Saturday, January 20, 2007

Scripture, Intelligence, and the Quaking Foundations of the Western World

The average man is incapable, not of conceiving the archetypes, no doubt, but of being interested in them; he has need of a myth which humanizes and dramatizes the archetype and which triggers the corresponding reactions of will and sensibility; that is, the average man, or collective man, has need of a god who resembles him. --F. Schuon

Ironically, how much more so does Schuon's statement apply to the godless, whose god is none other than himself!

I once read a remark by Ken Wilber -- I think it was Ken Wilber -- who said words the effect that the people who tend to be the most interested in religion are the brilliant and the dim.

Now, before getting all offended, let us stipulate at the outset that when it comes to intelligence, not everyone is above average. Obviously, half of the population is of below average intelligence. I am hardly an elitist in this area, for there is no correlation whatsoever between intelligence and decency or goodness. There are plenty of smart people -- say, Jimmy Carter or Noam Chomky -- who are perfectly wretched human beings. Our universities are filled with smart and bad people -- for I count as "bad" anyone who arrogantly propagates poisonous ideas such as multi-culturalism, moral relativism, tolerance (in its present bullying and totalitarian connotation), victimology, and the general stance of absolute relativity that absurdly denies transcendent truth.

Yesterday while driving home from work, I caught a bit of the Michael Medved show. His guest was the famous atheist Sam Harris, who has written the bestseller The End of Faith. He is a perfect example of Wilber's dictum, because this man was so intellectually banal, such a metaphysical yahoo, such an adolescent drone, that it is no surprise that he cannot raise his intellect to religion. But, in the American way, he has turned his infirmity into a virtue, and is no doubt making a small fortune in the process.

While Harris was blathering, I was wondering what sort of narcissism -- for there are many kinds -- made him think he had the authority to speak with such confidence on a subject about which he literally knows nothing -- indeed, by his own acknowledgment. For to claim "a-theism" is nothing more and nothing less than a frank confession of ignorance of any ontologically real domains that transcend the senses. So what? Why would one argue with an atheist, unless their atheism is accidental and not obligatory? For to try to convince an obligatory atheist of the reality of God would be as pointless as trying to explain to a blind man why he should not wear brown shoes with a tuxedo. Would a scientist waste a single moment debating an ascientist?

(I'm trying to imagine "debating" a God-impaired person such as Harris. The first question I would ask is, "What personal knowledge do you have of God?" Since he was raised in a Christian culture, he probably has some fidelity to truth in spite of himself, so he would likely give his honest answer, "None." I would then say that I'm sorry to hear that. "Would you like to have that experience, or are you dead-set against it?" "Oh, dead-set against it, because God is a delusion. That's my whole point." "I see. You are not complaining. You are boasting. In that case, I cannot debate you. I am, however, licensed to analyze your cosmic narcissism." "No, I don't believe in psychoanalysis either. It too is a delusion. The so-called mind is simply a meaningless side effect of our neurology that has been naturally selected for purely random reasons." "I see. I think I understand. You are saying that man is not actually intelligent, since an intelligence that cannot know truth hardly deserves the name. If so, why is your nervous system making any assertions about anything -- much less everything? Say, you don't seem to have a very developed sense of irony, do you?" "As a matter of fact, my next book is on irony. It is also a delusion.")

A few days ago, Charles Murray had an interesting editorial entitled Intelligence in the Classroom: Half of all Children are Below Average, and Teachers Can Do Only So Much for Them. Murray points out that with all of our approaches to the problem of education, one vital factor is curiously left out. In fact, it is not even discussed -- as if it were taboo. What is it? Intelligence. Hard to believe that we have an entire educational establishment that does not take intelligence into consideration, but we do... wait, maybe that's not surprising, since the educational establishmet has been completely dominated by leftist activists for decades... In any event, Murray writes that

"Hardly anyone will admit it, but education's role in causing or solving any problem cannot be evaluated without considering the underlying intellectual ability of the people being educated.... Our ability to improve the academic accomplishment of students in the lower half of the distribution of intelligence is severely limited. It is a matter of ceilings. Suppose a girl in the 99th percentile of intelligence, corresponding to an IQ of 135, is getting a C in English. She is underachieving, and someone who sets out to raise her performance might be able to get a spectacular result. Now suppose the boy sitting behind her is getting a D, but his IQ is a bit below 100, at the 49th percentile.

"We can hope to raise his grade. But teaching him more vocabulary words or drilling him on the parts of speech will not open up new vistas for him. It is not within his power to learn to follow an exposition written beyond a limited level of complexity, any more than it is within my power to follow a proof in the American Journal of Mathematics. In both cases, the problem is not that we have not been taught enough, but that we are not smart enough.

"Now take the girl sitting across the aisle who is getting an F. She is at the 20th percentile of intelligence, which means she has an IQ of 88. If the grading is honest, it may not be possible to do more than give her an E for effort. Even if she is taught to read every bit as well as her intelligence permits, she still will be able to comprehend only simple written material. It is a good thing that she becomes functionally literate, and it will have an effect on the range of jobs she can hold. But still she will be confined to jobs that require minimal reading skills. She is just not smart enough to do more than that."

Murray points out that it would be nice if we knew how to raise intelligence, but we do not. Instead we just ignore it, and move on to the false assumption that educators can educate everyone, and that either they or the students just need to try harder. But it won't work -- unless, of course, you reduce standards, which will merely give the illusion of working. In fact, this is what we have done, to such an extent that most any idiot can obtain a PhD in the humanities -- especially psychology!

At the same time, our system produces very intelligent people who obtain PhDs in some narrow scientific field (or even in contemporary philosophy, which has become so parochial and specialized), who then assume that they are fit to opine on metaphysical matters far beyond their gifts. This is how we end up with a Daniel Dennett or Sam Harris -- who are analogous to someone with an above-average or even superior little flashlight trying to illuminate the cosmos. Such a person will tend to conflate the realm of what they see with the realm of what can be seen, the latter being a bit larger, to say the least.

Although we cannot increase the intelligence of a single person within his lifetime, there is strong evidence that intelligence does increase in the species as a result of various evolutionary factors. I posted on this a few days ago, quoting Arnold King, I mean Kling, who wrote that "average IQ has been rising steadily in many countries for most of this century. Average IQ's in Britain may be more than two standard deviations higher than they were a hundred years ago, which says that the average citizen today would have been in the top 5 percent of intelligence early in the 20th century."

Again, this is an astonishing statement if it is even close to the truth. I don't know if you know what a standard deviation is on the IQ scale, but 100 is average, so half are above, half below. The standard deviation is 15 points, meaning that approximately 68% of the population will have an IQ that falls between 85 and 115, while 95% will fall between 70 and 130. Now, someone with an IQ of 70 is what we used to call a "moron." Below that came "imbecile" (IQ between 20-49) and "idiot" (below 20).

If Kling is correct, this means that as recently as 100 years ago in the West -- let alone primitive cultures -- the average person may have been more or less of a... a moron. Being that geographical space is developmental time, it does not surprise me that Charles Murray showed in The Bell Curve -- and as a result, had to endure scurrilous charges of racism from evil-hearted liberals -- that IQs are significantly lower in undeveloped nations -- the so-called "third world."

Now, back to the problem of scripture. Scripture is intended for all men. Right away, I think you see the problem, because "all men" includes morons, imbeciles, idiots, and even secular leftists. Here is the task before you. You are God. You are to write a book that contains the essence of Absolute Truth, so that man may save himself from himself. But it must be addressed to all men, for all time. Can you do it?

Of course! You're God, aren't you? You can do anything!

Thus, until relatively recently -- miraculously, I might add -- scripture did speak to all men -- the supernaturally brilliant, the sublunarally stupid, the primitive, the modern, the literate, the illiterate, kings and slaves. Even now -- I don't have the exact number, but I imagine that, much to Harris' dismay, scripture does still speak deeply to at least two thirds of a very intellectually diverse population, probably more. However, there is no getting around the fact that it no longer speaks to some. The question is, do these people know something we don't, or are they simply lost in the land of the "unknown unknown," not knowing what it is that they do not know?

As I said at the outset, religion does a more than adequate job of reaching the brilliant and the subnormal. What it cannot do -- what it was never designed to do -- is reach people who improperly use their God-given intelligence to replace Truth with an elaborate doctrine of falsehood. And yet, scripture, in its wisdom, certainly anticipates such individuals, making many sly and ironic references to the proud know-nothings who are "wise in their own eyes." We know what happens to the barren soul of such an individual, for whom it will be too late once the darkness cometh when no man can work. But what would become of the culture that collectively rejected Truth? I think scripture provides the answer to that as well. And it is "not pretty," as they say.

We are at something of a historical crossroads, although, truth be told, history -- both individual and collective -- is always at the Crossroads. Back to the question that started this series of posts. Yes, you could say that the story of God "destroying the world" is allegorical if you like. But make no mistake: one way or another, the destruction will come if we ever successfully unmoor our great civilization from its Judeo-Christian foundations. We're halfway there. Do you feel the shaking?

64 Comments:

Anonymous Alan said...

I was listening to the Sam Harris interview as well.

I was thinking through many of your posts while listening to him and here is my concern, expressed as best I can....

for much of the first millenium and after, mankind lived by their experience and had more of a unitary consciousness. The evils within weren't separated from the evils without and, for the average person, their daily experience of the world meshed with their understanding of their religion. Everything aligned.

However, since the Copernican revolution aided by Cartesian dualism, the average person's view of reality doesn't align with their religion. It aligns far better with the stuff that Harris, Dawkins, et al peddle. That is why society has been slowly falling away from religion.

That is why, though I could put aside everything that Harris said, I'm worried that the average-within-two-standard-deviations person can't.

Thoughts?

ps. My discussion with Harris would go along the lines of demonstrating how he really has a "religion" and that he is just engaging in the same behavior he claims is dangerous for mankind.

1/20/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Guaca Mole said...

Bob, this is an interesting and well-written post. However, I don't share your conclusion that our great civilization is in danger of becoming "unmoored from its Judeo-Christian foundations."

That shaking that you feel is the foundation itself being refurbished. Judeo-Christianity, being founded on truth, cannot be destroyed nor will it drift away. Scriptures are dialects of truth among many possible past and future ones, and like geologic formations thay shift and uplift, sink and are subluxed, etc.

Much as a language will drift (Olde English no longer sounds like Modern English but means the same things) Judeo-Christianity is mutating and shifting form, but the essence will remain the same no matter what appearance it may take.

My point is that we may lose the Bible but the truths behind it will take new forms and our civilization will not fall.

As for atheists, they are actually God-lovers on the cusp; by fighting God they betray an intense interest in Him. It is only a developmental stage that some people must pass through. Do not become alarmed.

Jeez, just listen to me pronounce on these things. I know I'm going to get a spanking from Bob and crew.

I will make a disclaimer in advance that I may be completely wrong about what I've just asserted.

1/20/2007 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger GeorgeD said...

Giaca

Are you integralist the messenger of the Great Relativist? Have you heard of Absolute Truth?

1/20/2007 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous ms. E said...

Intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened, or ignored and weakened.

An intelligent and caring teacher quickly identifies the abilities and interests of his/her pupils and groups them accordingly. "Red Birds": above average; "Blue Birds": average; "Yellow Birds": morons.

By the end of their 1st grade school year, the Red Birds are ready for 3rd grade; the Blue Birds - second grade, and the Yellow Birds need to repeat 1st grade, but get a pass to 2nd grade in order to protect their self-esteem. Most Yellow Birds grow up to be education administrators and Democrats.

1/20/2007 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

Guaca Mole:

Your post reminds me of the old Hindu story of the atheist who was allowed into Heaven because, even though he didn't really believe in God, he spent all his time thinking about Him.

1/20/2007 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous sawdust said...

One other thing that educators do to "solve the problem" of low achievement is to ask for ever larger sums of money. This frets me no end, as I do not believe that the federal gov't., the source of most of the funds, has a legitimate (Constitutional) authority to finance or regulate education. They certainly haven't proven to be up to the task.

1/20/2007 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Absolutely. But once liberalism insinuates itself into the government and into our lives, it is almost impossible to disgorge it.

1/20/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how do you avoid the problem of it always being possible that it is your flashlight, rather than say Harris', that is unable to illuminate enough of the cosmos to make it intelligible.

You seem to just assume that your flashlight is as bright as it needs to be and that those who disagree with you must, ipso facto, have weak lights that distort how things 'really' are.

I, personally, have no idea about who is right or wrong[and I suspect, if there is a God he doesn't care either.] but merely that your methodology is weak and self-serving.

1/20/2007 11:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Anony-mouse: "I, personally, have no idea about who is right or wrong..."

That's what makes you such a lousy party guest.

1/20/2007 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

I suggest you avoid weak and self-serving bloggers such as Bob. It only makes you look even weaker and more self-serving than he is. Those who are whole need not a metaphysican.

1/20/2007 12:06:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Bob, the shaking you feel is perhaps the sound of the Iranians, North Koreans, Hezbollahs,Russians, Venezuelans, Chinese, and US Fifth Columnists and terror cells moving their weapons into place and locking them onto their targets...us. It perhaps echoes the shaking the Israelites felt at the approaching thunder of Assyrian, later Babylonian, horses and chariots; read 2 Kings and the Prophets. How quickly we forget.

1/20/2007 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cousin Dupree, I didn't say the writer was weak and self-serving. Rather I said that the methodology present in his text was weak and self-serving.

There is no need to obfuscate my point. I do not desire to defend Harris since, as I said, I do not know if he or the writer of this blog is correct. Most likely neither of them is since reality is often more complicated than simple positions of yea or nea allow for.

My point is that to a disinterested and clear reader the method of engaging with the material that the writer chose is not satisfactory and will not change the view of either someone who disagrees or someone who neither agrees or disagrees such as I. It will only serve to fill readers who already agree with self-assurances of their superiority, which, Ironically, is one of the criticisms the blogger had of Harris and is a criticism Harris has of theists.

1/20/2007 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Having not read the comments yet, I want to say something Bob. Given the importance of Language, John Taylor Gatto pointed out that crime rates more or less hang on literacy levels.

(See The Underground History of American Education.)

My theory is this: apparent intelligence, or rather, functional intelligence goes up as literacy goes up and as people are exposed to more language. People on the low end have low intelligences and on the high end have high-- it effects the rate at which we absorb language-- which to my mind IS intelligence.

For how else do we make the world intelligible except through language?

If that F student can be taught to read, then the doors available to her are increased in number; even if they are not as many in number as say, Einstein's.

The key is literacy and language. Our own language in this sense may produce more intelligent people... why? I can't say. But that is what I'm intuiting.

Well, anyway, I wanted to say, there is a difference between rudimentary intelligence (untelligence if you will) which is more or less identical from age to age of man-- which is a function of the way our brains are layed out I would surmise-- and functional, usable intelligence that can be measured.

Or am I speakin' out my rear?

1/20/2007 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin dupree said...

anonymous:

I repeat: if Bob's arguments -- now consisting of a book and some 500 lengthy posts -- constitute a weak and self-serving argument, you have no business reading his blog, for you have assimilated nothing of what he has written. Respectfully, this blog is obviously not intended for your kind, so please don't expect Bob to tailor it to your specific needs and deficits. There are millions of blogs out there for you. This is not one of them.

1/20/2007 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no need to police the boundaries of who should or shouldn't read specific things. I can read this writer and a thousand others and getting a diversity of opinions is always a good way to decipher truth from fiction.

I do not ask any writer to tailor their writing to my specifics but rather I think it reasonable to avoid sophistries which serve to inflate the position of the writer and to pay mind to the basics of rhetoric[assuming the writer has an interest in engaging with an audience outside that which already agrees] and to basic methodological fairness which includes the principles of Charity and Universality.

Any partisan or ideological hack can write polemics aimed for a lap-doggish audience who want reinforcement of their narrow views.

Having written a book, or many books, is not a qualification for being rational or correct, not to mention fair. If this were so Harris, and especially Chomsky[two of the people selected for scorn by the original text] would be more qualified than the blogger.

And what, may I ask, do you assume my 'kind' to be? I ask since it seems a highly prejudicial assumption on you part one way or the other.

1/20/2007 03:35:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Perhaps my assumption was wrong, but I don't think so. Why not describe your kind for us -- your philosophy, theology, and metaphysics -- that way we can be certain that you don't belong here. We are "pretty sure" you don't, but state your case and I'll relay it to Bob. He's the decider.

1/20/2007 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

And since you apparently understand Bob's philosophy well enough to label it polemical ideological hackery aimed at a lap-doggish audience, perhaps you could tell us what you understand that philosophy to be? Can you describe it, say, in a paragraph? It shouldn't be difficult for your kind.

1/20/2007 04:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish someone would shoot the one trick pony. He's much more functional as glue.

1/20/2007 04:23:00 PM  
Anonymous thetimguy said...

What a great post. This is such a great stop in the blog world. Every blog, every commentator out there has a prejudice (pre-judgment), a world-view, philosophy which absolutely colors all they say and do and cannot be hidden, if you just listen. I've never heard sam harris or mr. Bob speak (audible) - but in reading their writings (a mirror on the soul) what is in their hearts comes through with absolute clarity. Having never met anonymous, it is clear in reading his brief comments that good and evil, right and wrong are stretchy, goooey, un-definable terms and have no discernable boundaries. How else do you explain him saying he is not sure if Harris and Chomsky are not correct in their world view, when both are so patently evil it is hard to fathom. Anyway, wonderful post Bob, as always, and yes Scripture does say that the night will come when now man can work, I think the curtain is definitly lower.

1/20/2007 04:27:00 PM  
Anonymous bubba said...

Dupree,

I know you're a busy guy. It seems that there are certain 'kinds' of 'anonymous' visitors who drop in here and tend to disrupt the flow rather than add to it. It occured to me that perhaps coming up with some macro boilerplate responses for different 'kinds' of folks would save you some time.

One keystroke and, viola! the guest has a response.

1/20/2007 04:29:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Pant, Pant.
I HAVE been known to sniff for tidbits, but didn't think anyone knew.

Dupree, please tell Bob he's appreciated, okay?

1/20/2007 04:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't assert that Bob's philosophy is polemical ideological hackery. What I did say is

"Any partisan or ideological hack can write polemics aimed for a lap-doggish audience who want reinforcement of their narrow views."

This was in reference to your statement implying that since Bob had written a book and some online posts that he was somehow credible because of that. My point was that many writers write a great deal but don't, for that reason alone, deserve to be considered rational, effective, or correct.

Also, my original statements were intended to pertain to this specific post and not to some overall Philosophy. I have been reading some of his other posts during the day and some others are better than this one, some worse.

As for Bob's overall Philosophical system, I don't have much interest in such systems since it seems that individual subject matters and specific instances each require fairly specific types of analysis and methodologies.

Again, I don't think it a wise policy to decide that some people 'belong' here and others don't. That is one of the main failings of most online blogs and forums; they become homogeneous and rigid due to an informal[and sometimes formal] policing system.

As to my 'kind' I would say that I don't have one. As would be implied by my earlier statements each new situation requires a unique and specific analysis.

But since you requested I'll indulge you with some information.

My chief interests are in what might be called the ancient wisdom traditions, though seen through the prism of the scientific method and linguistic pragmatism. Generally I am a skeptic but not a cynic. I use Skeptic in the sense of the Roman philosopher Sextus Empiricus where it is contrasted to the other two types of epistemology of his time; Total Skepticism and Dogmatism.

Though ultimately I value any method or perspective that assists in illuminating a subject or assists in removing obfuscation of that subject. I am a firm believer in the Fallability of humans but also of our ability to solve difficult problems. If we were indeed created by God[which I am agnostic about, not due to lack of what might be termed spiritual experiences but rather because of the many possible ways of seeing these experiences.] we were not made to be 'Knowing' machines but rather to be 'Doing' Machines which is why we are much better at solving problems than we are at arriving at definite and clear understandings of the Truth of things. Our paradigms for understanding are revised very often in order to reflect our primary interest in solving problems that confront us rather than Knowing, once and for all, what is true. This does not, however, necessarily entail that their isn't some definite Truth about things, but rather that it is elusive.

1/20/2007 04:53:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Thank you, anonymous. I don't have to consult Bob to inform you that you do not belong here. This site is, at the very least, for spiritually advanced individuals with a thorough grounding in esotericism and traditional metaphysics. My job is to "police" the blog, not to enforce rigid conformity, but because people such as yourself cannot possibly know the extent to which you drag the proceedings down and bum everyone out. Therefore, I must give you the heave ho. Don't make me call Hoarhey. He gets very pissed if I rouse him in the middle of his daily torpor (you wouldn't understand -- it's a coon thing).

1/20/2007 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to respond to TheTimGuy, I made no mention of what I thought of Harris' or Chomsky's 'Worldview', as you said, and my statement about not being sure didn't reference Chomsky at all but rather was pertaining to Harris and Bob's views regarding the existence of God. On this question both seem to be Dogmatists in the One area where it seems the least helpful to be certain. Religiosity has more to do with doubt than with certainty. I would refer you to Kierkegaard for excellent writings on this as it pertain to Christianity.

Also, in reference to your statements about what you assumed to be my views on right and wrong I would refer you to my above comment, but I will add a few remarks for clarification since obfuscation seems to be on the menu today in heavy doses.

Right and Wrong are not so much 'stretchy' and 'goooey' or undefinable as they are, by their nature, imprecise. This doesn't necessarily entail Relativism[a wholly unhelpful and polemic terms] but instead requires an even tempered and inter-subjective[note the difference between Objective, Subjective and inter-Subjective] analysis of them and how they apply to any specific instance. I know it is an easy rhetorical tactic[its been done for thousands of years] to label anyone who resists being dogmatic as an evil Relativist, but I think we can collectively resist that if we try a little bit and apply the principle of Charity. As I mentioned in an earlier post the principle of Universality[applying criteria and standards to ourselves that we apply to others] is critical for any civil and fair discourse.

1/20/2007 05:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those who believe they are spiritually advanced probably needs to explore a bit more.

The sages of all time are in agreement on this point; those who claim to attainment have none.

Read the Tao Te Ching, Bhagavad Gita, Sermon on the Mount, Any Buddhist Sutra, The Apology of Socrates for a clear statement about this.

I'll leave you all to your rigid conformity, but first, an anecdote from world war two Europe.

'The German army marched into Vienna in March 1938, and Hitler annexed Austria to the Reich. As a Jew and as the founder of psychoanalysis, Freud was regarded as an enemy of the new Germany. In his final interview with the Gestapo, who insisted that he sign a statement saying he was not mistreated, the 82-year-old Freud is said to have sarcastically asked if he could add: "I can most highly recommend the Gestapo to everyone."'

1/20/2007 05:22:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

anonymous

Of course we are in agreement regarding the centrality of humility, for Bob has written of it extensively. In fact, it is only Bob's boundless humility and compassion that prevents him from banning your IP.

1/20/2007 05:47:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

aryanomous -

How predictable. I was just waiting for Hitler to show up. Thanks for clearing up where you fall on the IQ scale.

1/20/2007 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ban away mon ami.

I feel I should bring this up, even though it will be dismissed, but the way you refer to Bob[Bob's boundless humility and compassion] and how you seem to take his words as authority gives the impression of a bit of a cult forming. If you look up an analysis of cult behavior you will find a striking resemblance to what goes on here.

1/20/2007 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hmm. That's a low and juvenile shot.

I would expect better from such a wisdom seeker.

But, he who seeks wisdom for himself...

Put God first, and all else follows.

That requires knowing what I AM is being referred to.

Dupree is not trying to make things rigid here, but instead trying to prevent you from putting us in a box.

Which is what you just tried to do.

1/20/2007 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

<(o)> ehm stew pit?!

1/20/2007 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

may bee....

1/20/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Dear Leader! Come quickly! He knows about the cult!

1/20/2007 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dupree, can it wait? The Lakers are tied up in the 4th quarter. It's probably just Integralist again. Deal with it. Yes, you can bring out the blow torch. Yes, Hoarhey can hold him down.

Memo to Raccoons -- you will forgive Dupree for being a little "out of sorts" today. His beloved Saints are playing tomorrow, and he's already begun celebrating their victory, if you know what I mean. Laissez les Superbowl temps roulez, and all that. In fact, he's already looking for the Murphy Bed....

Dupree!!! Careful with that axe!!!!

1/20/2007 07:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Real Saint said...

"Whaa... us coons? A CULT? Well, we walks like a cult and we talks like a cult, but we aren't a cult, because Bob told us so!"

You can coon some of the fools all of the time...

...but to suddenly christen Dupree as a Saints fan is the height of blasphemy.

Bring your band of coons on down this direction. And don't forgit yer hand tools. We know a thing or two about coons going vertical.

Stick with your own kind. Unplugged, as it were, from the real game still going on.

1/20/2007 08:15:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Sorry, Dupree -

The Saints will start with a flash, then will collapse like a Lake Pontchartrain levee. The Saint's owner will blame the head coach, the coach will blame the manager. Both will blame Bush.

Before game's end, Federal dollars will be pouring in. To no avail. Bears win . . . can't tell the final score, only that there's a 17 involved.

1/20/2007 08:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Ximnoteze said...

Bob,

How come you leave this guy "anonymous" up for all to see? It's obvious that despite the way his words and ideas come across he is an idiot who doesn't belong here, or else you wouldn't send him packing so quickly. But by leaving his postings up like that, it looks like he got the best of you. And really all he did was take the moral high ground by leaving, which is a cheap shot anyway. Please take his postings off. He's frightening the kits.

1/20/2007 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

It's not dark yet...but it's gettin' there.

Dylan

1/20/2007 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Integralist said...

One thing I find continually amusing about this blog is how people think that anyone with a dissenting view is me, or someone else, one big gestalt entity of "anti-Bobism" (which it isn't, but that is how it is perceived).

Anonymous, my suggestion is this: don't engage with Cousin Dupree. He's...entrenched.

Bob, many good things in your post, but it should be said that sometimes the religious--or non-religious--have a mixture of stupid and brilliant. In fact, that is human nature: most of us, at least those of us with some humility, realize that we hold all potentials within us, and are always blind to some aspect of ourselves.

1/20/2007 10:11:00 PM  
Anonymous River said...

"Anonymous" posted, in response to Dupree, et al:

As I mentioned in an earlier post the principle of Universality[applying criteria and standards to ourselves that we apply to others] is critical for any civil and fair discourse.

There's your first ass-umption, chump. If we wanted fair and civil discourse, why would we seek shelter in the bosom of the Tree of Bob? This blog is like an umbrella. You are like rain.

Your 2nd mistake comes in the same post:

I know it is an easy rhetorical tactic[its been done for thousands of years] to label anyone who resists being dogmatic as an evil Relativist, but I think we can collectively resist that if we try a little bit and apply the principle of Charity.

Remember who you're up against, anonymouse. Fancy words just make you sound erudite. Around here charity is the saffron of the emotions, a gift to be used sparingly lest we fall into the leftist trap of He Who Will Not Be Named.

Sorry for going off on this guy Bob, but he has to be put in his place. And you're right: it IS kind of fun.

1/20/2007 10:15:00 PM  
Anonymous John Kew said...

Ms. e:

I find it interesting that republicans, by their blind support of the ubiquitous safety net of corporate policy and security at the expense of honest consideration of consequences, have become the democratic party, re-badged. A generation ago a republican was a proponent of free enterprise. Now a republican supports whichever corporation (bush or cheney, to name two prominent corporate entities) promises him/her the biggest paycheck. Talk about your inflated sense of self worth...at least the current named democrats realize they are on the take. Your astute observation that the slow become school administrators and democrats gives them more credit, and more education, than they give themselves.

My question is this: with the old republicans becoming in essence the new democrats, what will become of these old democrats, the "school administrators & dems" you speak of? Is it 3rd party time? Or just "party time", a la "Here comes Katrina! Who's buying the beer?"

1/20/2007 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

OK...it's dark.

1/20/2007 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Anonymous, my suggestion is this: don't engage with Cousin Dupree. He's...entrenched.

Dupree entrenched is foot in my backside last week. Hell, plenty of people have been roughed up by Dupree on the outskirts of Coon Village. Some shake it off and stick around, others slink off. Some do a bit of both, it would seem.

1/20/2007 10:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous has really been dragging the mood down today. Perhaps a poem will brighten things up a bit:


DIVINE AGONY

Why must I experience the pain of separation?
To learn of Your Unity.

Why must the world be full of evil?
That I might know your Goodness.

Why must I lie and live amongst liars?
In order to see Your Truth.

Why must there be such ugliness?
On which Your Beauty casts its brilliant shadow.

What a funny world You have made -
That we might know You only by what You are not.

This is the meaning of Fullness and Emptiness.

Truly, the entire cosmos was created for me alone.

1/20/2007 11:05:00 PM  
Anonymous little voice said...

Smoov:

your persona is that of a bright guy. I like the persona you present. Let me speak to that.

Don't you see the difference between you and the latest "anonymous"? Read a's words. If there has been charity demonstrated during this round of comments, it has been demonstrated by "a", not anyone else. A did not come on here obnoxious, or condescending, but objective and inquisitive. His(her) objectivity was his downfall. Look at the record. It's here in microcosm. Truth is truth, and Bob spouts lots of it. But Bob is blinded by his own brilliance. (Remember: Truth is truth.) This blog is a living, breathing testament to lots of things. Bob's ego shines much brighter than God realization here. (Truth is truth.) Why is that?

It is discouraging to watch "bright" personas fall into (goose)step behind the hypercritical and hypersensitive ego- protectionism Bob has managed to co-opt and fan-chise. Those who charge to the sniping the quickest (by their strifes ye shall know them...) are simply those who have swallowed the hook the furthest. They feel the pull all the way from the terminal point of their digestive tract right on out of their mouths. Hook, line, and chancre. Very disturbing, for anyone who calls themselves free, to suddenly find a home in the shadow of a graven image.

Truth is truth: There is nothing enlightening or enlightened about the sniping that goes on when one side starts taking cheap shots at the other. As spiritual aspirants, "turn the other cheek" isn't the option to consider. It's more like, "why did that slap hurt?" And in answering the question the process begins. Bob's truths, if they have any veracity, derive only from this process, and that veracity is then borne out in each of us by the reverberation of that truth.

I submit to those who are listening that the negativity on this site, originating from Bob's leadership example, reverberates louder than any spiritual truths. When a seeker approaches this blog with any seed idea other than those which Bob has previously nurtured, he is promptly ridiculed, then on cue set upon by the needy, anus-hooked jackals that have found refuge here. Go back and do your own homework. The only ideas that are welcomed here are the ones that Bob has already "sanctified".

Yes, Bob writes beautifully. Yes, he can lay down a mean metaphor. Yes, he is blind in critical areas, which is not a crime...until one begins to set oneself up as a minor deity. Then those who have eyes to see and ears to hear are called upon to become point men themselves. Give Bob a rest from time to time, so he can reset his moral compass. You owe that to yourselves.

1/21/2007 12:03:00 AM  
Anonymous little voice said...

PS, anonymous:

Beautiful poem. You lead me to the gate of how much I don't know, and make a generous offer to take up the learning. Thank you.

I stay on this blog because it is hard work, and worth it. I learn, and the lessons come with a price. When criticism of honest seekers is trumpeted as achievement, this site becomes NOT worth the trouble.

1/21/2007 12:09:00 AM  
Anonymous integralist said...

One thing I find continually amusing about this blog is how I keep saying that I'm leaving but am so addicted that I can't. I'm one big gestalt entity of "anti-Bobism".
Anonymous, my suggestion is this: don't get engaged with Cousin Dupree. He's not that way, believe me I've tried.

Bob, many good things in your post, (couldn't help but lend my wise opinion to your blog) but it should be said that sometimes the religious--or non-religious--have a mixture of stupid and brilliant. In fact, that is human nature: most of us, at least those of us with some humility, realize that we hold all potentials within us, and are always blind to some aspect of ourselves. Some people, such as myself are the rare exception, totally without humility, pure stupidity and total blindness to both.

1/21/2007 12:36:00 AM  
Anonymous integralist said...

BTW,
Anonymous, you're giving all the other anonymouses a bad name. STOP IT or I'm going to spank you! ;)

1/21/2007 12:39:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Man, I step out for just a second and look at what happens.

1/21/2007 12:43:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Little voice,
It would seem to me that the anus hooked jackals who have found refuge here are people such as yourself.
Totally offended by the non PC host and wishing him to be someone else, but for some reason unable to accept him as is and move on with their blog-lives.
So they sit around the feeding pride to take their little adolescent snipes like jackals looking for the opportunity to get a little scrap.
Have you ever added anything to the discussion besides your little broadside here? And if you have and are posting under another name then you are no "point man", you are a coward.
There also seems to be an inability to be specific in anything or cite any specific examples of criticisms such as "blindness in critical areas". Everything is a generalization revolving around feelings. Quite unlike the host who can and does spell out exactly how he has come to his viewpoints and conclusions.
I'm sure that a cogent challenge or question or a truly intelligent "seed" of an idea would get a reasoned response yet what is seen by some as "intelligent questioning" comes with its own entrenched stereotypes and agenda which is easily spotted. These people aren't here to learn or build, they're here to deconstruct and confuse.

So taking your own words of wisdom;
"Those who charge to the sniping the quickest (by their strifes ye shall know them...) are simply those who have swallowed the hook the furthest."

You've done an excellent sniping job here today.
Allow me to disgorge the hook and set you free.

1/21/2007 01:27:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Oh, and lil' voice? Before you leave, (heh heh) did it ever occur to you that it doesn't take the kind of anger that you perceive it does for some people to say some of the things that are said on this blog? That things can be said in a matter of fact, animus-free way which is then shaded in according to the readers own hypercritical, hypersensitive perspective?
Okay, didn't think so.

And yes, it does take a very sick mind to come up with the image of an anus hooked jackal. ;)

1/21/2007 02:09:00 AM  
Anonymous GeorgeD said...

Anonymous and Integralist or which ever personality you are:

Your narcissim is objectionable and unwelcome here.

1/21/2007 04:37:00 AM  
Anonymous little voice said...

Hoarhey,

Don't pretend to be simple. It doesn't become you. "Offer something to the discussion." You mean, like the latest version of "anon" did? Reread today's post. Try putting a little "feeling' into the reading. I know you have it in you (heh heh).

Apparently, according to the just discovered "Hoarhey's Handbook for Readers of Bob's Blog", a reader cannot be moved to comment on the blog without he first gits up on the communal soapbox and crows a few lines fer the approval of them thar coons whut gathered fer the occasion. "Anywhom what feels moved without first coughing up pre-digested bits o'BobChow will be recognized as a coondog in our midst, and summarily..." Sorry Hoarhey. I didn't get the prof's syllabus when I checked in here.

You really should learn some new tricks. The "antagonist as projectionist" script gets old, and has as much validity as one is able to give it. You might try it on sometime yourself. It might feel strange at first, but remember: that's the point.

Let's see. Ho hum:
"Totally offended by the non-PC host..." You are so thrilled that you have the courage to align yourself with a "non-PC" entity that you trumpet it. Good, HH, that you have struck out beyond your borders. There is growth in that action. But by Bob's own definitions, coons don't even understand the concept of PC, thinking as they do without the confines of man-made constructs. What's with your hang up on "non-PC"? Sounds like your own version of PC to me. Just repackaged for a more narrow audience.

"And if you have and are posting under another name then you are no "point man", you are a coward." Ah. More from Hoarhey's Handbook? One has only to look as far back as today's post to see what juicy prejudices await those who have crossed the line in the past. (Not that anyone here thinks along Prejudicial lines...that is for the rank and foul CoonDogs, right?) By extrapolation then, posting under the same name would make me not a coward? You yourself stated sometime back in a response that none of Bob's ideas were foreign to you. So you spend your time chewing your cud on the old homestead...And you would hold that behavior up as courageous? Hope you don't mind if I pass on being insulted by you calling me a coward. You bet I've posted under other names. So have you. "All have signed and fallen short of the glory of Bob. And Petey. And Dupree. And, Hoarhey."

Hey look. It's Sunday AM and I have other plans besides picking apart your crochet work. The sweater you made for me may not fit, but I can still use it as a pot-holder. I know your heart's in the right place (heh heh). And regarding the power of the written word, gee. I guess that tool cuts both ways. Let me quote some source coon, on the need for vividness in prose:

"For the nearly blind, one must draw large and startling pictures." Pucker up. You know who you are.

Bob is too ego-driven for his own good, and this dilutes the message. The coon herd gathered at his feet don't, by name, even seem to recognize this point, which is downright scary to a real coon. Maybe I too would be blinded by my own light if I were Bob. But I'm not Bob. And truth is truth, no matter where you find it. Bob is too ego-driven for his own good and the good of this message, and he has gathered a band of near-sighted coons to support this aspect of self. Coming from one who buys a ticket here to be enlightened through thought and consideration rather than dragged down by WWF type moves on all non-Bobbist thought that crosses the threshold, I feel free to Boo and Hiss in as loud a voice as I can when coach starts up with the "plier and blowtorch" routine. (And there's a benign image for you, you old sensitive being, you.)

I submit this to you coons: supporting this brash display of ego, when it occasionally appears, by individualized brash diisplays of ego does not further the cause of vertical escalation. Bust Bob for the good of all when he does it. And if you have to don an alias to do it, remember: Little Voice Forgives You.

Finally, Coach:

Work on your humility, will ya? You need a balanced attack coming into the big game. Hubris alone will only keep the other side from scoring on your home field. Humility will win the game. Keep up the good work. I know you are trying and I respect your light and talent. You demonstrate courage daily. Isolated soundbites notwithstanding, I am behind you. Coons rule!

1/21/2007 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

little voice said...

I don't have to agree with every comment here, or even like many of them. For that matter I don't have to agree with everything Bob writes, however I almost always do because I honestly believe he is overwhelmingly coming from a place of Truth, and so I can't NOT believe what he writes. This is NOT the same as blind idol-worship or anything like it. I have a very strong allergy to such situations, and this has served me well.

As long as Bob keeps serving up Truth in ways which illuminate that which I didn't know that I knew, I will keep coming back, despite the occaisional pile-on by ruffians like Dupree.

1/21/2007 07:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Integralist's Mom said...

Why yes, we did teach him to pull the wings off of houseflies, and to drive over little lizards with his bike when he was a child! How'd you know?

Integralist being a fussy, dull and humorless child, we knew he'd never amount to much. So in order to make him feel better about himself, we gave him little projects to help his self-esteem. The joy of his self-discovery at his imagined superiority over small helpless things grew and flowered, unchallenged by today's wimpy children. No one just ever beat the living shit out of him, so he continued unfettered in his own vapid imagination, to feel superior.

Oh, no expense was too great! We sent him to the best schools, with the most innovative and new teaching techniques, where every day was something new and stimulating for the lifeless child. He really was special, everyone said so. So we made sure he was never burdened with silly rote disciplines like logic or critical thinking. Thus, we spared him so much pain throughout his childhood, that he was quite taken with himself by the time he arrived at Princeton. (What? Oh, pish, posh, dahling! After we paid for the new wing of the philosophy program, The Gray Building, he was granted a full scholarship!)

It warms a mother's heart to see he's finally made friends here. It was hard to see him standing up for himself, all by himself, at first. The frightful bullying he receives here had me concerned, much like when he was learning to walk. Oh, back then I simply covered the house in fluffy, soft material so that he'd never be hurt by his attempts at learning something new. (It was so cute to see him rail at all the pillows and downy-soft fluff when he'd fall! He'd turn red with infantile rage at the unmoving, uncaring furniture, thinking it was the cause of all his problems! Haha! Good memories!)

Well, I see that he's found some like-minded pals to support and cheer him in this horrible place. I wish he'd go out drinking and smoking with real friends, but for some reason he feels a need to be in this dark stable of horrid beasts.

While it is good to see him interacting with others, it is a bit unnerving that it so reminds me of when he would set up elaborate scenarios with his stuffed toys and would lecture and argue endlessly with them about some silly thing. But he would be so... serious. You can imagine that when he was a teenager, and continued this sort of play-talk, I had to laugh, nervously, when he'd quietly and calmly assert himself over and over while talking to the mirror.

Well, Princeton didn't let me down, for I see they kept him challenge-free right through his Liberal Arts degree and he is now safely ensconced in his own little world, where he's always wanted to be. It's really the safest thing for him, and I'm heartened to see that not even this bunch of close-minded bullies can shake him from his sense of importance and seriousness.

It's hard enough to raise a child in this messy world, but as you can see, I am SO proud of my boy! He's so totally self-contained now that he really believes in his own superiority and not even you forceful, mean-spirited, deluded bullies can shake him from it! Ha!

I know he'll always be safe. It's a mother's dream come true.

1/21/2007 07:50:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Little Voice,

"antagonist as projectionist"
You're getting warmer.
Now just turn the mirror around, that's it.
Much bile and rancor coming from one of such enlightenment. It tends to slow the process.

"You really should learn some new tricks."
The sad part is that the old tricks apply to the bitter trolls who continue to show up here. You've played your hand and shown yourself for who you really are.

Perhaps Bob could let you have the blog for awhile so we can really get some of that BIG T kind of truth. Would you be capable of posting anything beyond your acrimonious spew followed by compliments on Bob's "light and talent"?
You wouldn't happen to be a movie critic in your day job would you?
You know, the guy with no talent and lots of opinion?

"Little Voice Forgives You."
Like anyone cares about what little voice thinks about anything.

1/21/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Little One said...
"As long as Bob keeps serving up Truth in ways which illuminate that which I didn't know that I knew, I will keep coming back..."

Insight Translation:
Serve me while I contunue to sit back and critisize adding nothing to the conversation but feeling as if I am your superior.

Now get to work on it little guy. See if you can get the lightrbulb to turn on.

1/21/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually Hoarhey, it was Smoove that said:

"As long as Bob keeps serving up Truth in ways which illuminate that which I didn't know that I knew, I will keep coming back..."

And you completely misread her comment.

Also, Little Voice, please don't praise my poem from last night. It's meaning is entirely lost on you. You have much to learn. So why don't you keep your mouth shut, quit whining and try to grow a little bit.

1/21/2007 09:13:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Sorry, my mistake, but the lesson still applies to the morally superior little guy. He can't stand Bob as a person but continues to show up here for his daily dose of truth.


Thanks for letting me borrow the quote Smoov, no offense meant towards you.

1/21/2007 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

hoarhey:

None taken. I hope someday to be able to contribute more, but for now I am mostly absorbing.

1/21/2007 09:32:00 AM  
Anonymous thetimguy said...

Wow, there sure be a dustup goin on. I really think that people gravitate here for many varied reasons, but one thing is for sure, it is a recognition that God is and that He alone is the fountain of all wisdom and truth and that it is possible to enter into these truths. That's why I personally realte so much to what Mr. Bobcoon writes. I don't think it's so much rancor and bile (as seen from a leftward, earthly, horizontal mind), but an honest assessment of how things really are.
What I see in Anonymous, Integeralist, et. al. is a world=view with them at the center, you can call it relativitism or whatever you like, but it has to have a name, no? What is it? They are the arbiters and final judges of truth, there is no outward, objective reality and/or truth, only the culture, situation, gene pool or whatever that dictates "truth". God has written His laws in our conscience and if we don't follow that back to the source, in my case a "Christian", biblical outlook, then we are on the throne and all right and wrong, all good and evil, are decided by us. I think it's ok to say you don't agree, here's why, etc., but the minute you start throwin' around stuff like, ego=driven, cult, narrow, dogmatic, etc. you give the game away. My world view encompasses eternity, it expalins reality. State your case, but don't throw in the invectives, it just hacks off the coons.

1/21/2007 11:07:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

The timguy said,
"....but it has to have a name, no? What is it?"
It's called nihilism.

Smoov,
You actually contribute plenty around here.

1/21/2007 05:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little voice never answered? Guess he became Lost voice.

1/21/2007 11:57:00 PM  
Anonymous other voices said...

...or maybe his answer was lost on you.

1/22/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Philomathean said...

Fred Ikle recently published a book about technology called "Annihilation From within," which I recently reviewed. He believes that in a few years we will have technology allowing people to mentally interface directly with computers and effectively increase their IQs. More significantly, the technology would allow groups of experts to network their minds and create a group intelligence. This is science fiction for now, but the Chinese, among others, are pursuing it seriously. If they make even minimal progress, Ikle believes that this will become a major strategic issue.

Vernor Vinge featured this technology in his great novel "Marooned in Realtime."

1/22/2007 10:38:00 AM  

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