Thursday, April 05, 2007

Living in the Shadow of the Worst Possible Thing

Reader Cosanostradamus brings us dreadful news about the coldblooded murder of a teammate on his son's college lacrosse team. Obviously our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are directly affected.

As Cosanostradamus suggests, evil of this magnitude is literally beyond conception. Faced with it, you are plunged into a world that is beyond logic and sense. Whatever you thought about the world before no longer applies, or at the very least, it is going to be seriously challenged. It does have a distant analogy to my recent encounter with that snake in the wild, only magnified a thousand fold. As he says, "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."

In what follows, I sincerely hope I do not cheapen anything Cosnostradamus and others who are closely connected to this situation are going through. To "analyze" it at all in a detached way is a form of sacrilege. And as he says, "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 think that is true. We must understand evil viscerally and have an appropriately visceral, but always sober, response to it. To the extent that we lose contact with this visceral reaction, it does not make us more civilized -- as the contemporary liberal imagines -- but less so. It alienates us from our core of humanness, and clears the path to the leftist's overturning of the moral order of the world. We end up being like that fooish unnaturalist who attempted to live with grizzly bears. Just as the leftist does with our human enemies, he disabled a deep and wordless part of his mind that connected him with primordial reality -- with nature red in tooth and claw. In other words, he imagined that he was connecting with nature, when he was actually disconnecting from it -- both natura naturans and human nature.

Whoever is responsible for this murder deserves the swiftest and most severe justice available to us, which is the solemn taking of his life. He has stolen something infinite, something priceless, something that can never be replaced, not just from the person whose life he wrenched from the world, but from hundreds and perhaps thousands of others who form concentric circles of connectedness around his epicenter. His immediate loved ones -- parents, grandparents and siblings -- are simply crucified. The rest -- friends, teammates, and others -- will live in the shadow of this crucifixion, many for the rest of their lives.

In a very different way, I too live in the shadow of the Worst Possible Thing, but even so, it is considerably tempered by virtue of the fact that it was not intentional. It was a tragedy, but it was not evil, which I suppose is the only thing that makes it remotely assimilable. I am speaking of the sudden death of my sister-in-law four years ago. She died of a routine staph infection that overwhelmed her body within hours, so that she died of toxic shock within two weeks despite the finest medical care the world had to offer in New York.

As I said, it was not evil, but it nevertheless had the effect of completely pulling the cosmic floor out from under me. I mean this literally, and I am sure others will have experienced the sensation at one time or another. Normally the world is there to catch us when we fall, so to speak. We fall only so far, but no further. We get sick, but only to a point, and then miraculously get better. Bad things happen, but they don't last forever. Somehow, things always turn around -- "all things must pass."

But occasionally we are faced with a "one way slide" that cannot be arrested. Please, I do not intend to make this about me, but this was the feeling that occurred with my sister-in-law's illness. She's in the hospital? Great! That means whatever the problem is, it is now essentially solved. She slid down. Now she will slide back up. Back to what I was doing.

But she kept sliding and sliding down -- and the rest of us with her -- in a way that could not be arrested, all the way to the bottom. As it so happened, she died on her son's second birthday, making it all the more traumatically ironic. Now, my son's second birthday is approaching. I am once again in the shadow of what happened four years ago. And to a lesser or greater extent, I will live in that shadow for the rest of my life. It cannot be forgotten, if only because it will always remember me in some way. Since I am currently closer to the shadow, I cannot help "remembering" things that never even happened to me -- for example, what it must have been like for my brother-in-law, Steve, that first night, when Aiden cried out "mama" in the usual way.

Crucifixion.

For me, the whole realm of "health" has been permanently invaded by this shadow, so that I can never look at it in quite the same way again, mine or others. You could say that I have simply been "traumatized," but I don't think so. Rather, I think it is reality, a reality that most people must deny in order to get through life.

I have treated many cases of post-traumatic stress, and one thing I always mention to them is that, in a way, their trauma has caused them not to be less in touch with reality, as is true of most mental illnesses. Rather, in a certain way, it has caused them to be more in touch with reality. This is because the denial -- which is a defense mechanism -- which allows all of us to get through the world has been temporarily disabled. Figure and ground have been reversed, so they vividly see this or that danger that the rest of us deny.

A typical example is someone who has been involved in a serious motor vehicle accident and becomes apprehensive about driving. But some 40 or 50,000 Americans die each year in automobile accidents, so the traumatized individual is hardly out of touch with reality. Imagine if the ghouls of the MSM kept a running tally of this "grim statistic" every day, day in and day out, as they do with the war in Iraq. Every day, on every newscast, the lead story would be: "Another day of death and serious injury on America's bloody highways, with no end in sight. Today another 100 people perished behind the wheel, innocent people on the way to the grocery store, or perhaps to a well-earned vacation."

Or what if they kept score of all the murders and other serious crimes committed by illegal aliens in America? Do you doubt for one second that this would have a similar effect on the immigration debate as it has had on attitudes toward the war? You might even say that the MSM is attempting, in its always perverse way, to induce a case of post-traumatic stress among Americans so that they lose the will to fight.

I say this because they could easily cause the opposite emotional reaction if they were so inclined, by showing what the terrorists have done to us over and over again, and with that, keeping a running tally of how many of these evil bastards we killed that day. But they never show what the terrorists have done. History is sanitized of this evil, which in itself is a great evil. It is as evil as teaching about World War II but omitting that little part about the Holocaust and showing only Dresden, or teaching about Hiroshima but not Pearl Harbor -- for the former was a great mercy in light of the unforgivable barbarism of the latter. It was civilization responding with all it could muster to pure evil -- something we are apparently no longer capable of doing because of the creeping spiritual disease of leftism.

For if there is one thing that has always characterized and defined leftism -- and what makes them so dangerous -- it is naivete about human evil. One thing for which I give George Bush credit -- and for which history will eventually reward him -- is for never forgetting the nature of the great evil we are up against. Everyone was traumatized by 9-11, but within a matter of days, the left had already begun manifesting a deeply pathological reaction to the trauma, displacing their reaction from the terrorists onto the West in general, America in particular, and President Bush specifically. And it has not let up since. It is so sick and pathological that one could literally post about it every day.

President Bush lives in the shadow of the evil of 9-11 in what I regard as a healthy and realistic way, inevitable tactical mistakes notwithstanding. To his great credit -- because it brings him nothing but internal pain and external scorn -- it is something he refuses to forget. It is not accurate to say that leftists forgot about 9-11 and went into denial. Rather, they remember it in their own twisted way -- Rosie O'Donnell is the current poster infant -- by displacing their rage onto President Bush, which is just about the greatest gift they could offer our enemies. Now, keep in mind, I am not questioning their patriotism. Rather, I don't think there's any patriotism to question. Democrats would much prefer to hand a defeat to President Bush than to the terrorists. It's not even a question.

I remember when I made the "mistake" of listening the audio of the Muslim savages cutting off Nick Berg's head. I say "mistake," but this is actually something that Americans should have been required to watch, hear, and bear within their psyches. But as far as the Orwellian MSMistry of Truth is concerned, it did not happen. But imagine if the reverse had occurred -- imagine if we had actually tortured someone at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib. They would have never stopped showing it. This is why we can say without flinching that the liberal MSM serves evil and is an enemy of America. Please bear in mind that I am not saying that this or that individual is evil. Rather, I am simply talking about the reality of the institution. It serves evil ends. We'll have to get into their motivations in a later post.

In any event, when I heard the audio of Nick Berg's life being snuffed, it absolutely overloaded my circuits. I suppose you only discover how much reality you are capable of assimilating when you are faced with too much of it at once. I did something I had never done before, in that I spontaneously fell to my knees and muttered "oh my God," not in any kind of rehearsed way, but from the depths of someplace way beyond thought. I was just overwhelmed by the truly unspeakable, unthinkable, and unimaginable magnitude of the evil. In a way, I suppose it was also a very pure experience of God as well, because it came from a place that is way beyond mere concepts of God. Undoubtedly, this is what the account of Christ's passion is trying to drive home. Human evil doesn't get more concrete and "in your face" than that.

To paraphrase our Unknown Friend, it is not as if the Christian God exerts complete control over history from the top down. After all, he himself was crucified in it. Something to ponder. But only for a lifetime.

Which circles back to the only appropriate response to what Cosanostradamus is dealing with. As he said, when it gets close, there is a visceral red gut reaction that comes from the deep, and maybe we are called only to answer it with fierce love and attention to life.

Love, yes, always. But the operative word is fierce -- absolute fierceness in defense of what is good, what is decent, what is beautiful, what is holy, and of all that is worthy of love. We are not supposed to "gently" love great evil, a perversion of the meaning of the words, "love your enemy." Love of evil is not love, but a disgusting form of hate. God hates evil. For humans, hating evil -- again, always with solemnity and sobriety, not the intoxication of the left -- is love in action.

When a great evil occurs -- Columbine, Oklahoma City, 9-11 -- you will inevitably hear liberals who come out of the woodwork advising us to "love" or "hug our children," and all that.

Wrong response. We already do that. Rather, if anyone -- or any global movement -- is so evil that they wish to so much as harm a hair on the head of our children, kill them. Doing so is the height of civilization, because civilization can evolve no higher than our willingness to fiercely defend it from its internal and external enemies. Liberals think fierceness is uncivilized unless they are attacking Karl Rove's motorcade, or fiercely fighting for the life of the predator who murdered the teammate of Cosanostradamus' son.

Only by remembering evil can any good come of it. Conversely, forgetting it is to die of it -- both physically and spiritually.

May a just God remember the victims and never forget the evil ones who prey on the innocent.

102 Comments:

Anonymous georged said...

Amen, amen and amen.

The defense of good requires great resolve against evil. The solemn, swift and sure taking of the lives of our enemies is fully justified to preserve the foundation of our civilization -- liberty.

4/05/2007 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Dr,
Nick Berg.
I’ll never forget his name.
Never.
That moment too, was it for me. Was IT for me.
As a father it forced me to comprehend seeing that Nick was someone’s son.
He was some father’s son.
He was my son.
And that was it for me.

4/05/2007 08:17:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

The two questions I ask all the anti-war pacifists that I encounter are:
Do you really understand the nature of what we are fighting? They always answer "yes".
I then say "I don't believe you do understand" and ask if they have watched any of the beheading videos. The answer is always "no". I then say, "until you watch one of those videos, you'll NEVER understand the nature of what we are up against".
Those videos spell it out completely.

4/05/2007 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow such a long article of prattering and nothing worth while to come of it. Talk about disconnection!

4/05/2007 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, I envy someone like you, who can say nothing in a mere eighteen words and in a single lifetime.

4/05/2007 09:22:00 AM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Bob -

Yes, the story is unfortunately real. Here's the link to the news this morning: Who Is John Delling?

The events as unfolding are even more disturbing than we had imagined. This was one damaged young man who allowed his personal demons to take him down rather than getting the help he needed. I suspect there will be evidence of some pyschotropic drug use before we know the whole story.

Bob, thanks so much for your words. God bless.

"May a just God remember the victims and never forget the evil ones who prey on the innocent."

Amen.

4/05/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Anon,
Seriously. If you were not moved to the side against the evil that did what it did to Nick Berg, why do you come here? …and how with that attitude?
I don’t understand you.
I can only assume you haven’t seen or heard the video or know anything about what happened.
That’s all that could make sense about you.

4/05/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger MizzE said...

A poem for Anon and other Jackdaws:

"Gabble, gabble little Crow
There is something we would know
For we don’t see a reason why
You drop bad luck from out the sky

Silent strutting great big Raven
You seem to turn the brave to craven
We still don't know the reason why
You want to make the orphans sigh

Oh, Jackdaw you eat the dead
So you must have a heart of lead
We'll never know the reason why
You have eyes that never cry

Magpie you deceitful bird
Your voice is so often heard
You deserve to feel true grief
Because you are a wicked thief.

(Trevor Morgan)

4/05/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

Cosa,

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. All I can do is echo the sentiments of the other coons here, who are so much more eloquent than I am at times like this.

"...we are called only to answer it with fierce love and attention to life."

Indeed.

4/05/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Bob:

Again, a very fine post. Thanks

It got me to pondering the seemingly necessary relationship or involution (or something) between trauma (T) & Coonvision (C).

Not that T on it's own must lead to C, rather C seems to be tied somehow to T: "it has caused them to be more in touch with reality" & " denial... has been temporarily disabled"

I'm thinking the key is "figure and ground have been reversed".

Many Coons have spoken about 'events' that spurred their 'development', or in looking back, were some kind of 'jumping off' point, a 'change' from which it's impossible to reverse 'direction'. A Transformative gnosis, as it were.

Does the T reverse figure & ground, or is the reversal of figure & ground itself a 'cause ' for T, or.........?

Too binary, simplistic and flatly one dimensional to account for the whole existentialada of lumin development, but I can 'feel' that the 'relationship' exists.

ok everybody, help me out here.

4/05/2007 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yes, this is true, Bob. I'm reading right now 'Manufacturing Victims' - talks about making stuff worse - creating victims - so certain psychologist types have people to 'treat'. I've noted that getting over trouble is not forgetting it, but neither is it immortalizing it in some expurgation/re-enactment ritual. The prior is the sleep of memory - death of reason - and the latter is idolatry.

I remembered my grandfather (who lived to 93) today by playing his old classical guitar. He was both a painter, artisan and musician. I do not know if he rests with Christ or not, but I hope that he does.

4/05/2007 10:39:00 AM  
Anonymous geckofeeder said...

My heart breaks for the parents and siblings and friends of those boys that were murdered, for Nick Berg, for Daniel Pearl and for the theft of innocent life. Anon's response is shocking -usually I would pay someone that could even say that no heed but
that one so shut down from basic humanity is even here amazes me. Perhaps it is the murderer himself.
I have no compassion left for victimizers.
Thank you Bob for this post. No wonder Jesus wept. Gecko

4/05/2007 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Just found this on MizzE's blog:

"The chief pang of most trials is not so much the actual suffering itself as our own spirit of resistance to it."
... Jean Nicolas Grou (1731-1803)

Very Coonendipitus mythunderstanding

4/05/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Ximeze,
From my experience, the T caused the C.
But only after looking back at the T did I realize this.
In other words, I didn’t notice the ‘conversion’ during T – certainly not the big T’s – and there were some big ones – to me anyway.
Only, looking back now with the C, I see a string of T’s in my life, building up to critical mass.
But, the final straw was when a single piece, may have been the final piece, that was missing linked all the T’s together. And down came the mountain.
That piece happened here and Dr Bob as conduit provided it in the form of making sense of something important that, hard as I tried, I could not make sense of.
It was literally one issue that seemed unsolvable to me was suddenly solved.
Literally one piece.
But it wasn’t T.
And the production of sense happening here at OC – not just Bob – all of you – including O of course – but not the Anons, hasn’t stopped flowing to me since.

4/05/2007 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

And Dr Bob, speaking on the health and strain suffered daily and every minute by our President, I concur.
And to all the Anons out there, he says this to you to, “Bring it on.”
The more the likes of you beat him up, the more he knows he’s doing the right thing.

4/05/2007 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Rather, if anyone -- or any global movement -- is so evil that they wish to so much as harm a hair on the head of our children, kill them. Doing so is the height of civilization, because civilization can evolve no higher than our willingness to fiercely defend it from its internal and external enemies."

Spot on there, spot on.

Ximeze, I suspect that those turning point moments we've all had in some way case us to take an internal double take and see the reality beyond our assumptions. Assumptions set up either by routine, or by something like our idiological expectations. We expect the light switch to be on the wall of our bedroom when we reach for it in the dark, we don't even pretend to look for it. If one night we reach for it but find a hole or the chest of a burglar - that is a thirdeyeopening moment.

The kind of shock brought on by an unexpected tragedy, a murder, a 911, causes you to look past what you expect to see - to recognize that this reality is Real and it doesn't jibe with what you expected reality to look like. Those moments can cause you to re-examine your life, and in that frame of mind something like a SpellCheck clicks on in our thoughts, a ThoughtChecker, and it causes many of our beliefs to stand out vividly clear. Suddenly you are aware how much of what you believe is outlined in bold gut check red.

But once it stands out, it still takes a good chunk of fortitude to examine those errors and work on correcting or replacing them, because the default setting in us seems to be to turn the highlighting back off. As we know from the 911 aftermath, many people let those thoughtchecked notions remain, afterall... they work fine for day to day life, they enable you to continue with your routine without any fuss or muss, as long as things return to and remain routine. For every Dennis Miller & Evan Sayat, there are scores of cowardly Bill Mahr's & anninymices.

It would be a shock to me to see something like the anninymouse creature above actually breathing, eating, smiling - displaying something resembling human behavior. Something which could read Gagdads post today and have that response - it's shocking, and sickening. And he's going to go right on behaving that way, explicitly, blatantly and deliberatly overlaying his expectations upon reality untill something shocks him enough to push them out of the way and actually look upon reality of life. One shudders to think of what more it will take to do so.

wv:tearlcfo hmpf.

4/05/2007 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ricky--

Yes, this is turning the other cheek; leftist appeasement of evil is only an imitation of it.

But as someone said, Gandhi is the most overrated man of the 20th century.

4/05/2007 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

cosanostradamus...

Without minimizing the horror and pain over what happened to your son's friend, the story seems to indicate that the murderer was probably a paranoid schizophrenic. Maybe Bob can shed some light here, but my understanding is that moral culpability is reduced substantially for those who are so delusional they literally don't know what they are doing. On the other hand, he was coherent enough to organize and carry out two homicides...

I'm not sure if knowing this makes all this better or worse. Probably just more confusing.

4/05/2007 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Gandhi:

He only could do what he did because he was up against the British who were human beings. Had he confronted Germans or Russians or Islamists in power over India he would have been dead and buried 35 years earlier.

4/05/2007 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous georged said...

Another thought: While society must (if it is to remain society) exact justice from murderers and its enemies, we as individuals must cultivate a quality of mercy. Christians understand that there is but one Victim and that in order for us to obtain forgiveness we must forgive all men.

May the contemplation of Christ's atonement and his resurrection bring us all comfort as we approach Easter.

4/05/2007 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Cosa:

Reading that article got me very angry, since it's so clear that this guy was Trouble.

It put in mind stories told 20 years passed by an elderly man about the Prussian village from which his grandfather came. Must be 100-plus years ago, by now.

Living in the Black Forest, they had their own way of dealing 'troubled' people that was more, er, efficacious than community service or other lib nonsense.

Rapists would be marched out into the Forest by the 'elders', their weenie nailed firmly to a treetrunk or stump, and left alone with just a straight
razor for company.

Murderers, or those showing signs of being headed there, got the march-out & umm, 'never came back'. Yea, no kidding.

These villagers were God-fearing, very churchy people, who were not confused about the meaning of 'right' & 'just'.
Let's just say, trouble did not hang around very long there.

HOW UNCIVILIZED! you might say.

However, I think it has a certain appeal, barbaric tho it may be.

4/05/2007 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I tend to think a certain amount of T is necessary to truly experience humility and compassion that allows the C to enfold, expand, and enlighten.

4/05/2007 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Smoov:

Personally, I do not believe in "not guilty by reason of insanity," but "guilty by reason of insanity." First determine guilt, decide later if he was insane.

Having said that, the fifty year liberal assault on free will cannot help but lead to more "insanity," since people are relieved of being moral agents if they are taught that they do not determine their actions. This in turn leads to a much more widespread cultural ethos in which those "at the margins" will behave more insanely, and people in general will come up with all kinds of excuses for evil behavior.

Put another way, unyielding rules put everyone on notice as to what is and what is not acceptable. Even if unconsciously, the message gets through to all but the most completely insane -- who should be spotted way before they are as out of control as this guy was.

Just as the victim now has concentric circles of additional victims around him, you can be sure that there are concentric cirlcles of perpetrators, which is to say, enablers, around this one, whether it was his parents, or the legal system, or others. We shall see.

One way or the other, my son will have a "psychic bar mitzvah" by the age of 13, in which he knows that he is a moral agent with free will to choose between good and evil and enjoy or suffer the consequences.

4/05/2007 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Concentric circles -ah, yes. The 'hubs' of dark energy, if you will, little antichrists.

They mimic and pervert Christ's (being as he is, in very nature, God) statement, 'If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me.'

Saint Johnster wrote about 'em a lot. I think Pete did as well.

4/05/2007 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Bob said - "Yes, THIS is turning the other cheek"...and the linked article concludes by saying of President Bush, "He understands that his political enemies are not his personal enemies." An aspiration of mine. Tough to do.

Re: Evil. The way one explains willful evil says a lot about their spiritual beliefs or lack thereof. If there is no spiritual realm, there are no willful evil acts, no evil, nor any source of evil. There are only victims of circumstance. As some here have already indicated, the pressss is reporting that the cold-blooded double-murderer in Idaho was quoted as saying one of his victims had been "stealing his power”. He’s quickly becoming the “poor crazy guy” instead of the willful conduit of evil.

Near the end of his first "blog", Peter warned, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8). That’s quite an image. Strange that he didn't suggest getting the devil in for counseling to determine what trauma he might have suffered as a young troll. Either Pete was full of it, or there was something to what he said. Whatever your interpretation, open-eyed indications are that there is an actual evil force that actively seeks out a conduit – perhaps one like our “poor crazy guy”.

4/05/2007 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Slightly off-topic, but relevant to this week, The Anchoress has a link to a Theodore Dalrymple article I had not yet seen. I don't know what day it was written, but here is a line:

"I confess that I was transfixed by this. It was both terrible and fascinating, rather like a rattlesnake."

Synchronicity strikes again.

4/05/2007 01:11:00 PM  
Anonymous River's Piano said...

By the way, I'm quite flabberghasted - it appears not only has the player been playing OTHER instruments, which is somewhat similar to having many dogs as pets I suppose - he's been playing GUITARS!

They are not to be trusted! Deception, you see, in only having six strings but 120 notes! And duplicate notes?

Speaking of evil, there is clearly a difference between the unruly child banging on one's keys, and the person purposely committing harm...

But then there are folks like Franz Liszt who just broke pianos. He just played at 11 - all the time. Some pianos just couldn't take that kind of powa.

4/05/2007 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Whatever degree of "waking to Reality" that has come my way, seems to have been borne by encounters with Death. This would lend itself to the T--->C formulation. Death, encountered over several years in many forms, did not break, but BROKE INTO my heart, and how I received events and especially other people just changed.

A lot of power in today's post, Bob.

4/05/2007 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Fausta said...

Bob, you have described to the letter my reaction to seeing the WTC fall. The morning of Sept 11 I was in physical therapy because of a car accident (a woman ran her car through a stop sign and totalled my car while I was driving through the intersection). At one point one of the therapists came into the room and mentioned that they said in the radio that a plane had flown into the WTC, so we thought it was a small single engine plane. It wasn't until I was back at home and a friend called me yelling "DID YOU SEE THAT?", and I turned on the TV and saw the first tower collapse.

While I didn't fall on my knees - I actually stumbled on to a chair since my knees didn't hold me - I muttered "oh my God," not in any kind of rehearsed way, but from the depths of someplace way beyond thought. I was just overwhelmed by the truly unspeakable, unthinkable, and unimaginable magnitude of the evil, exactly as you describe.

Two days later was my birthday and at one point that day for a brief moment I thought I was going to lose my mind. I believe that what prevented it was a commitment to the fierce good that you describe.

4/05/2007 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

'Overloaded circuits' and 'fierceness.'

Those are indeed, what motivates the rational man in the search for justice.

More, please.

As usual, oxygen for the soul.

4/05/2007 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

River's Piano - Aren't there actually an infinite number of notes?

4/05/2007 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

GeorgeD said "...we as individuals must cultivate a quality of mercy. Christians understand that there is but one Victim and that in order for us to obtain forgiveness we must forgive all men."

Mark me down as parting company from the flock at that point. I grant no mercy or sympathy for those who would willfully and intentionaly do such an act.

Justice requires that we don't fudge reality, one consequence of neglecting that will be the concentric circles of victims, and those who enabled them, growing wider & wider. Of course you must see that the full Context is taken into consideration, but misplaced mercy is in the end, I think, unmerciful to all concerned.

What you owe your own soul, and those within your own concentric circles, is that you behave, as Gagdad mentioned, soberly and without strident display, not dwelling your attention upon the criminal act or the Just consequence - but crisply seeing that Justice is done and the living of Life goes onwards.

4/05/2007 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Nomo,
That's true, isn't it? while the piano has a finite range of notes (unless, of course, you open it up and hammer directly on the keys like a dulcimer, but I rather suspect River's Piano would find that to be rather violating experience). Oh, the indignity!

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

"...misplaced mercy is in the end, I think, unmerciful to all concerned."

True, Van. In fact, I think it's fair to say that misplaced mercy is one of those good intentions forming a broad highway to the fiery pits.

4/05/2007 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

"Those who are merciful to the cruel will be cruel to the merciful," thy name is leftism.

From the Talmud, but they got it from me.

4/05/2007 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Petey said..."From the Talmud, but they got it from me."

Speaking of which, this and Walt's comment reminds me of something I think came from the Talmud... I'm reading a book by Jacob Needlemen(sp?) (Petey's tin cup should have rattled with coin on the purchase), ugh compactframework 2.0 has pushed the quote from my mind... something along the lines of "You can not write your prayer within your heart, you can only write your prayer to change upon you heart... again and again and again.

Only God can break your heart open and let it in."

ummm... I think I've mangled it beyond recognition. If anyone knows it please correct me, or I'll find it later tonight.

4/05/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Layla said...

So beautifully expressed and written in the sense that it is truth. I saw myself weaved through the many lines and it did bring to tears. Not much brings me to tears anymore - I have been through so much like many here.

From being in the wrong marriage and religion when I was young, to having an autistic child die eleven years ago hit by a drunk driver three days before Christmas. I understood when you spoke about your son's second birthday, the day my son died on is a day every year of bated breathe. I now have another son, also autistic, and this past Dec. 22nd he was 8 1/2 - the same age when my son died. But then I hold my breathe every year on that day. So much, but I will not tie up your space here - leave room for others perhaps less fortunate than myself.

Yes, post traumatic stress syndrome is about having faced a reality I truly would not wish on my worst enemy, and I say that sincerely from my heart.

Thank you for this post. That is why I blog, for my fierce love of good and hate of all things evil.


Thank you.

4/05/2007 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

GeorgeD - God is merciful AND just - as should be the mirror image (unless its a carnival mirror). There are way too many "Christian" carnies in the world already.

4/05/2007 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Layla - powerful words...and a powerful blog you've got - definitely worth spending some time there.


GWOT is dead.
Long live GWOT!

4/05/2007 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Bob,

When you wrote:

But imagine if the reverse had occurred -- imagine if we had actually tortured someone at Gitmo or Abu Ghraib. They would have never stopped showing it. This is why we can say without flinching that the liberal MSM serves evil and is an enemy of America. Please bear in mind that I am not saying that this or that individual is evil. Rather, I am simply talking about the reality of the institution. It serves evil ends. We'll have to get into their motivations in a later post...

a thought struck me rather forcefully that you have probably had, or even written about, before.

I have wondered why the left and the MSM feel the need not only to ignore the reality of the evil we face, but to tirelessly and incessantly harp on the supposed evils of the Bush administration, the evils of our fighting the enemy, and so on. I mean, I can understand writing an article or two trashing Bush if you really dislike his policies, or think he is mistaken, or whatever...But why the obsessive, lunatic and single-minded repetition and insistence?

Is it because Bush is (at least a conceivably) manageable evil? And if one thrashes away tirelessly at this manageable evil, at the very least it distracts one from contemplating that much less manageable evil that -- one knows in one's heart of hearts -- is the real problem, a very, very nasty and frightening real problem.

BTW, I knew I had not the nerve to bear watching that Nick Berg video.

Jamie Irons

4/05/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

9-11 was on a Tuesday, and our business was closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. When we re-opened on Thursday, we were still in a state of shock. But MANY customers came in that day, laughing and joking-around: for them, literally NOTHING HAD HAPPENED! We were stunned by this. It was a very liberal area, but still....

About a week later, 9-11 came up in conversation with a lady customer whose little girl expressed some sort of anxiety about it. "Don't worry," she told the little girl, "They won't hurt us, because we're the GOOD people!"

(Sounds like I'm making this stuff up, doesn't it?)

4/05/2007 02:59:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Van -

Do share the quote, if you get a chance. Which book by Needleman?
(I was around him briefly a couple of times many years ago. Last I heard, he was the head of the Gurdjieff Foundation in California.)

4/05/2007 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Julie:
Thanks so much for the link to fresh Theo Dalr writings.

My beloved thinks he can hide from me, but in reality, he can't help himself, and by his actions reveals himself to me once more.

Forewarned is Forearmed against the inevitable attack of ISS, usually taking it's most virulent form: SCTN (Snort Coffee Thru Nose)

wv: ybrrps!

My brand-new keyboard thanks you.

4/05/2007 03:28:00 PM  
Anonymous georged said...

Van

You should read the first post in this thread.

Of course justice must be rendered but it is rendered by society not by the individual. Christians always seek justice but never vengeance which is just individual, self-willed justice.

This is why a Christian is never "self-sufficient". The Christian can only operate in concert with others of good will and common belief in liberty and a desire to protect it. This is why the Christian seeks to share the good news of the gospel with others. This is the only way that justice can be achieved.

But when a Christian is injured or hurt by others he is never justified in vengeance. In fact, as an individual he must forgive the perpretator of any outrage against him even while he supports and sustains society's efforts to obtain justice.

I find it entirely appropriate that Christian testify in a court of law against the perpetrator of an injustice while ultimately forgiving (emptying out of his heart the anger and hurt received from) the offender.

4/05/2007 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

George:

Respectfully -- not sure, but I believe orthodox Christians will agree that your doctrine of forgivenness is very.... unorthodox. It is never right to forgive someone who has not repented. I would say it falls under the heading of "intrinsic heresy," and is good for neither party.

Furthermore, you have no moral right to "forgive" someone who has wronged someone else. The only person who can forgive John Delling is no longer here to do so. Therefore, he cannot be forgiven, at least by any living human.

For the record, if anyone ever kills me, please do not forgive them on my behalf.

And what do you think justice is but vengeance prudently applied?

4/05/2007 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous georged said...

Well try Romans 12:19-21 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good


You may be Jewish Bob if you believe that the offender has to repent first. You can carry around a spirit of vengeance for a lifetime and never have it satisfied. All it will do will hold you down.

ps I can't forgive anyone except those who offend me.

pps The obsessive desire for personal justice is an infantile characteristic of the left. Mercy is a quality of God. But do take the time to read my comments. I do believe in justice.

4/05/2007 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Well, I guess I'm Jewish, then.

L'Chaim!

4/05/2007 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And since I'm Jewish, are you saying that I must forgive Hitler for the outrage he perpetrated against me and my people?

4/05/2007 05:38:00 PM  
Anonymous sawdust said...

Jamie Irons; Some interesting thoughts. I, too, have wondered if it is really possible that the left really sees the Bush administration as a bigger threat than the Islamic nutjobs who, if given the opportinity, would kill the leftists first. Damned if I can figure them out. The only answer I see is what Bob says, they really do not possess an ounce of patriotism. That's their business, I suppose, but as I see it they are giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and that is my business. As a Vietnam vet, I saw firsthand what the words of people like Hanoi Jane Fonda and Hanoi John Kerry did to our side and for the enemy. They might as well have picked up a gun and shot at us. And to think that the cowardly bastard Kerry almost became Commander=in-Chief! I didn't have to be around the traitor to know that his videos were staged; I've been in combat, and can assure you that no one is taking home movies when the lead is flying.

4/05/2007 05:51:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Bob...great post...you have just exposed the great evil of pacifism. Those who are pacifists of course believe that they posess the higher ground because they refuse to do violence in any circumstance. But in the refusal to do violence, i.e, defensive warfare, they permit and abet evil, therefore making themselves accomplices to it, and therefore evil themselves. Especially galling to me is the Christian pacifist, who of course trots out the familiar verses about turning the other cheek and "he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword", of course taking the verses absurdly out of context as any fanatic using the bible to justify a pre-concieved postition does. But Christ, in both instances, was speaking to individuals, not nations. Never once in the scriptures does God or Christ or Paul call for nations to abandon the practice of warfare. Jesus spoke to a Roman Centurion, a man of war, and had no words of condemnation for his vocation. And read the Old Testament, partiularly the book of Joshua, and you will see a God who not only encouraged but COMMANDED His people to completely wipe out their enemies, men, women and children alike. How could this be the same God that crucified His Son for us, for our forgiveness? Easy. He is a God of "fierce love" fierce enough to wipe out the enemies of those who sought to destroy or corrupt Israel, and fierce enough to allow the brutal execution of His own son to obtain our liberation and forgiveness. Christian pacifists, Jim Wallis, Bob Edgar, put that in your leftie kumbaya peace pipe and smoke it.

4/05/2007 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

GeorgeD,

Your repetitive use of the word 'Christian' makes it seem as if you are something other than members of humanity.

Civilized behavior requires that a political entity(city, state, nation, etc) be one that has a monopoly on the use of physical force, and that it be used according to law. This was what Aeschylus's Orestia was about - the abandoning of blood vengeance of individuals to the shared action of the community under a Just and Reasoned body, such as the courts.

This was 500 years before there were Christians. It is the defining characteristic and requirement for even calling your civilization a civilization - without this you have nothing but tribes and regular outbursts of tribal slaughter.

Without getting into the strictly Religious contributions, Christianity brought an invaluable new recognition of the value of individuals as Souls of equal value and worth - the street sweeper being of equal stature before God with that of a King. And as Gagdad has been bringing to light over the last couple years, the ever fruitful depth and values inherent in a true understanding and faith are manifold.

If you've been keeping up with the comments, as I thought you had, you might have noticed that I have been keeping up with this thread, and many others as well. As with most benefits of Christianity, and religion in general, the true value is how it guides you to heal and expand your own soul. Of course attaching and dwelling upon an injustice is hurtful to yourself (and probably to those close to you), and you should resolve the issue within yourself and with your God as soon as you are able.

That does not, however, include posturing that you have attained to Godlike posturings of feigned "forgiveness" the person that can look upon a child molester who has murdered their child in a most heinous way and pronounce "I Forgive you and pray for you" disgusts me in the extreme.

(I'm hoping back and forth between helping my wife's nursing study group put together a powerpoint... if I seem more terse than I intend[almost always seem to], sorry - just hurried ;-) )

4/05/2007 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Walt,
I'll dig the quote in a bit...

4/05/2007 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thank you, Tsebring. Perhaps I am some sort of Christian after all. I always assumed that the Master's excellent spiritual advice about turning the other cheek was in the micro, not the macro context, with the intention of helping people let resentment go and avoid being consumed by petty tit-for-tat. It has never occurred to me to forgive bin Laden just because it is might make me feel better. That strikes me as narcissistic, not moral. We're supposed to feel bad about bad things. Otherwise we won't be motivated to seek and restore justice.

4/05/2007 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Walt,
While I was helping on the powerpoint, my let our 18yrold borrow my car (!) and the book is in my car!

Sorry, I'll put it up tomorrow...

4/05/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Bob,
Most obliged, my friend. So many of my fellow believers totally fall for the Jim Wallis-Tony Campolo brand of leftist Christianity and pacifism that I sometimes despair of anyone ever really understanding the true nature of God and the true story of the scriptures. Two of the greatest hymns ever written were about Christian warfare; "Onward Christian Soldiers" and the Battle Hymn of the Republic (Glory Glory Hallelujah for those of you in Rio Linda). Robert E. Lee, even though he fought on the wrong side, was one of the noblest warriors America has ever seen, and he was an avid Christian. Yes, I know, there are the Crusades, and the Inquisition, and the brutalization of the Americas by the Spanish in the name of God, but to me these are not the best examples of Christian conduct in warfare,but are some of the worst. But of course the secular pacifist left trots those out as examples of how violent us Christians are. And the Christian pacifist left feels that familiar leftist guilt and vows to do better. I believe we in the US began to lose the stomach for war when the intellectual left began the takeover of our institutions in the 60's, and our government and media in the 70's, using their newfound power to undermine our traditions and faith and sow their peculiar kind of intellectual anarchy that weakened our resolve in Vietnam and now Iraq. I would to God that we could have revived in us that "fierce love" that drove us to win independence from Britain, defeat the Mexican invasion of Texas, defeat a rebellious secession, defeat Spain, defeat Kaiser Wilhelm, defeat the unspeakable evils of Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo, and keep South Korea free. I distinctly remember two days after 9-11 one brave writer at Newsweek, in a last page editorial, called for an outpouring of "purple rage"; that, in the face of all the pathetic wallowing and calls for forgiveness from the pacifist left. When I saw the Tshirts that came out, with pictures of bin Laden in crosshairs, I said to myself "that's more like it". We should not be afraid to be angry and to seek justice. God tells us to "be angry, but sin not" (and that's not out of context; in Ephesians chapter 4 Paul is talking to the church about personal conduct). I remember feeling that purple rage about 30 minutes after seeing the towers fall on TV, and I dreaded all of the pacifist prattling I would inevitably have to endure for the next many months; I was of course not disappointed. But to see Bush stand on the rubble and promise the terrorists that we were coming to get them was a great moment in American history for me. It said to me, "wow, maybe this time, with the right man at the helm, we can do this right". I hope to God I am not ultimately wrong. I'm a Christian, Im angry at my enemies, and not ashamed of that. Bring it on.

4/05/2007 07:04:00 PM  
Anonymous georged said...

Lot's of talk about theosis here but when someone tries to model a godlike quality (even just a tiny tiny little bit) they get a put down.

In fact the tenor of this thread is decidedly leftish. The Hitler comment is a classic for a leftist to make. You can find it at Huffington Post 100 times a day.

The real problem here is that we don't seem to agree on what forgiveness means. It does not mean taking away someone's accountability for their actions. It doesn't mean becoming their good buddy and telling them that everything will be okay.

It does mean that we will not allow them to be a road block to our happiness and that we will not bear the burden of the grief they have caused. But heck, if we forgave people (in this sense) we might have less need of psychologists and whoa that may not be such a good idea.

4/05/2007 07:04:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Georged:

There's something really bothering me about the tone of your comments, tho I can't quite put my finger on it.

Perhaps it's the flavor of pedantic, holier-than-thou, speaking for Christians, do-do-this & don't-do-that, that sets my teeth on edge.

Or how life-forceless & desiccated the version of the GoodNews you present is.

Is this meant to attract newbies to the Gospel? Become a Christian & be like this?

Gosh, no thanks!

I can hardly suppress the urge to shake you, to tell you to stop it & to get over yourself.

Guess I just could not keep it in check after all & am more like the coon you trapped in your attic: noisy & nasty, still hungry & snarling to get out, if only to get some fresh air after being suffocated.

4/05/2007 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

One of Petey's tin cup links caught my eye, the name of the book is Why can't we be Good?, by Jacob Needlemen. I would guess him to be liberal but not leftist (occaisionally a trace of PC but then usually comes back to questioning it later), and honestly thoughtful, at the very least I enjoy arguing with his books (what my kids called my commenting all over the margins), this one has had some very insightful points, and very little arguing. He brings in Socrates, Rabbinic Judaism, Christianity Mystics, Marcus Aurelius, his philosophy class and events from his life into considering how it is we know and don't do what we know to be good.

4/05/2007 07:13:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Early this morning someone disguised as "anonymous" proclaimed today's post "A long article of prattering and nothing worthwhile to come of it."

I disagree. Having followed it all day, and chewed it thoroughly, I thought that folks left very touching and thoughtful parts of themselves; plus, of course, what Ricky earlier called "the production of sense happening here at OC." Brings a feeling of what Bob referred to as "deep pleasure," and of gratitude for all your help.

4/05/2007 07:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...when someone tries to model a godlike quality (even just a tiny tiny little bit) they get a put down."

And now a whiner to boot.

4/05/2007 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

George:

Disagree. Forgiving just because we want to avoid "road blocks to our happiness" takes it out of the moral/spiritual arena altogether, and into the therapeutic. Besides, forgiving evil is no road to true happiness in the long run, but a recipe for the evil ones to rule. I mean, how did that work out for the Dalai Lama? He hides out here, in the US, where we fight evil and leave the forgiving to God.

Also, you brought in the Jewish question, As a matter of fact, I do adhere to the Jewish idea that forgiveness can only be granted to one who has truly repented , or else the forgivenness is morally worthless. My mention of HItler is not an example of "Godwin's law," but was a good faith question to you. Either we should forgive everyone, or we shouldn't. So should Jews forgive HItler?

4/05/2007 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

georgeD
I actually dont have that much of a problem with the premise of personal forgiveness of wrongs done to us on a purely individual level. Unforgiveness can, if left to fester, degrade our mental and physical health in very real ways that have been well-documented. But at the same time I have no condemnation for someone who hates the murderer of their daughter by a molestor, and hates the liberal judge that let the creep out the first time. Not hating them for who they are, but for what they've done. On the surface,I greatly admire the Amish who chose to forgive the man who shot the girls in Nickel Mine, PA, but I wonder; are they forgiving because they truly want to, or because their creed says they must? If they are just pronouncing forgiveness out of duty, when it's not really in their hearts, then they are living a lie. Fundamentalist religion, of any stripe, often forces us to do that. To deny anger is as much a sin to me as letting it loose in harmful ways. It's a sin of dishonesty, which of course the left are experts at. I would rather be free to express my anger, and even see violence done, for the sake of justice and the cause of good. But of course if you are a moral relativist and dont believe in good and evil, this does not register with you, and the only people you hate are those who disagree with you; that kind of hate is not just, but evil and irrational. One of the reasons I love the works of Tolkien and Lewis so much is that there is no trace of moral ambiguity like there is in most Hollywood movies (with the exeption of the Star Wars films); evil is evil, good is good, and evil must be defeated with great violence, at all costs, because the alternatives are just not acceptable (like they are with Reid and Pelosi). I could go on and on about the nobleness of warfare as illustrated by Tolkien, Lewis and Lucas, but most of us have seen the flicks and read the books, being proper coons. Sorry, have to go; got to watch my Rambo movies :D

4/05/2007 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

GeorgeD said "if we forgave people (in this sense) we might have less need of psychologists and whoa that may not be such a good idea." Oh come on George, getting a bit beneath you, don't get your nose out of joint.

I was a bit startled by you first 'forgiveness' comment, coming after your first comment, and so maybe we do have a disconnect on forgiveness.

Your second comment "we as individuals must cultivate a quality of mercy. Christians understand that there is but one Victim and that in order for us to obtain forgiveness we must forgive all men.", doesn't seem to me to fully jibe with your last one. Particularly "... in order for us to obtain forgiveness we must forgive all men." If anything sounds leftish, that does. Perhaps just a quick comments choice of words.

BTW, are you trying to say that any mention of Hitler is verbotten in non-leftist discussion? There's a difference between discussion of, and calling someone the dreaded "N" word and calling down the net's Godwins law.

4/05/2007 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I was going to try to ignore this, but I'm afraid I'm not up to the task: "...but when someone tries to model a godlike quality (even just a tiny tiny little bit) they get a put down. "

To me that comes across as just so prissy & holier than thou and... whiney! It's not the attempt to "model a godlike quality" that get's knocked down around here, it's the phony puffery that accompanies it.

And just what the heck does it mean to "model a godlike quality"? It's not the same as trying to be virtous, or asking to be forgiven, it has more of the Tony Robbins "PowerTalk! Model Excellence and BE a Wealthier you NOW!" ring to it. Pretense & Puffery... sorry if I'm off base, but that whole tone just galls me, and it's not because you suggested self improvement, focusing on spirituality, striving to be more virtous... it's because it so clearly conveys the impression that whoever you are addressing certainly fall far short of those aspirations.

Grumphle-umpish hurumph.

4/05/2007 08:04:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(um... virtuous) ... I meant virtuous ... and also... oh the heck with it)

4/05/2007 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger LukeBlogWalker said...

I suspect that the left, is akin to the terrorists for a simple reason, which was stated by Osama himself. The permutations of which, give us the blindness they have with respect to the evil.

"You love life, we love death.."

-Luke

4/05/2007 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Guess I could have saved the typo's by saying "ditto what Ximeze said".

You try helping a room full of nurses with powerpoint, see how forgiving you feel then!

4/05/2007 08:12:00 PM  
Anonymous georged said...

I guess we don't agree on what forgiveness means. Hitler was evil and denying that he was evil is evil.

Many Jews seem to have left the concentration camps and moved on with their lives. They prospered, had families and made contributions to the world and regained much of what they had. Conscious or not I see this as an act of forgivenss. (If you stay stuck on words then of course you won't yield me the point.)

I am told that some Jews retreated into themselves and never did much after the horrific experience of the holocaust. I can hardly blame them. I can't imagine what I would have done in the same circumstance. But they denied themselves something that people in their own communities experienced.

Instead of happiness they carried Hitler around on their backs all the rest of their lives. Hitler beat them. The others beat Hitler and poured hot coals on him.

4/05/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Jamie Irons and others baffled as to the thought processes (?) of garden variety leftists, Evan Sayet, comedian and former writer/consultant to Arsenio Hall and Bill Maher, offers insight. He's a former lefty, and has recently given an explanatory speech on this topic before the Heritage Foundation. Video of his speech is currently linked to on several conservative websites.

It's as GB has said: black is white, up is down. The interesting part is the mental gyration required to get there.

http://sayetright.blogspot.com/

4/05/2007 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Instead of happiness they carried Hitler around on their backs all the rest of their lives. Hitler beat them."

Reminds me of the story of the master and the young monk who come across a beautiful woman unable to cross a stream. The elder Master without missing a beat lifts her and carries her across the stream, sets her down and continues walking. Some while later, the younger monk, incensed at the thought of the Master touching, holding, carrying a woman... the impropriety! He tells the Master how upset he is, and the Master says "I put her down miles ago, why are you still carrying her?"

That is the sense of what I'm talking about, which I would describe as coming to grips with the fact that there is nothing else you can or should do about a matter at present, and just letting it go. That is a matter of coming to grips with a situation, resolving to leave it behind you and continuing on with your life.

I see that as very much different than the dictionary definition of forgiveness as being "the act of excusing a mistake or offense".

"Conscious or not I see this as an act of forgivenss. (If you stay stuck on words then of course you won't yield me the point.)"

I suppose we are stuck on the words there. I think there is a large difference between ceasing to dwell on a matter, no longer allowing it to have a hold on your mind and spirit. That is the state you describe with "Many Jews seem to have left the concentration camps and moved on with their lives."

I don't think they forgave the nazi's, they just chose to let it go, to no longer let them have a hold on their souls. I don’t think one spends years in Aushwitz and excuses it as a mistake or offense.

This isn't a case of "forgive us our tresspasses, as we forgive those that tresspass against us". The idea that you should feel forgiveness for any and all offenses, that you can somehow force yourself to a state of sincere forgiveness for acts of deliberate evil, is I think faulty at best, far more like self deception or even a deliberate con.

4/05/2007 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Layla,
The powerpoint I was working on tonight for the nurses was on autism. Watched & pulled clips out of several interviews with parents & their autistic kids. I can't imagine what it means to go through that, I tremble at even the thought of it. My heart goes out to you.

(and yes, that is quite the blog Kayla has)

4/05/2007 09:52:00 PM  
Anonymous ned said...

I agree with what you are saying on the whole, but the important thing is to realize why all of this darkness exists in the universe in the first place. Sri Aurobindo reminds us that this darkness is there to teach us that our self-righteousness is nothing more than a pretentious impurity. And the Mother tells us that the "Adversary" is undoubtedly necessary for the perfection of the universe, as is the touchstone for gold. One has to be very careful when setting out to destroy evil and ask oneself if one is doing so to bolster the false self, or truly doing it as a slave of the Divine.

Do I advocate pacifism in every single situation? No, of course not. If someone is trying to rape me, I'm going to kick and scream and hurt him as much as I can to allow myself to run for my life. Of course there will come a time when humanity will be ready for pacifism through and through, and war will become obsolete. Until then, however, what Sri Aurobindo tells us is to practice detached self-defense. Not gratuitous violence, but conscious defense of the dharma, which will involve much more spiritual warfare with adverse forces than actual physical warfare. To feel empathy for an enemy and share their pain even as one finds oneself forced to slay them -- this is what truly spiritual warfare would entail.

Where there is physical warfare, it always reflects our own inner conditions, and this must never be forgotten. The war on terror is to be fought inside our own hearts, for that is where the real battle lies.

4/05/2007 10:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Isaiah said...

Well, I'm with george(d) on the subject of vengeance. The gospel of Christ is quite clear on the matter.

Don't go by anything the old testament says about vengeance. That was a previous gospel and was made obsolete by Christ.

Just do as Christ says and you'll be fine. Depart from it, and you aren't Christian anymore.

So what's it gonna be, coons? There's no waffling on this issue.

4/05/2007 10:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Another Bob said...

I am afraid I'm going to have to
tarnish my image and weigh in on
this forgiveness thread.

But first my point: there is
forgiveness and there is Forgivness, if you catch my drift.

Just as there were cargo cultists in Melanisia that believed that they could get good stuff if they earnestly practiced the outward appearances and actions of the Allied troops, there are people who
advocate forgiveness under any and all circumstances in order to demonstrate to others that they are
"spiritual" (and also hopefully get
"good stuff" -- like a new car or a ticket to heaven).

There are also people who are genuinely led by Spirit to Forgive.

It should be obvious the first batch is behaving on an horizontal ego axis.

The second is directed from the (genuine) vertical Spirit axis.

Years ago, although I was not Catholic, I became friends with a
priest. He told me that I could
try to forgive people from my ego,
but it just wouldn't stick, and I would have to continually revisit the situation. And that it wouldn't help to "fake it until I could make it."

On the other hand, if Holy Spirit led me, the Forgiveness would be
complete, and amazing things -- such as friendship where there once
was fiendship -- would take place.

Now, I can honestly say, I've done
both.

It would be a complete waste of time for me to "forgive Hitler".

If Spirit led me, I might resist, but would eventually "Forgive Hitler."

Now I will confess that I am not
inclined today to ask Spirit
to lead me to specifically Forgive
Hitler. Maybe that's a flaw in me.
I'll ask Him about it (the flaw).

Someone has reminded us that God has announced that vengeance is His domain. I have heard people argue on that basis that we should just lay down and die. I realize what I'm about to say is a very tricky area: Does anyone suppose that God ever invites any of us to share in or carry out that vengeance? What
about self-defense ?
The answer, I think is that He has
already told us that there is a
season for everything, including
war, so there is a proper time for
self-defense and for vengeance.

God is Life. Laying down and dying is not life.

Those who quote (or paraphrase) the
Bible are cautioned to remember
Matthew 7:21-23
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'


It's late. I hope someone can
understand what I wrote.

-Another Bob

4/05/2007 10:13:00 PM  
Anonymous wickedpedia said...

I agree with Ned. Aurobindo's book "Essays on the Gita" makes the definitive case for detached action against evil, and I highly recommend it.

"Vengeance" is not really a valid spiritual concept at all; it is only an impurity of the ego. Action against evil is best carried out with a calm and joyful heart, the same as any kind of work.

Murderers should be locked up or killed not for vengeance but simply to neutralize the threat, much as one would shoot a rabid dog.

No need to get all righteous about it.

Eventually everyone stands before the Lord to account for their actions--that's when the real punishment starts. We don't need to hate or torture killers, just confine or eliminate them and let the Lord have his way with their souls.

4/05/2007 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous rambo said...

Eh, Wiki, sounds like my kind of philosophy, kill em all and let God sort em out.

4/05/2007 11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

I've been absorbing today and being refreshed in spirit. Thank you, all coons.

Anotherbob, I think you are pretty much on the money on the forgiveness issue. Christ, as he was being crucified could forgive all who know not what they do, because he utterly sacrificed himself to effect that result. It was the most astonishing act ever. My own feeble attempts at forgiveness, lacking such conviction, are meaningless in comparison, regardless of sincerity . Any attempt to forgive without identification with his sacrifice, like the priest said, won't stick.

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. So is Forgiveness, I would say.

Can I forgive a person like Delling or a Hitler? No. Let me rephrase that: Hell, no. I'll do whatever I can to prevent them or their ilk from doing anything like that ever again. Forgiveness doesn't lock them up and throw away the key.

Can God capital F Forgive them? That's His domain, where I fear to tread, but he paid the ultimate price so if that's his will, so be it. If he sends me the memo telling me to do the same, well then I'll be on my knees for a long while pleading my case.

4/05/2007 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

father's cassock black
mourners mount the churchyard stone
rain. communion. tears.

4/05/2007 11:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

Walt: About a week later, 9-11 came up in conversation with a lady customer whose little girl expressed some sort of anxiety about it. "Don't worry," she told the little girl, "They won't hurt us, because we're the GOOD people!"

"It can't happen here
It can't happen here
I'm telling you, my dear
That it ca-a-an't happen here
Because I've been checkin' it out, baby
I've checked it out a couple-a times, hm-m-m
But I'm telling you it can't happen here
Oh darling it's important that you believe me
(bop bop bop bop)
That it can't happen here"
--Frank Zappa

4/05/2007 11:44:00 PM  
Anonymous sehoy said...

It was in September, a few years after 9/11, that it came to my attention that ministers/priests were asking their congregations/parisioners to "forgive the terrorists for flying the planes into those building and killing innocent people."

I was appalled to hear that. We have no right to forgive crimes that were not committed against us.

I was told that I had a "hard heart and a lack of forgivenes" for taking this stance.

It was through the working through of this, that I realized why I had been unable to forgive my dad all these years. Everybody kept asking me why I couldn't.

I suddenly realized it was because the injustices he had committed were not committed against me, but against my younger brother.

It wasn't until I went to my brother and asked him if he had forgiven our father, that I was finally able to let things go.

I had no right to forgive my dad, as the crimes had not been committed against me, but at the same time I could not let things go until I knew my brother was okay with the situation.

It was at this point that I was able to write the poem below. [appologies, I am not a poet]
It's about how scared I was of my dad, growing up, but it's also about those very misogynist terrorists flying those planes that day.

To be completely honest, these terrorists we are fighting, scare me sh**less, because of how much they hate women. I am terrified of misogynists.

That any woman could embrace the Islamist's stance and/or put on a headscarf out of deference to these terrorists outrages me.

And it outrages me that our religious leaders are encouraging weak, deferential stances towards evil, as well.


My Dance Macabre

I am a cow
scared sh**less
crazed and blundering
down the blind chute
I smell the blood and the fear
I hear the ka-thunk of the nail gun
the panic
the scrabbling of hooves on pavement
Circumscribed by brutal death
Raging death
I hope to God
I die
kneeling in my garden
clutching a handful of earth
and not in the air
with a boxcutter to my throat.

4/06/2007 01:24:00 AM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Excellent post, Bob!
I have absolutely no empathy for evil.
What has a greater chance of vaquishing evil (insofar as we are capable), forgiveness or fighting it?
For I cannot forgive something I'm willing to fight against.

Justice demands that we fight evil not forgive it.
Mercy demands that we accept true repentence.

4/06/2007 01:52:00 AM  
Anonymous georged said...

The slam on the Amish is typical leftist cant. These people practice a pure and simple religion and questioning their sincerity in forgiving the murderer and maimer of their children is something I would more likely find at Huffington Post.

Conflating that with some form of tolerance for murder and violence is also a great evil. Had the murderer not taken his own life it would have been right and proper for the Amish to give testimony against him in court and for him to have been executed. Real forgiveness isn't excusing the crime. It is refusing to harbor bitterness and resentment even when justice would permit one these feelings.

But if anyone needs lessons in Christianity look to those like the Amish who practice it not those who talk about it.

4/06/2007 02:55:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

I think it helps to remind ourselves that we do see through a glass darkly. But we can in fact see.

Of course, one of the aims of evil is to reduce people to despair. Even if one is not personally affected by evil, the very notion of a world in thrall, in one way or the other, to evil can be cause for despair.

The frustration of seeing a world acquiesce in evil, of seeing evil-do-ers free to do their little mad frolic while justice goes unserved - this can be hard to bear. Very hard.

But the spiritually-minded can know (with the knowing that the worldly will never understand) that the forces that are aligned with us are much greater than the forces of opposition. It surely doesn't seem that way at times, but it's the truth.

We should always make the attempt, but there's just so much we can do to bring justice to a world full of evil-do-ers. We should, among other things, remind ourselves that those who commit/enable evil will pay a terrible price, ultimately.

I really believe that ours is the chaotic age in which the spiritually-minded are to be tested as to how well their faith, their sense of the transcendent will sustain them.

4/06/2007 03:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ned--

We'll have to agree to vehemently disagree on your interpretation of Sri Aurobindo. Much of what you said is either distorted ot flatly untrue.

4/06/2007 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Bob, GeorgeD, et al, I think what is most commonly taught is to forgive the person to yourself ('Forgive them, for they gno not what they do') but hold off offering the forgiveness to the person until they have repented.

If you offer 'no condemnation' it must be done for the purpose of changing someone's heart. 'And I condemn you neither. Go and leave your life of sin'. But Christ of course, knew that she was already 'sorry' - i.e. aware and repented of her sin - and the act of forgiveness in that sense turns the repentance into understanding and faith.

Thus 'That which you loose on Earth will be loosed in Heaven, and that which you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven' I think is how it goes. (Sorry I don't have the scripture numbers. I'm just pulling these off the wire.)

In other words, it is admissible and possibly beneficial morally for individual jews to forgive Hitler individually and personally, But this forgiveness does not 1. Justify the person's acts or 2. Require that the person receive knowledge of their forgiveness.

I think this reflects God's grace which is, God is awaiting to give it to us, but we must accept it. In many cases, one ought to have forgiven the person receiving it before it is given them...

But this, again, does not mean that the person you forgave is no longer your enemy, and they are certainly still responsible for their actions if they involve the state, economy, community, family, etc.

In this state, justice is far more solemn (no less fierce hopefully) and calculated, and less passional and subject to whim.

PS - morally speaking, we may say, "I/we were prepared to offer forgiveness, but it was not ready to be received. The only person who remains to condemn this one is themselves."

True metanoia takes a real T->C process.

4/06/2007 04:32:00 AM  
Anonymous walt said...

Jacob C -

That you chose that verse as "illustration," and that I not only recognized it, but could hum along, says something about both of us.

4/06/2007 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

ssehoy: You cannot falsely bear a cross. Public forgiveness for unrepented crimes is in my book, a crime in and of itself. Especially if you/the group involved was not part of what happened. In such a case it is an example of the compassionate impulse going overdrive and overrunning both lawfulness and good sense.

If Jesus forgave sins it was for specific purposes. God, and we, are not forced to offer forgiveness.

If there is anything Auribundo might be suggesting, it is this personal forgiveness. But to break the law of necessity because it makes you feel more 'moral' or 'like a better person' is hooey.

What you are doing in this case, which is why it must involve you directly, is you are letting go of bitterness towards that person - which of course first involves DEALING with it. (It must be real.) We don't let the 'root of bitterness' grow.

What I'm trying to say is, private forgiveness is beneficial, but full reconciliation requires repentance. The link must be real and not imagined, and the 'law which bringeth death' is not repealed, but fulfilled.

To suggest that a state may no longer execute criminals is to repeal the law of necessity, or, to wit, overturn reality as such. Our liberty exists within this necessity (as Christ, bringer of the law of liberty existed within the framework of Judaism, which was the Law of Necessity.)

Its like, forgive, but do NOT forget. The act and its memory only truly sleep when they are fully reconciled. For the Jews, this will be, probably, never. Which is to say, God willing we will never forget the evil of the Holocaust, so we may never repeat it...

4/06/2007 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hopefully I made it clear what I mean? 'Letting it go' should never mean justifying sin.

4/06/2007 05:06:00 AM  
Anonymous River's Piano said...

Infinite number of notes?

Pish-posh! What good are notes if you can't find the ones you want to play?

That's the very heart of the piano, my friend.

And besides, it is quite nice to be able to play as many notes as you can reach ...

Plus, the tension of over 176 strings (usually more..) is the force and potential of music, if only in a physical metaphor.

4/06/2007 05:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Sal said...

Bob- I'm speechless. One to remember and refer to.

Thank you, and the commentors.

In all the years since 9-11, the explanation that the left displaces (right term?) its anxiety about terrorists and the threat they are not just to life, but to the idea that actual evil doesn't really exist, onto a non-threat like Bush, has made perfect sense.

What I wonder about is how anyone could look at the competing evidences and reach their conclusions.

On 9-11, after the initial sight of the planes hitting, I couldn't think of anything useful to do other than go on about the day, so I did. There was the thought that almost became a cliche later: "if we don't do whatever, the terrortists will have won". But it was more in the spirit of a memorial to the victims, if that makes any sense.

4/06/2007 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

It's interesting to see how the comments have developed in this thread, the assumptions assumed.

First where did vengeance come into play? It came up as an assumed stance of the 'opposition' comments, but no one here advocated vengeance. Seeing that Justice is done in accordance with the law, is not vengeance in any way shape or form, it is a basic requirement of maintaining a civil society.

Forgiveness itself is a term that is interesting to see people responding to. As I said, a person should seek to come to terms, to release an evil acts hold over them, to not succumb to allowing their thoughts to dwell upon it.

What I dislike is the preachy, showy public assertions and cajollings of 'forgiveness' which, I think, have little or nothing to do with any meaningful sense of Forgiveness. I think such doings fall under the quote from Matthew 7:21-23 that "...Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"

BTW, I don't think there was any 'slam on the Amish', leftist cant or otherwise, someone used the Amish as a point of departure to question about others sincerity. What ever the Amish my be (also not a slam) preachy, showy public assertions and cajollings are not something attributable to the.

Perhaps we have two understandings divided by a common word. Interesting.

The quote I was seeking earlier I did truly mangle, and it covers two pages in the book, but to pull out the essentials:
"Hear O Israel! The Lord our God the Lord is One. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day: place these words upon your heart: ANd thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up...' And the pupil asls the rabbi, "Why are we told to place these words upon our heart? Why does it not tell us to place these words IN our hearts?... the rabbi answers "because we are unable to place these words in our hearts. All that we can do is place these words upon our hearts... Our hearts are closed. All we can do is to place these words UPON our heart. And there they stay... until one day the heart breaks... and the words fall in."

Perhaps that applies to our two interpretations as well.

Good to hear from you again WIll.

4/06/2007 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Killing a murderer (on behalf of the Law) is an act of mercy and has great benefit for their soul. "A life for a life" is the price tag, and if they pay at the exit, their soul is vindicated on that particular account.

I don't think this is particular to Christianity; it is not exactly spiritual rocket science. Ask your own God or whatever inner authority you have and see if it is not so. Coddling murderers is like helping a shoplifter sneak out of the shop without paying - he may like it but you assist in tarnishing his soul.

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

Really good to see a discussion on forgiveness that considers the perspective or angle-of-vision in the array.

In group discussions with parolees, it is discouraging how often one hears the sincerely-aggrieved "They haven't forgiven me yet! They should forgive me!" The narcissist can seize and merchandise any idea, however sacred.

I was very moved by the morally immense response of the Amish to petty fatal incoherent evil. It seems to me a rich mixture of psychological and spiritual authenticity -- the evident grief, the kindness to the criminal's family, the plowing of the school (what a metaphor).

The victim has the right (and obligation to his Vertical self) to forgive. The law as representative of the state needs to act with clear and passionless application of the laws. Perpetrators and even bystanders have little right to dictate positions on any single event, IMO.

The legal precept of "standing" is the simile that underwrites this approach.

4/06/2007 07:06:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

In support of will's point: "Fret not thyself because of evil-doers" and keep personal distance from them, whose actions hold the seeds of their own destruction. That will take us a long way.

4/06/2007 07:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Will said "... the forces that are aligned with us are much greater than the forces of opposition..." Absolutely, reality is and those in line with it literaly have the entire universe on their side.

"We should, among other things, remind ourselves that those who commit/enable evil will pay a terrible price, ultimately." Not only will pay, but ARE paying a terrible price. Wrenching your being out of alignment with reality, with Truth, with the One Cosmos... whether or not they admit it, or even are aware of it... what they have removed from themselves is immense.

My problem with the issue of Forgiveness is the issue of excusing the offense. When we are speaking of issues above the level of routine tresspasses, dealing with evil acts - eventually I can let them go, but excuse them? That seems to close to condoning them to me....

4/06/2007 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger J. Peden said...

Thanks for another excellent discourse, Bob.

I guess I can't resist retelling what I think is an apropos 9/11 anecdote:

9/11/2001 was the 14th birthday of one of my daughters. She was getting ready to go to school when she first heard on the radio of the planes going into the WTC, the details of which were still not clear.

So she went to school, the details emerged, and I wondered with some apprehension how she'd respond to the whole thing.

When she got home I was relieved and really quite stunned to learn that her dominant response to the attack was that she was very irritated - particularly because some teachers had gone to pieces, cried, etc., and this kind of behavior she did not see as "adult".

She was the adult. She saw the situation basically as a problem which had to be dealt with in an adult fashion. So she didn't need a belittling displacement-hug, either.

[It would be nice if Faux Liberals would somehow manage to become adults. But we know that aint gonna' happen.]

Now she's married to a Marine who recently finished his second tour in Iraq. He didn't join because of 9/11, as far as I can tell, but he did join after 9/11. Due to some other circumstances, I actually don't know him that well. I simply trust my daughter.

[But I have now come to know my son-in-law's father, and he is an outstanding individual, i.e, we think alike.]

All of us, as adults, don't want to forgive or forget, we want to act - to defend and protect, to confront and live life.

The Lefty Children really just don't like life. Small wonder they identify with Islamofascists, eh?

4/06/2007 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Dilys said "The victim has the right (and obligation to his Vertical self) to forgive. The law as representative of the state needs to act with clear and passionless application of the laws. Perpetrators and even bystanders have little right to dictate positions on any single event, IMO."

Does anyone know what the original Greek was for 'Forgiveness' (and was there one word used for in each context as the English 'forgiveness is?), and how well it corresponds with our English word? (LukeBlogWalker?)

Well chosen links Dilys.

4/06/2007 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Bob,
I have been waiting in vain and pleading for my pastor to tell the truth like you just did. He is black. The only time he expresses deep anger is when discussing some injustice of capitalism. So it must be the leftist influence. Nary a word about the beheaders.

4/06/2007 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fine series of comments to come across along with of course the Gagdad post as we near the anniversary of the murder the courageous Fabrizio Quarttochi{"I will show you how an Italian dies'] .Thank you,A straight nonMarxist

4/07/2007 12:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Sal said...

other, other Bob
Don't have that problem with our pastor. He's from India and has no illusions about Islam.

4/07/2007 05:57:00 AM  
Anonymous sehoy said...

river cocytus, I don't understand your point to me and I'm concerned, as well, about the extra sss's in my name in responses to a post about snakes. I think you very much misunderstood me.

I thought I was agreeing with Dr. Bob and the majority of the coons here.

sehoy [one s]

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

ps maybe you were just restating what I had said?

sehoy [still one s ;)]

4/10/2007 05:12:00 AM  

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