Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Sometimes a Snake is Just a Snake

Yesterday while out biking in the hills around the compound, I happened upon the biggest rattlesnake I'd ever seen. Not the longest, but definitely the most substantial -- probably about four feet long, but built like a boa constrictor. This bad boy was well nourished.

There are a lot of critters in our area, but there is just something otherworldly about encountering a snake in the wild. It's very difficult to describe the feeling, but it's so distinct that it may be one of those things that's hardwired into us. It's almost as if time stands still and you suddenly hear the theme from Jaws in your head.

I'm no Crocodile Hunter, but there is also something mesmerizing about a dangerous snake. I slammed on the brakes so I could get a better look at the old boy, but he hissed and slinked away into the brush. That's one thing about a snake. There's something about them that makes them appear permanently hissed off, almost bitter -- perhaps about having no legs and having to slither around on their belly. They could almost serve as the symbol of envy, because they seem so mean-spirited, almost as if they'd bite you just for the hell of it. And the way they eat -- like the envious person, it's not for pleasure, but just to greedily incorporate the object as quickly as possible. They don't chew, they just swallow and it's gone. Where's the pleasure in that, Rosie?

As I continued my ride, it made me think about Genesis, and why the writer was inspired to choose the symbol of a serpent, or snake, for the Tempter, the Father of Lies, and the author of man's fall. The serpent was said to be the most cunning of God's creatures. Other translations use the words crafty, clever, subtle, shrewd, sneaky, and "more able to fool others." Interestingly, one of the alternate translations for "snake" is "French diplomat."

Thus, although man is ultimately responsible for his own fall, nevertheless, it seems that there is something "impure," so to speak, that precedes the fall -- not just the clever and cunning snake, but more importantly, our attraction to him. For "cleverness," "craftiness," "shrewdness" -- these are all faux forms of intelligence, and substitutes for wisdom. When someone says that a Bill Clinton or Bill Maher are "intelligent," I scoff, for it is an abuse of the term. If intelligence does not lead to wisdom, truth, and prudence, then it does not deserve the name "intelligence."

If you want to see how intelligent Bill Maher actually is, you must ignore the clever jokes written by others and read what his mind is actually capable of producing on its own. In this regard, his blog entries at huffingtonpost are embarrassingly clumsy, trite and childlike. Likewise, in order to assess Bill Clinton, we must ignore his sliver-tongued charisma and read his actual thoughts. I think you will agree that they are technically unreadable as a result of their soporific blandness. In other words, they are so vacuous they put you to sleep. But most politicians fall into this category: clever and calculating as opposed to wise or deep. Hillary almost looks as if she is hypnotizing herself when she speaks. Her eyes are dead, almost like a reptile.

I cannot even imagine living that way, for it goes well beyond speaking untruth. Rather, the entire being is a lie -- a false self, or "as if" personality. The personality becomes an object from which one detaches and observes from the outside. Intuitive souls always gained this impression of President Clinton -- that whatever the situation, he was, like the rest of us, observing himself from the outside, playing a role -- now tough, now compassionate, now outraged, but always in a detached and calculating way. His presidency was a narcissistic performance in which one part observed and enjoyed the other part, in the same way the parent adoringly observes the child (for this is where the roots of this pathology lay).

Not to get all French linguist on you, but if we think of the snake as a signifier, what does it signify, and where is the signified today? Where is it hiding, slithering around in the psychic underbrush, below the reach of contemporary language? If we were to write the Bible today, what symbol might we use for the signified -- or in Bion's terms, what semantic "container" for the perennial content? For if we don't have a name or a symbol for it, it will be as if we are blind to things that are right in back of our eyes.

I think without question we would use the symbol "lawyer" or "professor." Obviously there are many good and decent lawyers -- including, of course, some who read this blog -- which should give them all the more concern that we can so easily replace "serpent" with "John Edwards" in Genesis 3 and not miss any of the meaning. When I was a kit, my image of a lawyer was Atticus Finch. How, in the course of one generation of vipers, do we go from Atticus Finch to such oily scoundrels as Johnny Cochran, John Edwards, and Bill Clinton?

First of all, Atticus Finch wasn't real, but a literary creation and a symbol. Nevertheless, what he symbolized was important, for ideals are always important, as they serve as guiding stars that draw us to our better selves. And less than fifty years ago, one could, without irony, employ a lawyer as a symbol of the anti-snake -- a finch, or creature of the air, the higher planes; which is to say, the opposite of the snake, who can never leave the earth plane.

According to Wikipedia, Atticus is the "embodiment of quiet, intelligent strength and conscience." One of his most memorable lines is, "If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you'll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it." But you can only do that from the "air," not the ground. No one has less perspective than the snake, the horizontal personified.

Atticus is the diametrical opposite of the clever narcissist. The narcihisstic snake is the embodiment of the cold and ruthless absence of empathy. Not only do they not "climb inside your skin," but they shed their own, which has always been a demonic symbol of immortality. It is not the true immortality, but a faux form, in that it symbolically substitutes a sort of willed "self birth" as opposed to surrender and resurrection. If you don't believe me, just look at how many times Hillary Clinton has already sloughed off her skin in the past four years. For example, she was a much more passionate and articulate advocate than George Bush for going to war with Saddam. What happened to that Hillary? A LexisNexis search will reveal the trail of dead skin.

But I didn't intend this to be an exercise in lawyer bashing. Rather, I wanted it to be an exercise in leftist professor bashing. As a matter of fact, it was a good lawyer who sent me the following link to a fascinating article that does a good job of explaining -- for the 100th time -- why I think the left is so very dangerous -- why they are the embodiment of the cunning snake in the garden.

Pay particular attention to the axioms of the "suicide thinker" of the left, who complements the "suicide bomber" of Islam, for the latter could not flourish in the absence of the former:

--There is no truth, only competing agendas.

--All Western (and especially American) claims to moral superiority over Communism/Fascism/Islam are vitiated by the West’s history of racism and colonialism.

--There are no objective standards by which we may judge one culture to be better than another. Anyone who claims that there are such standards is an evil oppressor.

--The prosperity of the West is built on ruthless exploitation of the Third World; therefore Westerners actually deserve to be impoverished and miserable.

--Crime is the fault of society, not the individual criminal. Poor criminals are entitled to what they take. Submitting to criminal predation is more virtuous than resisting it.

--The poor are victims. Criminals are victims. And only victims are virtuous. Therefore only the poor and criminals are virtuous. (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)

--For a virtuous person, violence and war are never justified. It is always better to be a victim than to fight, or even to defend oneself. But ‘oppressed’ people are allowed to use violence anyway; they are merely reflecting the evil of their oppressors.

--When confronted with terror, the only moral course for a Westerner is to apologize for past sins, understand the terrorist’s point of view, and make concessions.

Now folks, I went to college. I have seen the snake up close and personal. Just as on my bike ride yesterday, I was mesmerized by the snake. Believe it or not, there was a time that I believed each and every one of these items on the snake's agenda.

Wait a minute, I'm reading them again.

Yup. I believed every one of them, some more implicitly than explicitly, but nevertheless, I more or less believed these things to be true.

Now obviously, all of these ideas are warped, twisted, and unnatural. No innocent person could ever spontaneously come up with these perversions. No one can believe these things unless they are placed there by an outside influence, or leftist reptool. Nevertheless, as in Genesis, the snake can have no influence over us unless there is something in man that is drawn to the dark, lower world of the snake.

Now, I wonder. Is there something analogous in the soul to that eery and otherworldly feeling of happening upon a snake in the wild? In a way, it is a sort of "high," for it does take you out of the ordinary, into a sort of thrilling and dangerous existential space. It certainly isn't boring.

Could leftism represent the dizzying thrill of the fall? After all, falling is a thrill, at least until you hit bottom, just as -- no disrespect intended here -- being the Crocodile Hunter was a thrill until he hit a stingray, and being a Euro-socialist will be a thrill until their experiment against reality is conquered by Islam.

You don't learn anything useful in a liberal education at an elite university -- nothing that you won't have to later unlearn. But what a thrill to fall so far in just four years!

*****

A soulful lesson in snakes (apologies to George D).

103 Comments:

Anonymous mizze said...

In 2006, 150,000 people died after being bitten by the poisonous Asian cobra. I wonder how many people died last year from the slow, venom of Leftism flowing through their veins.

4/03/2007 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"I believed every one of them, some more implicitly than explicitly, but nevertheless, I more or less believed these things to be true." Same here - and that's chilling.

4/03/2007 07:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Mary said...

As a parent of three children who have gone through public high school, I can attest that the snake is alive and well in our schools, K through 12, as well as higher education.

Compare Abraham Lincoln,the self taught lawyer turned president, to Bill Clinton, the Rhodes Scholar. Which one ultimately was the true intellectual?

4/03/2007 07:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob,
Great post as usual! I always like the line in the movie The Usual Suspects which goes something like "the greatest trick that the Devil pulled off is to make people believe that he does not exist". It's scary how the evil manifests itself through leftism and hides behind the guise of "compassion", "tolerance", "feminism", "multiculturalism", etc. Now even our potential presidents are bitten by cunning, poisonous Snakes!!

4/03/2007 07:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps your next post should be about how to remove Snake venom called Leftism from "bitten" teenagers and young adults.

4/03/2007 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Actually I'm more interested in prevention. Today's entry seems on the verge of some revelation about the part in an otherwise healthy person that is drawn toward the creepy crawling poisonous danger.

4/03/2007 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

Bob -

in addition to ESR's "Gramscian Damage", this link posted in Saturday's, "Learned Ignorance and the O->k Operating System " by OC poster Van, in the comments section deserves a close reading...

"Less than words Can Say" -
Richard Mitchell

http://www.sourcetext.com/sharetext/ug/less.pdf

as Van wrote:
"The entire book (available online through the link above) is a gem, but try the Foreward and see what you think."

the essay is essentially an early
(1979) warning of the attack on language,(which is an attack on cognition, which is an attack on the ability to perceive Truth).

i believe Ben Franklin also once made some comments on habits of language usage, their impact on character,and public well-being(mental/social health).

________________________

BTW - ESR had another essay worth looking up,titled "Suicidalism", that relates to the Gramscian ideas listed in the essay you quoted from today...

4/03/2007 08:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

The Trouble with Islam

DYNAMITE op-ed in today's WSJ...

4/03/2007 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

ESR had another essay worth looking up,titled "Suicidalism",
posted September 13th, 2005:

http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=218

4/03/2007 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous petulant pollyana said...

Today's post is pure crap except for one excerpt.

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."

And that goes for you, too.

You don't know any of the people you are criticizing. You dislike what they say and do, but you can't assume they are evil unless you have actual and not speculative access to their minds and hearts.

You're playing parlor games with us, Bob. You don't know because you can't know. You'd sure like to know, probably.

And you don't know what the rattlesnake thought of you, for that matter. Perhaps nothing good.

4/03/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous walt said...

One Cosmos Parlor Games? Now THAT is a concept that could be marketed!

4/03/2007 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

"And you don't know what the rattlesnake thought of you, for that matter. Perhaps nothing good."

c'mon pollyanna.

drop the weasel words.

say what you really feel.
perhaps.

4/03/2007 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Petulant One:

Since Bob used to be one of them, how can you possibly say that he hasn't considered their point of view?

No disrespect intended, but did you know you are an imbecile?

4/03/2007 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Polly said:
“You don't know any of the people you are criticizing. You dislike what they say and do, but you can't assume they are evil unless you have actual and not speculative access to their minds and hearts.”

You don’t understand how Bob uses the word evil. Consider it at this time to be used to mean -say– on an evil path. You can have the best and most heartfelt intensions – and yet be on the wrong path. Stay on that particular path and it only heads toward one place.

Give a man a fish or teach a man to fish. Both sound good. But one is actually best the other is bad and will take time before it’s obvious how bad by it’s incompleteness.

4/03/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

Here in Arizona, you can give your dog a vaccine which is supposed to protect them in the event they get bitten by a rattlesnake.

It seems to me the human form of this vaccine (which might also serve as an antivenin after the fact), at least according to the article Bob linked, is a healthy dose of O. Or, for secular types (we can hope the O will come to them eventually), classical liberal values. Of course, the ones who are already envenomed can sometimes be awfully hard to pin down, thanks to the madness brought on by the poison. Some folks, like many of us coons, are able to fight it off with a strong mental immune system, though the time this requires varies, and it's always faster and easier with some interventive assistance.

4/03/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Dr Bob,
This is a wonderful post in so many ways.
I hope I have some time later on to comment on some of the parts I enjoyed.
To Kill a Mocking Bird – including the movie - is one of my all-time favorites. I can’t believe I forgot to list it in my profile.

Also, I might mention, I’m working through this subject of symbolism on my site lately. I have a Tomberg quote there that stresses we must in a sense ‘not get lost’ in the symbolism. It’s not about the symbolism itself. They are more like a mode of transport. They lead us toward a better connection with O.

Not that Bob is getting lost in the symbolism. As he says also, sometimes a snake is just a snake. To hate actual snakes is not the point. He mentions ‘shedding’ as being symbolic. All shedding is not bad. Certain dogs must shed. Mine does this constantly. I’m trying to shed my mind parasites in order to get down to the real me. So I’m not going to stop shedding. If I did, I’d be completely missing Bob’s point.

I mentioned I have a fairly new post on symbols series (Part 2) on my site – for those who may have missed it. Please keep in mind it is an “Intro” to the subject matter.:
http://ricky-racoon.blogspot.com/2007/03/garden-of-divine-symbols-part-2.html

4/03/2007 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

"You who were once my enemies..."

The only way you don't know what they think is if you think you were never God's enemy, or are unable to recognize the similarity between your own impulses and theirs.

We all thought like a leftist, even if only when a child. This is what I would call 'childishness', which is in a nutshell, like insisting on being treated fairly while being unwilling to understand justice. It can be projected in the form of 'social justice', which is loudly demanding that people of certain groups be treated 'fairly' - but what is really happening is by fiat they are identifying with the 'poor' and 'criminal' - which is done by the reversal of good and evil, which is to say that only those who are oppressed are good or authentic - and so they (like all) desire to identify with those considered the most real and good - and so they are able to create social justice only as they can project their own selves onto these people. Thus their desire for Justice is always a projection of their own infantile desire for 'fairness'.

That is truth, my friends. For real justice 'is not a respecter of persons' - is blind to color or class or status.

I wonder if Will, who knows stuff about astrology that I've got nowhere to begin to look, can tell me about Libra/scales/justice? Is there some connection?

4/03/2007 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger MizzE said...

"You don't know any of the people you are criticizing."

Statements like that really set off my ole wince-o-meter, particularly when you know
they come from someone who read without ears to hear: "Now folks, I went to college. I have seen the snake up close and personal. Just as on my bike ride yesterday, I was mesmerized by the snake. Believe it or not, there was a time that I believed each and every one of these items on the snake's agenda."

I'm coming out today with this coonfession. On November 4, 2004 I voted for John Kerry, and on November 5th I left the country for a month long tour of the Middle East.
I cannot say the experience had an immediate transformational effect on my politics, but with that experience under my pelt I came home with a deep experiental appreciation for our form of government which could not coexist with my belief system. I have spent the years since that trip on a quest for truth and this past summer's Israeli/Palestinian conflict brought me to One Cosmos where by being open, willing to 'hear'
and let go of dearly held but mostly unexamined assumptions, I have been able to safely dismantle my (*) and resurrect my true self.

So to all the angry petulants: Coons only speak of what we gno and the good neus is you too can resurrect your true self, but you've gotta turn the door knob yourself - there's is no handle on the outside of your closed mind.

4/03/2007 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous lurker uncloaking said...

Rocky Balboa said...

The Trouble with Islam

DYNAMITE op-ed in today's WSJ...
for those who don't have online subscription to the WSJ... here's a free link, courtesy of lucianne.com

http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110009890

4/03/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having also gone to university, and taken courses with some of the writers such as Zizek & Agamben who would probably be lumped in with those being criticized (though maybe not, I haven't read each and every post) I can say their argument is not that there is no truth but only competing agendas. Rather: the condition of being human means we can't have access the whole truth of the universe. It is not an instruction to do nothing or politely observe the competing agendas so much as make practical ethical commitments knowing full well the limit the human being. And as for the serpent, clearly there was something askew in creation prior to the Fall - else where does the serpent come from? If anything, it is that while God is literally saying don't eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God actually wants human beings to discern good and evil.

And I'm curious, is there a chance you are taking Genesis literally? No judgments in the question, of course.

4/03/2007 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous a changed snake said...

I used to be a leftist, and a Darwinist at that. I was the true personification of evil--

I would fornicate with any woman I could catch, married or not, because I had mistakenly assumed that reproduction was the whole point of life (survival of the fittest and all that)

I lied, I cheated, I drugged, I was in general a loose cannon.

Now I'm a God-lover. I am a snake that changed. If I could do it, then anyone could. I feel hope that even the Clintons and the Mahers of the world can be saved from themselves.

4/03/2007 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

petulant pollyana said..."You don't know any of the people you are criticizing."

Fellow coon's, I think you're making an error in your responses to the pebulent pollyanka, being Raccoons, you naturally go for the principles. The problem with the lefties is they don't believe in, and are riled up at even the suggestion of, principles. The poster figures that since Bob doesn't know Billary personally, then he can't gno anything about them. Stupid beyond words, true, but there you are.

Remember, you've got to think flat to get into their skin - stiffling, true, but easily shook off again with a glance upwards.

4/03/2007 10:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Dr_Qi said...

With each passing post my analysis of you becomes more clear.

I see now that your hostility towards what you imagine Leftism to be is really hostility toward an earlier manifestation of yourself.

I can see why you have veered in such an odd direction; you were once at an another intellectual place that was itself just as odd and incoherent; a place you ascribe to those on the Left.

While there are probably some people who believe some or all of the assertions on your list[just as the right has silly fools like Coulter or D'souza], it is far from accurate of what any sophisticated Postmodernist believes[I'm sure you would retort that there are no sophisticated postmodernists]. The fact you that you would believe either those assertions[then] or their negation[now] shows you never understood what you now lament. These assertions would be rejected by any competent postmodern theorist as quickly as most of your assertions.

The first is a meaningless caricature I would expect from a freshman at Liberty University.

The second makes no sense due to the fact morality is a personal attribute not a collective one. In the west, as in all cultures, there are some people who are moral and some who are not. No postmodernist would equivocate so sloppily.

The third is simple cultural relativism. Again, only undergrads would even consider that the statement is even coherent.

All the rest share similar issues of non-meaning or outright strawman.

You and, say Derrida, would agree that someone who believed these statements was in error. The funny thing is that you operate on a similar plane of intellectual sophistication, though usually near the negation of most of the points on the list.

The fact that you think you were once a leftist and so you understand them is like the Atheist who claims that since they were once a Christian and have seen the error of their old beliefs that they know Christianity is false. Another explanation is that they simply were never a real Christian. Likewise, you were never a real Leftist but rather held a hodgepodge of vaguely accurate and wildly meaningless beliefs.

Poor fellow.

4/03/2007 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous joan of argghh! said...

Here's a real parlour game:

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "


The real "craft" is the manipulation of the first question and the jump after the break in Eve's thoughts. A trap now laid, she must not only recall the command, she is placed in the brand-new just-created just-for-her! position of an Instructor to another mind.

Thus, the first temptation was really about trying to teach what had been imparted without knowing what it really meant.

Voila! College!

:0)

4/03/2007 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

I'd like to take a moment, if I may, to shamelessly plug my own blog, wherein I tell a true tale of rattlesnakes and utter foolishness (apparently of the type that God protects, since I didn't get bitten).

Also, as to snake music I am rather fond of The Cherry Poppin Daddies' "Here Comes the Snake" (sorry, couldn't find a link).

wv: euyaa - the sound you make when you hear that rattle a little too close?

4/03/2007 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said "their argument is not that there is no truth but only competing agendas. Rather: the condition of being human means we can't have access the whole truth of the universe. "

Closely related to their problem with principles, is a severe case of "One Hundred Percentism" - if it isn't true everywhere and in everyway, then it isn't true. Because they don't grasp principles, they don't grasp context, etc.

What we really need is, you know the guy that comes on tv pitching for donations while showing a starving child? We need one showing clueless leftists having tea with Ahminijihad, etc and a voice over saying "It's sad, but true, they can't see evil even face to face. Won't you help us help these flatheads...?"

4/03/2007 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh come on its not hopeless for him. Any time he'd like to he could pick up some of the literature he once read and believed and see if his analysis remains the same or if it has changed. After all, he seems at least somewhat reasonable, even if his conclusions aren't.

4/03/2007 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous joan of argghh! said...

I read no further than this pompous line: With each passing post my analysis of you becomes more clear.

I hate wasting .0018 seconds of my life like that.

4/03/2007 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van, my statement is not: if something isn't true everywhere and in everyway, it's not true at all.

Rather the idea I communicated is that human beings are ontologically cracked. As a feature of the way human beings understand and reason themselves and the universe, we do not have access to 100% of the Grand Plan. That isn't to say there is no such thing, only that we can't sit around waiting for it to unveil itself. Instead, human beings have to take the leap of faith to commit to practical ethics.

4/03/2007 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

dr_qi said "morality is a personal attribute not a collective one. In the west, as in all cultures, there are some people who are moral and some who are not. No postmodernist would equivocate so sloppily."

Meaning carelessly so that people would see... sort of like a magician clumsily palming the coin & spoiling the trick. No, a strong postmodernist would equivocate and drop context with much more slight of hand verbiage, Chomsky for instance, or yourself - for instance with "morality is a personal attribute". See? Just supply a little equivocation on its essentials, make it something flat, like hair color[which is an attribute], mix in a little context rinse between [individual] and [collective], and viola! there you go - presto postmodernism!
[by the way, what's with the brackets?]

4/03/2007 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

"Instead, human beings have to take the leap of faith to commit to practical ethics."

Actually, if you're paying attention it really isn't a leap - it's often quite obvious. If your ethics require mental gymnastics, perhaps you should re-examine them.

Humans are imperfect; that doesn't mean that some ways of living are not inherently vastly better than others.

4/03/2007 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymouse said [blah blah same and (oh, I kind of like these brackets)]] "commit to practical ethics."

It'd be fun to see how you see 'practical' modifying ethics.

4/03/2007 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Blah blah blah?' Of course! It all makes sense now - your tour de force of articulation has surely humbled me and all scurrilous leftists!

4/03/2007 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Dr_Qi said...

Van, if you think Chomsky is a postmodernist you genuinely don't know of what you write. Chomsky is nothing but critical of postmodern theorists.

4/03/2007 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Mary said... "Compare Abraham Lincoln, the self taught lawyer turned president, to Bill Clinton, the Rhodes Scholar. Which one ultimately was the true intellectual?"

Yes, Education has very little to do with schooling, and in many ways is in opposition to it. The other Richard Mitchell links explore that question in depth.

As another anonymous, and Magnus hinted at, what is the vaccination for the venom? That's a post I'm hoping to get to soon, but I imagine it has much to do with the basics, such as teaching proper manners and habits which create dynamic scaffolding, much as the imagery used in sermons and such set up an intellectual scaffolding in order to better support the Vertical becoming rooted in your life.

4/03/2007 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

dr_qi said "Chomsky is nothing but critical of postmodern theorists."

Oh come on, use your penetrating mind and look to the roots. That's like noting that Fascists and Communists hate eachother, and so have no common roots.

Dust off your philosophy books and look again.

4/03/2007 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

"Dr_Qi said...

Van, if you think Chomsky is a postmodernist you genuinely don't know of what you write. Chomsky is nothing but critical of postmodern theorists. "


slogging thru Chomsky criticizing
Postmodern Theory comes as close as i can imagine to the definition of a wasted life.

4/03/2007 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Dr_Qi said...

Van, so you're asserting that having some commonality makes Chomsky and, say Baudrillard or Derrida, the same?

Chomsky is essentially an enlightenment-tradition thinker who posits Reason, usually manifesting in the method of natural science and mathematics, as a basic meta-narrative[a discourse which can , in theory, function as explanatory for all phenomena] whereas postmodern theory, as a somewhat functional definition from Lyotard, is an incredulity toward meta-narratives. Chomsky is largely a neo-kantian in Philosophical terms whereas Kant is largely rejected by the post-enlightenment methods of post-modernism and/post-structuralism.

Certainly both kinds of of thinkers disagree with with you and Bob, but that doesn't entail that they are the same.

4/03/2007 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

anonymous: humble you? Hah, as if.

Look, you don't get it. You try so deeply to know - like in a mechanistic, total sense, humanity - which is the critical flaw. You will eventually arrive at said position: "Oh, it is too complex to know." Your conclusion then is that morality/ethics/truth are unknowable because you can not reduce them to conceivably, internally consistent systems.

Which for instance, existentialism is; though it only works in the mind.

The first step is to un-know; which is to say to come to a state of wonder - for awe of God is the beginning of wisdom - and recognize that you need not 'know' all you have been taught to recognize the futility in knowing all things with precision. Any child could tell you that; it is not wisdom.

But this must be sincere; as a child is sincere. For if we are insincere the enemy uses these selfishnesses as strongholds to insert messages of his own or pervert the one we receive.

You will have to, in short, become blind before you can see.

To wit, to see by not seeing.

If that sounds dumb, silly, purposefully cryptic, abstract or foolish, then you are too sophisticated.

Ask yourself what all you have learned has and will gain you, and then judge your own knowledge by that measure.

4/03/2007 11:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Qi, it's real big of you to come here and hide behind your big words and fancy illiberal arts education. You are so sophisticated.

I'm glad we could puff up your overblown ego. Now please go peddle your nonsense ideology elsewhere.

The readership here is far too educated (or perhaps de-educated) to fall for your doublespeak bullshit.

You are so transparent. We know you better than you know yourself.

You cannot hide from a Coon. We smell you coming from miles away.

We can see your soul. And it is black.

4/03/2007 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Chomsky is essentially an enlightenment-tradition thinker"
Oh... that rankles. I suppose if you modified to "French enlightenment-tradition thinker" I could manage not to dry heave over it (with my apologies to Voltaire). Just.

"Chomsky is largely a neo-kantian in Philosophical terms whereas Kant is largely rejected by the post-enlightenment methods of post-modernism and/post-structuralism..."

Rejected by the dumber than a post-Xisms, who imbibed Kant as distilled through Hegel and Marx and Wundter. Kant is the source codifier behind them all, but Kant took his inspiration not so much from his reaction to Hume, as his worship of Rousseau.

I had a seven part post on this starting in August of last year, which you could pick up here , and yes Gumshoe it was painful, but something I needed to get out.

Kind of like a hairball. Well now that I've ensured that lunch is going to digest well, I've got to get back to work.

Perhaps I can do the same for dinner?

4/03/2007 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

dr_qi: The important point is, if Chomsky and these others disagree, but both of their thinking leads to the same end: that is, death of the soul, then who rightly cares? It's like comparing axe wounds to knife wounds, really.

Interesting, perhaps, if you study the dead.

4/03/2007 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Qi--

"I see now that your hostility towards what you imagine Leftism to be is really hostility toward an earlier manifestation of yourself."

Your hostility toward Bob is really just hostility toward a future manifestation of yourself (assuming you ever leave the intellectual sandbox).

4/03/2007 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Doh!

4/03/2007 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

That would be Post-Selfism?

4/03/2007 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

What's that odd smell in here today? Did someone spill some Donner la mort?

Qui etait-il?

4/03/2007 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Dr Qi,
It’s me, Ricky, waving up at you through the microscope.
We are an odd subspecies down here. Aren’t we entertaining.
But that’s all we are. We’re merely interesting.

But you can’t leave.
Even your great mind strains.
I can feel it strain.

Funny too how we’re not trying to find you.
I’ve been you’re kind actually, and I’ve had enough of the likes of you.
I wouldn’t visit a lefty blog at gunpoint.

I know. You were just flipping through the channels….
Are you sure we can’t help you with that?

4/03/2007 01:38:00 PM  
Anonymous joan of argghh! said...

Okay, see, the thing about trolls and troll-baiting is that it takes the attention away from my witty remarks. *ahem*

C'mon, that whole bit about College being the first temptation was comedy gold.

And, gee...

It's my birthday today.

*pout*

4/03/2007 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Happy Birthday Joan!

4/03/2007 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous joan of argghh! said...

Ah! That's better!

Thanks Ricky!
:)

See? There's nothing better than vile trollery for making a bit of narcissism seem like a good thing!

4/03/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Joan of Argghh!!!
You are right of course! I'd actually marked that for response, and then got all trollified.

_iiiiiii_
|_______|

Happy Birthday! Satisfy a wish and Blow out the candles!

4/03/2007 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(Although all cakes are the same size, contents may settle in posting)

4/03/2007 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Joan -
HBTY,
HBTY,
HBDJ,
HBTY.

AMM......

4/03/2007 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Since we’re offering coonfessions….

Sometimes I think Bob posts as Anon-Troll-of-the-Day just to watch a good fight.
I mean, Van, I’m glad I wasn’t eating Oreos today.

As sad as this Dr Qi soul is – and really it is a sad situation - those were funny one-two combinations.
I’m really trying to work on this laughing at them problem I’ve developed lately.
Seriously.
I used to get angry at them. But lately for some reason they turned funny.
It’s not them it’s me. Which is really not the old me.

4/03/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous joan of argghh! said...

*Basking in the glow of ____ candles, great singing and good wishes!*

Thanks, guys!

Now I just gotta survive family showing up.
:o)

Ricky, I've thought the same thing about our DL, but I bet he has more of a life than a troll.

4/03/2007 01:58:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

gumshoe1's back. Cool! Where's Robin?

"Studying Chomsky's /
Postmodernism: Some Thoughts -- /
Wasted life. How sad."

And River's close to having it pegged. Where does a thought pattern lead? There are two ways, one of life and one of death, but a great difference between the two ways.

The death toll of the Gramscian is evident to all but the willfully blind. The blood cries out. Including Muslim blood like that represented by Tawfik Hamid.

Follow the thought patterns, the embedded assumptions and looping strategies. Ultimately the flesh and blood opponents do the will of the Slithering Thought Pattern, if they choose to remain its minions. We earnestly desire wisdom for the foolish and to know them as brothers; and should not turn our backs on or underestimate the destructiveness of the useful idiots.

4/03/2007 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Nomo,
I think you've achieved the maximum density of pithiness.

4/03/2007 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous joan of argghh! said...

Nothing to say, just seeing that my word veri, should I decide to accept it, is, "hoeiy".

Pronounciation is the problem here.

4/03/2007 02:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You wrote: (Rich people can borrow some virtue by identifying with poor people and criminals.)

Naturally I wonder if we can call them "Poverty Offsets?"

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

Ricky Raccoon said...
"I mean, Van, I’m glad I wasn’t eating Oreos today."

That could be as bad as salad... not nearly as bad as peanut butter mind you (and your pic), but messy, messy, messy.

wv:qrkikds quirky kits!
passed over for
wv:razedo

4/03/2007 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Diylis said:
“We earnestly desire wisdom for the foolish and to know them as brothers; and should not turn our backs on or underestimate the destructiveness of the useful idiots.”

Yes. Tomberg is currently setting me straight again on your first part. You are both right on this point.
And RE your second part, I’m wondering if the laughing at them that’s started in me lately is meant to disarm me with their ridiculousness…and I am aware of how dangerous these folks are.
But maybe I’m giving them too much credit.

4/03/2007 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger gumshoe1 said...

_iiiiiii_
|_______|

happy b-day,joan.

(same bakery as Van's,
different cake).

4/03/2007 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Father's Little Helper, or "Have You Seen My Father, Baby, Scrambled in the Best Blow?"

BTW--the B'ob does not sock puppet. I've got enough to take care of.

4/03/2007 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Van,
Not to mention a horrible waste of Oreos.
Darnit, now I’m hungry again.
This diet’s goin’ nowhere.

4/03/2007 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Thanks Cousin D,
My diet just made a miraculous recovery..

4/03/2007 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

It must be Official Wild Tangent Day

4/03/2007 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Sheesh, Cuz, I'm not sure that's the type of birthday present Joan had in mind!)

Happy Birthday, Joan! I thought you were hilarious.

4/03/2007 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Joan,

A bunch of us passed the tin cup and bought a
Birthday present

Best wishes for a lovely celebration with your family!!

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

“BTW--the Bob does not sock puppet. I've got enough to take care of.”

Woops-a-daisy.

Musta read that too fast the first time.

4/03/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

OK, dull plodder passing through the impromptu birthday party:
...i..
|,,,,|

songs, streamers, disorderly dancing, happy returns, take your choice, whatever...
________________________

AntiVenom
Morality and the Market, excellent recent lectures, especially Thomas Woods. You can link through thisThe market itself encourages moral behavior....greed persists no matter what economic system is in place... The culture of envy, free-floating anger as deterrent to even modest initiative.

Worth watching for those interested who want to take the time. Illuminates the usual objections of the usual suspects.

4/03/2007 03:05:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

indoctrination
you shut up no you shut up
voodoo politik

-------------

Sorry I'm late to the party - HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Joan!

Saved you some cake...

4/03/2007 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Coast ---> to ---> coast:

Happy birthday, Joan!

4/03/2007 03:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

River, I don't claim life is too complex to know. Nor do I say ethics, morality or truth are unknowable. My claim is that it is a feature of human beings to remain incomplete with respect to the knowledge of all. The difference between the positions as summarized by you and my position is the difference between asserting the universe is opaque, in your case, asserting that the vision of human beings is wound up in parallax, in my actual argument. I don't consider that to be too complex to understand. So it is not that I have been taught it is futile to know all things with precision, far from it: rather my reason is sensitive to the contours of what human beings can know and how we can know. So to the extent you're not human, then you're delightfully freed from these conditions :P To ask myself what all I have learned/gained from these writers - ethical integrity and playful humor. A very happy birthday all around.

4/03/2007 04:01:00 PM  
Anonymous joan of argghh! said...

Mizze and Robin and all!

Thanks so much, the gifts were lovely. Except for Keith Richards...

The Steak Marsala was a great birfday dinner.

Good Coonversation makes for icing on the cake!

Thanks to Bob and all for such a wonderful venue of sharing and laughter.

:)

Honest-to-Coon wv: knqybuyd (??)

4/03/2007 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

anony: If you find it sufficient, good will to you.

Happy B-Day, Joan, *plays happy birthday on the piano*

Too bad I can't podcast it...

4/03/2007 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

"Have You Seen My Father, Baby, Scrambled in the Best Burner?"

4/03/2007 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

That's quite disturbing, actually, Mizz...

Well, the diamonds are yellow.

Nuff said!

4/03/2007 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Mizze,
Ah.
Hmm.
I think I'd still like to opt for the ol' illegal 'plop me in a hole & plant a tree on me' bit.
Not as sparkly perhaps, but more 'coons to come will have more fun climbing the remains.

4/03/2007 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Bob wrote today, "Believe it or not, there was a time that I believed each and every one of these items on the snake's agenda."

Guess I was lucky that those particular items missed me, but my peers and I DID buy into the idea that we should all be "open to everything," and that it was proper/hip/enlightened to carry that attitude. This acted like a "gateway drug" in our lives, and of course, lots of ugly critters slithered in.

4/03/2007 05:54:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Finally had a chance to read the Gramscian link - it really is amazing what is accepted as unremarkable today that would have cause violent reactions from my Grandpa.

I especially liked the link mid way through to wildmonk.net - it's good to see others tie it back to to that cesspool Rousseau. Too often he's pawned off as a gem of forward thinking and sense - disturbed by our schools? Look no farther than him. Disturbed by post-whatever? All the roots run back to his pen. Long ago the French had a choice between becoming someone like Bastiat or Rousseau, sadly for Western Civilization, they chose the latter.

4/03/2007 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

MAGNUS: Actually I'm more interested in prevention. Today's entry seems on the verge of some revelation about the part in an otherwise healthy person that is drawn toward the creepy crawling poisonous danger.

I can't help but think that we're talking about something along the lines of "I hear the tale that I heard told: Mithridates, he died old."The surest way to inoculate the next generation against Leftist ideas is not to shield the kids from them (which doesn't work very well with substances or behaviors, in my experience), but to get them introduced to these ideas as soon as they can understand how they work, and to teach them exactly WHY said ideas are a load of wrong-headed horsehockey.

4/03/2007 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Jake said...

I was still a liberal when I was twenty - I'm partway to thirty now, and just like Winston Churchill predicted, I'm making the turnaround; I'll probably be more Republican than my grandparents by the time I get to forty. My wife remains a staunch don't-tread-on-me libertarian, however; she can't make the jump to conservatism no matter how hard she tries.

4/03/2007 06:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jwm said...
As someone who loves the Southern California hills, I can attest to the electric power of the rattlesnake. I remember coming up alongside one when I was riding up a trail in Chino Hills State Park. It was axle to axle the length of my bike. Although that sound *SSSSSSS* comes in through the ear, it totally bypasses all the higher functions of the brain. *SSSSS* I don't care if you've never heard a rattler before. You recognize it immediately. It goes straight to the fight or flight center of your reptile brain. That's not really accurate. It never stops on "Fight". Never. Every instinct you were born with yells, "RUN!"
Nonetheless, you have to stop and see.
It's only after you've stopped to see a beast like the one Bob described that you can appreciate the Crocodile Hunter reaching down and actually grabbing one of the the damn things.

My thought for the day:
Don't grab at a rattlesnake.

JWM

4/03/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Oh Veritcal Mysteress!

Pardon thy humble servant, just this once again!

How was it possible to misconstrued the rememberance of this blessed anniversary of our anointing with thy presence among thy lowly adulators!

Forgiveness please, Oh Great One!




I grovel before you, as is my due,on this, your very special day

4/03/2007 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

This is just a masterpiece of insight and writing.

4/03/2007 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

GB said "A soulful lesson in snakes (apologies to George D)."

I don't get it.

4/03/2007 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Dr Bob,
I can’t believe I missed this gem today:
“the snake, who can never leave the earth plane.”

4/03/2007 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Alright! Rattler stories - I have one too.

Once when I was about 11, I was showing my 8 year old sister the rocky shoreline of a reservoir. As we stepped down through the boulders we heard the telltale rattlesnake shake. It was about 2 feet in front of us. I had just enough time to whisper "don't move!" when my sister jumped up and ran as fast as she could.

She's the smart one in the family.

I just stood there, transfixed. Her sudden movement spooked the snake though, and it started to follow her path. Unfortunately, I was right in its way, so as I watched, it crawled right over the top of my sneaker and up through the rocks. I didn't move a muscle but I believe my heart about exploded out of my chest.

I've run across several of the little bastards since then and I swear I can spot them from a hundred yards. I don't really care to get that close again.

4/03/2007 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/03/2007 10:04:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Dr Bob clips:
“Atticus is the "embodiment of quiet, intelligent strength and conscience."

Reminds me of the way Michelangelo depicted Moses:
http://www.cptryon.org/hoagland/
travels/stpeterchains/moses.html

Symbolically speaking he chose to depict Moses as having those same interior qualities as Atticus but in physical presence. It’s a massive sculpture, obviously very strong physically – but notice how gently he holds his beard, tablets – and thus holds his ‘strength’ in reserve. Authority.
Don’t miss the narrative about the chip on the knee. Also keep in mind the size of this sculpture requires you to look up at it. It was carved with the viewer’s perspective very much in mind – and these photos don’t really show that aspect well at all unfortunately. He towers over you.

4/03/2007 10:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Did you ever notice how many words in the English language that begin with strong "s" sounds have to do with the vibration of base manifestation - snake, sex, sound, hiss, hypnosis.

The very shape of "s" denotes vibration - vibration of prima materia.

Remember the snake in Jungle Book - Trust in me.

The sin in the garden was about seeking nourishment from the tree of good and evil (ie. the lower dark material pole in Bob's cosmological diagram) rather than the tree of life... Living life upside down... Putting the horizontal first over the vertical in your life. Falling under its spell

Living right side up and being an ever better conduit of O into the world is the answer.

Perhaps we had to fall in order to become who we were meant to be (and we all recreate the fall in our lives). Luckily, there are people like Bob to cast nets to help us stop falling.

4/03/2007 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Sal said...

Joan,
Sorry I missed it! Glad it was happy. Did you save me some cake?

Would you like to see PC edutainment get a well-deserved @ss-kicking for your belated present?

(Caveat: this only works if the small children in your life have exposed you to the dreaded Dora the Explorer. If not, it might be unintelligible.)

But for those who despise Dora only slightly less than Caillou -
http://www.jaynebingler.com/blog/?m=200703&paged=2

"Say Backpack!"

4/04/2007 03:59:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nomo--

Just a good natured reference to George's dislike of my dragging the proceedings from the vertical with "banal and trivial" music.

4/04/2007 04:35:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"...there is something "impure," so to speak, that precedes the fall -- not just the clever and cunning snake, but more importantly, our attraction to him. For "cleverness," "craftiness," "shrewdness" -- these are all faux forms of intelligence, and substitutes for wisdom."

That is pretty much THE temptation isn't it, the temptation to try and 'put one over' on reality - or it's substitute: what you can get the people around you to believe, and believe about you. And just like That! you are at odds with the Good, the Beautiful and the True, each of which deals only with reality.

"When someone says that a Bill Clinton or Bill Maher are "intelligent," I scoff, for it is an abuse of the term. If intelligence does not lead to wisdom, truth, and prudence, then it does not deserve the name "intelligence.""

Yes indeedy.

4/04/2007 05:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Dougman said...

The state of the poor,
left at your door
will witness for me
what grace will find thee

4/04/2007 05:41:00 AM  
Anonymous mizze said...

Van,
What flavour of tree would you like?

I did get the impression that Mrs. Tandy will not be putting Mr. Tandy in a square setting surrounded by lotus petals.

4/04/2007 06:37:00 AM  
Anonymous mizze said...

Bizarre, you can not make this stuff up category:

I'm sitting at a borrowed computer with an archaic version of IE - where the choice between orange and blue button (publish or preview) on the comment page doesn't display guide words, so it's a crap shoot as to which one will post a comment.
When I click the blue button, or is it orange, I'm taken to preview and in preview if I click publish I'm taken to
Julie's profile page on her blog. I worked around it by clicking the just-go-ahead-and publish-it-w/o-preview. Thanks to God, I've committed to updating my internal software.

4/04/2007 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

This is quite remarkable. I seem to remember reading something like this in ‘1984’.

Merely interesting that it is ok however to refer to the “War in Iraq”? …which it is not. It is not a war at all there. It is not even a battle, speaking with these terms properly.

No more GWOT, House committee decrees
http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2007/04/military_gwot_democrats_070403w/

4/04/2007 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

mizze said... "Van,What flavour of tree would you like?"

It would have to be able to double as a shady thinking spot, and a solid climbing tree with lots of good thick branches, so I've always had in mind an Oak or a Walnut.

I suppose Keith Richards would also feel at home there... eating the nuts... being one with the nuts.

4/04/2007 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Sorry about that last link...

No more GWOT, House committee decrees
DEMS BAN 'GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR'...

4/04/2007 07:23:00 AM  
Blogger I R A Darth said...

And you don't know what the rattlesnake thought of you, for that matter. Perhaps nothing good.

Oh, I'd guess that the rattler thought it was done for. That guy is freakin' huge! I'll bite him if it comes to that, but precious little good it'll do me. I hope he's not hungry! There may have been a small voice, in the back of the snake's mind of If I could eat him, I'd be able to live for a year!

Those of us living in the western hemisphere are blessed with native poisonous snakes who are, for the most part, shy and retiring. Unlike their more agressive eastern hemisphere counterparts, our snakes don't want much to do with us. Those snakes can strike, but usually because someone has foolishly grabbed, sat or stepped on a snake - oftentimes because they wheren't paying attention.

Note that the human versions are more like the aggressive snakes - they'll chase you, some even spitting their venom. And they're annoyed at you just because you passed thru their territory...

4/04/2007 08:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Hsssssssssss!

4/04/2007 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous mizze said...

Putting things right:

Only 50,000 people died from an Asian cobra bite last year. 2,000,000 people died from the bite of a mosquito.

4/05/2007 06:19:00 AM  

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