Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Hisspered Premises and Sweet Nothings of the Snake on the Cosmic Floor

Regarding spiritual ophiology, reader Magnus Itland commented, "Actually I'm more interested in prevention. Today's entry seems on the verge of some revelation about the part in an otherwise healthy person that is drawn toward the creepy crawling poisonous danger." Maybe, maybe not. We shall see.

There must be as many stories of what attracts one to the snake as there are people. To answer the question, all you must do is look within and remember those times when you felt the hypnotic or intoxicating lure of the Dark One (who can never actually be "one," for he is intrinsically an outward and "dissipating" force).

I mentioned yesterday -- and several commenters confirmed it -- that when you are in the presence of a snake (not as in a zoo, but when the snake erupts into your world unexpectedly), it is an other-worldly experience. And when I say "other-worldly," I mean this literally, for there are different worlds that represent differing forms of our sensibility. There is no world outside this sensibility -- which should not be taken to mean that we create the world, or that the world is not an objective place. Nevertheless, I think you will agree that, for example, if you have ever been depressed, the world becomes an entirely different place. As I mentioned the other day, the only world we can experience is an experienced world, and experience takes place in the fluid and dynamic transitional space between world and nervous system.

This is why it is impossible to imagine what the world is actually like for another animal, such as a woman (that is a compliment, by the way). Colonel Beaglehole once told me that Alan Watts mentioned to him that when we see a fox chasing a rabbit, we imagine that the rabbit is "frightened." But from the rabbit's point of view, he may be no more frightened than we are when we see a flashing red danger sign in a crosswalk. For the rabbit, the experience may be more like, whatever. After all, pedestrians usually don't get hit by cars, and the rabbit usually gets away. But Alan Watts never sobered up, so what must it have been like to be him?

Try to imagine what it would be like if your olfactory system were your dominant sense, as in most dogs. When we took the late Savannah for a walk, she would naturally sniff every tree, every blade of grass, looking for relevant information. Dogs can detect something like one part of urine in 1,000 parts of water. We would say that Savannah was just "reading her pee-mail." She didn't so much see the world as smell the world. As such, after the rain, it would be as if her entire world had been washed away -- just a complete blank. (More generally, what does God smell like? For Savannah, I suppose he smelled like me -- The Man With All the Treats.)

Now, it goes without saying, except that it doesn't, that human beings are armed with a sensory apparatus that give us access to invisible worlds -- worlds beyond the five exterior senses. Indeed, this is what makes us human, for reduced to our senses, the human world absolutely disappears and we are once again animals. The senses "sponsor" a human world, so to speak, but they do not create it. There is no knowledge at the level of the senses. This in itself is an important clue into the ontology of evil, for the Evil One wants us to believe that "reality" is at the sensory, which is to say, self-sufficient material level.

Remember, the world is a form of our sensibility; therefore, the materialist would like for you to believe that the material world is the "real world." But what he is really arguing -- in an incoherent and logically self-refuting manner, I might add -- is that the senses disclose ultimate reality, that the objects disclosed by human touch or sight exist independently of touch or sight. But sight cannot tell you what you are seeing. For that, you require a human knower. Matter does not shout out "I am matter, and that's all there is, folks!," except to bad philosophers who hallucinate, or bad hallucinators who philosophize.

For example, animals cannot hear music. Or let us say, they can only hear it. But a human being can "hold" the musical object -- for example, a symphony -- and hear it reveal its harmonic depth and melodic wholeness unfolding in time. Who is more in touch with musical reality, the materialist dog or the idealist human? Where is this musical object? Is it embodied in the score? Can we look at it and have the same musical experience? And does the musical experience reveal aesthetic truth?

I don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but to extend the analogy: which view reflects more adequate contact with reality, Sam Harris' feeble letter to a Christian nation, or the Bible's timeless letters to the feeble atheist? Forget about God, for the moment. Which book contains wisdom, wisdom embodying the art of human living? Is there such a thing as wisdom, or is there only empirical knowledge, the data of the senses? And if the latter, is that very wise? Of course not. It's very stupid, to say the least. But only humans can be stupid, for the "stupid world" is obviously one of the worlds accessible to humans.

What a human being possesses first and foremost is a means of accessing the interior of the cosmos. For example, we are able to "read" faces in such a way that we are literally able to enter the psychic world of another. And I use the word "literally" advisedly, because either we can or we cannot do this. And unless we are severely autistic or suffering from organic brain damage, we can. As it so happens, this access to interiors is everything for humans, because it is -- again, literally -- the hole in creation through which divine energies flow, where degrees of truth, beauty and decency reveal themselves, and where love abides.

In short, human beings are equipped with a sensory appartus that reveals higher worlds. This is something that has always been known until quite recently, and it is something you probably already know unless you are highly educated in acquired ignorance, like Dr. Qi and so many other untellectual banalators of his illk.

Now, in a certain sense, a religious practice is no different than, say, a workout regimen. You work out to keep your muscles strong, to maintain flexibility, to promote cardiovascular fitness, and to look good naked. Likewise, as I have said before, you practice a religion in order to deepen your relationship to what I call O, by honing your ability to intuit it and ultimately conform and live your life in its light. In other words, you do not first decide whether or not you think God exists, because you can't figure that out with the mind anyway. Rather, you practice a religion because it is the time-tested way to deepen your understanding of the divine reality, and for your soul to look good naked, without all the alibis, rationalizations, and other intellectual fog leaves.

For this reason, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and other obligatory atheists are like tone deaf people who have determined that music does not exist, and who wish to impose their dopey new testavus on the rest of us. Truly, they remind me of "deafness advocates" who are against the cochlear implant, or of academically correctivists who think that all cultures are equally valuable and beautiful, no matter how barbaric and out of touch with reality. Since transcendent truth does not exist, then degrees of reality cannot exist. Rather, there is only the blunt instrument of bovine materialism. In fact, when I think of these atheistic medullards, I imagine not a human head, but a closed fist at the end of a neck.

Now, back to the snake and what he represents. Because humans are human, we can sense both good and evil. Because good "descends" from above, we have access to it and and can sense its contours and dimensions -- its ontological weight. This is why we can cry at certain acts of goodness, for the tears signify that we have touched the divine plane.

I will not get into the disordered state of the soul of such an individual, but let us just say that you have to have a very malevolent agenda -- even if you do not realize it -- to teach young people that the realm of the Good does not exist, or that it is just arbitrary or relative, a human creation. Frankly, you need a millstone hung around your tenured neck, but we won't go there for now.

The agenda of the snake is to sybilistically suggessssst that this anterior world of the good does not really exissssst. Rather, we create it. As such, it is but a small leap to the thoroughly unrealistic but intoxicating conclusion that I am not creature but created, a "bright and gory sun god cast upon an alien shore," as I think Henry Miller put it. Evil is that which, in the words of Schuon, "thwarts a maximum of souls as regards their final end." And who are the great soul-thwarters of the day?

There is Principle and there is its Manifestation. In order for there to be a manifestation separate from God, it cannot be coequal with the perfections of God, but must in some sense represent a privation. Here again, this is something all human recognize. We all intuit that "something's missing" that would make us complete, but the snake reverses figure and ground and suggests that the lacuna, so to speak, is the reality. It is somewhat analogous to the way our eyes work. In the field of vision of each eye, there is a "hole" where the optic nerve connects to the eye. The Evil One turns this upside down, and suggests that the inevitable hole in our vision -- the ignorance, so to speak -- is the reality, when it is simply a partial consequence of being embodied.

As Schuon writes, "the cosmogonic ray" -- the mystery of the “overflowing source of the cosmogonic trajectory" -- by "plunging into 'nothingness,'" ends by manifesting "the possibility of the impossible." In other words, "the 'absurd' cannot but be produced somewhere in the economy of the divine Possibility, otherwise the Infinite would not be the Infinite. But strictly speaking, evil or the devil cannot oppose the Divinity, who has no opposite; it opposes man who is the mirror of God and the movement towards the divine."

This is a nuanced view, so let's consider it a bit more carefully, for it explains how evil can exist in a universe created by the Sovereign Good. It is not so much that evil is determined, but it is more or less "inevitable" (or ineveateapple) due to the conditions of existence. It makes no sense to say that evil is “willed by God”; rather, it is more like willing weather, which will inevitably bring occasional hurricanes and tornadoes. Therefore, even if God "cannot eliminate evil as a possibility" on pain of no longer being the infinite God, God would also no longer be God if his divine nature were not opposed to it. And since we are "the mirror and image," we can see how we must be resigned to evil and error in the world, but never accept it. Rather, we must fight against it.

But the cosmogonic winds blow in all directions, up and down, forward and back, and some people obviously like to get their kicks on route 666 -- which is often paved with good intentions. In this regard, Schuon makes another subtle point, that evil, "by its very nature, tends to communicate itself... but it has this tendency precisely because it is opposed to the radiation of the good and thus cannot help imitating the latter in some fashion. For evil is by definition both opposition and imitation: within the framework of opposition it is ontologically forced to imitate; 'the more they curse God the more they praise Him,' said Meister Eckhart. Evil, insofar as it exists, participates in the good represented by existence." Evil "cannot be absolute," but "always depends upon some good which it misuses or perverts."

Therefore, we have faith that the Good must eventually triumph in the end. However, the Raccoon principle of "March Forth Madness" assures that there will be penalties for having picked and wagered on the wrong bracket in the course of one's life.

Thus, it seems to me that the most dangerous and deceptive form of evil is this grandiose and intoxicating imitation good, or ape of God. Can we just stipulate that this represents the ontological essence of "psycho-spiritual leftism" in all its diverse forms, or must I ssspell it out in another possst?

I dreamed that in myself the world I saw,
Wherein three Angels strove for mastery. Law
Was one, clear vision and denial cold,
Yet in her limits strong, presumptuous, bold;
The second with enthusiasm bright,
Flame in her heart but round her brows the night,
Faded as this advanced. She could not bear
That searching gaze, nor the strong chilling air
These thoughts created, nourishing our parts
Of mind, but petrifying human hearts.
Science was one, the other gave her name,
Religion. But a third behind them came,
Veiled, vague, remote, and had as yet no right
Upon the world, but lived in her own light....
--Sri Aurobindo, A Vision of Science

57 Comments:

Blogger River Cocytus said...

Quite.

wv: nkvgrzly!

4/04/2007 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Following today's theme will be an explanation of what may be familiar to most of you as Cobra. In Pilates, we call it Press Up. Lay on your stomach and let the top of your feet be against the floor. Traditional yogic Cobra places the hands under the shoulders. I prefer the hands to be up by the head. This allows the shoulder blades to draw down into the belly and support the upperquadrant while relaxing the neck. Feel that connection before pressing up. Try to let your tush relax, which is harder than you think. Just ask an atheist! Drawing your navel into your spine straighten your arms and inhale filling the lungs with air. Feel lower back lengthening not crunching, so you may not be able to straighten your arms today. Exhale and bend arms to lower body. Keep practicing every day and it will get easier along with the swimming. If back extension is contraindicated for your specific medical condition, skip Cobra or Press Up.

Why not make some aspects of the snake work for you?

4/04/2007 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Be as wise as serpents, it has been said.

4/04/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

Ah, the senses and the Serpent's lure...

Coincidentally enough, one of the local leftist weekly throwaways (yes, there are *several* of them here in Bagdad-by-the-Bay) featured a cover story today on a group that had a similar attraction to me a while back. (What can I say -- part of me is a sucker for the Edenic/neo-pagan vision of total sensuality, although that vision always seems to melt away when human beings try to put it into practice.)

Although the piece doesn't mention it, this group considers Ken Wilber one of their philosophical mentors. Since I'm still friendly with some members there, perhaps I should buy them a copy of your Wilber-influenced book, and see if anyone in their "urban monastery" bothers to crack it open. One can only imagine the cognitive dissonance that would result, and I'm sure that this blog would horrify them as well.

4/04/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Sssam Harrisss said...

Wait a minute -- you mean, not "a wise-ass serpent?'

4/04/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Happy Birthday (plus one day), Joan!
I bought you a present but I had to hock it.
It was some ring with elvish script on it that you can only see in fire (long story).
At any rate, I hope you had a fun (and hangover free) Birthday!

4/04/2007 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yes, Joan, more belated birthday blessings!

4/04/2007 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob,
You wrote another book today.

You’ve more valuable substance here than most little books I no longer have time for.

There are too many gems to mention. But this one is a stunningly brilliant point made real by visual:
“In fact, when I think of these atheistic medullards, I imagine not a human head, but a closed fist at the end of a neck.”

The energy they waste on such non-sense.

4/04/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Sssuperb possst Bob!
More later (it's trash day) :^(

BTW, our dogs love to get pee-mail.
They really get excited about raccoon pee-mail!
It's like pissneyland to them!

4/04/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Aaah, where does a pattern of thought lead? Not just a snapshot of high-minded "balanced life" claims, but what fruit does it produce? Aquila's link offers the carne vale ouroboros, just in time for Holy Week.

Contrast this.

Moderns have wagered that the choice is not this stark. I suppose I hope we're right. But I wonder.

4/04/2007 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Lisa said:
"Why not make some aspects of the snake work for you?"

Aye, like that song..."sssnake your booty." It drownsss out my ssscreams when I follow Lisssa's directionsss.
It'sss a good kind of pain though.

4/04/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's post reminded me of the novel Frankenstein where the doctor's ambitious yet narcissistic imitation of God ends up creating a monster....

Speaking of preventing young people being lured into the ideology of Leftism, I've noticed that those infected have major issues with their fathers (being ignored, feeling abandonned from divorce, etc). Perhaps that is the reason why they reject the Spiritual Father and all father figures alike out of misguided anger and adopt leftist ideologies. Dr. Godwin, would you agree with this statement from your own experience as a clinical psychologist? I also wonder if people like Billary Clinton, Chomsky and Obama have issues with their fathers?

I work as a resident in a big emergency medicine department and I often deal with different psych cases. Perhaps as a part of my questionnaire, I should ask, "What is your relationship to your father?"

4/04/2007 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anonymous--

Re fathers, check out this beauty of a post. I may just take some of these ideas and run with them tomorow.

4/04/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

By coincidence, one of my fav groups, who shall remain nameless here, has an album coming out in May called “Snakes and Arrows”.

“Peart, the band's primary lyricist, has stated the lyrical theme of the album will be based on his personal reflections on faith…”

Of there numerous albums this is a new theme for them.

What it's about

Cover Art

I know I said I wouldn’t mention them again…
...but the synchronicity.

4/04/2007 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yeah, but it would have been cooler if he shot his dad up his arm in a speedball....what a poseur!

4/04/2007 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Bob is really rockin' in the free world lately. Coincidentally I was about to put out feelers here a few days ago with respect to the classical theological "Problem of Evil".

Has Bob dealt in more detail with this elsewhere? I've read much of the blog, and the coonifesto, but am wondering if I missed anything.

In any case I am very much interested in further exploration in this vein. My experience has been that variations on this seemingly (to the atheist) irreconcilable conundrum is a major stumbling block for those who might otherwise be receptive to God.

Anyone else have anything to contribute? How would you explain to a family member, let's say, why God "allows" 2 year old girls to be killed by pit bulls or cancer?

4/04/2007 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"There is no knowledge at the level of the senses. This in itself is an important clue into the ontology of evil, for the Evil One wants us to believe that "reality" is at the sensory, which is to say, self-sufficient material level. "

Precisely what the Determinissstsss and artificial intelligence miss. There is no knowledge without US, only stuff. Interesting that nearly every attempt to talk (cunningly, ssshrewdly) someone into doing something morally wrong includes some variation on "what will it hurt?". By taking peoples focus from the vertical to a search for specific sensory horizontal damage, and not found, the grand equivocation is accomplished, your eyes are fixed upon the ground and ready to slither away.

4/04/2007 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

"what will it hurt?"

"Victimless" crimes are so easy for many to justify in this manner.

4/04/2007 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Smoov said:

“How would you explain to a family member, let's say, why God "allows" 2 year old girls to be killed by pit bulls or cancer?”

I have struggled with this as everyone else has. And I’m new to the work here too as you know.

As a possible answer to the pit bull question, I would say the answer is: Freewill.
There must have been other adults involved with the situation how knew better than the 2-year old and could have prevented it.

God will not mess with Freewill for at least the reason that things would make even less sense if he were to do this.

RE the cancer, that’s one I’m still working on. I have a feeling the answer may be in Genesis because it has been providing a lot of them for me lately.

4/04/2007 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

My thanks. I actually find the more general and inward-pointing posts easier to "get", since the cultural differences mean less in that context. I have never heard elsewhere of the supposed leading lights of atheism over there,for instance. And I don't feel like I have missed much.

"The fool says in his heart: There is no God." Why does he have to tell himself that? One would expect that the default "blank slate" condition was that there was no God, until someone comes and convinces you otherwise. You'd think any idiot would be able to not see God without help, but no.

4/04/2007 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Gagdad,
RE Fathers and the AT article…
Prodigal Son Interrupted?

My father and oldest brother repeat this cycle over and over and over and over… so many times I’ve stopped counting.

4/04/2007 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

smoov said "Anyone else have anything to contribute? How would you explain to a family member, let's say, why God "allows" 2 year old girls to be killed by pit bulls or cancer?"

I think you need to discriminate between tragic mishaps and purposeful actions.

My lunch is over quick note would be that we live in One Cosmos, an interconnected, Integrated Whole of creation. We don't come equipped with the details of that knowledge, only the ability to discover it. When we discover how one aspect of creation, horizontal and/or Vertical, integrates with another, we recognize that as Truth. The wider the number of integrations conceptually made across the horizontal & vertical (things & concepts) in Time, the deeper the Truth that is realized.

I touched on this in a recent post:

"To make a diligent effort to consciously conduct these contextual integrations accurately, and to critically reflect upon them, is to engage in the pursuit Truth. Applying this action of truth seeking to areas of human activity – action, decision, behavior, defense, make up the Virtues of Justice, Prudence, Temperance, and Courage. Studying and teaching this process is the occupation of those who love wisdom, Philosophers.

The conscious and active intent to deny truth, to purposefully mis-integrate reality, is vice, to intentionally mislead another for the purpose of shearing them away, Dividing them, from the bosom of reality, is Evil."

For me, Calamity, no matter how horrific, is but calamity; it takes purposefulness, or negligence, to qualify as Evil.

4/04/2007 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Well, there wouldn't be Pit Bulls or 2 Year Old Girls without the possibility of cancer...

Which is essentially the argument that Schoun makes.

The trouble he says is, in humanizing the terms, I.E. making them more than abstractions, or if you will, 'making them walk the earth' it is difficult to not have problems explaining evil.

4/04/2007 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

PS - for you computer coons, do not forget to Bless Your Referents ...

Yuk, yuk.

4/04/2007 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous In other words... said...

speaking of snakes.... my CoonDar had forever identified John Edwards as a form of the most reprehensible sssslithererrrr but this recent episode with his wife and her cancer caused me to doubt my innate coondar. In all honesty it was mostly the MSM influence and I've found myself doubting my instincts.
Shame on me and let this be a lesson to the wise..... he and she have used her cancer as a fundraising tool as per the story in the Washington Post today.
I am a newly outed "coon" and I have gone and failed my first test.that sound you hear is the sound of coins dropping into Petey's indulgence cup.

4/04/2007 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous In other words... said...

speaking of snakes.... my CoonDar has forever identified John Edwards as a form of the most reprehensible sssslithererrrr but this recent episode with his wife and her cancer caused me to doubt my innate coondar. In all honesty it was mostly the MSM influence and I've found myself doubting my instincts.
Shame on me and let this be a lesson to the wise..... he and she have used her cancer as a fundraising tool as per the story in the Washington Post today.
I am a newly outed "coon" and I have gone and failed my first test.that sound you hear is the sound of coins dropping into Petey's indulgence cup.

4/04/2007 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

If you’ll indulge me a few thoughts regarding the ssserpent and how evil attractsss. In writing to the believers in Corinth, Paul said, “I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” (II Cor 11) When viewed in context, it appears that after Paul left Corinth, the believers there were being wooed by very well-ssspoken sssilver-tongued falssse teachersss. Although their messsage was attractive, Paul says they were presenting a different Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel. He refers to them as “false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ”, and says it should be no surprise, since “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light”, of course “his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness” (Hmmm, lot of s’s there).

How can one then know the True from the false? Paul, as well as other NT writers, repeatedly beseech Christian believers to always test the message against scripture. Even here at OC, I find myself constantly testing what is said against what I believe to be biblical Truth (uh oh, fundy alert). Although GB is well-spoken and definitely silver-tongued, my understanding (which is sometimes limited) of his messages nearly always illuminates and enhances what I believe from scripture.

IMHO (at least I hope my O is H).

4/04/2007 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous late convert said...

smoov...

Several years ago I read a female prisoner's account of life in a North Korean Gulag. I still haven't been able to come to grips with why people are forced to endure that kind of horror. It's institutionalized; it looks almost as though there's simply nothing personal about it. The brutality has become banal, which makes it all the more terrifying.

Maybe I should change my handle to "clueless."

4/04/2007 03:49:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Smoov reminds me of the Mark Shea two-fer:
"What could it hurt?"
[later]
"How could we have known?"

Thoughts on the problem of evil.

"Evil" may be our refusal to embrace the imperfect good that is available. Human life seems to have a certain archetypal arc. We will take the same journeys, but on sound or broken tracks.

Recently I learned that an old friend engaged a particularly horrible suicide attempt, life on his own well-intentioned but crossgrained terms finally running aground. Like the essay Bob linked, and Flannery O'Connor's gibbering character, eventually it turns out we humans will bond in love, we will commune with the Father, we will hug babies to our breast. The question is, have we backed ourselves into a corner where our Love becomes a stalker or a molester? Do we snort cremated ashes? Can we swaddle and kiss only a plastic doll?

Another thing I am coming to suspect is that every problem offers offsetting blessings. Certainly my last physical injuries have done so. What's JWM's candid report? The trick to this possibility is that we are never allowed to preach this to others, most particularly to the family with a sick 2-year-old. But the assignment person by person, situation by situation, may be to be open to this possibility, to the fiery generation of another phoenix of the heart.

And the other factor in evil or "evil" is our perhaps uninformed and arrogant idea that we have a grasp of the blueprint that would have been better, that would fit more accurately in the great web of the world. What can we possibly know, besides wanting to love and serve those who suffer, like Lisa and LA's aching backs?

4/04/2007 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nomo--

It is extremely gratifying, not to mention a relief, to hear that. In fact, come to think on it, it's also more than a little mystifying.

4/04/2007 04:26:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

smoov -

We are dealing with the impact of evil personally right now. One of my son's lacrosse teammates at his university was murdered in cold blood earlier this week in his apartment. His killer then flew 300 miles and murdered another student from a different university the next morning. Both took 2 bullets to the head at close range. Police caught the killer the next day by tracking a GPS signal in his cell phone. Evil can be stupid.

I alternate between rage and physical grief; we have spent many hours with the lacrosse team over the past 4+ years and we treat them all as our kids. Most of them treat us as alternate parents. It's a wonderful extended family. This senseless act has ripped the heart out of many people.

Similar evil scenarios get repeated daily across the globe and it's too easy to come up with some philosophical explanation when it's far enough away. But when it gets close, there is a visceral red gut reaction that comes from the deep. We don't live life just in our heads; we have far more investment here than that.

What is that? Is it evil as well, a mirror? Or sheer righteous venom at having something precious violently stolen from you?

Death is, and evil exists. It violates and we suffer. And yet we live on.

I'm not a particularly touchy-feely guy, but this has me convinced that there is a time for simply hugging your loved ones and another for intellectualizing what it all means. We are lucky any of us are here at all, let alone for whatever lifetime we are allotted. Our spiritual core must be hands-on or our philosophy is worthless.

So maybe we are asking the wrong question when dealing with the personal lashes of evil. Maybe we are called only to answer it with fierce love and attention to life.

I apologize for the rant which I am sure makes little sense. It's very unlike me but I'm just very stirred up and full of rage this week.

Love one another. Please, it's the one thing we can do.

4/04/2007 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

cosanostradamus

That is a horrific story. I do know whereof you speak as a member of my own family was killed some 20 years ago.

I also think I understand what you mean when you advise against over-intellectualizing that which just is, and as Bob wrote, is inevitable.

4/04/2007 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

The world is clearly filled with mystification - fortunately much of which is wonderful.

Sorry Cosa - we suspected you must be close to that horror.

4/04/2007 06:15:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Cosa:

You are not ranting & are making perfect sense.

Could not agree more with this gem you shared. Thank you.

"Our spiritual core must be hands-on or our philosophy is worthless."

AMEN

4/04/2007 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

cosanostradamus said... " I apologize for the rant which I am sure makes little sense."

My God...

"But when it gets close, there is a visceral red gut reaction that comes from the deep. We don't live life just in our heads; we have far more investment here than that.... Our spiritual core must be hands-on or our philosophy is worthless."

Few things are as clear or make more sense than what you've said here Cosa. And surely there is no better action you can take in the face of such evil than "Maybe we are called only to answer it with fierce love and attention to life."

4/04/2007 08:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Connecticut Yankee said...

Bob-- This is not to disagree with any of your comments about snakes-- it's intended as an honest question for you and other posters. What do you make of the snake as a symbol of medicine (I'm thinking of the two snakes twined around a staff that form the caduceus)? Does it represent some recognition that evil can be de-fanged and made to serve good purposes (like healing)? I'm also struck by the fact that the resurrected Christ is often shown in Western as well as Eastern church art as trampling on a snake (in fulfillment of Genesis 3:15)-- a good image to keep before one's eyes during Holy Week.

4/04/2007 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

One version:

"The probable medical origin of the single serpent around a rod: In ancient times infection by parasitic worms was common. The filarial worm Dracunculus medinensis aka "the fiery serpent", aka "the dragon of Medina" aka "the guinea worm" crawled around the victim's body, just under the skin. Physicians treated this infection by cutting a slit in the patient's skin, just in front of the worm's path. As the worm crawled out the cut, the physician carefully wound the pest around a stick until the entire animal had been removed. It is believed that because this type of infection was so common, physicians advertised their services by displaying a sign with the worm on a stick."

4/04/2007 08:57:00 PM  
Anonymous greybeard said...

I'll take a crack at Smoov's question regarding the 2 year old girl getting mauled by a pit bull--

As usual, I invoke my pet doctrine of reincarnation.

A young dog-bite victim probably lines up her fate before birth--"In this life I shall be taken young, by a dog."

It's an experience and therefore collectible. I think all of us have a crack at "young death" as part of our soul cirriculum. There's nothing random about it at all. It's a planned event. I believe all deaths to be pre-planned.

The mass casualties of the Tsunami of '04 all colluded to die upon that day. They were a cadre of friends in the pre-life. They carefully chose the circumstances that would place each of them on the scene--national origin, parentage, occupation all carefully calibrated to meet the final outcome.

We may have all been murderers, murder victims, killers and the killed, back and forth across vast swaths of time. We cut deals with other souls before manifesting--you kill me this time, I'll get you the next. Athens today, Rome tomorrow. Let us swim in time doing all that can be done.

And all souls grow ever more complete by dint of experience, and then move towards God.

This philosophy is not of my making--I paraphrase it from Mirra Alfassa, aka The Mother.

4/04/2007 10:32:00 PM  
Anonymous le mere said...

So, pre-life, we chose to get together on the internet and listen to you push your pet theory about reincarnation with every post?

4/04/2007 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Thank you dear friends for this place of refuge and sustenance. OC is the best hospital/church around.

Grey - I do have to say that in my current state I have actual contempt for the cheapness you ascribe to the miracle of our human life and the responsibility we have to raise our faces to the grace given by our Maker. Your pet doctrine is an insult to God and man.

I have no desire to offend, but you've crossed the line in my sand onto sacred ground.

Please consider carefully the static (at best) ramifications of your stand. Real life is not an episode of 'Lost'. I am not suggesting that some form of reincarnation is impossible, merely that your pointless version is absurd and exacerbates, rather than eliminates, evil.

Anyway, I think you're faking it. If so, I get the joke but you could work on your timing.

Good night all...thanks again.

4/04/2007 11:22:00 PM  
Anonymous aghast said...

A quick change of subject. Did you really write this?:

"I know of no conservative who values nationalism, or patriotism, or militarism for their own sake. Usually it is because of an awareness that the United States is by far the greatest and most decent nation that has ever existed. In other words, to feel patriotic or nationalistic about the United States is simply based on objective reality. It’s not the same as feeling patriotic about some crappy little country like France, where shame would be the more appropriate emotion."

R U Freakin' Sirius?! Objective reality? "Some crappy little country like France"?

You offer a spitting image of Wilber's amber level.

4/05/2007 12:03:00 AM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Dilys said:
"What can we possibly know, besides wanting to love and serve those who suffer, like Lisa and LA's aching backs?"

Yes indeed!
And we must protect and defend when needed (that is to say all the time), which is another way to serve and to love.

One need not be a police officer or Marine to protect against evil.

Anyone can protect and defend, and I believe many want to do this, but it often involves physical risk, which requires courage.

Courage and Love is what enables us to put our lives on the line for others; sometimes we may face the choice of risking or giving our lives so that others may live, which is tha ultimate form of love that humans can possibly attain to.

Love isn't just taking a bullet for someone, but actively fighting evil.
Not only to protect, but to assure liberty.

4/05/2007 02:41:00 AM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Cosanostradamus said...
"So maybe we are asking the wrong question when dealing with the personal lashes of evil. Maybe we are called only to answer it with fierce love and attention to life."

My thoughts and prayer go out for you and your family Cosanostradamus.
I believe you are right. No use dwelling on the why too much when it is currently above our understanding.

4/05/2007 02:56:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Aghast: You have a problem with amber? Surely you are not one of those "my level is better than your level" pseudo-integralists who don't respect all quadrants and all levels?

4/05/2007 03:11:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Cosa: Exactly, I think. Evil never has an 'impact' in the intellectual; so if the enemy can't get us to do it, we can at least abstract it away into meaninglessness.

But even if evil's power is illusion, the material world is real and so are the consequences of the evil.

It's a paradox - but is one of the reasons we have heroes. I love the story of when David loses his son because of his affair with Bathsheba. I b'lieve it is in 2nd Samuel.

Anyhow, the acknowledgement of what Schoun says is implicit in: 'All things work for the Good of those who Love the Lord and live according to His purpose.'

Never forget, 'Resist the devil (accuser) and he shall flee from you.'

Schoun's mistake, if he has made one, is to assume (or believe) that the intellectualizing/contemplative position inherently includes both the dutiful and the compassionate position. As a Christian I see them as three distinct poles of being, which must be balanced.

As for our country, let us love her because she is great, and love her to make her greater.

Fair indeed, is this city on a hill...

4/05/2007 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Aghastbag:

Thank you. One occasionally thinks about such extravagent encomiums, but one never expects to receive them.

4/05/2007 04:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Dougman said...

"As for our country, let us love her because she is great, and love her to make her greater.

Fair indeed, is this city on a hill... "

Did Cyrus the Great plant the seed of Liberty that grew into this Tree of Life?

Are our roots in Persia?

4/05/2007 05:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

greybeard: your explanation of Reincarnation is so boring. God deserves better. No Logic, no Beauty, no Mystery. No Heart. Essentially it's spirituality understood by post-modern left leaning relativist new-agers. You give too much power to us individuals. We will never compete with God's Intelligence and Imagination. I'd prefer Him to write my life, not me. All we can do is play our part when our time arrives. Accept the responsibility of life to enrich our memory, develop our senses and become human. I don't want to be one with my killers. Thank my parents for being so mean to me and balance that meanness by being in a next life their oppressor. That's marxism. Can't you see? And I know a lot of people would easily fit to your description of reality. But I don't think those people really matter anyway. To put it in other words, I think you just described life according to 'devil', for devil. Those amongst us who believe they deserve better or have higher aspirations, know in their heart that their whole structure operates on another formula. Not in terms of action-reaction (oppressed/oppressors), but from oppression/oppressed to liberation/liberator.

I believe Freud is the perfect psychoanalyst for Devil's Mind, so is Darwinism the exact Theory of (devil's) Evolution where it makes complete sense to equate man and its ancestor the ape. It also symbolizes how thru time, even a former ape can look and talk like a civilised man, by aping the Right Ideas. Equally that theory doesn't speak to those who have been made out of Light. They Are that civilised man. They just need to rediscover themselves. Free themselves from their oppressors. Their Ideas, Lies, Power, Hell.

I don't want to steal all Bob's lines - that's devil's practice -, so I apologize if I talk so much. Usually I need to get "high" to open up. Now I don't even have to get high. I have reached a point since few years where I can not control myself. When it comes to communicate my (not so) crazy ideas, I just do it. I have stomach ache for two days and I don't dare to read the reactions. But that's the only way to test your Friends.

Anyway, yesterday I found this site about Zoroastrianism (the first monotheist religion of history) and I would like to share it with you:
www.zoroaster.net/indexe.htm
(it's an easy read; at the bottom of that page there is another site that I invite you to read also, it's a little bit longer but it worth your time)

I understand why I must be a zoroastrian at heart because of my natural aversion for clergies and religious traders in general, Muslim in particular. But I am the type who would feel stupid in a church, unless it's for the artistic aspect of it.

I would not be surprised to hear that Zoroaster and Jesus are one unique Soul. Also considering that Cyrus, the great, the founder of the Persian Empire and of the first Bill of Rights ( also mentioned in the OT) based his way of governance on the Zoroastrian philosophy. Good thoughts, good speeches, good deeds.

Miraculously you'll realise thru your read how Ancient Iran's Bill of Rights and Zoroastrianism ended up being the secret weapon (not publicized) of American Founding Fathers. After all, The miracle called America is a unique phenomenon that her neighbors from North, nor South never reached. Although they all benefitted from expanding their borders, melting with other civilizations and being part of the same Judeo-Christian Culture.

http://activistchat.com/phpBB2
/viewtopic.php?p=30740#30740

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5468494210860637483&q
=Cyrus+The+Great&hl=en

Now the Iran of today and after the Arab Islamic invasion, is 'far' from its own Origin. But I think that the answer to our current paralysis in having to deal with the new Islamist Conquerors, is our common past and our shared values. Quite powerful I might add. After all God created me Persian and I am in Love with America, in Love with God, in Love with all that's True, Free, Right, Generous and Beautiful, I get offended when anybody attacks or smears America (I don't care if you slam Democrats), Iranians included and I am on my way to make it clear to the world.

By the way, now is the time to check who are the true racists.

dreamer

I don't want to start an argument, please ignore me. Thank God P2 is gone forever.

4/05/2007 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

aghast,
You offer a spitting image of an image spat... but perhaps one less amber than green.

4/05/2007 05:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Sal said...

Cosa -
You make perfect sense. My prayers for you and yours.

4/05/2007 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

For Cosa, from one father to another:

A void was cut deep into the great dam buttressed against the waters,

The reverberations of which shook the earth and all the souls above,
And below in Coontown,

Shaking them to rush to fill the void with their very own hearts.

Knowing that when one Coon bleeds, all Coons bleed.

As wide and great as the void would grow,
As if the sides themselves were to be pulling away from the void,

Still they lifted their hearts to fill it.

And some employed to find more Coons to help.

Hoping that it would be healed again.

Not hoping so much because they need hope,

But because there IS hope.

And because they know the sun will rise as it did yesterday,

To dry the water to the earth,

And all the water shed.

4/05/2007 06:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Dougman said...

dreamer

Thank You.

4/05/2007 07:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Biker Lady said...

Greybeard...
God said the hairs on "your" head were numbered meaning He knows your beginning from "your" end on this earth. He did not say it would be a "group" crop.
I was just wondering if you missed that "comet ride" a few years ago and you were just feeling a little blue.

4/05/2007 07:27:00 AM  
Anonymous walt said...

Cosa -

What you wrote last night was beautifully expressed.

4/05/2007 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous aghast said...

Bob: yet another example of why, in the end, you will never be taken seriously beyond your closed circles: you don't reply to critics, you just insult them.

4/05/2007 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Memo to Aghast: no one takes your silly color code system seriously except silly people. I can't waste my time with such frivolous new age nonsense. If it works for you, I have no desire to talk you out of it.

4/05/2007 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dougman

It's me who has to thank you! Thanx for the sign and thanx for the Blessing. It was much needed. I had decided to let go when I saw your post. That's more than just synchronicity, it's Order. And Life is so much more Light that way. And fun. They say don't Blame the Messenger, I say it depends on the quality and value of the Message. I respected you since the time of your first post, never felt you really need guidance although you were asking for help or comfort. I thought you are testing people as much as you are introducing yourself to your equals. Tacit Code of Honor. Silence speaks loud. I have my own silent conversation with Bob or him with me. I know he never misses
a word, like the true Master he is.

I also know that if it all happened unconsciously on your part, you would still be that special Friend,... Deserving, trustworthy, free.

I doubt it was unconscious.

dreamer

4/06/2007 02:34:00 PM  

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