Friday, April 06, 2007

An Eye For a Wedgie

Yesterday's post provoked a couple of interesting sidebars, the question of whether trauma is a prerequisite for a spiritual opening, and what it means to "forgive our enemies."

Although I am cautious about historicizing revelation, nevertheless, there are times that it is necessary to do so in order to avoid missing the meaning of a teaching. To cite one obvious example, you will often hear concrete and spiritually illiterate liberals citing the adage of "an eye for an eye" to brand an act as mindless and pitiless vengeance, when the opposite meaning was intended by that phrase. First of all, it has nothing to do with gouging out eyes or cutting off hands, but is a figure of speech intended to convey the then extremely novel idea that punishment must be proportionate if it is to be just -- that it must fit the crime. If someone steps on your toe, you do not respond by giving them a third degree nuggy or serious wedgie. In fact, there is nothing in the Torah about "wedgies," partly because underwear hadn't even been invented yet.

Uber-moonbat Mahatma Gandhi is responsible for one of the left's favorite wacksioms, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth and the whole world would soon be blind and toothless." But one of the reasons contemporary liberalism is spiritually blind and intellectually toothless is that it is painfully rooted in a false canal of justice, in that they specialize in rewarding bad or evil and punishing good. After all, the primary purpose of a judicial system is not to make us feel good -- as some commenters implied yesterday -- but to make civilization and community possible.

In my opinion, if all good people were to take Jesus' advice out of context and adopt the radical view that we are to turn the other cheek and not resist the evil doer, it would spell the end of civilization, not to mention very sore cheeks from the repeated wedgies. There is the individual and the community, the micro and the macro, but the very possibility of the individual is rooted in community. Therefore, any moral code that intrinsically results in the destruction of the community is for me a moral non-starter. It is narcissistic in the extreme, and there is nothing spiritual about it. There is nothing admirable about Tibet's pacifism in the face of the genocidal Chinese communists. Talk about turning a narcissity into a virtue.

Someone yesterday suggested that Sri Aurobindo was essentially a pacifist like Gandhi, the Dalai Lama (who is apparently not as one-dimensional as his followers -- see link at bottom), or Christian leftists, but nothing could be further from the truth. Nor, as the reader stated, did he believe that evil was simply here for the purposes of our spiritual instruction. For example with regard to World War II, he wrote that a victorious Germany would spell an end to

"freedom and hope of light and truth, and the [spiritual] work that has to be done will be subjected to conditions which would make it humanly impossible; there will be a reign of falsehood and darkness, a cruel oppression and degradation for most of the human race such as people in this country do not dream of and cannot yet realize."

Could these words not apply equally to the falsehood, darkness, oppression, and degradation of Islamist evil? Are we really supposed to turn the other cheek and return their evil with kindness?

Yes, absolutely, for what could be a greater kindness than risking American lives to liberate Iraqis from tyranny and for the first time give their nation of slaves the opportunity to develop their human potential? In the past I have made a joking reference to the idea that, "you take out two of our buildings, and we take out two of your countries." Now, if we had actually wanted to, we could have utterly reduced Afghanistan and Iraq to rubble. This would not have been an eye for an eye, but would have been a disproportionate response.

And in fact, our response to the terrorists represents the quintessence of Jesus' advice about transcending the merely symmetrical justice of an eye for an eye. In its context, I believe Jesus was suggesting that we should go even further than what the law calls for if we wish to be perfect, not to abandon the idea of justice altogether. And in my opinion, Americans are so steeped in Christian ethics that we can hardly imagine doing otherwise. I say this with both caution and humility, but to a certain undeniable extent we are no longer the people to whom Jesus was expressing these novel ideas 2000 years ago, because of the very efficacy of his teachings. In the ancient world, there was not even the conception of a benign leviathan such as the United States that conquers countries in order to liberate them. There was only Rome and other imperial powers, which operated along completely different lines, to say the least.

Perhaps a trivial analogy would be helpful. Imagine if Jesus had discovered the germ theory. As a result, he says, "You have heard from the Jews that ritual cleanliness is important. I say, forget all that. You're not as clean as you think. Just wash your hands several times a day, and you shall conquer communicable disease." Now in its context, this would have represented truly revolutionary and helpful advice. But today, we know all about germ theory. It is "in our bones," so to speak. We are all the beneficiaries of 150 years of awareness of the reality of germs, so the advice wouldn't mean the same thing to us. On the other hand, it is possible that sub-Saharan Africans could benefit from this sound hygienic advice -- just as the primitive Muslim world could clearly benefit from Jesus' advice about turning the other cheek and forgiving enemies. For radical Muslims are taught to return kindness with evil, and destroy only to destroy, not to build.

If you take certain statements of Jesus out of context, you will end up with a deranged and evil morality that is no better than the King of all Spiritual Hucksters, Deepak Chopra. Of our "primitive" Western morality, he has written, for example, that "America leads the world in executing criminals and is among the few Western countries that still retain the death penalty." Obviously the operative word is criminals, although to be accurate he should have said murderers. In the countries we are fighting, the criminals are in charge and murder the innocent, so he has hardly drawn a legitimate comparison.

Chopra has also written that "the U.S. has a higher proportion of its citizens behind bars than Stalin put into the Gulag," a completely idiotic statement in view of the fact that the Soviet Union was a prison -- as are Iran or Saudi Arabia. Chopra says that our prisons "are incredibly inhumane by any standard except a concentration camp." Yes, I'm sure he'd prefer to live in an Iranian or Chinese prison.

How on earth does someone become as morally deranged as Deepak Chopra? What is the source of such an enfeebled ability to reason in the realm of morality? It's not just that he's wrong -- rather, it is that he reverses good and evil, right and wrong, decent and indecent. So it's more than just moral ignorance. It's some kind of active process that bypasses his conscience and makes it dysfunctional. It is a moral dementia.

At least in part, this moral dementia seems to come from a radical leftist application of never resisting evil and always turning the other cheek. Perhaps surprisingly, it doesn't come from orthodox Hinduism or Vedanta. The Bhagavad Gita, probably the most beloved text in Hinduism, takes the form of a dialogue between a frightened and equivocating warrior, Arjuna, and the incarnate god, Krishna. Arjuna is afraid to do what needs to be done -- which is kill the bad guys -- but Krishna responds,

"You ought not to hesitate; for to a warrior, there is nothing nobler than a righteous war. But if you refuse to fight in this righteous war, you will be turning aside from your duty. You will be a sinner, and disgraced.... Your enemies will also slander your courage.... Shake off this fever of ignorance.... Be free from the sense of ego. Dedicate your actions to me. Then go forward and fight."

Likewise, contrary to what reader Ned suggested yesterday, Aurobindo wrote in his Essays on the Gita that it "does not preach indifference to good and evil for the ordinary life of man, where such a doctrine would have the most pernicious consequences." He dismisses the notion that human beings are at a stage in their evolution that they can use "soul-force" (Ahimsa) alone to stop evil, as knaves such as Chopra and Gandhi would have it. In the face of such "soul force," the evil "in men and nations tramples down, breaks, slaughters, burns, pollutes." Resort to passive resistance and "you have perhaps caused as much destruction of life by your abstinence as others by resort to violence."

"A day may come -- must surely come -- when humanity will be ready spiritually, morally, socially for the reign of universal peace; meanwhile the aspect of battle and the nature and function of man as a fighter have to be accepted and accounted for by any practical philosophy of religion."

And here is the key: for it is not compassion which causes Arjuna to reject his mission to fight evil. Rather, as Aurobindo writes, "That is not compassion but an impotence full of weak self-pity, a recoil from the mental suffering which his act must entail on himself.... [It is] also a form of self-indulgence... This pity is a weakness of the mind and senses -- a weakness which may well be beneficial to men of a lower grade of development, who have to be weak because otherwise they will be hard and cruel; for they have to cure the harsher by the gentler forms of egoism" [emphasis mine].

I believe this last statement is a key to Jesus' meaning with regard to evil, both fighting it and forgiving it. Again, as I always emphasize, I am not a Christian theologian -- as if you didn't know, so there is no need to remind me of that, and I hope it goes without saying that all card-carrying Coons are free to disagree with me (I say this because there appears to be an occasional trepidation on that score -- as if Dupree is authorized to discipline Coons in good standing, and not just trolls). Nevertheless, I am moved to respectfully reject certain popular and even authorized interpretations of Jesus for the same reason that I am moved to reject the Vatican's economically illiterate pronouncements on the evils of capitalism.

We must be able to say the following without flinching, both because it is obvious and because it is compassionate: the vast majority of the world still consists of half-civilized men of "the lower grade of development" who must take Jesus' words literally and become weak in order to avoid being hard and cruel. Folks, this is why we cannot allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. It is not a moral problem for America to have nuclear weapons, because we have 2000 years under our pelts of curbing the will to power and showing compassion for the weak. Likewise, if Israel were anything resembling the psychotic delusions of Muslims, there would be no Muslims. Israel would have behaved like uncivilized Muslims and annihilated the so-called Palestinians long ago -- just as the Palestinians would do to Israel in a heartbeat if given the opportunity or if they had beating hearts.

Now, having said that, I must reiterate that I say it with great caution and with great humility, for it is nevertheless necessary for each individual human to internalize Christ's teachings about evil and forgiveness, and to always put them into practice in day-to-day life. It is part of what most of us in the West naturally do in the socialization of our children, in order to make them civilized. You will notice that they do the opposite in the Islamic world, where they specifically inculcate a spirit of hatred and vengeance in their children, something which Charles at LGF has documented ad nauseam. The Islamic world is in desperate need of taking quite literally the words, "I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." Only in so doing will they be able to move beyond their present historical, developmental, moral, and psycho-spiritual rut.

I have heard it said by at least one teacher whom I respect, that Jesus' statement should be taken to mean "resent not evil," which again, most of us in the West already adhere to. How many in the West walk around still resenting Germany, or Japan, or Vietnam? But Muslims are still steamed about things that happened a thousand years ago. Likewse, backward-looking progressives will never get over the 2000 election, or Watergate, or the Gulf of Tonkin, or slavery, or you name it. They are the party of institutionalized resentment. Ronald Reagan hated communism, and appropriately so. But was he a resentful man? Hardly.

Furthermore, you will note that there is a symbiotic relationship between Islamists, who are "beneath" Jesus' counsel about turning the other cheek, and leftists, who are "parallel" to it, i.e., who take it literally in order to justify their weakness, cowardice, and moral vanity. Which is why, given enough time, the former will simply give wedgies to the latter before slaughtering them.

Did Christ teach love or is that just a liberal bias? In the current climate, it's hard to remember.... The reversal of Christianity from a religion of love to a religion of hate is the greatest religious tragedy of our time.... [We] can't join any sect that preaches intolerance, yet we can't fight it, either, because by definition fighting is a form of intolerance. --Deepak Chopra

That I address you as a friend is no formality. I own no foes. My business in life has been for the past 33 years to enlist the friendship of the whole of humanity by befriending mankind, irrespective of race, colour or creed. --Letter from Gandhi to Adolf Hitler

It is suggested that Sri Aurobindo was a forerunner of [Gandhi's] gospel of Ahimsa. This is quite incorrect. Sri Aurobindo is neither an impotent moralist nor a weak pacifist.... Peace is a part of the highest ideal, but it must be spiritual or at the very least psychological in its basis; without a change in human nature it cannot come with any finality. If it is attempted on any other basis (moral principle or gospel of Ahimsa or any other), it will fail and even may leave things worse than before. --Sri Aurobindo, On Himself

It is absurd to want to abolish the death penalty on the grounds that one would not like to be in the condemned man’s place; to be in the place of the condemned man is at the same time to be the murderer; if the condemned man can earn our sympathy it is precisely by being able to recognize his crime and by desiring to pay for it with his life, thereby removing all antagonism between him and us. --Frithjof Schuon


A more nuanced view of the Dalai Lama (TW: Walt).


Blogger River Cocytus said...

Bob, I think that one people's problems with Jesus' teaching in this regard is, it (in general) refers to personal relationships and not to the actions of nations (or at least, not yet-- as Sri notes.)

Leftists tend to literally - and they did this in Emerson's day (the mid 1800's) - he said, "They go on about abolition and saving the slaves but do not love their neighbor" (paraphrased.) - literally reverse this. They actively despise their neighbor inwardly while outwardly preaching tolerance and forgiveness for things that are none of their responsibility or business.

Consider: Your brother strikes you in anger. BROTHER, as in, friend, or blood brother. Do you strike him back? Or do you say, 'hold on, what is the meaning of this?' If he goes to lay another hand on you, then you can stop him. But you have shown that violence was not your intent. You have should you trust him. Then, he condemns himself.

Consider: Someone you know does something antagonistic. Do you immediately set yourself against them, or do you cautiously see what they really mean? If he comes at you with ill words and viciousness, is it not wiser to put up no resistance to force him to reveal his true intention? If then, he shows that his malice is real, then you may stand against him however necessary. And indeed, he has condemned himself.

It is clear that they refer to personal relationships.

4/06/2007 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger dweller on the threshold said...

Dr. Bob, I just wanted to say thank you for your writing. I've been lurking for some months but haven't posted 'cause I'm still working out if I'm a coon. I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm a kit or even possibly an embryo, but the more I read the more I get. I'm reading your book now and am really enjoying it. Your writings' have taught me to understand things about God I didn't really get before that are having a profound effect on my life. So thank you for all your time and effort. I also want to say thank you to the rest of the community. I have really enjoyed the comments and discussion that go on here, as well as a lot of great music recommendations. I'm planning on continuing to hang around but thought it was time to say hi.
One more thing, thank you for your stand against evil. I have PTSD from abuse during my childhood, which I am grateful to say, God has been healing with the help of some good people, but you were right, one thing it taught me is that evil is REAL, and must be opposed in any way possible. I don't understand how someone can look at the actions of the Islamists slaughter of the innocents and see anything but the need to stop them.

4/06/2007 08:09:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

I was shocked and saddened to learn that the Pope is about to publish a book which directly blames the wealthy West for the poverty of the 3rd world. It is incredibly extreme, and could have come straight from the pages of Z Magazine.

I was under the impression that this Pope was a literate and conservative man. Instead he will do immense damage by propagating these extreme leftist views globally.

Very depressing.

4/06/2007 08:17:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

"How on earth does someone become as morally deranged as Deepak Chopra? What is the source of such an enfeebled ability to reason in the realm of morality?"

B'ob -

while i'm not familiar with Chopra's 'work',your comment here set off an idea in my mind:

the same people who dismiss and denigrate traditional spirituality,
seem to frequently replace it with
a materialist metaphysic(scientism)
AND then add to that an unhinged-
chasing-after-"causes"(cf: 'Gaia' and global-warmening,etc.),which for them constitutes "moral reasoning".

put another way, they have abandoned several centuries of
moral reasoning,in order to "begin again"...but,by necessity,are at the finger-painting stage and not the Rembrandt.

4/06/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, my dear Smoov, that is exactly what I was referring to.

4/06/2007 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...


Yes I thought so. John Paul II was nothing like this, haven seen leftism first-hand.

Pope Benedict XVI mystifies me.

I have been hoping and praying for a spiritual revival in the early part of this century. I even thought that our own little candle in the darkness might help move things along as the "concentric circles" around coons grew larger and larger.

Now this! I guess one thing is positive: the Left will never fully embrace a man like the Pope since even if he is a communist, he is still against slaughtering the unborn, and no Western leftist could tolerate such limits on their curdled, bitter wills.

4/06/2007 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

haven = having

4/06/2007 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous georged said...

I accept this post today as a grudging concession of my point. We must be relentless as a society in the pursuit of justice and defense of liberty. We must as individuals support these aims.. But we must never let the offenses of others burden us with bitterness and resentment. We have to purge the evil that the offenders have inflicted on us. If you don't want to call that forgiveness don't...

4/06/2007 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

To clarify, it would be a nightmare if the Left suddenly declared themselves open and friendly toward Christianity on the basis of the Pope's Marxist diatribe. The same way the Left misuses Jesus' teachings on Love and Forgiveness, they could well use this as an opportunity to distort is teachings on poverty, charity, etc.

4/06/2007 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

Smoov said...

To clarify, it would be a nightmare if the Left suddenly declared themselves open and friendly toward Christianity on the basis of the Pope's Marxist diatribe. The same way the Left misuses Jesus' teachings on Love and Forgiveness, they could well use this as an opportunity to distort his teachings on poverty, charity, etc.

Smoov -

check out "Liberation Theology" in Latin America...dunno if it is still a significant movement
but it was in the 1980's...
venezuela's chavez uses rhetoric that's similar on occasion.

4/06/2007 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous anonymous said...

George, why are you so resentful?

4/06/2007 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger J. Peden said...

"I was shocked and saddened to learn that the Pope is about to publish a book which directly blames the wealthy West for the poverty of the 3rd world."

The way I'm seeing this is that "publish a book" is the key, thus to profit. Going looney seems to be the current rage so as to gain economically - not to mention get ratings, group standing, sex, brownie points with the Postmodern Ideal, etc..

Isn't the Vatican's wealth really what the Pope is [allegedly] trying to get us to double-unthink about, when this idea of the rich causing poverty is instead exactly what the Pope would be guilty of, if his thesis is correct?

Why do Faux Liberals manage so perfectly to get everything 180 degrees wrong? It's amazing.

[Btw, another outstanding treatment, Bob.]

4/06/2007 08:47:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

I haven't read the Pope's book, and if this report is correct, that's rather disheartening.

However, on a principle dear to me, what if it is true? that the
rich West is responsible for the poverty of the poor. Well, it might be
because we are so squeamish we don't make our NGO's accountable for
results, and don't stand up to UN abuses, etc. If it is used to spin more of the same survivor guilt and fund-raising, bad idea. If it suggests the world's brokenness is interconnected, it's hard to deny.

As to Bob and the stages of offering the other cheek, I'm reminded
of two principles. Byron Katie's Don't push your evolution, that is,
pretend or believe one is spiritually more advanced than is the case; and fierce Eastern Orthodox warnings against prelest, comfortable sentimental delusion about one's spiritual strength and accuracy of understanding.

4/06/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

In a sense you are probably correct, inasmuch as our habit of simply throwing money at the problems of third world countries does tend to guarantee that they stay impoverished and starving. This goes back, yet again, to that whole good intentions issue. The more examples of this I see the more it seems to me that we do the most harm when we refuse to take a close, careful look at the consequences of our actions. We (in the west, in general) like the easy way of doing things. Thus, in the name of good we often fund evil, and guarantee that the needy will stay needy.

4/06/2007 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Its funny that you mention that Catholic Church's position on capitalism, in that, from what little I know of Church history churches in Europe used to be hubs of commerce. So much so that positions were often sought in pursuit of wealth as opposed to Truth. Now, as you pointed out, they are anti-capitalism.

It is reminiscent of how Europe, post world war II, is now populated by a bunch of weak pacifists with guilt complexes for their former "war mongering" ways.

Its like the pendulum swings one way, then violently the other. I think at one point you stipulated that this was due to a collective guilt complex (regarding Europe's transition).

Do you think it is the same with regards to the catholic church... where they are now anti-capitalism to somehow make up for their history when capitalism was for some church leaders the main reason why they sought positions within the church?

4/06/2007 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...


Oh, the West most certainly is to blame for much of what is wrong in the Third World. Marxism is a thoroughly Western invention, and Leftism in general has resulted in the almost complete scourging of Africa. All of this is exactly the opposite of what the Pope has apparently written (I haven't read the book either). The Pope apparently explictly blames "capitalism" using simplistic left-wing zero-sum economic "theory" (which makes great sense to my five year old nephew when it comes time to share cookies).

Africa has most definitely been damaged by the West--the leftist West. Africa has received BY FAR the most NGO/UN controlled "aid" over the past 50 years. As a result they show FAR LESS economic growth and prosperity than, say, the "Asian Tigers" which went from African levels of wealth in 1960 to Canada levels today.

If the Pope had written that then there would be no problem.

4/06/2007 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

Smoov, that is disappointing news, indeed. I'm no longer Catholic, but still it would have been nice to have a Pope who saw Truth and expected his Church to follow it. I had hoped for while that his seeming tendency toward a more traditional Church was a sign of better things to come.

4/06/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


Probably just a case of Petey's law of ontological gravity, that "what is not explicitly conservative eventually becomes liberal by default."

4/06/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I would recommend waiting to see what the Pope really says.

American conservatism and capitalism is often more complicated than meets the eye. For example, a number of people who claim to be conservative wish to see the elimination of government subsidized capitalism. One can quite easily trace, for example, the government sponsored railroads out west in the late 1800's to the eradication of the Plains Indians. The slaughter of the buffalo was a goverment/corporate plan--supported by the army, not a side conseqence. By contrast, the great(in my opinion) railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill built the Great Northern Railroad without a dime's worth of subsidies and no land grants. Unburdened by government regulation, Hill chose the best routes, built the sturdiest tracks, and paid the Indians and other landowners free-market prices for rights-of-way across their property.
Others, who claim to be conservative, prefer the government subsidized variety. To my way of thinking, it is little more than leftism run by force. It works pretty well when the country is at war, but it is not, in my opinion, capitalism.
I wonder, therefore, if the Pope might be referring to this kind of "capitalism".

4/06/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

My cousin James runs a Chrstian charity organization and has been a fully-commited, Bible-based Christian for over 40 years. I am in awe of his courage. He recently traveled to Sudan and with a handful of African pastors ventured--unarmed and unescorted--into the Darfur region to assist a group of children who had been orphaned by the demonic genocidal violence.

Despite his deep faith in Christ, his unwavering commitment to helping the poorest of the poor directly, and having studied the Bible in minute detail for decades, James does not have a leftist bone in his body. He is adamantly conservative on all issues, including economic ones. He is pro-capitalism, anti-public health care, abhors socialism (having travelled and worked widely in all the worst socialist hell-holes) and generally comes across as a sort of John Bolton handing out Bibles and sacks of grain in Cambodia or Ethiopia.

There is a huge difference between what James does and what the UN does. For one thing there are no convoys of white Escalades, luxury hotel suites in Lagos, or air-conditioned helicopter rides to "survey the people". He gets right down in amongst the poor and the hopeless and spreads a little genuine Christian Love and Charity.

When I last talked to me he told me that all the men he works with in these countries--the indigenous pastors and other workers--are pretty much the same as he is politically.

I don't believe that it is possible to truly reflect God's Love and be a bona fide leftist. I just don't. This is one of the reasons I find the Pope's book so disturbing.

4/06/2007 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Having the ability to make typos right and left has also given me the ability to spot them:

"which operated along completely different lines, to day the least."

[back to the reading]

4/06/2007 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

I do appreciate your trying to make me feel better about my typing,
"discovered the germ theory. A a result, he says,"

4/06/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of which, if any Coons have noticed any egregious typos in the Book, please do let me know, because my publisher just informed me that they are going to do a second print -- another ten copies, if I am not mistaken.

I've noticed at least a couple bad ones, but I'm going to go back and reread the whole durn thing. I also "hope" to delete instances of "excessive" use of "quotation marks," if you "catch my drift."

4/06/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...


I am on the road and don't have my copy handy, but there is the part toward the beginning where you talk about the number 1 x 10^123, and it says something to the effect that this number contains "more digits than there are particles in the universe" or something similar. The number contains 124 digits, however it represents a quantity which is unimaginably large.

I know this is being pedantic, but hey, you asked.

Sure glad to hear about the second printing. I hope it gets into bookstores (is it in B&N now?) soon.

4/06/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thank you, Smoov. For that matter, if anyone has noticed any obvious factual errors with dates and like, now is the time to speak up.

4/06/2007 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

georged said "... We must be relentless as a society in the pursuit of justice and defense of liberty. We must as individuals support these aims.. But we must never let the offenses of others burden us with bitterness and resentment. We have to purge the evil that the offenders have inflicted on us."

I accept this comment as a grudging concession of my point.

I know, I know, I know...

4/06/2007 10:26:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

" This pity is a weakness of the mind and senses -- a weakness which may well be beneficial to men of a lower grade of development, who have to be weak because otherwise they will be hard and cruel; for they have to cure the harsher by the gentler forms of egoism" Sri Aurobindo

This is a perfect illustration of the evolution of leftism in a society. It begins with a sham, ego-directed compassion and when it has won enough converts to gain power, proceeds with what was hidden under the surface all along.
It is summed up perfectly with your statement from a previous post:
“Come for the egalitarianism, stay for the bestiality and tyranny.”

And to think that trolls come here and accuse you of having given no thought to your positions. Amazing.

4/06/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous walt said...

As I recall, I spotted three typos in the book. Drat! I just finished the second reading, and didn't take notes! Now, to help you out, I'll have to do a third. (The second was remarkably different from the first reading, BTW. This stuff grows on ya.)

Also - here's a vote FOR "quotation marks," as they help the mind slow-down and not glaze over (as much); they help in the same way that changes of tone or body language helps in one-on-one communication. Just my "opinion."

4/06/2007 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

I wish you had informed us of the new printing earlier. I just re-read the book and did notice a few typos but figured it was water under the bridge. Now I don't remember where they were.

4/06/2007 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, I just found out yesterday!

As I said, I'll be rereading it, so I should be able to catch most of 'em....

4/06/2007 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Pardon my knee-jerk-haven't-read-your-full-comment-yet response, but "government subsidized" and "capitalism" are contradictory terms - any who claim to be capitalists and support gov't subsidies for anything, are less capitalists than wolves are sheep when wearing sheeps clothing.

wv:wtayduse - what'a you say?

4/06/2007 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph said "great(in my opinion) railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill built the Great Northern Railroad without a dime's worth of subsidies and no land grants."


4/06/2007 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph said "...To my way of thinking, it is little more than leftism run by force. It works pretty well when the country is at war, but it is not, in my opinion, capitalism..."

Well said. Joseph, I know this will deeply move you, but you've gone up a notch (you were already pretty high-notched) in my estimation.

4/06/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Real capitalism is what I would dub 'true market interdependence'.

It is only in this state that both the employer and employee realise that they depend on one another- employer on the employee to do the work and employee on employer to pay him. They're both interchangeable, but if the relationship is real it is not as simple as just 'replacing parts.'

I know this from experience.

Anyone who tells you Capitalism is Godless is thinking of the government driven/sponsored version or a strawman they invented.

The seller/customer relationship is pretty much universal, and indicates a level of flexible interdependence that embodies (in its ideal) what the market/economy truly is.

Those who misunderstand this do so either on purpose, or because they focus too much on details; which is to say counterexamples, but do not seek to understand what causes the problem but instead seek to use it to undermine free economy.

You see, true capitalism REQUIRES us to be one another's keepers voluntarily, and that scares the shit out of a lot of people.

Thank God for the Law, whom is a minister for our Good.

4/06/2007 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

* which is to say, what we're just talking about. We can have a real capitalist system if and only if our law works right.

This is, in agreement with Joseph, clearly not a law that is leftism in disguise, but one that takes seriously its limited roles of preserving domestic calm and securing the national defense.

My brain is full of class definitions at the moment, so things have to filter a bit.

4/06/2007 11:23:00 AM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Putting on my shiny Grammar Police badge - now there's something I can get into. Plus, it provides additional incentive for another read of the Coonifesto. We might have to chill on other book recommendations for a couple weeks, though. I am woefully behind, still only halfway through Mr. Kass' excellent tome on Genesis. There are another dozen books or so I want to get to.

So little time, so many bookmarks.

Like Walt, I like quotation marks, as they cause me to stop, pick up the word or phrase, and look it over from other angles. So keep sprinkling on the BBQ sauce, it's tasty.

Hmmm, maybe I like italics better.

I find that the older I get, the slower I read, not because of failing mind or eyesight (although there are those), but because I enjoy the meat on a well-crafted sentence. So I'm all for short books. :-) Are the OC Comics coming out any time soon?

4/06/2007 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

hmm... that or my size-em-up-ability has gone down a notch...

4/06/2007 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

For one thing the term "capitalism" was coined by Karl Marx. We really should avoid it as much as possible, in favor of something like "free-market economy".

4/06/2007 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Congrats on the second printing! :)

4/06/2007 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

quite, smoov. I always remember that too late...

I try to think of it like 'The Great Communicator' - the moniker meant to be an insult that becomes a boon.

Sort of.

4/06/2007 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

Ooo - comics! How would you go about visually depicting the Coonifesto in an illustrative format, I wonder?

4/06/2007 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...


I always thought of it more in terms of a symphony...

4/06/2007 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Had to share this -- it's just too rich. Someone left the following comment on my "Negrophobia of the Left" post last week:

"I read that entire thing in search of a coherent idea that I could critique, and couldn't come up with a single one. Still, I love it when empowered people decide they're experts on the culture of those whom they oppress.

"What I'm trying to get at is: You're a racist, and not a particularly bright one. Sorry to be blunt."

I checked out his blog, and the silly ass describes himself as follows. It is too good:

"I’m a queer Marxist undergraduate at the University of Chicago. I plan on concentrating in philosophy and political science, and eventually going to graduate school to study critical theory and queer theory. I set up this page because I like to write, and I like attention, so I like it when people pay attention to my writing. And I like to think that I occasionally have something interesting to say.

"I’m fascinated by critical theory. As I understand it, this term refers to a branch of philosophy that attempts to understand and change society as a whole. For me, philosophy only has significance so long as it can describe significant problems and offer effective solutions. (Although I have to admit that I really enjoy mental masturbation, so there are times when I enjoy a good argument about uncritical philosophy.)

"I guess this is where I should articulate all of my subject positions, just so there’s no confusion. I am a white man who was born to an upper-middle-class family. However, I am also queer. What I sincerely hope and like to believe is that my status as a gay man has helped me to view society critically, and to be more able to empathize with others’ individual and group struggles. When I write, I try to be conscious of the disproportionate and unjustified amount of power that my position in society gives me. But I sometimes slip up, as does everyone, and I’m more than happy to have that pointed out."


Can you imagine the mind of such a lost soul?

4/06/2007 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or that his parents are paying a huge amount for this soulkilling brainwashing?

4/06/2007 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Did he also mention that he's queer?

This guy sounds like the spoof Phil Hendrie did about the guy who said every other sentence " I'm a gay man and a gay journalist".

4/06/2007 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

Dear God... look at his reading list. What a complete waste of time.

4/06/2007 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

cosanostradamus said "... I am woefully behind, still only halfway through Mr. Kass' excellent tome on Genesis."

I read the intro to that last night & leafed through it a bit after I discovered my holdest had kidnapped my active book - looks like a winner.

4/06/2007 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hard to believe it's not parody -- it's so phony and affected. Not only are his thoughts untrue, but there's not even the hope or the possibilty of truth. True leftist mind parasite hell. Fascinating, though, in the manner of the poisonous snake..

4/06/2007 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I'll take that as a compliment Van.

4/06/2007 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

There is such a thing as queer theory?!?! Dear God. Let me guess - it's a Masters program in the Divinity School.

4/06/2007 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Smoov said...
"For one thing the term "capitalism" was coined by Karl Marx."

The other related item that tends to surprise people, is that Adam Smith was primarily a 'Moral Philosopher', rather than an economist - 'economist' hadn't yet quite gotten off the ground.

wv:nunchqq - what Bruce Lee excelled at

4/06/2007 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

juliec said...
"Ooo - comics! How would you go about visually depicting the Coonifesto in an illustrative format, I wonder? "

Not sure, but I'd suggest calling Frank Miller for suggestions.

4/06/2007 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

holdest = oldest.

4/06/2007 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph said... "I'll take that as a compliment Van."

That was definitly the intent

4/06/2007 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Van, this is right in your wheelhouse.

4/06/2007 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I feel thankful that he didn't "articulate all of my subject positions" any further... such descriptions of Individual and Group Struggles might leave the camel with a brokeback, so to speak.

wv:zjjseqsx - ok, cut that out.

4/06/2007 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hmm, writing php classes for Joomla is one of those rare enjoyments in my line of work... real, honest-to-God codemonkeying. Glorious!

As for mr. Queer theory, my face started involuntarily contorting while I was reading his profile that you quoted, Bob.

I have difficulty concealing emotions.

I also don't play poker.

A good combination, perhaps.

4/06/2007 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

RE the 2nd printing, are we talking about today’s book or your paperback?

Please read that as:
Another wonderful post, Bob.

And congratulations on the 2nd printing!

I wudn recokogniza typo fi tript ovrit.

I think I also prefer italics over quotes.
They are just easier to read - like a smooth road vs. driving on railroad tracks.
In some really subtle way I can see a use for all variations: italics, underline, ‘whatever these are’ and “these”, -even these- and ~these~. Oh, don’t forget my favorite …

Bob can you ask them to highlight all my favorite lines, I mean sentences …uh… pages?
Better yet, I’ll dip the whole lot in a bucket o’ highlighter when I buy all 10.
Anybody else want a pre-highlighted copy?

But seriously, what would be even more wonderful would be someway to search the text electronically somewhere, somehow – same for Meditations on the Tarot.

4/06/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Van said:
“Not sure, but I'd suggest calling Frank Miller for suggestions.”

I second that.

4/06/2007 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

"Anybody else want a pre-highlighted copy?" or Anybody else want a pre-highlighted copy?

I want a lighted copy that glows in the dark so I won't keep DW up while I'm reading into the wee hours.

A Frank Miller CoonGlow version could be ready for Christmas if it gets rolling now...

4/06/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Thanks Gagdad, interesting link. It misses a key point though, thinking that a lack of taking Time into account is a cause, rather than a result, of leftist hooey.

"Descartes, for instance, thought that he could prove the reality of the universe by logically proving the existence of God and deriving the validity of our perceptions from God's existence." That's what Descartes was after, but it was his method that was the real problem, the idea of The Cogito was that his thoughts came prior to, and took precedence over Reality. This also made 'Reality' as something that only existed (small 'e')'out there', an out there which Descartes and his followers were not a part of. That and his determination to reduce everything to mathematical measurements, 'what can not be quantified, can not be taken seriously'.

"The rejection of this kind of hyper-rationality led to an excessive swing in the opposite direction." Your Great Great Grand Uncle Godwin and his French Enlightenment buds found no 'out there' out there, and determined that since consciousness couldn't be quantifiably measured, then there was no 'in there' in there either - consciousness was an illusion and Free Will didn't exist.

If Free Will didn't exist, then what Determined how society operates? Ah! Just trace the pin ball back to the flipper, tweak the flippers and viola! those in charge could Determine the structure and propper operation of society, and make it conform to desireable results - theirs.

Determinism was born and vertical heirarchy was discarded ("Oh Please, no Reason or Principles exist, how quaint of you! There are just desireable & undesireable results), the political opportunists knew a good con when they saw one, the French bought it and were doomed.

"In proving that we cannot know anything Hume showed the limits of pure reason but did not offer much in the way of practical understanding of how we learn and know things, which we obviously do."

Hume didn't prove anything, except that if you accepted the idea of Reason divorced from context and outside of reality, you were hosed. How hosed? Poor Hume couldn't even accept that if you heard a door slam behind you, you could be certain that a door had slammed behind you. Could have been a salami sneezing... just because it had never happened before, was no reason to believe it couldn't have happened this time... no principles you know (Hi Inte).

That was the unhinging point of Western Civilization. The French branch of the Enlightenment went full off the rails at that point, having lost reality, consciousness and free will. The english, though buying Hume, at least still believed there was a reality out there, you just had to always keep measuring it and guessing at the probabilities of door-to-salami outcomes (empiricism).

Ok, back to trying to make this SmartPhone seem smart.

4/06/2007 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

A great Christmas-in-April present for late night
coon readers.

4/06/2007 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

I don't know, wouldn't the Frank Miller version be a tad more gory than the original? Perhaps I'm wrong - my comics taste tended to run more in the Gaiman/ McKean direction, anyway.

I do like the glow-in-the-dark idea, though. Perhaps we could embed a few stars? Also, Smoov's idea of the symphony seems appropriate....
I dunno, Bob, you may just have to turn it into an interactive website :)

4/06/2007 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...


Can't 'coons practically see in the dark anyhow? The ones in my neighborhood sure seem to.

4/06/2007 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Hey, cool - I'm Formidable! Thanks, Bob :)

4/06/2007 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

"Could have been a salami sneezing... " LOL.

The French sure spread a lot of infectious snot and parasites around and ruined a completely good
blanquette de veau

4/06/2007 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ricky Racoon said "But seriously, what would be even more wonderful would be someway to search the text electronically somewhere, somehow – same for Meditations on the Tarot. "

E-Books! MSReader.lit is my preference, but .pdf work too, and you can fit an entire library in your Pocket(PocketPC).

psst! Tell your publisher I'd be happy to convert it to e-book format. Imagine being able to highlight, type in comments (that you can actually read again), search for passages, bookmark it to death... the geekmind reels....

wv:jacfvum - I don't think wordverif likes my idea.

4/06/2007 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

"An important reason for liberalism's, the left's, and the academy's fatal conceit is its failure to integrate time into its thinking." (from the Democracy Project article)

Babies all - never weaned themselves and grew up- still want what they want when they want it - NOW - w/o care or notice for long term consequences.

wv: "pjtkooaf" an arab/french pablum.

4/06/2007 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Can you create a version for Mac too?

4/06/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

cosanostradamus said...
"I want a lighted copy that glows in the dark so I won't keep DW up while I'm reading into the wee hours."

PocketPC! Read in bed without getting whacked.

4/06/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

MizzE said... "Van, Can you create a version for Mac too?"

Once I get the clothes pin on my nose, sure.


4/06/2007 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Van, I bet you look adorable with a pinched nose.

Another thing I'd love to have is an electronic white board that I could keep close to the bed for writing on (not typing) while my eyes are still closed - early in the morning before it's light out and I don't want to fully wake-up but my mind has already. Anything like that on the market already w/o costing me lots of mullah? I guess I'm coonvisioning an electronic 9x12 notepad that will recognize my blind scrawl, translate and convert to typed text.

4/06/2007 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Mizze, I think there are some notebook/tablet laptops that might fit that definition. I don't know if Mac makes anything like that though, so you'd probably have to hold your nose and settle for a PC...

4/06/2007 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.  "Pooh!" he whispered.  "Yes, Piglet?"  "Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw.  "I just wanted to be sure of you."

4/06/2007 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

genesis again
time reborn in heron nest
particle to wave


tw: mizzE

4/06/2007 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Bob said:
"How on earth does someone become as morally deranged as Deepak Chopra? What is the source of such an enfeebled ability to reason in the realm of morality? It's not just that he's wrong -- rather, it is that he reverses good and evil, right and wrong, decent and indecent. So it's more than just moral ignorance. It's some kind of active process that bypasses his conscience and makes it dysfunctional. It is a moral dementia."

Moral dementia...those 2 words describe the rabid left to a "t".

4/06/2007 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Does anyone have a reference to the Pope's book where he apparently condemns capitalism?

I think I have posted this link before but this is a great organization that is doing good work for the western values of liberty and virtue

4/06/2007 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Lord Acton was a giant, really the first historian to recognize the value of liberty to the individual as well as the state.
Definitely a site worth bookmarking.

4/06/2007 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

I keep looking at the eBook they have on display at the local Borders.

Here’s what I like about it:
- Lightweight (have you held Tarot for hours at a time? – but that’s the only remotely not-so-good thing about Tarot.)
- A lot easier on the eyes than a computer monitor

What I don’t like:

- The ‘page’ is not formatted like the printed page. Looks too zoomed in. I think that’s so it’s easier to read and limited by the resolution of the display. Maybe it can be zoomed out.

- Something about not holding the paper, and the color and texture of the paper between your fingers, and the letterforms – the font and line spacing in Tarot has an ancient look.

- I like knowing were I am in the book – the physical location. I’m 1/3 into a chapter, 1/3 into the whole book. Flipping back 20 pages at a time.

- The smell of the book. Who doesn’t love that?
- And of course the bookshelf factor, and author signature.

I think you need both. The book and the eBook.
Maybe a hand held pen sized scanner/OCR thing.

4/06/2007 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

I think you've just touched on all the reasons why ebooks have not taken off yet. Also, I know some models can be a little hard on the eyes, not from the text but from looking at dark print on a lit screen at hand-held range. When they can make one that feels and acts more like a book, I think they'll be more successful.

4/06/2007 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

I hope that didn’t come across as anti-technology.
I’m serious about the hand held pen sized scanner/OCR thing.
Any coons seen anything like that?
Read: Van, build me one please? With a little number pad on the side so I can enter the page number. Oh, and a voice recorder so I can attach my own comments.
And a compass in the stock, yeah…

4/06/2007 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

RE books, highlighting and notes in the margins, I great friend gave me a great tip recently related to reading Meditations on the Tarot:
“…after reading it several times and using different colored highlighters each time, I kept notes for each chapter in a spiral notebook. Writing them out in longhand is an aid to memory.”

4/06/2007 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Palms and PocketPCs seem to be fading away slowly, but they are great for research of things like scripture, medical references, building codes, maps, whatever your gig is. They bite for general reading though.

I used to get the occasional 'gaze' from the blue-hairs at church when I flipped mine open to read along with the scripture. I'm sure they thought I was looking at something quite unholy instead. ;-) I had to stifle the urge to shout "Bingo".

Seriously, I love the volume of information I can carry around and access at a moment's notice. So here's another vote for hardbound and Palm e-versions of the Coonifesto.

RR, they do make these pen scanner things, but they look way clunky.

4/06/2007 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

The 'SmartPhones' have edged the PocketPC's out of a chunk of their market, but I think it depends on whether you want a phone that does PC things, or a PC that does phone things - I'm definitely with the latter.

I don't like the trend towards little, HP makes some heftier ones, about the size of very small paperbacks. Mine has versions of MS Office on it, web browsing, phone, but what I love is the the e-books.

MS Reader has the best formating - looks the most like a printed page (though small), ability to bookmark, 'leaf' through pages, highlight text, add comments, remembers the last page you were on when you open it, ability to read in daylight or pitch black night, etc.

The page size took about a day for me to get used to, and then it was fine for me. I've got about... well let me check, 606 books, with 312 with annotations I've added. I've got a full library in my pocket, ready and available whenever I am. That's hard to beat.

Not to mention the dozens of albums I've got on MP3's in it (Including Bill Evans now), Teaching Company lecture series, and several video clips, photos & videos of kids & family - you can fit alot into a 4 Gigabyte memory card. Plus I've keep it in a leather 'book-like' binder.

I'll never give up my physical library, there is something about a book, the pages, the smell... but it is a wee bit cumbersome carrying about. If I'm in a Dr's office, I'm not stuck with 'TIME' to kill time with, I can read any book in my library, or pull up One Cosmos in it's browser.

BTW, I wouldn't buy one of those 'E-Book' units, they are too limited, & clunky - a lot of money for little return or flexibility. And an iPod? iPhone? please why would I want to trade everything I've got for such a limited gadget whose only plus is it can hold more of one of the things I can already hold all I need of?

When the ultracompact pc's which run full PC operating systems, and which are the size of a paperback, get the wireless cellphone ability, I'll switch over to them, but in the meantime I'm never... well, rarely, without my PocketPC.

4/06/2007 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I am such a geek. I used to be so cool.


4/06/2007 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/06/2007 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

P.S. "I like knowing were I am in the book – the physical location. I’m 1/3 into a chapter, 1/3 into the whole book. Flipping back 20 pages at a time."

PocketPC with MS Reader has that too with a bar gauge at the bottom of the 'page' & lets you leaf through the pages.

I get some of the 'smell' through the leather cover.

I should get back into sales & sell these things. The software app's I've been tinkering with... what they could do for real teachers & students - not worthless glitz powerpoint stuff, but serious study, testing, quizing, questioning, interaction between teacher, parent & child... man o man.

When the ultracompact pc's, which work as touch screen tablets, get just a little more refined... homeschoolers & serious schools better hide your expense accounts, cause I'll be coming for them!

(did I mention that geek part? sheesh)

4/06/2007 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Cosanostradamus said "but they are great for research of things like scripture, medical references, building codes, maps, whatever your gig is."

They are amazing aids for Doctor's & Nurses, being able to have the equivalent of an entire shelf of medical and pharmaceutical references in their pocket is a major plus. I forcibly gave my wife one of my old ones, and she no longer snears at mine.

4/06/2007 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Ricky, I didn't think you were anti-tech, just waiting for some better advancements; I know I am, anyway. I like the idea, I just haven't seen the execution that makes me want to lay the $ down yet.

4/06/2007 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Van said:
“I've got about... well let me check, 606 books, with 312 with annotations I've added. I've got a full library in my pocket, ready and available whenever I am. That's hard to beat.”

And on and on and on… I'm blown away.

We live in an amazing age.
I think you sold me Van.
Can you send a link to a model you like?
When you get a chance…

Thanks for the link to the scanner Cosa. Have to check that one too.

Does the Reader software ‘collect’ your annotations? …like a report?
I suppose you can Query/search them…?

I am not geek.

(Is Tarot on eBook? hee hee)

4/06/2007 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

606 books? I missed that the first time 'round. That does make it awfully tempting (plus I rather like that nobody can tell what you're reading by checking out the jacket). And the web browsing, too? Hm. Do they make a good mac version?

4/06/2007 10:40:00 PM  
Anonymous ned said...

Bob, I am in complete agreement with the overall spirit of what you are saying here.

I was not in any way suggesting that Sri Aurobindo was a pacifist. What I did suggest was that he envisioned an age where war would eventually become obsolete -- but obviously this would be well into the future when the essential spiritual alienation of humanity from each other would be overcome (through collective spiritual transformation).

However, Sri Aurobindo is clear that one must love God in his opponent even as one is slaying him. So I was simply saying that when resorting to violence, one must keep the look turned inward, and question whether one is resorting to violence to bolster the ego or truly in the service of the Divine. I would also suggest that if one was driven by a true spiritual impulse in war, violence, collateral damage and exploitation of civilians would likely be minimized.

Of course there is hardly a military force in the world with the required spiritual training or self-awareness to be able to do this. Teaching our military forces to practice detached violence and self-restraint is the need of the hour. What Sri Aurobindo advocates is compassionate violence without self-righteousness.

What matters is not so much the action, but the purity of the souls that perform those actions. The devil always over-reaches, and the extravagant violence and torture in modern warfare can be attributed to the pretentious self-righteousness in our military forces. Modern warfare lacks a certain chivalry and compassion that one does find in traditions of spiritual warfare.

Moreover, you have made me wonder why I left a comment in the first place. I may have been reacting and this is in complete contradiction to the self-discipline that I'm trying to undertake. So I thank you for this reminder to me to stick to my practice and stay out of other people's space unless I'm welcomed there by them personally, and I apologize for the unnecessary interruption in your sadhana. May the peace of God be with you.

4/07/2007 12:44:00 AM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Formidable Ladies Metaphysical Seed-Sowing Circle: Dame Edith Waterfowl, Sal, Julie, & The Divine Mizz E
And an Army of Surly Male Coons who Have My Back, Led by Col. J.C. Beaglehole, including Alan, Nomo, Walt, Smoov, River, and Ricky.

Wow! Coongratulations to the newest 'Coons to make Dear Leader's spec ops Corps of Coongineers!

I gotta read the sidebar more often.

4/07/2007 01:28:00 AM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Ned said:
"Teaching our military forces to practice detached violence and self-restraint is the need of the hour. What Sri Aurobindo advocates is compassionate violence without self-righteousness.

What matters is not so much the action, but the purity of the souls that perform those actions. The devil always over-reaches, and the extravagant violence and torture in modern warfare can be attributed to the pretentious self-righteousness in our military forces. Modern warfare lacks a certain chivalry and compassion that one does find in traditions of spiritual warfare."

Obviously you don't have any meaningful contact with the heroic men and women of the Military or you would know that they possess more chivalry and compassion than the people you obtained your misinformation and outright lies from.

The only people that accuse our Military of extravagant violence are leftists and terrorists.

In the future you would do well to get your facts straight before making yourself out to be a malicious fool.

You bring dishonor down upon yourself when you accuse men and women of Honor of the crap you're accusing them of.

After reading what you wrote I can clearly see that you gno nothing about chivalry or compassion.
You accuse Heroes of pretentious self-righteousness,
but it is you that are guilty of it!

4/07/2007 01:54:00 AM  
Anonymous walt said...

I always say I'd never join a club that would accept me as a member.....but, ah...well, maybe an "Army," that's different!

You got the "surly" part right.

Did I mention that the drinks are pretty good, too?

4/07/2007 03:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/07/2007 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/07/2007 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Ned said:
“…our military forces…”

For a second there I thought you were talking about my American brothers.

You must be a New York Times reader,
or watch only Oliver Stone movies.

Now if you read the rest of this please, please, understand it’s not directed specifically at you. I apologize for it in advance because it’s directed at the literal army of people out there (especially Americans who should know better than any other person on the planet how wrong they are) who make the same general assumptions about our soldiers.

What is offensive to us is how you, perhaps without realizing it, equate both side’s Armies in this war.
As if they’re all potentially animals on either side and because each side’s reason for being there may be equal in importance to each side (it’s personal) and therefore there’s not much difference between the too.
There’re both potentially evil because of the violence.
If you throw water onto a fire to put out a home that’s burning, are the ‘fireman’ and ‘arsonist’ equal? Both feel pretty strongly about their cause. One of them is evil. The other can’t be. He wouldn’t be a fireman. He’d do something else.

I would argue strongly that the evil potential on ‘our’ side can’t possibly be measured against what exists on the other side.

Torture is what they did to Nick Berg, and every other American father.
Torture is what all the guards get at Gitmo everyday.

What is generally offensive about your attitude happens when you assume this ‘spiritual’ training doesn’t already exist in the American soldier before he signs his name to the paper. You reserve that judgment until you so graciously decide when they’ve met your standards. How wonderfully divine of you.

The American soldier I know, willingly, prefers to risk taking causalities among their own brothers before allowing it to happen to innocent lives caught in the middle.
You can’t teach that.
They learn it here from each other – growing up in freedom.

The American soldier I know leaps onto a grenade or into the path of a bullet to save a brother or an Iraqi child.

The suicide bomber leaps onto his brother if his brother’s bomb is smaller.

You know this.

I don’t really blame you for your ignorance in this matter. Most people, like I said, get their image of the American soldier from the NYT or Oliver Stone movies.

The NYT and Oliver Stone are the ones who need spiritual training.
And they are at times a formidable enemy.
They find (seek) 1 bad soldier in 100,000 in the American military and accuse all the rest of being the same.

I’m not a soldier. But I’ve met and worked with enough of them, and all have welcomed me as if I were. That’s the way they are. At least all the one’s I’ve met.

4/07/2007 07:33:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

No no no

Geeks ARE the quintessence of Cool!

4/07/2007 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Wow Capn' Ben, If you hadn't spotlighted the newest additions to the Corps of Coongineers I might have missed it given the transitory circumstances I've been living in for the past 2 weeks. Suffice to say that the borrowed Mac with its archaic version of IE only displays the body of DL's posts - no photos - no sidebar - just the meat, which is of great sustenance.

B'ob, Thank you. I feel deeply acknowledged and honored to have been elevated into the exalted coonpany of truly formidable ladies.

xoxox y'all - MizzE

Ricky and Ben - Good job w/manhandling the cowardly wussies.

4/07/2007 07:51:00 AM  

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