Sunday, April 29, 2007

On the Uselessness of Freedom and the Impossibility of Truth

Since American style liberty was conceived primarily in negative terms, it is either unappreciated or wasted by anyone without a spiritual grounding. In other words, our political liberty is not fundamentally "freedom to" but "freedom from," specifically, from the coercion of government. However, at the same time, if it is only freedom from, then it can quickly descend into mere license, or nihilism, or anarchy.

I apologize to those who are offended by my use of the term "left," but I use it as a shorthand to designate any philosophy that conceives of our liberty in the opposite way -- as freedom to -- say, to get an abortion, or to be paid a "living wage," or to receive free health care, or to "marry" your homosexual partner. These are not real freedoms, if only because they involve coercion of someone else. For example, a "living wage" simply means that the government must force someone to pay you more than you are worth, while "free" healthcare simply means that you want to force someone else to pay for it.

Likewise, the absolute "right" to abortion can only be grounded in a metaphysic that maintains that human beings are literally worthless. The absurd outcome for the leftist is that human rights are more precious than human beings. For the leftist, the right to abortion is sacred, while the human being to whom the right is owed is of no more value than a decayed tooth. But stranger beliefs can be found on the left, the reason being that it is fundamentally rooted in the absolutization of the relative, which is the essence of the absurd.

By the way, when I discuss leftist philosophies, I am not trying to be insulting, but simply as accurate as I can be, so I don't know why anyone should take offense. It is simply a fact that if you believe you are entitled to free healthcare, then you have a very different philosophy of freedom than I do or than the American founders did, for you believe that your fellow citizens should be forced by the federal government to pay for your healthcare. Likewise if you believe it is appropriate for the federal government to make it against the law to be racially colorblind, then you have a very different conception of liberty than I do. As Dennis Prager says, I am not interested in agreement, only clarity.

I am hardly offended if someone simply describes my views accurately, so I don't really understand why leftists don't feel the same way. For example if you express the truism that Democrats wish for us to surrender in Iraq, they go ballistic. They seem to have a fundamental difficulty in simply saying what they believe in a straightforward manner. It's not really a mystery why they are so deceptive, for if they came out and said what they believed, they could never get elected. For example, if citizens are actually given the choice, they are overwhelmingly against the idea of a few elite judges redefining the fundamental unit of civilization, marriage.

In any event, assuming we have the "freedom from," what is freedom for? This question is at the heart of classical liberalism, which has a very different answer than any illiberal leftist philosophy. Again, I do not quite understand the incredible hostility to me that is expressed by various leftists, new-agers, and "integralists" (I actually consider the latter two groups to be more or less the same -- integralists are simply new-agers with a superiority complex, or "new-ageists").

For example, the so-called integralists commonly express anger -- even rage -- at me because I am not "integral," meaning that I do not integrate left and right.

But here again, this is an utterly incoherent philosophy because it absolutizes the relative, placing "integralism" above truth. In other words, I do not consider it a sophisticated philosophy that maintains that integrating truth and falsehood somehow leads to a higher synthesis. This is not integralism, it is merely incoherence.

Here's how one new-ageist describes me, and it is typical: "Godwin is a neocon of a particular nasty variety, his blog basically a place where he spurts acid at the much-demonized 'Leftists,' who are at the root of all of the world's problems.... Godwin's vitriolic hatred is to the point that he seems a borderline personality."

Since the writer puts "leftists" in scare quotes, one can only assume that he does not believe they actually exist. On the other hand, he calls me a "neocon" (without the scare quotes) while never defining the term. I personally do not believe it means anything. Rather, it truly has become a term of abuse for anything leftists don't like -- like the word "fascist."

Do you see the writer's projection? I precisely define the term "leftist" and describe why I think it is a dangerous and destructive philosophy, while he simply tars me with the meaningless term "neocon" in order to demonize and dismiss the substance of my ideas.

And I can only assume that the writer is innocent of any psychological knowledge to recklessly hurl around the diagnosis of "borderline personality."

Elsewhere, the writer suggests that my "war against Leftism" is simply a "shadow project" representing an unconscious "hatred of where [I] once came from." Not only that, but my ego is "too densely opaque" to consider other points of view (which contradicts the first charge, since I obviously had to consider other points of view in order to slowly evolve from left to right; likewise, if I were to believe the same things I did 25 years ago, it would indeed constitute a kind of dense opacity).

Amazingly, the writer then suggests that our philosophy is "not that different from radical Islam, actually, where non-believers are infidels." So now I am a genocidal maniac who wants to murder people with whom I disagree. Again, who is doing the demonizing? Who is filled with hatred? Who is "spurting acid?" Come to think of it, who is taking acid? And can I buy some? Er, not for me.... it's for Dupree.

Finally, there is the ultimate incoherence, the inevitable passive-aggressive "namaste" that always follows the "fuck you": "Anyways, thanks for the engagement. Even if we disagree on many things, and in spite of some seemingly harsh words, I appreciate many of your views and your overall offering."

"Seemingly" harsh words? Yes, I appreciate your hateful, egomaniacal, acid-spewing, demonic, psychopathological, and genocidal offering! Namaste, dude!

I don't get it. If I am what he says I am, there is nothing to appreciate, and it's pretty weird to call it an "offering." He would be entirely justified to run away from me in the opposite, er, complementary direction.

The sloppiness and incoherence of this writer's mind is somewhat breathtaking, but again, from what I have seen, this is "par for the course" among so-called integralists. I have never read one integralist who is as angry at any leftist as they are at me. One would think that if they were truly integral, then they would either embrace my philosophy and integrate into theirs, or their anger would be split 50-50 toward leftists and classical liberals, but clearly it isn't. Show me the integralist who rages at Al Gore, or Al Sharpton, or Hillary Clinton, or Ralph Nader, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or the U.N., or radical feminists, or the liberal media -- who truly demonizes them in the way they demonize me, and I will eat my $95 genuine coonskin cap, even though it will break my heart to do so and will deprive me of certain mystical powers.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled pogrom. When I use the word "left" or "leftist," I mean something very precise. If it does not apply to you, then you needn't get angry. Rather, just silently say to yourself, "I don't believe those things. The B'ob is not talking about me. Therefore, I'm in the clear. I am not being demonized."

Here is what a classical liberal believes, and it is very different from what the secular leftist believes: knowledge of absolute truth constitutes the mind's freedom. Therefore, if you adhere to any philosophy that maintains at the outset that transcendent truth does not exist or that man cannot know it, then freedom also cannot exist or it is meaningless. There are people who believe this. I call them leftists because that is what they call themselves.

It is fashionable for a certain kind of shallow thinker to say that they reject labels, and that their philosophy cannot be reduced to left vs. right. Oh yes it can. The spatial image of left vs. right is actually helpful, for if you survey the history of philosophy, it can be seen as a sort of stream that split in half with modernity, each side going its separate way. You can conceptualize the split in many ways, but it ultimately comes down to realism vs. materialism, or transcendence vs. immanence, or absolute truth vs. absolute relativism.

And you cannot -- you cannot, for it is strictly impossible -- integrate absolute truth with absolute relativism. Therefore, you cannot integrate the philosophy of deconstruction (which the above writer calls the "good news" of postmodernity) with absolute truth.

On the other hand, you can do what intelligent minds have always done, which is to integrate partial, relative truths into the whole, in light of the transcendent absolute. But what you cannot do is throw these relative truths together and imagine that you have integrated anything, or that their sum constitutes the total truth. No one engaged in "deconstruction" more than a Moses Maimonides, or Meister Eckhart, or even Saint Augustine, but they always did so under the presumption that it is simply a tool for arriving at a deeper truth, not a thing in itself -- not the ultimate reality.

Once it is forgotten that knowledge of truth constitutes the mind's freedom, then we will no longer know what either word means, for freedom in the absence of truth is absurdity, while truth in the absence of freedom is hell.

To be continued.

113 Comments:

Anonymous Alan said...

Great post. I had hesitated noting for the umpteenth time the leftiness of integralists after reading the latest excerpt from Wilber's upcoming book on Integral Politics.... and you nailed it today in all respects.

They have taken what was once a great "descriptive" system and tried to make it "prescriptive". However, the only way to keep the prescription "integral" and still have a unique shtick is to absolutize "integral" - which is relative. A catalog is not a Bible.

"integralists are simply new-agers with a superiority complex"

Read Integral Spirituality or any of the excerpts from Integral Politics (google "holon integral politics" - look for the pdf "The many faces of terrorism") and know the accuracy of Bob's statement.

4/29/2007 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Yes, but where can Smoov obtain one of these fabulous $95 pure coonskin caps?

4/29/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The real thing.

For coons of more modest means or with more common sense.

4/29/2007 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous petey said...

PS--

Probably goes without saying, but no one wears the sacred coon face cap but I, the Grand High Exalted Mystic Ruler.

4/29/2007 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Should you want a concentrated dose of leftism in action--so as to better understand Bob's core points--you could look at this:

Bill Maher Psychologically Analyzes President Bush

Yup. It's that obvious that Bob is 100% correct about the Left.

Note that this video clip will seem completely rational to the leftist, as can be gleaned from the accompanying comment:

Bill Maher may not be a doctor, but his diagnosis of President Bush is pretty damn accurate.

To everyone else this will seem like what it is: a rant by a truly stunted human being suffering from five-alarm BDS.

4/29/2007 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob,
I hope Pajamas picks this up…and AT.
It’s perfect for them.
Freedom from vs. freedom to.
Crystal clear and brilliant.


Along the same line of thinking, RE the article Dilys linked to a little while ago about language, the left uses certain words differently than, well, we do.

When I first visited here I was (mildly) shocked by the frequent use of the word evil (frequent to my standards at the time). Particularly when describing leftist thought, actions, etc. I eventually realized that the term is used differently here. We use the word evil to also describe, say a direction-heading, as well as the way that they only use it – which is to describe someone that is purely evil or the Devil. Similar to using, say, BusHitler.

Actually, they don’t tend to use the word evil or Devil if at all – but they think they know what it means.

So when they come here, any variety, from the Default Lib to the Moderate to the Fully Entrenched Leftist, they think we are placing them in that singular category, and straight to their core it insults, infuriates and just can’t be accepted. And we are doing that, to a degree but to varying degrees. I can understand that reaction. I mean, I was a lefty lib ounce and I was not indistinguishable from Hitler. If you were talking to me then, and said evil, I’d consider hitting you.

But that’s just not fully understanding the meaning and also not fully realizing where the path you may be on actually leads. Even if you’re only at the beginning of that path, even without realizing it, it’s still a bad path and it only leads to one place. Get off it while you can.

Bob’s not throwing acid, as he says, just being precise. Because there’s no wishy-washy, feel good way to describe the dangerous path if it’s a dangerous path.

4/29/2007 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

petey:

I know my place.

I do think I'm ready to graduate from my 'Coons do it with dexterity! T-shirt to a real cap, though.

4/29/2007 09:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Ring-tailed Rascal said...

Fellow pelt-wearers,

And now for something completely different.
I tript over this blog last night.
I think this scientist may be onto something:

Another Missing Link

RR

4/29/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Sean's Pen said...

Bob is puzzled by the soft-peddling of aggression after the fact done by leftists. However, it is the correct attitude.

Verbal sparring is, at its core, a game or a sport, not a real thing. It is "mu" in the words of zen, or "lila" in the words of Yoga. The take home is--you attack, you spar, and when its over, you bow to the honorable opponent and go back to your corner.

To do otherwise is to fall for the premise that the interaction has any real significance, when it most assuredly does not. It is "mu."

To hate the opponent is a wrong movement.


Namaste, Dude.

4/29/2007 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Fuck you, dick.

4/29/2007 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Dan Hole Boonies said...

Please do not wear raccoon skins. The animal has to be shot, skinned, etc. For what? Your vanity? How do you think God will react to that when you reach his throne to talk about your life?

Now, about that coonskin cap, He'll begin...

What will you say? What can you say?

4/29/2007 09:32:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Bob,

Did you ever make an executive decision as to whether or not these would be allowed at the next convention.

Earth Coon
Face
and
Tail Caps
These good lookin' Coon Face Caps are made of earth fibers rather than real coon fur. Even the tail is made of acrylic pile. This should please the animal rights lovers.


If I remember correctly, the motion presented by Cuz to ban anyone wearing them had been tabled at the last meeting. ;^)

4/29/2007 09:32:00 AM  
Anonymous troll commander said...

The Troll Commandments

Look for the following:

hypocrisy
hate
ignorance
fear

Purge these from yourself.
Then purge them from the opponent using all means at your disposal.

You have your orders. Move out.

4/29/2007 09:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wilber's work is a magnificent map of Eastern and Western maps of Formless and Form. But it seems that too many Wilber fans are obsessed with only the Form side of Wilber's work and forget about the Formless side.

Wilber said that in order to escape from prison, we need a good map, and AQAL theory is one of the best maps on samsara. Instead, integralists are trapped by the beauty of the map and elevate samsara (relative) above nirvana (Absolute).

Godwin's position is that any philosophy/worldview/religion that denies or distorts the Truth of the Absolute is utterly evil.

Islam crams Absolute into a 14th century, blood obsessed soul-corrupting ideology; modernists deny Absolute by elevating objects of sensory perception as the only Truth; postmodernists put Ego above Absolute by saying that everything is relative and everything is subject to egoic whims and desires (you create what you think!).

Esoteric, orthodox, spiritual traditions have a magnificent and time-proven power to wake us up to the Absolute nature of Reality that even a work of a genius like Wilber cannot match.

Integralists dismiss traditional religions as antiquated and pre-modern, not suited the the needs of the postmodern human beings. But what they forget is that Wilber recommends us to choose a traditional religion, one that has been time-proven to work, as opposed to finding a 21st century, bleeding-edge innovative teacher, who often turn out to be so light-weight and useless.

Classical liberalism is founded in Christianity. Its main foundation rests on God; its philosophy is to manifest that divine revelation in the human world, particularly in economy and politics.

The first step upon improving a tradition is to keep everything, for every little trivial detail contributes to the synergistic wholistic power of the tradition.

Any secular ideologies or philosophies that tried to improve Christianity and classic liberalism made one fatal mistake, which was to throw out God. No matter how logical or impressive their philosophies sound, in the end their works rest on a sinking ship for day one.

Instead of fixing the foundation, they try to force the rest of us haul the water out of the ship and to prevent us from jumping overboard to escape by legislating more taxations, regulations and stupidities.

Instead, if you want a classic example of how to do this right, look no further than Sri Aurobindo.

The ultimate benefit of AQAL theory by Wilber is that it's the most comprehensive map of the relative out there. The ultimate downside of AQAL is that it somehow seems to put the Formless and Form on the same pedestable, even though I am sure that was not Wilber's intention.

How many integralists submit themselves to the rigors of the spiritual traditions? Really?

Godwin's point is that Unknown is ultimately the ground of the Known, much more important and vital; hence any secular theries that forget this Truth is doomed to failure, and Leftist ideology is probably the worst and most destructive one out there.

I for one am grateful for being shown the evilness of Leftist through Godwin's book and his blog.

YB.

4/29/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous kung poo said...

The trouble with that, troll commander, is that when all those troll virtues are purged, one is no longer a troll and your minions are dispersed to the wind.

4/29/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For those like me with nothing better to do, you might appreciate my new Finetune setlist, consisting of artists unfairly denied induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. These are just off the top of my head, and I'm not saying that each one is among my favorites -- for example, the Moody Blues -- but fair is fair. If such medocrities as Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Blondie, and AC/DC are in, then such luminaries as the Raspberries, Nilsson, or Zombies should get their own wing.

4/29/2007 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Dan hole boonies,

God himself had to fashion clothes for Adam and Eve after their Fall. Go find out what He used.

(Heck, I didn't even know God had a knife.)

4/29/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous davey C. said...

DanHole,

You ever et coon?

4/29/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Sir Te said...

bob, I have a couple of questions if you care to elaborate. First, can you tell me which individual Classical Liberal philosopher(s)thought and wrote the view that "knowledge of absolute truth constitutes the mind's freedom."? I do not say that with the presupposition that there is no such person(s) but that in my ten years studying the history of philosophy I can't recall anyone saying precisely that. Also, even if there were one, or some, Classical Liberal thinkers who believed your stated proposition, do you have good evidence that all of them did? If you do, what is that evidence?

In regards to your puzzlement over people who identify as being on the left getting upset at your characterization of Leftism I would point out to you that there are many who consider themselves as on the left and who don't believe the things you ascribe. It seems you would reply that they don't understand what they actually believe. This is[or is perceived as] arrogance on your part. You assume you are more intelligent than, or at least more able to understand the minds of, your interlocutors. This is probably sometimes true, but it also sometimes not true.

One last question, it arose from something you said a few days ago about property and relates to what you said today about the connection between what you call Classical Liberalism and the founders of the United States. Locke wrote of the inalienable rights of life, liberty and property. Jefferson, in the declaration of independence, used Locke's phrase but changed it to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am not asserting that Jefferson was anti-property[clearly he wasn't since he owned not only property but people as well] but I am interested in what you think was behind his changing property to pursuit of happiness.

4/29/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Namaste, dude."

"Fuck you, dick."

Am I the only one who sees a double standard here? For the sake of coons everywhere, I certainly hope not.

You have a penchant for looking into a mirror and seeing someone else's faults. That you can't acknowledge this is what makes you often sad or scary, depending on how much wisdom accompanies the anger in your post on any given day.

When you yourself admit that it's like "standing under a waterfall with a bucket", it's time to pull your head back in the window and go ask the driver exactly where this bus is headed.

You are a fine man with many fine ideas. Please, I encourage you to take a break from the public, interactive process of the blog and go back to your book writing. The darkness of your nature is outshining the light.

"Namaste, dude."

"Fuck you, dick."

I would prefer my way of putting it, because in discussing spiritual matters of this nature, the form is the content. In other words, I am not just dealing in denotative statements but connotative statments that make a direct appeal to one's nous. This truth must be "seen," not just arrived at discursively or expressed just "any old which way."


––Gagdad Bob, 1 year ago.

4/29/2007 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about the transmogrified html link. it previewed as:

You have a penchant for looking into a mirror and seeing someone else's faults.

4/29/2007 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

I thought I was just being ironic, but I realize that irony is lost on the left.

4/29/2007 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous pipi longstockings said...

Anon.,slow day eh?

4/29/2007 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sir Te said...
bob, I have a couple of questions if you care to elaborate. First, can you tell me which individual Classical Liberal philosopher(s)thought and wrote the view that "knowledge of absolute truth constitutes the mind's freedom."?"

How about: You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

Ring any bells, "smartypants"?

4/29/2007 12:09:00 PM  
Anonymous veritas et al said...

Looks as if the mow-ron transmogrified the entire comments section.
Wherever I go, there I am.

4/29/2007 12:11:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

anon:

In other words, when someone calls Bob a demonic, genocidal, acid-spurting, hate-monger, and then says, "it's just a game, dude. Namaste!," then by his own definition, saying "fuck you" back to him is just more clever verbal sparring, get it? Or are you really from Rio Linda?

4/29/2007 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Stop it!

Okay, GB, the addition of the visual was just too much!! Even so, this post was particularly elegant and elucidary. (Is that a word? It should be!) I think it will be a benchmark for further forays into the heavenly storehouse of daily bread.

Sir Te, an intersting rejoinder regarding property. Fellow Raccoons, here's a tasty tidbit that should prove much more satisfying than a troll-bashing.

Aninny-mouse, just...wtf?

4/29/2007 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Dupree, you shoulda fixed that html link atrocity. Left it up to a girl to do the heavy lifting. Sheesh.

4/29/2007 12:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But, I am a fellow raccon, aren't I?
I try to be nice and come here under different nice names like, anonymous, friendly troll, drive-by whatever. Please let me in the club, I know I can change Bob if you just give me a chance, I know I can. If I can just get him to stop listening to his friends everything will be okay. Please?

4/29/2007 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please Joan, Please?
If I can just get Bob to see it my way and stop talking to his friends the world will change for the better, I know it will.
Can I, Joan, can I? Can I please be a raccon? Please?

4/29/2007 12:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty please with suger on top?

4/29/2007 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Anonymous, I see you are unfamiliar with our peerage or titles of ascendency. We should grant you a boon to attain the Place where we are, were it in our power. Alas, young one, I hold not the Power or Place that you seem to seek. That belongs to an Other.

In the meantime, see to your html skills, and go in peace. Or to pieces. It concerns us not.

4/29/2007 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

leave it to the troll to lower the vibratory rate....
bang your highchair elsewhere dude.

4/29/2007 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

So if anonymous is polynymous, how will we know when anonymous is synonymous with the polynymous troll? I mean, anonymous could be polynymous or anonymous might be just anyone! Gets confusing.

(at least you're amusing)
;)

JWM

4/29/2007 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

bang your lowchair else-
where, but on your way out be
sure to namaste!

4/29/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Oh, really, this is getting too far from the original Unisex One Cosmos launch. How about Alice Cramden's housedresses as an option? If you remember the Ur-texts, she and Trixie made far more sense, warning and bailing out the guys time after time, than Norton and Cramden. Club hats. Please.

As to "freedom from" as the grounding for productive "freedom to," see Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright. Too much good stuff to quote, and resolutely non-"spiritual," but shows how ordinary utility and prosperity replicate and expand when they are allowed to. Without having to go, like, all warm'n'toasty "everyone is goo-oo-d," nonetheless moral progress is possible. Eccentric, cross-grain to the plodding saturated moral vocabulary that can give religious practice a bad name, lots of anthropology and game theory, I'm enjoying it. Just FYI.

Today's Gospel was John 5:1-15, the healing at Bethesda. The theory-bound not-very-grateful recipient was quite the treat. When asked do you want to be healed? rather than saying yes, he
1.  Complained that he wasn't getting enough help;
2. Took a quick apparently habitual dip in the envy pool; and
3. In the end, ratted out his benefactor.
In the wake of Bob's Shadow Commandments, his story is mighty instructive, a kind of Where's In-Love-With-Misery Waldo for the ages.

The subject's political affiliation was not disclosed.

4/29/2007 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Dilys pointed out:

1. Complained that he wasn't getting enough help;
2. Took a quick apparently habitual dip in the envy pool; and
3. In the end, ratted out his benefactor.


I've only ever heard one other wise person point this out, adding that the victimology had totally consumed the man so that the simple question of, "do you wish to be healed?" became just another platform for his bitter disappointments.

Saying that, I would caution anyone who has never suffered chronic debilitating pain and also suffered the magical faith prayers by well-meaning "angels" stirring the still waters of the suffering soul, to refrain from any harsher points of view.

And yet, we work out our own salvation in fear and trembling. Some folks need an army of healing events before they "get it". Thankfully, God's arm is not shortened, his mercies are new every morning.

4/29/2007 02:14:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Re-reading the post:
That's "borderline borderline borderline" to you, bub.

"As Dennis Prager says, I am not interested in agreement, only clarity" reminds me of the delightful clarity from (EO) Fr. Alexander Schmemann, "The criterion in Christianity is not 'help.' The criterion is truth." A sort of Good Bad News. I have a feeling this "There are Two Ways" distinction pattern could be developed at some length...

4/29/2007 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

I read the comments at the linked blog. "Proudly pre-integral" is the first thing that popped into my head. :)

I'm not nearly as intelligent as most of those people (or the folks here, either), but it sure seems to me that postmodernism is an affliction whereby people lose the ability to think.

When he went on about the "haves" (and by implication, the "have nots" that the current administration's policies have supposedly left behind?)--in light of your recent commentary on envy, which surely he has read, I have to wonder if rational dialogue is even possible with a postmodernist. He totally justifies logically fallacious reasoning. Ad hominem attack is acceptable, because we are all subjective, whether we recognize it or not? I really don't get it (being pre-integral...maybe that's why). How can one even enter debate, and call it that, when one's entire process of reasoning is built upon fallacy? It's like talking to someone who's changed or distorted all the definitions of the words you are using. You end up talking "at" one another, not "to" one another. How can dialogue possibly take place in a postmodern context when postmodernists deliberate confuse all the issues?

I subscribe to the idea that "there is nothing new under the sun" anyway. It's all been covered before. God did a pretty thorough job of that in His word. :) "They became futile in their thinking and their foolish hearts were darkened."

4/29/2007 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Susannah--

You're much smarter than you think.

4/29/2007 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

sir te said "First, can you tell me which individual Classical Liberal philosopher(s)thought and wrote the view that "knowledge of absolute truth constitutes the mind's freedom."?"

Your question assumes that people have always argued about there being something such as Truth being opposed to many independent and truths. They haven't, not in that way at least. When Plato argued that property should be communal for ownership and for use, he did so in order to prevent people tearing the community to pieces over questions of 'mine' and 'not mine'.

Aristotle argued in his 'Politics 1. 8–11', that property should be owned privately because “that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it”. There was never any question as to whether property existed, whether people could know it, or whether there could be any confusion over whether one person could know a different truth than another, and somehow invalidate the idea of One Truth altogther.

Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica, argued that private property rights were legitimate within natural law, that there were orderly principles that governed the functioning of nature. He saw that common ownership sowed inefficiency and was disharmonious, costly and a cause of discord. He even argued that for humans to perfect themselves spiritually, they needed to have the security that was provided only by the legal recognition of ownership.

John Locke In The Second Treatise on Government (1690), Locke argued that property rights existed with or without gov't - it was inherent in the nature of Man in Nature. That it was a responsibility of gov't to recognize that these rights were derived from the obviously 'natural rights', such as the right to one’s own life and liberty.

Within all of that, the idea of Truth existing, of Absolute Truth absolutely existing, is so implied and inherent in every aspect of it, it would to them have been absurd to state what only an idiot would question. It wasn't until the seeds planted by Descartes and weedifying through Rousseau, Kant & Hegel, that people became silly enough to question the obvious in such a way.

"I would point out to you that there are many who consider themselves as on the left and who don't believe the things you ascribe. It seems you would reply that they don't understand what they actually believe. This is[or is perceived as] arrogance on your part. You assume you are more intelligent than, or at least more able to understand the minds of, your interlocutors. "

I think you confuse factual identification with intelligence. Gagdad made it pretty clear the basis for the attribution of Leftist, taking as their "Free to" rather than "Free from" as justification for applying gov't force. Thomas Sowell's book "A Conflict of Visions" makes an excellent investigation into the opposing world views of 'Progressives' (leftist) and (Classical) Liberals. There is no arrogance involved in seeing the obvious basis of the leftists thought and actions - only in taking offense to it.

Jefferson did not originally write "life, liberty and the pursuit of property". Those ideas were common currency among the colonies and the founders, and did not require him to establish them among them, furthermore 'property' and 'happiness' were in no way seen as in conflict with eachother. Jefferson was writing an inspirational declaration, a motivation for the Colonies to recognize their position, and the uniqueness of it, and why it should be exalted and carried forward, that required something more than a statement sounding like a brief on horizontal law, it required Vertical inspiration. Locke showed the rightness and necessity of gov't upholding life, liberty and property, Jefferson was after rhetorical lift with the motivational Why of it.

Though Jefferson was angry at the edits done to his drafts, notably the removal of direct denouncements of slavery, to the best of my knowledge, there was no change of property to happiness - either by commitee, or himself. I've seen this asserted before, mostly in libertarian docs, but I think it is only an easily made assumption, not a fact.

Aninnymous asked "Am I the only one who sees a double standard here?"

Yes.

Little time this weekend for commenting - work overflow, tournaments, and Senior Prom have done with nearly all semblance of slack - barely having enough time for reading - but thoroughly enjoying it still (Posts and weekend).

4/29/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

JWM said"... So if anonymous is polynymous, how will we know when anonymous is synonymous with the polynymous troll?"

It really doesn't matter, as with the ultimate leftist dream, they are all an interchangeable Borgian same. Not worth much other than the somewhat amusing troll shoot - kinda like plunking cans off a wall.

4/29/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Susannah said "How can one even enter debate, and call it that, when one's entire process of reasoning is built upon fallacy?"

You can't, which is what Joan has been trying to tell me for some time - it's just that I enjoy plunking cans off a wall.

P.S. Is someone told you that "not nearly as intelligent as most of those people", they made a really big boo-boo.

4/29/2007 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

sigh. Sorry for all of the missing words & typo's. I'll stop pretending that I have time to do more than four things at once now.

What was Walt saying about wise people not hurrying...?

4/29/2007 03:07:00 PM  
Anonymous dloye said...

From the comment count, it seems I may not have been the only one who begged off the end of the ten commandments of nihilism. But the effort seems to have revved you up to new heights. Really a wonderfully lucid post.

"Freedom from" and "responsibility to" belong together. I'm finding myself increasingly appalled at what passes for discourse. Freedom from thought and word police also implies some responsibility to string words in meaningful ways, and not indulge in the pseudo thinking and writing that comes from slippery, ill-defined words. How refreshing when writing is to a purpose. Thanks.

I'll forgo the $95 club cap, but you're in no danger of having to try to digest it.

BTW, I can comment from Explorer, but not from Firefox. Any clue what that's about? (Really I'd rather you not say "use Firefox more often!")

4/29/2007 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

sir te, one last thing that popped into mind, you said "I do not say that with the presupposition that there is no such person(s) but that in my ten years studying the history of philosophy I can't recall anyone saying precisely that."

How does your "ten years studying the history of philosophy" jibe with your being, as you said in your first comment on the eigth commandment of nihilism: "...someone who is a democratic socialist, an Agnostic, has no possessions, other than two sets of clothes and two books, of my own, is envious of of no one, is deliriously content and happy, is ethically rigorous[which means that my existence creates little to no harm to any life forms other than perhaps the bacteria I kill when I wash my hands and the rare animal that died for me to eat], and brings happiness into the lives of those I know and meet?"

Maybe you have two really big books, or live under the porch of a library, but it just seems a bit unlikely to me.

4/29/2007 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Wrong version perhaps? I use it myself and have not had any (serious) issues like not being able to post.

Also, you could just get the Nifty IE Tab Extension and not worry about compatibility issues...

Good stuff today. I think it is important to precisely define what we are talking about - and neo-con is one of the ultimate red herring terms of all time.

I think Jonah Goldberg once did an article on 'What does 'Neo-con' mean?' but I'm not gonna search for it. Nonetheless, the best he could do was boil it down to three possible meanings, which is to say, it is at best an imprecise term, and at worse simply an insult.

I would define a leftist as: "One who views the idea of transcendent or anterior truth as an absurdity."

Alternatively, you might say, "One who considers that there is not one truth but only many competing 'truths'."

Whereas one might consider a 'Rightist' one who believes that there IS an anterior, transcendent and/or unified truth.

In this sense, a classical liberal is a sort of 'Rightist', being that liberty in the classical liberal mind is founded on truth. This truth must be, of course, true, meaning of the One truth, and as based on opinion as much as necessary and as little as possible.

It is only fitting that in turning away from the idea of Rightness, these souls would be deemed, "Leftists".

4/29/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Sir Te said...

van, I spent ten years in Academia studying philosophy, mainly the history of philosophy and comparative philosophy, but for the last two years I have been living with friends and family, a little here and a little there, and so I have since found it easiest to have very few things to carry around with me.

I once had a great many more books and access to a huge University library which, ironically enough, I did live next to for a year. All that remain of my collection now is Tao Te Ching and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

4/29/2007 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Te: I would much prefer a common book of prayer or psalter and a bible.

Bob is puzzled by the soft-peddling of aggression after the fact done by leftists. However, it is the correct attitude.

Verbal sparring is, at its core, a game or a sport, not a real thing. It is "mu" in the words of zen, or "lila" in the words of Yoga. The take home is--you attack, you spar, and when its over, you bow to the honorable opponent and go back to your corner.

To do otherwise is to fall for the premise that the interaction has any real significance, when it most assuredly does not. It is "mu."

To hate the opponent is a wrong movement.


Namaste, Dude.


Utter foolishness. There are rules of engagement in all forms of combat, and to use hateful words but deny they are used to convey hate is to debase them.

And to do so always marks yourself a 'dishonorable opponent' - meaning that your enemy can and probably will use any tactic he sees fit to use to overcome you.

Thus:

"Fuck you, dick."

I'm going to grant that you're simply ignorant of this, never having truly been involved even in a simulation of combat.

4/29/2007 03:47:00 PM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

Uh, um, ah, well, I read, then re-read the snarky exchanges and analysis. I really want to drill down, distill the answer to the question, "What the heck is wrong with those people?" 'coon responses are so polite, measured, Mr. and Miss Manners charming. Usually eliciting a slow, peaceful smile from me as they build. How much of their humanity has been lost when something as innocuous as cutting the grass would compel them to engage another human being in this rather silly word game thingy. Proof of how clever they are? This was a good one, I suggested exposing Future Leader to Latin and Greek through Mass, nothing more. This hater popped, Latin as their first(?) language, talk about acid spewing. Wondered who else they hate. Sorry 'coons, I just can't tear myself away from my age old, tried and true retort - "You haven't had your ass kicked enough have you?" to these folks. I'd wager they keep their mouth shut when intersecting the misguided(me, you, ya know who)in public. Just a guess. ;~) !

Rebuilt the old toilet today. Extremely vertical experience. It's a conservative toilet(circa 1950), everything goes when you flush unlike a liberal water saving toilet. Very unlike a socialist EU toilet that has a poop catcher shelf so you can use it in your garden. On the morrow ......... ;~) !


PS Joan? I had Gordon, Johnson and Kenseth in my pool. Matt wasn't much help but I will get paid. ;~) !

4/29/2007 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

sir te said "...but for the last two years I have been living with friends and family, a little here and a little there..."

I guess it's a good thing that your friends and family don't have the same approach to possessions, eh?

"I once had a great many more books and access to a huge University library which, ironically enough, I did live next to for a year. All that remain of my collection now is Tao Te Ching and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. "

Interesting choice of books... I think I would have picked differently, but they'll surely keep you smiling, and you could have done worse... such as most of the philosophy books you seem to have studied.

4/29/2007 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

Glasr said:
"Sorry 'coons, I just can't tear myself away from my age old, tried and true retort - "You haven't had your ass kicked enough have you?" to these folks."

No need to apologize, Glasr.
I like that phrase!

4/29/2007 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

My last comment unnecessarily snarky? Problably, sorry, gorgeous sunday afternoon outside and I'm inside working (commenting on compile times) = snarky.

ok, wv is getting out of hand:pjfnwiqd

4/29/2007 04:24:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Van,

It sounded spot on to me, keep up the good work!

4/29/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Sir Te said...

van, I don't dispute what you said about all of those philosophers' thoughts on property. But I didn't ask a question about what any of them thought about property nor are any of the people you mentioned other than Locke Liberals in the Classic sense.

What I specifically asked was about the proposition "knowledge of absolute truth constitutes the mind's freedom."

Locke's views on property do not seem particularly relevant to his relation to the above proposition.

What is relevant would be his thoughts on the limitations of Reason and Truth which can be found throughout his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.

It is hard to see how the statement "knowledge of absolute truth constitutes the mind's freedom" can be interpreted out of Locke's empiricist epistemology.

I don't mean to condescend, though I don't know how to avoid it, but you have a very mistaken conception of the history of European philosophy, at least based on what you said about Locke, Descartes, Kant, Rousseau and Hegel. Whatever book(s) you read that gave you the impression you have I would avoid in the future.

One example; You suggest that Locke had a more solid position regarding Absolute Truth than Descartes or Hegel. This is wrong and any competent Philosopher will tell you this. I imagine that you don't understand Hegel[very few do] and that Descartes' methodology of initial doubt is what makes you think he is some kind of skeptic. Descartes is a Rationalist, through and through. And Hegel, well, his works are full of his discussion of 'the Absolute' and how the Mind can find it.

"Your question assumes that people have always argued about there being something such as Truth being opposed to many independent and truths. They haven't, not in that way at least."

While it is true that the nature of the debates around truth in the 19th and 20th century were not the same as, say, they were in Hellenic Greece, it is not right to say that it was not discussed and debated in the Ancient and pre-modern world.

4/29/2007 04:32:00 PM  
Anonymous jonny bardo said...

Okay, I give, you dicks have tracked me back to my troll lair and revealed me for the sniping coward that I am.
It must have been my recurring phrases and the use of words such as, don't listen to your friends or friendly troll or baby with the bathwater (my ole granny taught me that one)
I've been skulking around here for months taking pot shots, making snide, juvenile comments and basically interrupting the flow of a compelling and coherent blog.
You see, I am one of a class that you might refer to as LOSER in that I really have no original ideas or theories of my own. Instead I hide in the shadows and snipe at the work of others. It relieves me of the burden of actually having to build and convey a rational coherent philosophy from my own limited cognitive resources while at the same time giving me something to write about on my own blog.
Lately I've been having delusions of being The One to assume the mantle of Ken Wilber and to evolve his philosophy of Integralism into the future. My new-ageist superiority complex actually has me believing that I command the resources to actually pull that off. This unfortunate superiority complex prevents me from detecting that I am actually a parasite and would have absolutely nothing to say if it weren't for the hard work and sweat of others to whom I can glom on to and imagine myself more noteworthy.
BTW thanks Bob for linking to my site, it has produced more traffic than I've ever gotten or am likely to get.
Mind you now, I'm not sorry for what I've done here, I'm just sorry I got caught.
So in tribute to the uncanny tracking abilities of you dicks, I say,

Namaste!

4/29/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Sir Te said...

van, I never said everyone should have the same relation to possessions as I do, though my friends have similar feelings about them. As to my sisters who I stay with, they have children and therefore have more of a responsibility to provide a stable, possession filled environment for them. Also, I tutor their children[my nieces and nephews] so its not as if its complete charity, though I think that they would do it just the same since they are good Christians.

4/29/2007 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

sir te said "While it is true that the nature of the debates around truth in the 19th and 20th century were not the same as, say, they were in Hellenic Greece, it is not right to say that it was not discussed and debated in the Ancient and pre-modern world. "

But the pre-moderns (outside of the barrel wearers) discussions were more about what the nature of truth was, not whether it existed or not.

"One example; You suggest that Locke had a more solid position regarding Absolute Truth than Descartes or Hegel. This is wrong and any competent Philosopher will tell you this."

Which is why I pretty much stay away from competent Philosophers, and pretty much stick to the horses mouths, reading what they themselves wrote.

Empiricists had error's, but they were correctible, since they still believed in reality, the rationalists ... well, if Aristophanes had seen them, he would have given Socrates a break, but would have needed a much bigger balloon.

"I imagine that you don't understand Hegel[very few do] "

as soon as I figured Hegel out, I stopped trying to understand him, too easy to end up living off friends and family.

"and that Descartes' methodology of initial doubt is what makes you think he is some kind of skeptic. Descartes is a Rationalist, through and through."

No, I don't count Descartes as a sceptic - questioning doesn't make one a sceptic. What he choose to question, and what he assumed came prior to all else, was where he went wrong, and the rest followed in his error. I mostly give Descartes a pass for an honest error - those who followed after him - not so much.

"And Hegel, well, his works are full of his discussion of 'the Absolute' and how the Mind can find it.""

Hegel's approach to "the Absolute" is a key source of it's destruction in modern philosophy.

... crud, no time for the rest now - back later

4/29/2007 04:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Sri Ramana Maharshi once said that the only real freedom that you have is whether you identity with the body or not.

In other words you can be/exist in a state of always prior unity or "fall" into a state of infinietly multiplied terrifying differences.

Where there is another fear spontaneously arises and ALL others are thus become a threat to you.

And once you choose to identity with the body you become totally wrapped up in the beginningless and endless nightmare of conditional existence---the klik-klak world machine that is utterly indifferent to the well being or survival of any and every biological form---thus you inevitably create the politics & "culture" of fear. Have you read the "news"?

4/29/2007 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Anynonymous- I think most are familiar with the idea. It is the same as trying to go back to where you started by either never going or by reversing the process. It is as completely unnatural as a seed refusing to germinate (and calling it good) or a plant trying to coil back up into its seed.

Besides, that sounds very contrived, as his whole understanding derives from having identified with the body, or so to speak, anyway.

That is similar to saying we should go back to before certain words differentiated, such as, 'Power' and 'Virtue'? Or, 'Wealthy' and 'Great'? Or, 'Hope' and 'Wait'? Time only goes forward.

4/29/2007 05:32:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Van -

It was attributed to Aristotle, by Jacob Needleman in his little book, "Time and the Soul":

"The wise man is never in a hurry."

(You and I agreed that, logically, it works the other way around, as well.)

Cosa will remember the scene from Zachariah when the old hermit says to his young friend, "Hurry up and die." Same sort of thing.

4/29/2007 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous eponymous said...

(with a nodymous to JWM)

We've had Dupree's self defense –– "I thought I was being ironic..." followed later by the more thoughtful "He did it first!" argument. Then RiverC explains that Dupree actually did speak literally (even though he apparently didn't mean it), and finally we have glasr's hand-holding trip along comment lane explaining how gentle and funny all the bobalong coons are as they chide dissenters.

Let's bring it around one more time, cause hey hey,
Rust Never Sleeps:

"Namaste, Dude."
"Fuck you, dick."

Yes, brother Dupe. I'm beginning to appreciate the irony.

4/29/2007 05:51:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Namaste you, and the horse you rode in on!

4/29/2007 05:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Know all smarty pants, Cocky Coctyus. You ought to get your facts and philosophy straight/right.

Ramana Maharshi was in no way identified with the body. In fact his teenage conversion was triggered by a profound confronation, or rather going through, with the utterly terrifying experience of being identitfied with a mortal meat body. Somehow he had the capacity to let the fear run its full course, and he thus came through to the "other side" of it---so to speak.

From then on he was entirely and only identified with and established in the prior state of the Transcendental Witness, and was more or less indifferent to the needs of the body. He would have preferred to live as a silent solitary hermit but was induced into the traditional Guru role by others who took on the role of caring for him and every aspect of the Ashram that was set up around him.

The entire purpose of his teaching argument and, more importantly, the Silent Transmission of his Spiritual State, was to get people to understand and realize that they are/were not the body, but the same Transcendental Witness Consciousness that he, Ramana was in.

4/29/2007 05:56:00 PM  
Anonymous eponymous said...

Dude, you're beginning to sound shrill.

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

Walt,
Sadly, I know the quote(forgot the wink).

4/29/2007 06:20:00 PM  
Anonymous bubba mcmurtry said...

"....but was induced into the traditional Guru role by others who took on the role of caring for him and every aspect of the Ashram that was set up around him."

Yeah, I heard about some of that kinky shit that goes on in them assrams. ;^)

4/29/2007 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

sir te said "van, I don't dispute what you said about all of those philosophers' thoughts on property. But I didn't ask a question about what any of them thought about property nor are any of the people you mentioned other than Locke Liberals in the Classic sense.

What I was saying was that the question of Truth wasn't questioned in the manner that the moderns do - it wasn't an issue. Post-Modern 'ideas' of Truth, absolute truth and relative truths as they are bandied about today, were inconceivable in Pre-Modern times, even in the Founders (prime) time. Therefore you have to approach the question from what they implicitly believed - which to tie your points together, I went through Property and Property Rights as those of the Founders era, the Classical Liberals, approached the idea.

"What I specifically asked was about the proposition "knowledge of absolute truth constitutes the mind's freedom. Locke's views on property do not seem particularly relevant to his relation to the above proposition. "

You can't have a conception of Rights, and property Rights, and not also have at least an implicit acceptance of Truth - I think that not seeing that is why you don't see the rest. In fact, if Rousseau, Kant & Hegel had hit the scene even 50 years earlier, America - and all that made it possible, probably never would have come about. You can't have a George Washington or John Adams educated from the drecks of 'Emile'.

That you aren't able to see a connection between the two, IMNSHO, shows that you do understand Hegel, and probably much more. You have my sympathy. That and your sisters tuition money, should keep you going for awhile longer. Poor kids.

4/29/2007 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Sir Te said... "van, I never said everyone should have the same relation to possessions as I do... As to my sisters who I stay with, they have children and therefore have more of a responsibility to provide a stable, possession filled environment for them... its not as if its complete charity, though I think that they would do it just the same since they are good Christians."

So you see your 'philosophy' as being inadequate to living a proper Human life, yet engage in it anyway, because you can piggyback it on those whose actions derive from a more correct one.

Can you say "Parasite"? How about "Immoral"? Maybe PoMoFo?

4/29/2007 06:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob,

You said:

"On the other hand, you can do what intelligent minds have always done, which is to integrate partial, relative truths into the whole, in light of the transcendent absolute."

This is exactlty what Ken Wilber had in mind when he coined the philosphy of integralism.

But this philosphy, like so many before it, has been hijacked by the spiritually immature left.

The integralists who visit this site are a joke and do not articulate the philosphy of integralism accurately.

4/29/2007 07:15:00 PM  
Anonymous blind judge said...

Van said:

"Can you say "*&(*?"? How about "^%$&^&"? Maybe "^&**&#!"

Your insight into that which you do not know continues to dazzle all those who are dazzled by you.

4/29/2007 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

blind judge said "Van said: Can you say "*&(*?"? How about "^%$&^&"? Maybe "^&**&#!"

I suggest using something more like
#@%&!!!
The quotes and paren's make it look like you know html as poorly as you know the rest of what you know.

I think you finally hit on a name that suits you though.

4/29/2007 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Anynonmouse- Look, I just call them like I see them. If you want more acceptable replies, be more clear.

Shrill is a word for it.

4/29/2007 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anonymous:

Yes, one of the good things about having a real job is that I don't have to worry about selling books or tailoring my writing to the slack-jawed new age masses. I'm glad it's just my avocation. I'd hate to be a spiritual careerist.

4/29/2007 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I like cocky cocytus though. It probably has interesting alliteration in the original Italian for 'Cocytus'.

Ramana Maharshi was in no way identified with the body. In fact his teenage conversion was triggered by a profound confronation, or rather going through, with the utterly terrifying experience of being identitfied with a mortal meat body. Somehow he had the capacity to let the fear run its full course, and he thus came through to the "other side" of it---so to speak.

From then on he was entirely and only identified with and established in the prior state of the Transcendental Witness, and was more or less indifferent to the needs of the body. He would have preferred to live as a silent solitary hermit but was induced into the traditional Guru role by others who took on the role of caring for him and every aspect of the Ashram that was set up around him.

The entire purpose of his teaching argument and, more importantly, the Silent Transmission of his Spiritual State, was to get people to understand and realize that they are/were not the body, but the same Transcendental Witness Consciousness that he, Ramana was in.


I understand what you are saying now.

Still, it differs little from what you originally stated. Your body is you, and while you are more than your body, to deny its physical needs is to simply die. It is, in fact, to deny every real and true apatite.

These apatites are neutral, neither good nor evil. To identify completely and solely with the body would of course be madness.

But to deny it is also madness.

Shrill, indeed.

4/29/2007 07:31:00 PM  
Anonymous blind judge said...

Oh, that's what I was doing, it was html!. Golly. And I thought I was just saving you more embarassment.

4/29/2007 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

blind fudge,

One of the last things I'd consider doing on a sunday night, is to follow a link to anything having to do with alfranken.

Are you that empty of your own ideas that you need to let something like that speak for you?

Poor poor pomofo.

4/29/2007 07:43:00 PM  
Anonymous eponymous said...

RiverC,

The "shrill" comment was injected into the queue for the sopoterrific effect it induced on our own Cussin "Fuck you, dick." Dupree. When he suspects he's starting to be perceived as a fool, it works far better than a whack twixt the eye with a plier.

BTW: You do good work.

4/29/2007 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know Bob, you might want to look into the whole spiritual careerism thing. Boat loads of cash, freaky integral chicks, and millions of leftists will adore you. You could definitely pull it off, too.

Although if you went this route, there's a good chance you're soul would die on the spot.

Actually, I think this might be what happened to Wilber. Gave into temptation, diluted his meassage, dumbed it down to the lowest common denominator, whatever.

Wilber's writing prior to 2000-2001 seems to promote a vision of integralism that conforms to your statement:

"On the other hand, you can do what intelligent minds have always done, which is to integrate partial, relative truths into the whole, in light of the transcendent absolute."

But then something changed. His writing definitely changed. Maybe he changed.

Bob, I really hope you don't ever fall for the lures of money and recognition.

Although fame and wealth don't always corrupt, they certainly succeed in doing so a significant amount of the time.

I mean, I doubt Wilber was really that big a pushover.

4/29/2007 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Z0mg!

There should be an '/asinine' closing tag. No opening tag, only the closing one.

4/29/2007 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nice little talk by Roger Kimball that touches today's topic:

"But I would like to observe that it seems to me that perhaps the most pressing 'challenge to conservatism' today is the failure of liberalism. That may sound paradoxical. It isn't. Russell Kirk once said that he was conservative because he was a liberal. Of course, the liberalism Kirk had in mind was not the rancid leftism that today congregates under and betrays the name of liberalism but rather the robust classical liberalism espoused, for example, by Edmund Burke--liberalism, so to say, abundantly endowed with red corpuscles.

"In this sense, multiculturalism is not so much an expression of liberalism as a symptom of a characteristic disease or antinomy of liberalism. The antinomy is this: liberalism implies openness to other points of view, even (it would seem) those points of view whose success would destroy liberalism. Extending tolerance to those points of view is a prescription for suicide. But intolerance betrays the fundamental premise of liberalism, namely, openness. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

"The escape from that antinomy lies in understanding that 'tolerance' and 'openness' must be limited by positive values if they are not to be vacuous."

4/29/2007 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"The escape from that antinomy lies in understanding that 'tolerance' and 'openness' must be limited by positive values if they are not to be vacuous."

In short, ignorance and license, spell doom for the soul and for the nation. Liberalism depends upon an educated and moral citizenry, which will choose to live up to the responsibilities of it's Freewill.

Freewill is the most expensive of freedoms, it's price being your soul.

4/29/2007 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Speaking of Russell Kirk, his brainchild ISI, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, has a fantastic set of lectures available in video, audio or text, with speakers starting with Russel Kirk and Richard Weaver, and on up to the present.

Several excellent pamphlets and so forth available for downloading, etc. A treasure trove for the Bandito'd ones.

4/29/2007 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Gagdad,
RE Rober Kimball’s talk, haven’t read it yet, but based on your snips, I think this simple recipe may still work:

1 Open Mind
2 Insert logic
3 Place the rest in the little garbage truck Future Leader got for his B-Day

4/29/2007 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Bob - Exceptional post today. Thanks.

Sir Te - Just to be clear, there are no "good Christians".

4/29/2007 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Sir Te - You have a lot to unlearn.

4/29/2007 09:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Sir Te said...

van, you said

"So you see your 'philosophy' as being inadequate to living a proper Human life, yet engage in it anyway, because you can piggyback it on those whose actions derive from a more correct one."

This is a strange reading of what I told you about myself and I'm not sure I understand how you got there. Do you really believe that someone who doesn't amass material wealth is not living a proper human life?[how protestant of you]. I help those around me with things they need help with[usually intangible things like education, love or humor] and they provide me with what I need in terms of a roof and food. I hardly see this as being parasitic. Man does not live on bread alone my good fellow. Was Jesus an economically productive person? Did he not often rely on the charity of others for places to stay and food to eat?

I think it fitting that you said you avoid competent philosophers. It shows. Its like saying you avoid competent Physicists and then try to discuss quantum mechanics just because you have tried to read the works which originally present it. Have you considered that you have misread, and relied on the misreadings of others, when examining the Horse's Mouth as you put it. Its not as though people like Kant or Hegel were writing in your language[nor Locke really since English itself has changed significantly in the several hundred years since]. I don't think someone who claims to know about Kant or Hegel without having studied them under someone who not only speaks German but who also understands German cultural and philosophical history can claim any kind of valid understanding.

But then we will no doubt disagree. The difference between us is that I only critique your knowledge of philosophical history whereas you add personal moral evaluation to the mix which is really just silly since you have no basis for making such an intricate judgment and is poor manners.

4/29/2007 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

"The escape from that antinomy lies in understanding that 'tolerance' and 'openness' must be limited by positive values if they are not to be vacuous."

Or to say it another way, don't be a bimbo.

-o.o-

4/29/2007 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

ha ha ha ha ha
feck i think i've wet me cacks
ho ho ho nap time

4/29/2007 10:20:00 PM  
Anonymous decisions, decisions said...

Sir te said:

"Man does not live on bread alone my good fellow. Was Jesus an economically productive person? Did he not often rely on the charity of others for places to stay and food to eat?"

Ummmm, let's see, Jesus or Sir te, Jesus or Sir te, man, that's a tough one. Such an apt comparison and equivalencies on so many levels.
My guess is that your Sisters (Christian Saints that they are)keep your sorry ass because,
1. They pity you and,
2. You are after all, their brother.
You'd be better served to get a clue as to who REALLY is helping whom and take a hint from the religion/philosophy behind the benevolence.
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy indeed!

Oh yeah,
Namaste dude.

4/29/2007 10:51:00 PM  
Anonymous interlocutor said...

My basic beef with Bob is his allowance and accomodation of hate into the spiritual life, against the advice of all teachers. He will not desist from this view.

How will Bob respond at the foot of God's throne when He asks: "What part of my son's teachings didn't you understand? Was Jesus in some way unclear?"

Aurobindo will ask: "Did you not correctly parse my words on hate? How did you come to believe it admissible into the spiritual life?"

Recant, Bob. State for all of your raccoons:

"Hate is a wrong movement; it has no place in the spiritual life."

Then resume your battle with a clear heart. Fight the opponent honorably and with satisfaction but do not let your heart and mind be clouded by poisonous attitudes.

4/29/2007 11:27:00 PM  
Anonymous interlocutor said...

In other words, be more like me.

And remember, hate is not a family value!
Diversity and tolerance is the way!
Follow the 'Man from Hope'!
Progressivism in all one's deeds and actions.
Bush lied, people died!
Repent! recant! restore!

Namaste.

4/29/2007 11:38:00 PM  
Anonymous interlocutor said...

I love sneaking in here in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep.
Now back to the porn sites. ;>)

4/29/2007 11:42:00 PM  
Anonymous line judge said...

As much as I hate Bob, that one was totally out of bounds interlocutor!

4/29/2007 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jonny Bardo said...

Further proof of your projectile nature: You assert that integralists express "anger, even rage" at you. If you are talking about me, well, how are you NOT projecting unless you ASK me how I feel? You insist on the interpretation that best supports your argument, seemingly not interested in what the actual truth may be. How about this:

Q: Are you angry at me, Jonny Bardo?

A: No. The strongest emotion I've felt towards you is annoyance, the kind of irritation one feels when conversing with a fundamentalist, where you know that no true dialogue is possible. Usually you lack a dynamic, open quality of thought, as if the world is exactly how YOU think it is, and there are no shades of grey (which is why I exaggerrated with the borderline comment...which is admittedly an exaggeration; so forgive me if you thought I was trying to diagnose you--I wasn't).

So yeah, you annoy me, but you don't anger me. Is that adequate clarification?

As for this:

"On the other hand, you can do what intelligent minds have always done, which is to integrate partial, relative truths into the whole, in light of the transcendent absolute."

I agree with one anonymous poster in that you are basically echoing a major aspect of integralism here. Why say that this is not what integralism is about?

The problem I see you doing over and over again (and again and again) is unconsciously equating your own relative ideology with "the whole/transcendent absolute," which is of course the essence of egoity. Bob, YOUR truth is not THE truth. Is that so difficult to understand? This is the important relative truth of postmodernism that you simply do not understand. Instead you hang out in old industrial mentality that pits absolute and relative truth against eachother. This is where I see structural similarites in your patterns of thinking to radical Islam. Us vs. Them, black vs. white, good vs. evil. What Jean Gebser calls Mythic consciousness.

I am not saying that you are entirely mythic--like a televangelist or a handful of your regulars; I'll "namaste you" more credit than that. What I am saying is that there are mythic "hues" to your view that color everything you say. The ongoing thrust of your blog is about trashing leftism and drawing a line between those who are "right" (you and the coons) and those who are "wrong" (the Evil Leftists, such as George Clooney, Bill Maher, Ken Wilber, etc). My guess is that you will probably continue to do this (circle endlessly) until you can integrate how leftism is RIGHT. But you can't or won't do this, because you just know absolute truth.

Or to put it in your lingo, you think your k (or o) is O.

Namaste, brutha.

4/29/2007 11:45:00 PM  
Anonymous who gives a shit said...

"My basic beef with Bob is his allowance and accomodation of hate into the spiritual life, against the advice of all teachers. He will not desist from this view."

How many times do we need to hear this from you?
Give it a rest!

4/29/2007 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jonny Bardo said...

But interlocutor, you are projecting "hate" onto Bob! What you perceive is ACTUALLY his righteous truthfulness, the tough love of his Manjushri-like compassion, Christ wielding the axe.

The hate is coming from you and other leftists, like Jonny Bardo.

;)

4/29/2007 11:48:00 PM  
Anonymous jonny's mommy said...

Poor Jonny, there there. It's beddy bye time.

Rock-a-bye Jonny in the tree tops..............




He just gets so worked up over things!

4/29/2007 11:51:00 PM  
Anonymous jonny's mommy said...

He's gone off the deep end since he started with this integralism and his father and I are at our wits end!
What's a mothewr to do?
He even started spelling his name wrong.

4/29/2007 11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous jonny's mommy said...

I knew nothing good would come from his being born in the year of the RAT!

4/30/2007 12:02:00 AM  
Anonymous jonny's mommy said...

Oh! I was number 100, do I win something?

4/30/2007 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Jonny said:
"My guess is that you will probably continue to do this (circle endlessly) until you can integrate how leftism is RIGHT."

Sure thing, Bub.
Perhaps when pigs have wings.
Don't hold yer breath...on the other hand...

You and your porn loving friend are obsessed with integrating crap.
Just keep tellin' yourself: "this time I just know it will work."
Your in a downward spiral and you exalt your ignorance.

If you integrated what is Good, True and Beautiful, you would gno what B'ob is talking about.

Instead you choose to integrate evil and call it good, lies and call it truth, ugliness and call it art.

Grow up kid!

4/30/2007 03:34:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I think it fitting that you said you avoid competent philosophers. It shows. Its like saying you avoid competent Physicists and then try to discuss quantum mechanics just because you have tried to read the works which originally present it. Have you considered that you have misread, and relied on the misreadings of others, when examining the Horse's Mouth as you put it. Its not as though people like Kant or Hegel were writing in your language[nor Locke really since English itself has changed significantly in the several hundred years since]. I don't think someone who claims to know about Kant or Hegel without having studied them under someone who not only speaks German but who also understands German cultural and philosophical history can claim any kind of valid understanding.

But then we will no doubt disagree. The difference between us is that I only critique your knowledge of philosophical history whereas you add personal moral evaluation to the mix which is really just silly since you have no basis for making such an intricate judgment and is poor manners.


Translation:

Sure, Jesus was a carpenter by trade. But I'm far more 'educated' than you will ever be, so people need me, bitches!

Plus, you're a rude boor. (Not to mention the fact that I'm really just a bully with nice mannerisms.)

---

Orwell suggested if you can cut out a word and still get your meaning across do so.

How about saying what you really mean?

4/30/2007 04:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Sir Te said...". Do you really believe that someone who doesn't amass material wealth is not living a proper human life?[how protestant of you]."

Isn't iteresting that you assumed I was speaking of ammassing material wealth? Never said anything of the sort. Nothing moral or immoral about subsistence living - so long as you don't demand that other's provide what you refuse to. Not a protestant either, or raised by ones. Catholic either. Bit of an independent there.

"I think it fitting that you said you avoid competent philosophers. It shows. Its like saying you avoid competent Physicists and then try to discuss quantum mechanics just because you have tried to read the works which originally present it. "

Here's where your first two quotes come together, and why I no longer bother with 'competent philosophers', such as yourself. You are unable to see any connection between what you profess, and with morality. You can claim to be a socialist (democratic or otherwise, is of no concern), which means at root using the force of the gov't to rob people of whatever wealth they earn and accumulate (helpful hint for competent philosophers - that's where the moral issue comes into play), in order to support your pet Values and layabouts.

If physicists begin to teach that aerodynamics has nothing to do with flight, that aerodynamic engineers should be more concerned with the structure of the airplane than whether or not it falls out of the sky, I suspect Boeing will lose interest in hiring those who study it.

"Have you considered that you have misread, and relied on the misreadings of others, when examining the Horse's Mouth as you put it. Its not as though people like Kant or Hegel were writing in your language[nor Locke really since English itself has changed significantly in the several hundred years since]. I don't think someone who claims to know about Kant or Hegel without having studied them under someone who not only speaks German but who also understands German cultural and philosophical history can claim any kind of valid understanding."

There is some sense in that, though with the number of translation available, reading the same passage from 2 or three translations (which I have done, for what I've studied of them) gives a good gist of it. Even so, when their poop stinks in any language, and it doesn't take an in depth understanding of their language and culture to discover it. As with dr_InteQe before you, who had amassed great knowledge of Wittgenstein - that isn't something I'd brag about. Once you realize they're on the wrong track, there's not much sense in following them further.

And yes, even english has changed "Pursuit of Happiness" is no longer taken in the same way, even the word 'Pursuit' has a different meaning now than it did in Jefferson's day - but those differences are easily discoverable.

sir te, I'm Certain that you are a competent philosopher, and were 'competent philosophers' competent, I would pursue them and be thankful for their elucidation - sadly they are too few and far between, those of us who do philo sophy, are left to making our own way.

4/30/2007 05:29:00 AM  
Anonymous big Peter said...

People: Bob has explicitly defended the use of hate in the spiritual life. There is no misinterpretation: just ask Bob.

This single flaw renders his entire blog unsterile and unusable for the seeker. That is why it is a big deal that keeps coming up.

In fact, I would say it is the only deal that should come up. Bob is endorsing hate under color of spiritual authority, and anything else he may do is moot because of that point.

4/30/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Yes, we hate the troll's malicious stupidity, but not the troll.

4/30/2007 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Mr said...

Big Peter,

Thank you for making clear in a few sentences what I've had trouble understanding. No matter how much good is here, the hate is always evident. I have struggled to understand why it is there in Bob and several prominent followers, and as a result have gotten caught up in this blog as entertainment rather than enlightenment. (As I've been composing this, I see "Petey's" denial of the hatred. Thrice before the cock crows, I think is the story that comes to mind? Now that's entertainment!)

It's as if I came for the love, and stayed for the hatred. Reality tv in a church. Shame on me. Really.

Your simple truth is like a slap in the face... the harsh sting of a flaming sword that is sharp and true.

Thank you, sir. May I have another?

4/30/2007 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

big Peter,

Go moot yourself.

4/30/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hee Haw! Hee Haw! Hee Haw!

4/30/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous robert a said...

Beautifully put, Big Peter. And well seconded, Mr.

To this I can only add that I too now understand the lure of this blog: hatred, masquerading as love.

Not only will the truth (aka love, not ideas, you will eventually discover) set you free, but hatred will bind you to that which you hate.

Clearly then, breathing deeply:

The divine in me salutes the divine in you, oh Gagdaddian Coons! It's a fine day for a loooong walk, which is how I first found this place.

4/30/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The God of Love once said:

"I have not come to bring peace, but the sword."

If you're looking for another kind of religion, there are stores that sell stuffed animals.

As for me, "I been 'buked and I been scorned, children!" but.. "I won't lay my 'ligion down!"

Tally-ho, lads. My flametongue requires whetting, and I will not be made late for my repaste! (Yuk.)

4/30/2007 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

River Cocytus said "Tally-ho, lads. My flametongue requires whetting, and I will not be made late for my repaste!"

Go Cocky Cocytus!

;-)

4/30/2007 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

Out of curiosity, I went to esv.org (the most accurate + most readable translation out there, in my systematic theologian hubby's opinion) and merely searched the words "hate evil." I could have done something more extensive, but just that shallow skim through the Bible turned up:

"For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil may not dwell with you.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers."

Psalm 5:5 (a psalm of David)

"Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and my mind.
For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.

I do not sit with men of falsehood,
nor do I consort with hypocrites.
I hate the assembly of evildoers,
and I will not sit with the wicked."

Psalm 26:2-5 (another by David)


"O you who love the Lord, hate evil!" Psalm 10:1a

"The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate."

Proverbs 8:13

"Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph."

Amos 5:15

"The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil."

John 7:7

(That pre-integral Savior of ours speaking of the EVIL world system. Doesn't mince words, does he?)

So, whatever it's worth to a nonbeliever, which is probably nothing, it's at least biblically correct to hate evil. Because of the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself, it seems that from a purely scriptural perspective, these two things are *not incompatible.* To be "holy as God is holy" (or to love God with all your heart, the supreme commandment) means to hate (shun, detest) evil and to go the opposite direction from evildoers. And in fact, that does lead directly to loving one's neighbor as oneself. ...Keeping in mind that, in biblical terms, love is usually considered an action, not a feeling. Laying down one's life in service, as with Christ's example, & all that.

The truth can certainly be a stumbling block and cause the hearer to feel animosity towards the truth-bearer. Jesus told his followers that the world would hate them because of him. (So, if Jesus is about nothing more offensive than luv, peace and flowers, why should the world be so offended with him, may I ask? Maybe 'cause he says it's EVIL?) That's precisely why I think Bob is 100% correct in pinpointing accusations of bile and hatred as projection from his critics.

I'd just like to see one have the courage to take on his arguments, for once, rather than resorting to weaselly name-calling like "hater!" (I mean, masked with the usual P.C. mannerisms and "hate has no place in faith" tripe, of course, but same thing.) When you start calling names, you automatically default on the debate. Just try the personal attack tactic on debate team and see if it earns you any points. "Bob endorses hate" does not an argument make. You've got the same beef with God, as you can see. What do you make of that?

4/30/2007 03:49:00 PM  

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