in a static way as live in a fruitful, dialectic relationship with it. You can tell when you are in the presence of someone who has no rapport with his unconscious. They will appear rather rigid, and lack the supple spontaneity and creativity of the child.

It is said that science consists of the reduction of multiplicities to unity. It is the same way with psychotherapy and with spiritual growth. It is by reducing our static and unintegrated multiplicity to greater dynamic wholeness that we expand our being -- literally grow the soul -- similar to how the world's core expands through deep connectivity between its parts.

A fine example of multiplicity standing in the way of the growth of unity is to maintain in the teeth of all evidence to the contrary that evolution does not exist and that the world was somehow created 6,000 years ago. In order to maintain such a view, it can only exist as an "unintegrated gap" split off from everything else we know about reality. It must exist in closed and frozen form in a dark corner of the psyche, just like an unevolving traditional culture. It is then renamed "faith," an abuse of the term if ever there was one, for faith is specifically openness to the divine reality. It is never closed, much less static.

Now God is not only One, but the ground and possibility of Oneness. To exist in a fragmented state is specifically to "reject God" in one way or another. Let thine eye be single, and thy body shall be full of light, as the Master said.

Shifting gears again, I would like to bring in something from Meditations on the Tarot, which addresses exactly this issue in Chapter One -- which is the archetypal chapter for understanding the rest of the book. There our unknown friend notes that the purpose of esotericism is to help "the deep and intimate layers of the soul" to "become active and bear fruit." In short, meditation on certain religious principles "makes us fertile in our creative pursuits, in whatever domain of spiritual life," somewhat like an "enzyme" or "ferment" which reaches across the divide and stimulates our spiritual and psychic life. Note that this has nothing in common with literalism or fundamentalism, which are wholly static and do not appreciate the more important function of religious symbols, which is to unify ourselves in a deeply connective and dynamic way -- both within ourselves and with God, for the two are a function of one another.

In fact, later the Author notes that all practical esotericism is founded on the principle that "it is necessary to be one in oneself and one with the spiritual world in order for a revelatory or actual spiritual experience to be able to take place." Furthermore, "the tenet of the basic unity of the world is the same with regard to all knowledge -- without it no knowledge is conceivable.... We declare that the world is not a mosaic, where a plurality of worlds which are essentially strangers to one another are fitted together, but that it is an organism -- all of whose parts are governed by the same principle, revealing it and allowing reduction to it."

But to splinter the unity of knowledge -- and of the spiritual world -- by maintaining a "non-integrating gap," a spiritual ghetto of literalism, is to act counter to the divine will and to ultimately reject God. And this nonintegrated gap will always be at war with oneself, with other people, with the wider world, with reality, for God cannot be reduced to a stubborn little island of personal mythology.

"You only know that which is verified by the agreement of all forms of experience in its totality -- experience of the senses, moral experience, psychic experience, the collective experience of other seekers for the truth, and finally the experience of those whose knowing merits the title of wisdom and those whose striving has been crowned by the title of saint." Integrate all of these, and you are a mage. Fail to do so, and there will be a perpetual gulf between your core and your unintegrated gaps. And that means war.


Oculingus said...

In this sweeping vision (an extended metaphor, as it were) of a correspondence between the geopolitical world and the psyche, in which increasing integration and untiy are the thrust of evolution, one thing not mentioned is the role of direct and specific inteventions from God.

I agree that literalism is wrong, and that the belief that fossils are a deception from God is probably wrong, but I don't believe it's impossible. Your dismissal of the idea comes nowhere near disproving it.

Your vision seems to leave God as too nebulous and over-generalized.

My intuition leads me to believe that God is directly involved in the day to day management of the world and its inhabitants. He literally watches every sparrow fall and every thought that passes through every mind.

In short, He is a micro-manager. The day to day flow of "your" life is watched and managed. He can do this with every being at all times.

And, I theorize he can orchestrate the entire world to serve everyone's spiritual needs at once.

We're not evolving in a vaccum here. The Manager is constantly at hand.

Islam exists for a reason, and that reason may or may not be so that it may be integrated. It's function should be meditated on further.

Gagdad Bob said...


I'm not sure what's up with the width of the blog. I think it's just different with different computers and operating systems. For example, on my wife's computer it's much wider than mine. I wish I could make mine look more like hers, but I don't know how.

River Cocytus said...

Bob, I'm not certain as to whether you were responding to my comments (about crealution) or just the general '6000 years' meme.

I won't project onto you an assumption that you were.

(If you were, let me know, I will explain what I am thinking further.)


oculingus: Any truth in Islam is borrowed from other sources. So, you would be better to go to those other sources to find it in a more pure form.

Also, God is not limited but limits himself-- because it is his nature to do so. OR, you could say on the same token that he cannot, because it is against his nature to do so. With God sometimes the 'can', 'able', 'wants to' blend together.. which is quite fitting, I think.

-- Islam does not understand the nature of God, and thus falls into the trap of projecting Mohammed's ideas of God onto him.

So as for orchestrating the entire world, you would be implying some falseness on the part of God; I.E, creating a 'matrix' for each person-- which I can say I conceive to be against his nature. (If that is what you meant.)

Anyway, interesting thoughts today, Bob.

robinstarfish said...

god sent his own son
logos becomes literal
glitch in the matrix

Dupree's little sister said...

So many fundies go with the 6,000 or 10,000 year thing and yet fail to embrace the whole "take up snakes and drink poison," thingy-- which I think would make for a much more lively discussion.

Lisa said...

Great post today, Bob. I also deal with this core integration on a body and physical level as a Pilates teacher. Babies and cats automatically move from the spine and center. The older a person gets the more disconnected from the center. Poor habits are developed and the body develops a bit asymetrical to compensate for minor imbalances. This compensation can really mess with the body and movement. It may work for a while but cannot sustain a healthy body throughout an entire lifetime. With Pilates, I can try to help people understand how to move from the center and radiate that connection outward through the limbs. I also think this proper alignment allows the body to vibrate at a higher level, one that is closer to O. Eventually the body will correct itself and develop more evenly and symmetrical with enough repititions. Unfortunately, some bodies are too far into their dysfunctional habits, say body parasites, as compared to mind ones, and cannot integrate new patterns. Interesting how all of these principles you speak of can be applied in both a micro and macro environment.

A side note, I don't understand why Evolution and Biblical Creationism cannot be looked at as the same thing described in different parameters/language. In Genesis, God takes a handful of mud and breathes life into it (paraphrased for brevity). This sounds to me a lot like the way animals evolved from the primordial mudlike soup. A phrase that I have always hated seems to apply, same difference!

Alan said...

Great posting Bob. I've been a fan of Thomas Barnet for since I got his first book and frustrated that he wasn't listened to more. Kudos to Hugh for the multi day interview.

To build on your post, I've always been amazed at how the English language came about. There are little clues here and there that the spirit had a hand in it....

Two quick examples...




will said...

>>So as for orchestrating the entire world, you would be implying some falseness on the part of God; I.E, creating a 'matrix' for each person-- which I can say I conceive to be against his nature<<

"Falseness on the part of God" being contrary to His nature, eh?

You mean like God obscuring the fact of the earth's actual 6000 year old history by instantaneously creating a billions year old cosmos replete with fossis and cosmic background radiation, etc. thereby giving us the false impression that the cosmos is much older than it really is?

hoarhey said...

Thanks bob,

I guess I'll have to decide what I want and then try and "snag" it as it's moving on the page in the 3 seconds before it disappears. :)
Hmmmm, where else have I been practicing that technique?

Gagdad Bob said...


You can see the full transcript of the interview on Hugh Hewitt's website. Plus, he'll be interviewing him again next Tuesday from 4:00 to 5:00 regarding his new book.


You are so right about integrating body and mind. I have recently rededicated myself to my Iyengar yoga, which I had neglected since before Future Leader was born. I can see certain patterns emerging that I will have to actively counter.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Bob, this post is a delight! Every time I think you've clarified a thing in the best way possible, a newer and more precise communication flows from your keyboard. Can't wait for Will's further facets of the spiritual implications. Between the two of you I think there's a very good balance of thoughts and perspectives.

I tried to post yesterday, sigh.(Google is freeware, after all.) But the gist of what I started to see, is now more clearly available for me to integrate (metabolize?) into older and newer thought-systems.

Will confirmed it a bit later, speaking of fruitfulness.

I'll just add that, if I had a child, I couldn't and wouldn't give it 10 years' worth of alimentation all at once. I would abide by the DNA coded metabolic process and provide all good things in their time, lest I have a 60 lb child by the age of two.

Everything we need for Truth and Godliness is already available, but I think the active involvement of a Creator is that He respects what he has created, and wouldn't jump-start a growth spurt that violated the creature's very being. As we grow and assimilate knowledge and experience, so we know to expect even more from His hand.

Besides, I'm just trying to grasp, "Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly." That's keeping me busy when I'm not slackin' around here.

fergus the cat said...

Lisa -

>>Babies and cats automatically move from the spine and center<<

What can I say, we are naturally graced. And baby cats, they're just plain ridiculous.

>>I don't understand why Evolution and Biblical Creationism cannot be looked at as the same thing described in different parameters/language<<

Agreed, human woman. Evolution may be a fact, but it's initiated, governed by Spirit, Mind - and not the blind, coldly mechanical process that the materialists envision.

Time to stretch.

Gagdad Bob said...

By the way, just so it's clear -- I am not rejecting the literal, but trying to do what theologians have always done, which is to integrate it in the manner descibed in Meditations on the Tarot. It is easy to reduce everything down to the literal, more difficult to become "transliteral," so to speak, which is to harmoniously balance the vertical and horizontal.

LukeBlogWalker said...

Yet, the "6,000 year thing" is an artifact of Bishop Usher's attempts at a time line.

Subsequent layerings have been added to this notion over time.

The lastest version has the instantaneous creation with history -that is -a full grown tree with rings kind of concept.

It is obvious that if God created the entire cosmos just 2 seconds ago, and created your memories of your past -you would not be able to tell the difference between this, and having lived it actually.

Yet, such mental hijinks are not necessary. Nor are fast and loose definitions on the fly of his Word to suit an idea or notional desire about how things "ought" to work out.

Such oversimplification of the vastness of the Bible -and what can be proven out of it, always amazes me when there is so much to know that is real.

Yet, the same people, who have intricate theories and schemes (and dispensations?) -heh heh -are also the same general group that dissuades people from looking at the Bible compared to historical documents, in order to see how things stack up.

So this is a contradiction, and we are left with the differences between the scientific method, and the "us" / "them" -ness of Churchianity's herd mentality.

The two forces work in opposition. One should study, but one should not know anything beyond the bounds of traditional viewpoints.

Even if this leads to further understanding, it is treated with the behaviors of a B movie exorcist -they hold up a Crucifix and tell you to go away.

All the while, insisting they seek the truth.

We tend to forget that we have choice. So although God exists -we still manage to screw up our lives and the lives of others.

Such things became apparent in WWII -how could God let this happen? (Why do bad things happen to good people?)

God did not "let" WWII happen -we did.

God, in all things, works them for good, for his called -we end up with a partial fulfillment of prophecy by having Israel become a a nation once again.

Prior to this -people thought (and still teach in the US) that all promises to Israel, mean a promise to the Church.

Again, we make void his word, by our traditions.

Bob, on the "transliteral" -how about, "You are in the world, but not of the world" ?


Lisa said...

Bob- Big Smile!!! Glad to hear you are back at your practice! Realizing the patterns of imbalance is the best start to correcting them. Of course, it is a never-ending process and I know of no-one who has achieved a permanent state of perfected balance. But that's what makes it interesting, I guess...

Lisa said...

Hey Fergus- consider yourself virtually scritched under the chin until you purrrr! Just keep your dander to yourself! ;0)

River Cocytus said...

Lisa: God breathed life into man, not animals (if you go by the Genesis account.) So... for whatever it is worth.

Will: If it does not make sense to you, then simply leave it alone. I stand by my statement that it is not a deception. The reason is--

I never said 6000 years, I merely acquiesced that if someone could prove that was the 'moment' of Adam's creation I would not be adverse to the claim;

Nor did I require that the 'days' of creation be literal days;

Nor did I refute the fact that light we see at night may be up to billions of years old;

It may be as simple as the Earth going 'round the sun question.

It is just as important to know what God says about himself (what is 'revealed') as what we can discover about the world by questioning it.

But then again-- for some the joy is in wrestling with the question, even if the answer has already arrived.

Carry on.

NoMo said...

There is much thinking in this place that can seemingly only be measured against intellectual prowess, rather than against something more readily accessible –such as, perhaps, the Bible. Although challenging and stimulating, it can appear slightly elitist and intimidating. I would hope that God communicates His Truth to His beloved humans in such a way that even the lowliest of us can comprehend. If the thinking found at the center of this blog is True, I definitely understand why many are compelled to believe in reincarnation.

Yesterday I said I was satisfied with the “Waters of Life” in response to Petey’s claim that God’s most precious gift is the “awakened intellect”. For me, Waters of Life is another way of describing what I first received when I began my relationship with Christ – and what nourishes my spiritual growth from that point on. Anyway, as result, I have been pronounced as close-minded. But, if I am close-minded, why am I still here? Just because I believe my foundation is set, doesn’t stop my seeking for Truth to build thereon – which, as Bob clearly shows, is not limited to the Bible.

River Cocytus said...

Understood, Bob.

I wrestle with the same questions, albeit from a different direction.

Luke: Agreed; my point (earlier) about having created the world seconds ago-- was to point out that the mental hijinks are mostly just that. Like I had said, I grasp merely the corner of this thing; what it is seems to be vast indeed.

One of the things I'm trying to do (and what led me to the 'edge' of this idea) is -- I have knowledge of 'creative miracles' -- ex nihilo restorations, etc. Things like the bread & loaves. They are difficult to explain, or rather, they cannot be explained using material science. But yet they are real. Is it or is it not a deception, if under that loaf there are innumerable loaves, for no reason other than to feed a thousand people? (well, no other reason is simplifying it too much.)

The issue we're having is that while we both do live in the same world, we perceive it differently (through the lens of our experience for one.)

Bob, you come from a perspective of, more or less, Esotericism. My perspective is different. This is not to say that there are multiple 'truths' about it. But rather, having different positions in the 'prism' so to speak, we move towards the light in a different way.

Anyway, I am also doing the theologian's work-- trying to 'integrate' the ex nihilo with the evolutionary.

Alas, my idea was not well met-- whether because of my own failure to communicate it well or because of a fault in insight on the part of say, Will, or because the idea itself is false, I'm not certain. Lisa claims that it is false, but cannot prove its falsehood beyond her perspective.

Anyway, I really do need to be working.

Gagdad Bob said...


You might be missing the point. We can only know of God specifically because of the intellect -- not the lower mind of mere reason, but the higher mind, the nous. As this grows through ongoing contact, so too does our conception of God. It is not that God changes, but that we change as a result of "assimilating" more of him. Yes, of course God is available to all, but not in the same way; to the contrary, "when I was a child, I understood as a child" -- both individually and as a species. But there is ony one scripture, so it must neverthless perform the task of speaking to both children and adults.

dilys said...

I remember that there is an interesting observation in Meditations on the Tarot that would allow for an accurate perspective -- as accurate as mortals can get -- "both" ways on cosmic questions, depending on one's angle, and, frankly, height-of-vision. The esotericist may seem as though he's contradicting the exoteric literalist, but each is accurate given the point of view.

I'll look it up eventually (it's a big book); it seems relevant to a discussion that's sounding like the pick-up blog-battles elsewhere between uncredentialed theologians from Catholic vs. Orthodox on the outer vitriolic reaches of the implications of the subdivisions of the orthodoxy of, say, a particularly impenetrable paragraph of Augustine.

That cohort seem particularly to like to argue in triumph: "HA! That can't be true because it would make God baaaaaad" (non-ebonically speaking).


Lisa said...

dearest River,
once again you are completely misunderstanding my comparison. You are literally saying that God breathed life into only man and perceiving time as literal 60 seconds in a minute, etc. As I tried to point out these explanations can be reconciled and integrated if you think of time differently. Think of God breathing life into man but when he first picks up a handful of man it is really mud and evolves into man as the breath is being blown.

Your literal interpretation of the Bible and trying to convince people that if they only accept Jesus and his word, blah, blah, blah does not even come close to cutting it for me intellectually or heart/core-wise, especially as a Jew. I will never be able to prove anything to you at this stage in your development nor do I have any intentions of it. I am glad that you feel comfortable in your assertions as I do in mine. ;0)

Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, as I have said before, it's much more like maintainging a bi-logical stance in the transcendent position, where contradictories can unite -- almost like left brain and right brain. The literal is the view of the left brain. It must be supplemented by the right brain, not in opposition to it, but in a higher spiritual synthesis.

Big Possum said...

Central story lines provide the context into which all derivative story lines, and thus all present-day "characters", are anchored. A historical timeline could very easily be the product of the collective consciousness' best effort to interpret memories and "factual" information (eg fossil records)in a way that yields a story line that "works". Memories and "facts" can be planted into the frequencies that deliver them to points of awareness. The recipe (combination of memories and facts) for a historical timeline, therefore, could be bundled into the origin of a Universe just as the recipe for a tree is bundled into an acorn.

Humans are pre-disposed to favor and interpret information in ways that support the development of the ego's identity. Divine consciousness, as it emerges to participate in greater proportions of human thinking and feeling, will inherently gravitate toward information and interpretations that support the evolution of harmony. The "settlement" of a Universe is the work of divine consciousness to reconcile derivative story lines by breaking down the identity attachments that hold them in place. Eventually, the tree's limbs (derivative story lines) get folded back into the trunk which in turn is drawn back into the acorn and then into the zero point of absolute Oneness, a waking into bliss in juxtaposition to the dream.

Joseph said...

"Evolution is a fact". By way of trying to clarify assumptions, do you mean "transformist evolution" or simply development over time. Not being a scholar on the subject, a couple of the things that have always struck me about the transformist theory is the lack of intermediate species, and in the human domain, the lack of intermediate or simplistic languages.
The traditionalists reject evolution on both scientific grounds and metaphysical grounds. Since creation is really emanation, or a descent of archetypes crystallized into the material plane, modern science literally has no access to the information needed to make sense of what takes place as it rejects a priori the "invisible" evidence. What takes place between multiple planes of reality is reduced, by science to one plane, and then made linear. Traditionalists in no way dispute an old cosmos, however.

Joseph said...

What about Buddhism, the religions of India, etc. Are they also false?

will said...

River -

>>I never said 6000 years, I merely acquiesced that if someone could prove that was the 'moment' of Adam's creation I would not be adverse to the claim<<

Not exactly. Here's what you said yesterday:

>> . . . my way of conceiving Creation-Evolution-- Crealution? Is that God literally snapped existence into being-- but yet, out of time, or within the within of time, all of evolution came to pre-exist spontaneously. So the time of the creation is 6000 years . . . <<

By the way, if it were "proved" that tne cosmos "snapped into being" 6000 years ago, it wouldn't be a matter of not being adverse to accepting it, I'd just accept it. But uh . . . I'd lay Las Vegas odds against that happening.

And this business about "out of time, or within the within of time" - yes, I understood what you were getting at, it's not an intellectual challenge. In any event, it doesn't cover up or make any less emphatic the fact that, per your original claim, you believe that God is a cosmic Deceiver.

juliec said...

Along these lines, Dennis Prager mentioned some time ago (a year or two) an Israeli scientist, Dr. Gerald Schroeder, who has some very interesting insights into the links between the wording of Genesis and the science, as it is currently understood, of the beginning of the cosmos.

His website is (warning - sound and flash graphics on main page).

His articles linked there are, imho, particularly interesting in light of the current conversation.

juliec said...

From "Existence: What the Meaning of the Word "Is" is" (

"The substructure of all existence, we suddenly realize, is totally ethereal, an idea, wisdom. Or in Hebrew emet — an all encompassing reality. Emet is the ultimate building block from which all we see and feel is constructed. Just as the secondary substructure of all matter is something as ethereal as energy, as per Einstein's fantastic insight, so, the primary substructure of energy is still more elusive. Existence is the expression of an idea, an eternal consciousness made tangible. We are the idea of God."

Beautifully put, I think.

Lisa said...

Thank you, Julie. This is exactly what I was poorly trying to convey!!! Thank God there are always smarter people around to pick up the pieces and put them together in a beautiful way!

River Cocytus said...

I stand corrected. I must then take back that statement (my original post's one.)

Will, I understand that multiple lives/non-literal creation is essential to your understanding of Reality. So be it. You may as well argue the time of day with a man in a different time zone. You are, quite flatly, wrong on that account. I made an error, for which I apologize; I am prone to such things.

If the world was indeed not literally popped into existence, I've got nothing to lose; just a whole bunch of boring lives to live through until, well, whatever.

Don't see anything compelling there. That's the frank truth of it. I have nothing to lose either way; Not to say that I base my beliefs on hedging bets. I do not.

I never myself called God evil, though you are certainly wont to do so.

If a tree popped into being before you, and you cut it down and it had rings, did it grow or not? Are those rings a 'lie'? If so, then how could God create anything?

For God grasps the whole of a thing; his Idea, creation, he grasps fully.

The only cosmic deceiver is, you, Will.

Unless, you have something to say about it? Refute me.

Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, I always use the word "evolution" in it original sense, untainted by Darwinian connotations. It is etymologally linked to the Latin word for "unroll," as like an ancient manuscript. Thus, the cosmos "unrolls" horizontally from past to future, all the while having a vertical aspect that intervenes from the top down, or whole to part. This vertical aspect would be where the divine archetypes descend and factor into things. It is where we are born again "from above." Likewise, it carries the winds of grace and makes way for the avatar.

NoMo said...

What is the most trustworthy measure of Truth about God?
1) Sincerity?
2) Certainty?
3) Personal experience?
4) "Burning in the bosom"? (I had to throw that in for the Mormons)
5) Science?
6) Supernatural occurences?
7) Voices in your head?
(Wait a second, I'm listening).
8) Testimonies of others
9) The wonders of creation?
10) The Bible or other ancient scripts?
11) What, you think I can name them all?
12) All the above and more...?

You may pick up your pencils and begin.


NoMo said...


13) This blog (apologies, Bob).

NoMo said...

"Socialism or death." Venezuelan President Chavez taking the oath of office for another 6 years.

Hmmm. Let me think.

River Cocytus said...

nomo: Maybe if we're lucky...

Joseph said...

In your view, though, would you not say the archetypes descend as "seeds" rather than fully grown forms? Adam was a baby, with a navel, so to speak.

Gagdad Bob said...


Not exactly. Perhaps Will can help me out, but I see them almost as "lures" that telelogically pull or "canalize" creation in a certain way. Archetypes are simultaneously at the foundation and "in the future," alpha and omega. As Schuon might say, this reflects the paradox at the heart of the spiritual life, which is to become what you already are, which is ultimately man as such -- Adam Kadmon, in the Kabbalistic formulation -- refracted through such and such a man.

Joseph said...

I see. That make sense. Somehow, what you wrote reminds me of a book that is quite interesting called, The botany of desire. The author takes four plants and examines their interaction with humans--a flower (I can't remember which one right now), the potato, marajuana, and the apple--specifically the apples that Johny Appleseed planted.

will said...

>>The only cosmic deceiver is, you, Will<<

You flatterer. How can I refute this when my reach so obviously encompasses the entire universe?

>>If a tree popped into being before you, and you cut it down and it had rings, did it grow or not? Are those rings a 'lie'? If so, then how could God create anything?<<

Uh . . .what? Well, gee, I guess if it had rings, then it grew. I mean, you know, grew in linear time. Like didn't snap into being all instantaneously-like. Of course, if I found out that, contrary to its appearence w/rings and all, it had snapped into being, well then, I'd say I had been a bit deceived.

>>Will, I understand that multiple lives/non-literal creation is essential to your understanding of Reality<<

Oh, there's some literalness in my view, always is. As far as reincarnation goes, I can't claim to know with the same assurety in which I would claim to know that a Creator, a Oneness exists, but the idea does make sense to me for the reasons I stated yesterday.

Speaking of being literal, how about J.C's (not Beaglehole) idea of the necessity of being "born again"? Well, there is the non-literal interpretation of "born again", which I certainly accept. On the other hand, one might at the same time take this admonishment in the quite literal sense, ie., one must be born again in the earth in a new body in order to meet "karma" and successfully overcome it. That would be your literal interpretation, no?


Fundies, y'all seem like nice people and all, but gosharootie, this really is an esoteric blog in essence. Of course, you're going to find certain things Bob says to your liking, but at bottom-line root, you are completely at odds with the theme of this blog.

It's like a so-called "debate" between a macrobiotic cook and a French chef - ostensibly, there's a commonality allowing for debate - they both deal with food, after all. But in truth, there is no commonality - they operate on entirely different planes of perspective and understanding. For a legitimate debate to ensue, there has to be an interface, a real plane of commonality, and fundies, there just isn't any between you and Bob and most of the commentators on this blog.

There's plenty of bones of contention to be had on Fundamentalist (and that's a misnomer if there ever was one) sites - wouldn't you be happier contending there? We have our own bones of contention here within the esoteric perspective - when you start contending here, you are falling far short of initiating a genuinely meaningful exchange. It's a waste of time, yours, ours.

Look, it's fine with me if you stick around, but I'm just saying . . you just might think about moving yourselves to an arena where your contentions, beliefs, etc., have a real meaning re: the site and the majority of people who frequent it.

Lisa said...

Sigh, Will, how is it that my infatuation with you grows each day?!

Not in a creepy way, though! ;0)

will said...

re archetypes - I admit I've long been confused as to whether they originate "below", as "seeds" in our psyches, later to blossom as guiding principles in the "above" or . . if they originate in the minds of God, angels, devas, etc., and, as Bob says, act as "lures" that go about manicuring and landscaping Creation. My guess would be the latter, as there were obviously nature/organic life archetypes before humankind came into its actualizing capacity.

In my view, archetypes don't really "die" per se, they just outlive their usefulness in relation to certain epochs, etc.
I would think the governing archetype of, say, a T-rex, is still operational in some part of the cosmos, on some young, swampy planet.

Interesting though, that the T-rex continues to be something of a living archetype in the Japanese psyche, ie., Godzilla. Godzilla is like Snoopy the Dog in Japan - he's a ubiquitous symbol in the form of toys, lamps, designs, etc.

Godzilla is not mocked.

will said...

>>Will, how is it that my infatuation with you grows each day?!<<

Hmm, thanks, Lisa . . . well, I previously made mention of a French chef, and I know that your husband happens to be a chef . . so I'm thinking . . . no, that's not going to work, is it?

I'm not going to even mention how infatuated I am with a certain Pilates teacher because, you know, like she's married to a chef and all . . .

LukeBlogWalker said...


The interesting thing is, that the Bible does stand up to scrutiny.

The problem is, at times, one can run into "difficulties" when not being a Bible scholar.

(You may want to examine my earlier blog on the historical aspects of the resurrection)

There is a huge volume of stuff on the general topic of "apologetics" which clearly show there is more to it than meets the eye.

The typical "contradiction" is the mind parasite which says that only a cook-burger would believe the Bible.

If one can get passed the anti-fundie biases -and actually read and study just a bit, its very cool!


History shows again and again, how nature points out the folly of man.



Anonymous said...

robinstarfish, this one's for you:

fundies want in group
using language of Spirit
but they don't get it

Jamie Irons said...


You wrote:

...As Will suggested, it would be contradictory to God's own nature to deceptively create the universe in such a way that it only looked 15 billion years old, or misleadingly throw in some fossils that make it look like life appeared 3.85 billion years ago, or toss in human remains indicating that human beings have been wandering the planet for at least 100,000 years....

...which recalls the old Jewish joke about the rabbi who protested to a scientist, at the end of the latter's public lecture on the age of the earth, that the Biblical account definitely asserted that the earth was only 5,600 years old. To which the scientist patiently summarized, yet again, the lines of evidence pointing to a figure nearer 4.5 billion years (presence in rocks of potassium and argon isotopes showing the rocks are about 4.5 billion years old blah blah blah...)

The rabbi, undisturbed by all this "irrefutable" evidence, shrugs his shoulders and remarks (of the Lord):

"So? He used old material!"


Jamie Irons

River Cocytus said...

Will: therein lies the mystery of creation. There's no material explanation for it. It is 15 billion years old and yet, it is not. The tree is new, and yet it is old. God is continually 'new', as in the Logos, continually proceeding, from the Father, and yet older than anything in time. This is the very essence of the manifestation of creation, and why it is said "for all things were made through him..."

In this sense that tree you saw was brand spanking new-- but also old-- the echo of the Word in creation.

I appreciate the attempt, but it was only half-hearted in refuting me. I am also appreciative that you took my cosmic deceiver jibe in good humor.

To put it in the words written by John the Revelator: 'Behold, I make all things new.'

Is that 80% all, or all all?

I apologize, Bob, if I have created an unwarranted distraction.

HV said...

Will said,


Fundies, y'all seem like nice people and all, but gosharootie, this really is an esoteric blog in essence. Of course, you're going to find certain things Bob says to your liking, but at bottom-line root, you are completely at odds with the theme of this blog."

My sentiments exactly, Will.

will said...

>>In this sense that tree you saw was brand spanking new-- but also old-- the echo of the Word in creation<<

Now THAT I can't argue with.

However, that's not quite the "newness" context in which you originally stated it.

And yes, it's still difficult to take myself seriously as a cosmic Deceiver. But I am trying.

NoMo said...

Will - Believers in Christ as the Bible describes them are brothers and sisters in the most profound way possible -- despite some variation in perspectives. They have been altered at their core upon the moment of believing and then proceed, perhaps at different speeds, to grow in that reality. I think that most of us who hang out here find enough common ground with Bob et al related to politics, the AWESOME CREATOR GOD that we all seek to know better, sense of humor, etc., that we will likely stick around. Unless of course, Bob himself wishes us gone -- "Be gone ye fundies! Ye offund me overmuch!"

Then, polite soul that I am, I would be here NoMo.

highsierra said...

A statement you made jumped out at me. When you say, “Divine omnipotence does not include the ability to act contrary to the Divine nature,” I take this to mean: God cannot lie. Not to split hairs or be pedantically contrarian, but doesn’t this statement put a limitation on God? Further, can “Divine nature” even be understood by the human mind? (And therefore can representations be made as to what Divine nature is and what it isn’t?) Lastly, while I’m guessing that God does indeed always tell the truth, at least at the cosmic level, I’m not sure that we humans have a handle on what (ultimately) cosmic truth is, and so we wouldn't know the difference, one way or the other.
Not wishing to clog up your stream of responses, I’ll resist the temptation to expound further. I make these comments with respect; thank you for your excellent and thought-provoking essay.

Dupree's little sister said...

"Can God make a rock so big He can't move it?"

Please tell me we're not going there...

Gagdad Bob said...

I don't mind the fundies so long as they don't hijack and monopolize the thread and thereby convey the wrong message to people for whom the blog is intended. In other words, if you must comment, make it brief, because -- no offense here -- but this just isn't that kind of blog. There must be thousands and thousands of fundamentalist/ literalist websites out there. This is the only blog of its kind, and it is tailored to a very narrow audience, so please cut us some slack here. Just extend the same courtesy you would if you were visting the service of a religion that is not yours.

will said...

>>Believers in Christ as the Bible describes them are brothers and sisters in the most profound way possible -- despite some variation in perspectives<<

Gotcha, Nomo, and I appreciate the sentiment. I might point out that the Christian "variation in perspective" gives way, rightly, I think, to various Christian denominations, different communities, churches, etc., which exist for the express purpose of coalescence and manifestation of singular perspective.

Sure, there's plenty of common ground between Catholics and Unitarians, but there's a good reason why they exist as distinct and separate churches. Force them together under the same church roof and you've got an uncomfortable mix, one that probably doesn't benefit either of them.

I happen to think that blogs that deal in spiritual issues serve as churches, differing denominations, and that's to the good. There's no law that those of differing spiritual perspective can't visit/hang in blogs devoted to themes other than theirs - I'm saying that it is natural and to the benefit of all that one's spiritual blog of choice have as a theme one that is at root congenial to one's own outlook and perspective.

This is clearly an esoteric blog - I just don't think those of fundie persuasion can, in final analysis, really feel comfortable and at home here, can really benefit from it.

Uncle Carbunkle said...

Man is only a brief design in the numberless evolutionary stages of the World.And the individual human being is only a moment, a specimen, a partial realization of MAN.The individual is not made for his own sake, but to be a sacrifice toward MAN--so that MAN can fulfil his evolutionary destiny. And MAN is not made for his own sake, but to be a sacrifice toward the ultimate evolutionary process of the World. And the World is not made for its own sake, but to be a sacrifice to the unqualified eternal Divine.

If the design of MAN is examined, he is revealed to be a composite of all previous creatures, environments and experiences. His body below the brows is a "machine" of animals and elemental cycles. He is full-made of horses and crocodiles, honey bees and swans, sardines and earth forces, redwood and fruit palm, Amazon, Pacific, solar fire, Everest, weather of water and air, all the usual stars, and antique ocean mammals.He is not truly unique below the brows. He is, rather, a summation of all that came before him and every thing that he already knows.

But MAN is also a new stage in the event of time. His newness or uniqueness is hidden in the brain. His lower or vital brain, including his rudimentary speech and thought, is part of the summary and reflection of the past. But the middle range of the brain, beginning with the higher verbal or abstract mental functions, is the doorway to the future. And above the thinking and imaging function of the middle brain is the naked mass of yet unadapted purity, the higher brain, which Communes with the uncreated Light. This higher brain is the structural cauldron of the present and future evolutionary changes of MAN and what is beyond MAN in the scheme of the World.

The individual is only a moment, and his structural adaptation of the whole body-mind to its potential above the brows is generally quite modest, if it occurs at all. But the Teaching of Truth is given to all, so that the principles of structural evolution may be grasped and fulfilled by at least a few in every generation. Thus, the Realization of these few is also added to MAN, and all future men and women may be raised up by such means.

Only a few individuals in every generation enter into the evolutionary module of the higher brain, through which the whole body is brightened in the universal Field of Radiant Light.

Michael Andreyakovich said...

Here's Bob: "As Will suggested, it would be contradictory to God's own nature to deceptively create the universe in such a way that it only looked 15 billion years old, or misleadingly throw in some fossils that make it look like life appeared 3.85 billion years ago, or toss in human remains indicating that human beings have been wandering the planet for at least 100,000 years. Divine omnipotence does not include the ability to act contrary to the Divine nature -- which is not deliberately deceptive, to say the least."

And now Bill Hicks. It depresses me to know how narrowly this guy was diverted from O to Ø, because he was REAL close for a while.

But I actually asked this guy, "OK, dinosaur fossils-- how does that fit into your scheme of life? What's the deal?" He goes: "God put those here to test our faith." "...I think God put YOU here to test MY faith, dude. I think I've figured this out."

That's what this guy said. Does that bother anyone here? The idea that God might be fucking with our heads? Anyone have trouble sleeping restfully with that thought in their head? God running around burying fossils: "Ho ho! We'll see who believes in me NOW, ha ha! I'm a prankster God. I am KILLIN' me!" You know? You die, you go to St. Peter:

"Did you believe in dinosaurs?"
"Well, yeah. There were fossils everywhere. Click. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaarhhh!"
"YOU FUCKIN' IDIOT! Flying lizards? You're a MORON. God was FUCKING with you!"
"It seemed so plausible... aaaaaahh!"
"So long, fucker! Enjoy the lake of fire!"

...Such a weird belief. Lots of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he's gonna want to see another cross, man? Ow... That might be why he hasn't shown up yet: "Man, they're still wearing crosses. Screw it, I'm not goin' back, Dad. No, they TOTALLY missed the point. When they start wearing fishes, I MIGHT show up again, but-- naaah, let me bury fossils with you, Dad. Fuck it, let's fuck around with 'em! Hand me that brontosaurus head."

Gagdad Bob said...

Mike A:

You have nailed it. One of my purposes is to try to get modern people to take religion seriously. One way to do this is to get them to appreciate its extrordinary intellectual and metaphysical depth and beauty. In this regard, the fundies and I are at cross-purposes, for their type of theology is so goofy that it causes the same people I'm trying to reach to reject religion out of hand.

Lisa said...

Heh, heh! Looks like it's your lucky day, Will. A certain Pilates teacher has ended her marriage to the kind chef. He couldn't understand Bob's book (tip of the iceberg) and she figured she could feed herself! ;0)

Joseph said...

These last two posts have helped me without measure.

Gagdad Bob said...

In that case, I will continue with the theme tomorrow, my cold permitting. I have something in mind that will further clairfy the faith/science antinomy, hopefully without doing violence to tradition.

uss ben said...

Aww shucks!
I was kinda hopin' for some gratuitous violence, Bob!

Don't get me wrong, I'll read it anyway...and watch The Good, The Bad and The Ugly at the same time.

uss ben said...

Looks like you have to take up french cooking now...Heh! Heh!

will said...

>>A certain Pilates teacher has ended her marriage to the kind chef<<

Hmm, Lisa - One Cosmos, the blog that leads to divorce.

But anyway - can this Blog Without Pity understand our forbidden love?

Anonymous said...

>>Believers in Christ as the Bible describes them are brothers and sisters in the most profound way possible -- despite some variation in perspectives<<

Given your literalist interpretation of the Bible, I guess Jews are no longer welcome here.

Secular or Fundamentalist, a moonbat is a moonbat and an anti-Semite is an anti-Semite.

You demote Jews to your second-class spiritual bretheren because on the surface, our dogmas are different.

Never mind the deep overlapping metaphysical truths. Nope. Doesn't matter. Christ is the only road to Spirit, Salvation and redemption.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I'll go get my yellow star.

Joseph said...

Bob and the gang love the Jews. One of my favorite lines of his is something like, "one beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax". If you read the Torah closely, it is clear Moses had an amazing knuckler.

Lisa said...

Especially Will! ;0)

NoMo said...

Anon - I guess you're addressing me, since I'm the one you quoted. Christians as the Bible describes them have only love and respect for Jews as God's chosen people -- at least I do.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what's crazier:

The belief that all of creation popped into existence 6,000 years ago or this 9/11 conspiracy theory:

looptloop said...

Yes Mike A. that was eloquently stated and stunningly to the point! And many thanks Will, your repeated risk taking to effectively engage and ward off the wayward, even those only subtly off course (but those types can obviously be far more hazardous than a Nags, a BEAJ, or an Integralist) is always admirable and well stated. Besides Bob and the hand full of long-timers, I was beginning to think this blog community had fundamentally changed its identity over the past couple months.

Van said...

Will said... "Evolution may be a fact, but it's initiated, governed by Spirit, Mind - and not the blind, coldly mechanical process that the materialists envision."

Yep. And not taking issue with what you said, but with the common materialists interpretation of the worlds "coldly mechanical process" - I've never gotten that.

Coldly mechanical is reading and regurgitating something written because it was written, as if that coldly mechanical process could lead to truth or understanding - and that's not meant to be focused soley on materialists or fundies, but as a wide spray shotgun blast aimed at lefties, righties, prof's, scientist's and any other group out there that believes that words sucked free from understanding - freeze dried and memorized are somehow wisdom; yet the structure of this marvelous universe, host of our consciousness - massively integrated, lawful and wondrous as it is, from butterflies, to atomic nuclei to love, planetary motion and a child’s giggle - IT is one, and to say that it is in any way coldly mechanical, just flat out baffles the bejeebers out of me.

will said...

>>Bob and the gang love the Jews<<

This is correct. And particularly the ones whose sun-sign falls into the sign of Taurus.

And I suppose you could narrow it down even further: the ones whose sun-sign falls into the sign of Taurus and who are of the female persuasion.

Michael A. said...

Don't flatter me, dig into the works of the Prophet Hicks (as his fans on the left call him) and find it for yourself. He was a ranter-and-raver, and as Palpatine once said, "mistaken, and about a great many things." But you have to credit him for his clearheaded vision of a personal God; he experimented with a few drugs in his youth and blundered, it would seem, directly into a MASSIVE dose of (?!). He spent the rest of his life thinking about the nature of the O that it implied, and vacillating back and forth between O and Ø because, thanks to some bad childhood experiences with bad (o), he didn't trust any form of organized religion.

(Credit must go to Bob for his 'spiritual algebra', as I have come to think of it. It's become a very useful way of explaining the structure of my own thought - and that of other people.)

will said...

Van, it certainly is a bejeeber-baffler - but on some level I can understand how one could succumb, for a time, at least, and at a relatively young age.

What sends my bejeebers running for the tall grass is how they can stick with it for any great length of time and not have the lifeforce drain out of them like air rushing out of a punctured balloon.

What is a bejeeber anyway?

will said...

>>I'm not sure what's crazier:The belief that all of creation popped into existence 6,000 years ago or this 9/11 conspiracy theory<<

And what about that belief that the 9/11 conspiracy theory popped into existence 6000 years ago?

Lisa said...

Will, stop, I'm blushing...Don't get JC Beaglehole started either! He already speaks of me with ill repute.

Van said...

highsierra said... “Divine omnipotence does not include the ability to act contrary to the Divine nature,” I take this to mean: God cannot lie. Not to split hairs or be pedantically contrarian, but doesn’t this statement put a limitation on God?"

Is a singer being limited when through perfect form and method, she sings a perfect high note? Would the perfect singer experience exhilarating freedom and excitement at the thought of slouching and garbling the note, or quickly belting out an on-key bark?

Lying is only an option desirable to a liar - the divine nature wouldn't consider it worth considering - is that a limitation?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Isn't a bejeeber a former member of the Bee Gee's fan club?

Van said...

I believe the bejeeber is the unique offshoot of a jeepers and a bugabear... interestingly, due to their oddly swaying gate and tendency to prefer the comfort of uneven surfaces, their care and feeding is thought to encourage the attentions of unattached pilates instructors.

I'm just sayin'

fergus the cat said...

Lisa, poor Will can't help himself, but I'll get him to stop flattering you. Just remember: you owe me.

Oh, and don't worry about Beaglehole. He bothers you, then I get in his dreams and rip them apart like a pillowcase.

gumshoe1 said...


interesting(whack)ademic article
on knowing,knowledge,
the possibility of Truth,etc.

h/t Maggie's Farm

The American Scholar - "Getting It All Wrong - By Brian Boyd"

in light of many OC convos
(not least on the Creation vs. Evolution merry-go-round), these lines struck me in their bleakness:

How could concepts or communication not be endlessly deferred or referred back, once we accept the fact of evolution, once we move beyond language to consider how human understanding slowly emerged? If we are evolved creatures, our brains are not guarantors of truth, citadels of reason, or shadows of the mind of God but simply organs of survival, built to cope with the immediate environment and perhaps to develop some capacity to recall and anticipate. Evolution has no foresight and no aims, least of all an aim like truth. It simply registers what suffices, what allows some organisms to last and reproduce better than others."

...what possible evolutionary purpose could religion represent??
nah. let's move on.


"Human minds are as they are because they evolved from earlier forms. Being ultimately biological, knowledge is likely to be imperfect, affording no firm foundation, no “originary” moment, in Derrida diction. Reality is enormously complex and vast. If we want to go beyond the familiar, beyond the immediate world of midsized objects that our senses were shaped to understand, beyond the inferences our minds naturally make, all we can do is guess, grope, or jump from whatever starting points we happen to have reached. Almost all our attempts at deeper explanations are likely to be flawed and skewed, as the hundred thousand religious explanations of the world suggest."

having thrown out religion
altogether,likely with no effort at study or understanding...the author
concludes he can only "grope".

will said...

Van, would you have a website on bejeeber care/feeding?

Van said...

At the risk of beating my favorite metaphor to death, Ptolemy carefully observed and measured the track of Mars through the night sky over the course of years. He observed the odd circuit of the planets, and discovered a regularity and an ability to predict what he called the epicycles.

In that sense, he was not in error. You could take his calculations today, and make a very good estimation of the movements of the planets. Within the scope of his available knowledge, he WAS correct - to a certain depth.

Brahe, Kepler, Copernicus & Galileo extended the available knowledge and depth, and achieved a deeper, fuller understanding. They didn't prove Ptolemy incorrect, only incomplete.

But getting them interested in discussing the intricacies of the epicycles and the geocentric solar system probably isn't going to be a big hit at the water cooler.

Van said...

Will said "Van, would you have a website on bejeeber care/feeding?"

As a matter of fact I do!

This is the most effective method I'm aware of, actually a bit of a double whammy, attracting bejeebers AND the best of unattached pilates instructors - now it is best if performed live, but the recording, accompanied by candlelight, I believe works rather well as well.

Happy hunting!

Xivilai said...

Wow, I just noticed the 'reply' counter, and found that there's good stuff off the main blogpage, too. My day has been made.

I'm new to this sort of thing in general, so if what I say here increases my F.Q. (Fool Quotient), please forgive me.

One thing I'd like to reply to that was mentioned very early in the blog was one person's assertion that we can learn from Islam, to which another responded that everything worth learning from Islam is borrowed material. I'd like to note that learning from Islamic scripture needn't be the same as learning from Islam. We can learn from watching Islam, which yields at least two important lessons.

One lesson is that theocracies kill. Not in the obvious ways that we see in people being blown up or beheaded while people talk about how merciful Allah is, but also in a less literal sense of slowly choking society like a tree overgrown with ivy and moss. Or the finger of a person who packs on 60 pounds without resizing their class ring.

Another lesson is that too much literalism can be unhealthy. This shouldn't be a great surprise, as too much of nearly anything can hurt a person. However, I'd still say literalism has its place, but not by itself. Just because something really and literally happened doesn't mean that's the end of the story and there's nothing more to it. Just because Christ was literally crucified roughly 1970 years ago doesn't mean that the important bit was him being naild to a plank until he stopped breathing. Instead, the important part (at least one of them) was that Christ, a part of God, was humiliated before a culture that cared deeply about honor and status, which made us beseeching Him for forgiveness less impossible. (Another part was the symbolism of Christ making Death his whipping entity, but nevermind that). I even think that a Roman soldier named Longinus poked Christ with a spear to make sure He was dead, and that pure water came out, but if that isn't an event rife with possible meanings and lessons, I don't know what is.

I'm not sure if I'm making sense, or if I'm even saying things that most of you have known for decades. I'm new to this blog, and I'm kind of new to spirituality and Christian scholarship in general. So if I've just wasted precious server space, I again ask forgiveness.

will said...

Heh heh, pretty clever, Van.

I might have picked "Little White Picket Fence", but what do I know?

Van said...

I don't know, River has a lot of glamours wafting about... and that's sure to attract the bejeebers.

(I'm going for the whole set actually... have been for some time now. At some point in time I'll actually be able to say that in the past tense.)

Seriously though... I think it'll work... give it a try....



USS Ben USN (Ret) said...


Check out Bob's archives, and you will find a plethora of nous.
You'll find wisdom in many of the comments also.

Here's a bit of wisdom that resonates with me:
Healthy humor is a virtue.
Never drink beverages while reading at One Cosmos.

old friend said...

Wow, Bob gets going pretty good when he's not lashing out at his Shadow...

Xivilai said...

Thanks kindly for the welcome, Ben. I've been sifting through the archives slowly but surely. Any fave articles you'd recommend?

As for humor, I agree entirely. And as for drinking... yes, soda-nose is no man's friend. Woe be to the man who snarfs carbonated liquid, for his nose will surely tingle all the fortnight. Or something.

(Also, I've got Deja' Vu about my postings here.)

Hoarhey said...

old friend said...
"Wow, Bob gets going pretty good when he's not lashing out at his Shadow..."

Never ceases to amaze:
Wow Bob you're brilliant, except when you disagree with me.

You've cast the first shadow here all day.

uss ben said...

My fave post? That's difficult to answer, specifically, since I can't recall every name of every post.

Amazingly, Bob has posted every single day since he started
One Cosmos over a year ago!

I've learned a lot here, and much of the nous that's over my head has stayed with me, to be realized and understood when the time is right.
Sometimes sparked by a different post.

For seekers of truth, One Cosmos is a treasure!

robert A said...

"For seekers of truth, OC is a treasure."

I agree, with the caveat that one has to get past the decidedly unspiritual intolerance that is everpresent.

One's view, while making a vertical ascent through the tree of life, is singular. Someone "higher" or "lower" will not necessarily share the same vista as another. It can be argued that the higher one ascends, the more his view should encompass all that came before. Since we mortals generally only consciously remember the current life experience, we must extrapolate this knowledge. We have no personal proof, save our experiences in this body and ego-consciousness: our belief.

The fact that this blog seems routinely to drop into name-calling and an intellectual "I'm holier (smarter) than you" shell game prevents me from getting any more out of this blog than provoking thought. And believe me, that's enough. Thank you, thank you. But I have been unable to reconcile any genuine wisdom with the tiresome display among the regulars of "hey, we were talking here and you interrupted us. Shame and derision upon you."

The difference between a blog and actual conversation is that an interruption is only perceived as such by those willing to be interrupted. Anyone is free to "not comment" on a rancorous comment. There are several here who seldom, if ever, stoop to the depths of arguing with someone who is obviously here to pull the comments off track. And there are others who can be counted on to run out and cast the first stone.

Nevertheless, as a reader and occasional commenter, I see lots of truth here. I see only occasional wisdom.

Joe said...

"Robert a" or "roberta?" - you say:

" "For seekers of truth, OC is a treasure." "

"I agree, with the caveat that one has to get past the decidedly unspiritual intolerance that is everpresent."

Well as an occasional reader here - I would say: Intolerance has definite good uses! I would ask: To what extent would you advise tolerating stupidity and warped thinking?

I find its a pleasure to see intolerance used thoughtfully but maybe that's just little ol warped me ;)

cousin dupree said...

Robert A:

One wants to say "get lost," but it's too late for that.

Get found!

nobody said...

Victims won't be gettin' too many pats on their melon 'round here - sign says "Check PC at door" - fine print states "Could be hazardous to narcissist's sense of well-being"

hoarhey said...


Could you get some "Spiritually Intolerant and Proud of it" tee shirts printed up?

seen this before said...

Robert A, your wise words are obviously lost here.

Van said...

Hoarhey & Gagdad,

How about sign's & T-Shirts printed with:
"The Power of Positive Rudeness and Recreational Slamming Proudly Practiced Here!"


robert a said...

In the absence of rudeness pushed upon you, what's the value of rudeness handed out?. It runs counter to any spiritual teachings I've run across, and counters all my own inherent spiritual intuition and discernment. Save for running off trolls who, granted, need to be responded to in kind, what's wrong with employing more of the respectful attitude shown in the past few days with RC and the "fundies"?

And if someone responds to me with "Well you were rude (condescending, whatever) first", I'm not buying that. I was honest about my perceptions, which should never be isolated as the sole reason for contempt.

Spiritual intolerance is a dangerous game when played by the unenlightened. With all due respect, there are some smart people here on this site. There are some real seekers here on this site. There are some wise people here on this site. There are people here on this site I would be honored to count as friends. But no one here has demonstrated spiritual enlightenment as an arrived=at destination. I hope no one disagrees with that. Or else I am definitely on the wrong blog.

I am only trying to contribute. I haven't meant to offend anyone specifically, which is why I'm not using names. I've only meant to point out a (hopefully) obvious characteristic of this blog, which for me, is out of character with the intended spirit. I have heard this viewpoint expressed before, but by those who have established themselves as angry, or "trolls". I hope I don't fit that description. I have never heard a satisfactory reason for the outward and open display of hostility toward those who ask questions in earnest.

Van said...

Robert a,
"...Save for running off trolls who, granted, need to be responded to in kind, what's wrong with employing more of the respectful attitude shown in the past few days with RC and the "fundies"?"

Nothing is wrong with it, assuming they are respectful comments, they are dealt with respectfully - short of the obstinate obtuseness of Inty-Nags. There is little or no display of hostility toward those who ask questions in earnest, that I am aware of here. Questions & comments that demonstrate condescending, patronizing, insulting or other 'ing tones tend to get a spirited response (your first comment I would say had at the very least whiffs of the first two - I could be wrong). Disagreement doesn't get set upon, ill-mannered comments do.

"I have never heard a satisfactory reason for the outward and open display of hostility toward those who ask questions in earnest."

To a similar previous comment some time back, I described One Cosmos as being an exuberant meeting place for Gagdad's friends & acquaintances to gather & discuss topics of deep interest and importance to them - those who would expect such a gathering to be soft spoken, undemonstrative and above all EXTREMELY polite, have probably wandered into the wrong room. Or at the least, they should consider remaining at the edges, rather than venturing into the debate.

"Spiritual intolerance is a dangerous game when played by the unenlightened." One shouldn't run with scissors either.

Not that it's all that important, but I wouldn't worry about naming names, DuPree already has the list.

hoarhey said...

"In the absence of rudeness pushed upon you, what's the value of rudeness handed out?."

Obviously you have a hard time discerning the absense of rudeness.

"It runs counter to any spiritual teachings I've run across, and counters all my own inherent spiritual intuition and discernment."

Sorry we aren't all as PC as you'd like.
What you consider rudeness is designed to hit directly at the ego (the only entity it has any effect upon) which is why it is effective on trolls. Maybe it's time to take a look at why you are so offended?
And maybe you've just run across a new form of spiritual teaching, ever think of that? It's not new, you've just excluded it because it doesn't "fit", i.e. ego doesn't like it.

"Save for running off trolls who, granted, need to be responded to in kind, what's wrong with employing more of the respectful attitude shown in the past few days with RC and the "fundies"?"

Why respect the disrespectful. It's highly ineffective.
Respectful attitudes are always shown towards people with a conscience. If you can't see that, again, you need to brush up on your discernment.

hoarhey said...

And Robert,
Feel free to use my name if you'd like. My ego won't mind.

robert a said...


Thank you, gents, for the replies. You both certainly are the Laurel & Hardy of the OC bouncer brigade. Despite Dupree's probable protestations. I will take your comments to heart. Maybe my skin is too thin, but I don't think so. Generally I like to drop the armor when approaching a spiritual learning experience by choice. No one of value has ever made me regret that by being unduly rude.

I do remember that we are on a site where the usual and customary ways of "getting to" someone are greatly reduced. So the written word must take on a subtlety and power even greater than usual; it's all we have.

OK. I accept your explanations. Maybe facing the heat is part of the process, especially if there is ego to be burned away.

I will try to turn up the "discern-o-meter" when watching to see who is genuine in asking. I have seen episodes where I feel someone has been run off for asking the obtuse question, or dismissed too quickly, where in my own mind they merely were trying to catch the tune to find out if they could run a harmony line. Remember, you guys are here day in and day out. None of these concepts are obvious, even when you are looking. I place a high value on genuine communication when confronting a seeker. I know there is a huge difference between one who has "read" the blog for days or weeks or months, and the reader who finally moves to comment.

Susan Lee said...

Golly, robert a, is it not significant that you introduce yourself to us NOT on fire with a comment about the substance of the blog, but a "medium cool", standing aside, observer position commenting on - - our manners?

I would wish you could have some fire in your belly for some subject broached here. Life is so much more interesting (and fun) when lived with ZEST!


tsebring said...

dude, I think the initial response you have gotten resulted from your criticism of the Racoons' sometimes hard-hitting methods of inquiry and debate rather than an honest criticism of a metaphysical issue actually discussed; for a time it seemed as if it was you that was trying to pull the commentary off track. It seems that you have backed off that stance at present, which is good, in that it will hopefully allow there to be more constructive dialog between yourself and those folks who are veterans here. I would say, however, that what I have found is that those invaders who find themselves attacked from the get go are the ones who come charging in with arrogant statements that they assert are truth, and that they use to attack Bob or other posters without being able to back up what they are saying. I have found that those newbies who comment using a more respectful tone and who demonstrate genuine curiosity about subjects under discussion rather than petulant dismissal of them get a better reception, abeit with corrections attached if it is felt that the newbie is wholly mistaken about something. The Bobbleheads here are not ashamed of defending their beliefs, and are known to shoot trolls on sight, but I would disagree that they mount willy-nilly scattershot attacks on anyone who disagrees. A respectful tone at the outset generally leads to a respectful reply.

ximeze said...

Way to go, Susan Lee!

What's with the love of plodding pedantry, when discussing serious things.

Only crushing bores "get" spirituality?

Robert A: have some fun with the gift you've been given.

If you can't, at least leave those of us who find JOY in it alone.

You're "take" is not the end-all & be-all of the subject & not our Daddy to scold us.

Look to yourself first & quit telling everybody else what to do.

hoarhey said...

Robert a,
Sometimes it seems as though a person is being bashed here who doesn't warrant it because of what seems like a reasonable response on their part. If you'll go back into their history you'll find from their first post an air of arrogant condecension. When that is met in kind, the sham reasonabilty begins on their part in an attempt to mask the true feelings of contempt they have towards people here. The latest, integralist, is a perfect case study.
Many trolls can't see how Bob's spirituality can mesh with his politics because "spiritual" people, in their minds, are supposed to be flacid and unoffensive. But it does mesh, and if you stick around long enough with an open mind, you'll see how it does. And if you feel it doesn't, a respectfully worded question pertaining to the subject will get a respectful answer in return. Notice I did say, pertaining to the subject. Some peoples constructs are so off the wall that it is difficult or impossible to even know where to begin to link things up. It becomes a waste of time.
Once the trolls game has been detected (and it doesn't take long) they will continue to ask the same tired questions in an attempt to fit Bob's worldview into their own. Problem is it doesn't fit and never will. They feel, "if he would just change politically,I could listen to him". The trouble is that their politics are too closely enmeshed with their self image so that objectivity is impossible. When he doesn't "see the light" and change, the "closed minded", "unthinking", "troglodyte" labels get attached to the people here and the troll feels vindicated in leaving and never returning. Trouble is, they never leave, they just quit posting under their troll names and come in with the occasional, impotent, adolescent snipe under new names. "Old Friend" being the latest example. Weasels that they are.
I mean, where are you going to go to get what you get here?

You stated,
"None of these concepts are obvious, even when you are looking."

They were obvious to me from day one, particularly the political discussions.

Van said...

"You both certainly are the Laurel & Hardy of the OC bouncer brigade."

Oh Olie, did you hear that? Another fine mess I've gotten us into....

Bubba said...

Oh, Hoarhey, are you and others here really so infallible? Notice how you can't even entertain the possibility that this repeat pattern of Others you observe might actually have something to do with the community here and its xenophobia to anything not party-line.

Van said...

Bubba said... "Oh, Hoarhey, are you and others here really so infallible? "

Bub, possibly you let your eyes roam over the words, but it's obvious that you haven't yet learned to read. Please practice elsewhere.

hoarhey said...

A Bubba poseur. An impotent adolescent in another drive by.
Where have I heard the words "party line" before comrade?
Too rigid to cross the line and join the party?
Another attach-a-phobe, end a weak arguement kinda guy.