Friday, April 20, 2007

The Third Commandment of Nihilism: You Shall Have a Vanity Plate in Your Head

When they aren't plain wrong, leftist arguments are just so silly or disingenuous. During the debate regarding the appropriateness of a statue of the Ten Commandments outside a courtroom, I remember them ridiculing the idea that an intelligent or sophisticated person could take them seriously anyway. True, there might be some commonsense folk wisdom embedded in a few of them, but they are obviously not the instantiation of a transcendent moral order worthy of our reverence. Please.

You will notice that leftists are often exactly what they accuse their adversaries of being -- in this case, either hyper-concrete and literal, or prone to a pseudo-form of reason applied to an extremely narrow area, thus rendering reason irrational. That there is a bas relief pi'ture of Moses bearing the Ten Commandments inside the Supreme Court building is of no consequence to them -- as if someone illegally snuck it in there without anyone noticing that it's not exactly kosher. Or worse yet, that it is.

I remember a comedian, for example, mocking the commandment, "you shall not take the name of the lord in vain." What's that supposed to mean? And why would the creator of the universe possibly care about how we employ language or what we say about him? Parochial yahoos. Anthropocentrists. These so-called "ten commandments" aren't universal. Rather, they're just a bunch of arbitrary rules made up by some primitive tribe 3,000 years ago. We're liberated. We don't believe that nonsense.

Of course, such blinkered thinking represents the quintessence of vanity, parochialism, and narcissism, for it articulates what the spiritually untutored human -- which is to say, signifyin' monkey -- thinks about the cosmos. We may dismiss such common McDullards in light of their own assumptions about language, which is that it is an arbitrary and ultimately meaningless protest shouted into the cosmic void. Secular leftists are half-right, in that their philosophy is indeed a vacuous shout from void to Void.

But the point of depicting the Ten Commandments in the most exalted court in the land is to emphasize that human law is indeed arbitrary unless it is rooted in transcendent and absolute principles. Don't kid yourself. The "rule of law" is vastly superior to the "rule of man," unless it is only the rule of law -- for if it is, we are simply back to the rule of man. In other words, if law is not grounded in something transcending it -- something which law is intended to embody and reflect -- then there is no reason to respect it aside from avoiding earthly punishment.

I remember when I first realized this fact with the... with the force of God. This was probably about seven years ago. I was doing something I shouldn't be doing, specifically, taking something that did not belong to me. Don't get me wrong -- it was in the "everybody does it" category -- but that was the problem, at least for someone presuming to be on a spiritual path. It was such an inconsequential thing, and yet, I suddenly felt like Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment, which is to say, existentally naked before the full brunt of my divine conscience.

Only later, in the course of reading Schuon, did I fully "put two and two together" and realize the centrality of virtue to the spiritual path. If you are going to make any spiritual progress, there are certain things you simply cannot do, even if they are legal or if everyone else does them, the reason being that the good and true converge as you approach the One. In this regard, this is why I can speak so confidently -- if you want to say bobnoxiously, that's fine -- about the bogosity of certain spiritual teachers. One can only assume that they are operating outside the light of the divine conscience, for virtue is the mark of the sage. In fact, awareness of the conscience is one of the things that makes the saint so humble.

Now, the third commandment is here to remind us that, just as law must be grounded in something transcending it, so too is language anchored in a reality that surpasses it. In fact, this is why we are able to make meaningful statements at all. The problem, as a commenter yesterday put it, is not that life is meaningless, but rather, that it means so much: "The tragedy is that to care is to risk the unbearable pain of loss. To say all is absurd is a defense against the pain of loss, as in saying 'it can't hurt me because it never mattered in the first place.' Nihilists play games in the dark because they are very frightened to begin with." The only thing I would add is that they play language games, which is why they are so fundamentally unserious -- again, by dint of their own frivolous assumptions.

Here is a perfect example. Even if you are "pro-choice," everyone except a true sociopath knows that abortion is morally wrong. It is a moral reality that you simply cannot not know unless you have no conscience or unless you have disabled your conscience with word games in order to make wrong seem right. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards all presume to be religious, so just ask them: does abortion please God? And if not, why not? And if it does please God, please tell us a little more about this God of yours and his relationship to human beings.

Again, irrespective of whether or not you are pro-choice, only a very disingenuous person, or someone who does not take language seriously, could read the Constitution and find there a universal right to kill your fetus. It has been said that if leftists interpreted the second amendment the way they do the rest of the constitution, you would be mandated to carry a weapon at taxpayers' expense.

What would it be like for time to stop and to spend eternity standing naked before your unveiled conscience? JWM proposed that this is what happens in the eternal moment between when the depraved Palestinian ghettoblaster pushes the button and the rat-poison-laced screws reach the Jewish baby's head. A metaphor, or course, but eternity does exist, as does the eternal conscience. As such, in one way or another, you will live with what you have done forever, so choose wisely. If the Creator is just -- and there is no reason to believe he wouldn't be -- then these shameless Islamic monsters from their "shame cultures" will be immersed in the very shame they cannot tolerate until the conclusion of this cosmic cycle. If they think Saudi Arabia is bad, just wait until they find out about the eternal shame cosmos.

One very efficient, if indiscriminate, way to make the conscience disappear -- and with it, shame -- is by severing language from its transcendent source, so that nothing can be known and all is ultimately arbitrary, including moral rules of conduct. But as brother Elvis teaches us in one of today's FineTune selections, you may run on for a long time, but not forever:

My God spoke and he spoke so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of angel's feet
He put one hand upon my head
Great God almighty, tell you what he said

Go tell that long-tongued liar,
Go tell that midnight rider,
Tell the gambler and the rambler and the back-biter
Tell 'em God almighty gonna cut 'em down

Run on for a long time,
Run on for a long time,
Let me tell you God almighty gonna cut you down

You may throw your rock and hide your hand
Working in the dark 'gainst your fellow man
Sure as God made the day and the night
What you do in the dark will be brought to the light
You may run and hide, slip and slide
Trying to take the mote from your neighbour's eyes
As sure as God made the rich and po'
You gonna reap just what you sow

Some people go to church just to sit in the fire
Trying to make a date with the neighbour's wife
Brother let me tell you as sure as you born
You better leave that woman alone
Because one of these days, mark my word
You think that brother is gone to work
You'll sneak up, knock on that door
That's all brother, you'll knock no more

Amen, brother, you ain't gonna knock on heaven's door with a smokin' semantic crater in the middle of your syntax.

Where was I? Yes, the third commandment of nihilism: Since God does not exist, all language is ultimately vain, and metaphysics is not possible. Let's review some of what I wrote about the matter last summer. For those of you who have read it before, you are dismissed. Have a nice weekend. Remember -- no ramblin', gamblin', and back-bitin'.


Authentic religions are frameworks for spirituality in the same way that music theory is a framework for music. You can try to play music without it -- you can be “musical” -- but except for rare exceptions, you won’t be able to play much of interest. It will be a pretty vain endeavor. This is why, for example, regardless of what objection you may have to the Catholic church, they have produced many more profound spiritual geniuses than the “new age” ever will. Frankly, there’s just no comparison in terms of depth, power and spiritual radiance.

While radical secularists grant that it might be bad under certain circumstances to murder or steal, they especially dismiss injunctions against making graven images (discussed in yesterday’s post) or taking the name of the lord in vain. No one is going to tell a leftist what he can and cannot mock, since leftism represents a convoluted intellectual sanction for knee-jerk adolescent rebellion. If they could not blaspheme, what would be left of them? This is why I was so surprised at their decision to grind Imus -- who is one of their own -- through the left-wing hate machine. Now they'll have to shut down the entire rap and hip-hop industry, and Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson can no longer wear the liberal King of Negroes crown.

It is a vain dream that leftists would ever take language seriously or be intellectually consistent.

You will also notice that no one is more literal-minded or “fundamentalist” than the leftist who rejects religion. That is, they reject only a caricature of religion that they themselves have concrockted. Or perhaps, as often happens, they had a bad experience with a dysfunctional version of religion as a child, and are in perpetual revolt against it. While perfectly understandable -- in fact, to a certain extent, I was a victim of this myself -- there is no reason why it should pose a lifelong obstacle to opening oneself to the boundless depths of genuine religion.

The third commandment is “You shall not take the name of the lord in vain.” There are even many Christians who believe that this means nothing more than refraining from cursing. If so, what’s the point? If that were all it amounted to, then liberals might even be correct in mocking something so seemingly trivial in the overall scheme of things.

First of all, this commandment has something important to say about metaphysical vanity, specifically, vain and fruitless talk about God, of which there is an overabundance. Much religious talk is entirely vain, in that it serves no purpose -- it is mere “pneuma-babble” emanating from the ego, not the spirit.

The omninameable One has revealed several of his names to mankind, perhaps the most important one being I AM. In fact, there are certain forms of yoga that consist of nothing more than meditating on the mystery of this I AM to which we all have magical access. To do so is to engage in the deepest form of vertical recollection, for this I AM is not located in the field of time. Rather, it eternally radiates through the vertical now to which humans have unique access. To dwell in the primordial I AM -- or so ham in Sanskrit -- is to reconnect with the eternal ground of being. It is anything but vain.

As I was at pains to point out in One Cosmos, the truths embodied in genuinely revealed religions must be experienced, not merely thought. This is really not much different than, say, psychology. You can read all about the criteria for a depression or panic attack in the DSM, but unless you have actually experienced a panic attack, the words don’t really convey the experience. If anything, they might even convince you that you understand it because you have the words for it, but the words are merely pointers or place markers for a reality that most certainly exists.

Especially with regard to religion and psychology, words must be analogous to bank notes that one may “cash in” for their actual experiential value. Otherwise you are simply dealing with religious counterfeiters and with spiritual “funny money” that has no value at all. It is entirely vain. When you read Meister Eckhart or Frithjof Schuon, you should know that their words are backed by the full faith and credit of the First Bank of Divine Reality. When you read Deepak Chopra or Tony Robbins, you know that their words are backed by the full faith and credit of their rampant narcissism. But Petey's law means that bad spiritual money tends to drive out good, which accounts for their vast personal fortunes.

Perhaps the worst way of taking the name of the Lord in vain -- and the most spiritually catastrophic for the person who does so -- is to use the name of God as a pretext to commit great evil, as do the Islamists. I’m trying to think of a worse sin, but I can’t at the moment. What the Islamists are doing is beyond evil, for they are committing evil in the name of God, thus undermining the very possibility of the Good.

Contrary to popular understanding, these monsters of depravity are worthy of both divine wrath and our own unyielding holy anger. True, under most circumstances it is appropriate to “hate the sin and not the sinner.” However, it is entirely legitimate to despise the sinner to the extent that he has not only completely given himself over to sin, but fully identifies with it in an implacable way. In other words, if the sinner has chosen to be sin, then it is appropriate to despise him. Woe unto spiritually depraved groups such as CAIR or the ACLU that align themselves with these embodiments of evil.

The Islamo-nazis are not just committing evil, they are willfully identified with evil -- more, they are absolutely committed to violent overthrow of the very possibility of the good. It is our sacred duty to despise these monsters in the proportion to which we love the Good. In no way does this mirror the illegitimate, passionate, and sadistic hatred of the Islamists themselves, for holy anger is dispassionate and does not surpass the boundaries of what has provoked it. Americans do not chop off heads for fun; they do only what is necessary to stop the evil. But to the left, our liberation of Iraq is morally indistinguishable from Saddam's occupation of it.

There is one additional aspect of the third commandment that I had wanted to get into, but I can see that I won’t really have timelessness enough to expand upon it. That is the possibility of metaphysical knowledge which is both objectively true and operative, or fruitful, in the psyche. Virtually all postmodern thought is in agreement that metaphysical knowledge is not possible -- that it is “vain.” Here again we see an exact reversal of the reality, for the religious view is that human beings most definitely have access, through the uncreated intellect, to objective truth. There are eternal truths that man may not only know, but without which man would not be man.


Oh, there are so many, I don’t know where to begin. How about this one: “semantics cannot be reduced to syntax.” Because it can’t, language is not just a vain epiphenomenon produced by a modified primate brain, including the mathematical language that governs the physical universe, the language of DNA, the language of music, or the language of Shakespeare. Ultimately, it means that meaning is indeed meaningful and not merely a vain existential pursuit. The cosmos is not just a tale told by a tenured idiot, full of envy and activism but signifying short hours and a nice paycheck. Rather, it is a vehicle and transmitter of Ultimate Meaning.


Blogger NoMo said...

I believe you meant brother Johnny Cash. Now back to the meal...

4/20/2007 08:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

No, this version is by Elvis. I don't know if Johnny covered it as well....

4/20/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Doh! Right you are. But be sure to check out Johnny's version on his last album. Amazing.

4/20/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>>It is our sacred duty to despise these monsters in the proportion to which we love the Good.<<

"Everywhere on this city block, I'm seeing trouble,
Every place out in Wickerland, same thing, I've found,
When that nasty moonlight's given signs
To poke bone fingers through my dusty blinds,
I may be trembling, yeah, but I'm standing ground -

I seen that herky-jerky devil clown in the elemental moonlight,
I heard the lord of chaoes laughing in his bright green gown,
But I heard the trumpet, saw the clouds unfold,
I saw my native city turn gold
On a fateful day, that's why I'm standing ground -

There be snakes in this world, they feed on headlines,
There's piranha fish out there, looking for a mind to confound,
Just draw a little faith from the country well,
The angels that be with you are more than them's against you, I can tell
You children, you can do it if you're standing ground - "

Immodestly quoting excerpts from my own recently composed gospel-like song, Standing Ground - because no one else is gonna.

4/20/2007 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous sportsman said...

Bob writes:

"If you are going to make any spiritual progress, there are certain things you simply cannot do, even if they are legal or if everyone else does them."

I was an avid hunter and fisherman until around the age of 35 or so when these sports began to feel a little "unclean" to me, and I stopped doing them.

The problem was that there were plenty of meat and fish at the store, already killed and ready for my use. I hunted and fished primarily because I liked the sensation of capturing and killing animals and fish.

I have an intuition that God doesn't like that predatory attitude. He'll accept it in people who don't feel the sin in it, and he'll accept it if no other food is around, but He doesn't cotton to it in people that know better.

Anyone want to weigh in on this? I'd like to know if anyone has the same intuition as I do.

4/20/2007 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Leftists ridicule people such as George Bush for having the audacity to believe that God speaks to him personally, yet God speaks to each one of us every day through our conscience.
It's our fine-tune-O-meter to staying on the path and to the extent that we ignore it, the farther afield we go astray.
I noticed that every one of the Dem presidential candidates spoke out against the partial birth abortion decision rendered by the Supreme Court. How could anyone with even a modicum of a connection to their own conscience look at that procedure and see ANYTHING right or just about it much less stoop to the point of defending it?
It would take a particularly snuffed out conscience and a total conflation of license with liberty to defend that barbarism. But then I guess the regressives still have a soft spot and a sentimentality for the good ole days of human sacrifice.

4/20/2007 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger a.k.a. Blandly Urbane said...

Without your extrapolation (not sure if appropriate use of word), on “hate the sin, not the sinner;” “if the sinner has chosen to be sin, then it is appropriate to despise him” taking any action against these depraved individuals would be close to impossible. Looking upon them as sin defines it well for me. Whereas before it was difficult for me to understand how we are supposed to just hate the sin didn’t quite bode well in my pea. Never quite being able to justify my belief that these bastards need to be taken down verbally or in writing was a problem; while unconsciously knowing it was the right or only thing we could do. It was just a right feeling.

“It is our sacred duty to despise these monsters in the proportion to which we love the Good. In no way does this mirror the illegitimate, passionate, and sadistic hatred of the Islamists themselves, for holy anger is dispassionate and does not surpass the boundaries of what has provoked it.”

The Iranian Supreme Court overturned the conviction of murderers yesterday based upon the Iranian Islamic Penal Code. The convicted, having killed people based on their belief the victims were morally corrupt:

“Following the identification of the five victims as “morally corrupt,” the convicted men took their victims outside the city, then “stoned them to death or drowned them in a pond by sitting on their chests.” The last of the five murdered “were a young couple engaged to be married who the killers claimed were walking together in public.”’

This cannot be in the name of anything true beyond evil.

The longer their actions are justified in a morally equivocal way that denies us the ability to fight it, the worse off we will be.

The lone comment to my post about this decision was:

"If the Iranian's don't like it they can change it."

To which, I thought, 'well my point wasn't anything beyond illustrating the backwardness of their 'penal code/beliefs' I'm afraid he believed I was adding fuel to the fire of 'attack Iran now!' However, commenter know that your 'leave them alone to deal with it' attitude may likely end up being one of having no choice none to far down the road.

Apologies regarding my rambling. I didn't want to take too much time looking both ways before crossing the street and never click on 'publish you comment.'

Great, great and wonderful stuff. Too thought provoking for my limited English as a first language.

4/20/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Do you believe Christ was sent by God to earth?

If you do, what do you believe His purpose or mission was?

4/20/2007 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...


Look to yourself, man! Troll-hunting is our favorite sport around here. In fact, this blog is really just a "blind" in which we hide, waiting for a witless troll to wander by, looking for something to feed his ego.

4/20/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Mmmmm, trollmeat.....

4/20/2007 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

deh... which way did 'e go, which way did 'ee go Joan...

4/20/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger MizzE said...

> > >"You gonna reap just what you sow"< < <
or to put it another way - We really do reap what we sow.

wv: wddrd = After they heard da Word, where dem trolls gonna hide?

4/20/2007 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...


I grew up with a father who was an avid hunter and fisherman and got into those sports with him. I can't say that I ever enjoyed the killing, as there were many more aspects to the sport for me, comraderie, being in nature and seeing it firsthand etc. but at a point in my life I too quit hunting.
When I was younger, there was an ego satisfaction to compare my hunting abilities with others guys my age, in a culture of hunters, but there was also the spiritual aspect in it too.
I stopped hunting in my late 20s and drifted into a sort of neutral view towards hunting (in a drift towards a new agey phase in my life), not anti but more of an "it's okay for you but not for me" attitude.
Then one day I was at my house in a rural area about 1 mile up a private driveway when my dog came to the door looking like a bear had just mauled him. Out the window I spotted two large pit bull terriers standing in the driveway. Well, the hunter instinct kicked back in, but it had been so long since I had hunted that I had to dig out the rifle and find the ammo and by the time I did, the pit bulls were about 150 yards away, heading across a frozen lake for who knows where. I shot both dogs, and upon reflection, I realized that the act was not out of retribution for what happened to my dog but to stop what might have happened to other dogs or perhaps someones child wherever those dogs went. I couldn't let those dogs get away and feel right about it. It was at that time I saw, in a way I hadn't before, that there were legitimate reasons for taking life.
Shortly afterwards,I also realized that if I was still eating meat and fish, that I was in essence having someone else do my "hunting" for me, that I was ultimately responsible for the death of the animal eaten, but was having someone else do the killing for me.
I'm back to hunting and fishing again and while I don't relish the taking of life, I'm closer to the reality of what is happening and not paying someone else "protein credits" for the meat that I eat.
I guess you could say that the intent behind my actions has changed. Less ego satisfaction, trophy/numbers hunting, more putting meat on the table practicality.

4/20/2007 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Especially with regard to religion and psychology, words must be analogous to bank notes that one may “cash in” for their actual experiential value. Otherwise you are simply dealing with religious counterfeiters and with spiritual “funny money” that has no value at all."

People who take their words lightly, who use them as window dressing, as cover for their hidden intents, do indeed deal in conterfeit script, and for the same intent as currency counterfeiters, and with the same result for those who accept their words as valid currency - those who base their life savings on such logosless blather risk ruin and starvation.

Those three dollar bills won't buy much in Racoonville.

4/20/2007 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger The Bunnies said...

In case anyone's interested in hearing Johnny Cash sing "God's Gonna Cut You Down" while watching Hollywood weirdos pull off an oddly interesting video for it, here's the link:

4/20/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

organize the mind
plow a field and plant with seed
food for nesting birds

4/20/2007 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"...the possibility of metaphysical knowledge which is both objectively true and operative, or fruitful, in the psyche. Virtually all postmodern thought is in agreement that metaphysical knowledge is not possible -- that it is “vain.”"

Yep. The very source and root of evil, sin, wrong... whatever you want to call it, the root is the desire to disguise the truth, to represent reality as being something other than it is, and for that same reason.

4/20/2007 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Good links MizzE, thanks

4/20/2007 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Looking forward to the music that goes with that.

4/20/2007 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Ultimately, it means that meaning is indeed meaningful and not merely a vain existential pursuit."

And just how is it that that plain fact is not plainly obvious? Who would it not be obvious to?

"The cosmos is not just a tale told by a tenured idiot, full of envy and activism but signifying short hours and a nice paycheck."

Oh, yeah... forgot.

"Rather, it is a vehicle and transmitter of Ultimate Meaning."

Hense a meaningful life.

4/20/2007 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


I love Johnny, but I have to say, I prefer the Elvis version.

4/20/2007 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger The Bunnies said...

I love ya, Bob, but you can't be right about everything.

Have you heard "The Man Comes Around" by any chance?

4/20/2007 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Nick - Re: your question to Bob.

FWIW. I don't pretend to know where you're coming from, but I might have once asked a similar question. According to his own words in a previous post, Bob is a believer. For me, that IS the "statement of faith" for racoons. "I believe". What exactly one believes is communicated not through a small handful of words, but through all of what one says and does over the course of time. Bob's blogs speak volumes.

What you believe is who you are. Who you are is how you behave.

(I'm known for keeping it simple)

4/20/2007 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, of course. I'm a big fan of Johnny. I only keep a darshan photo of him on my coon den wall.

4/20/2007 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Bob raised the "A word". At LGF that topic is informally banned due to the friction in generates.

Abortion has always troubled me deeply. As I've indicated here before, I am bi-national, spending part of my year in Canada, and the rest in the US. Canada's attitude toward abortion is far more depraved than in the US (but the US is not that much better). In Canada there are no restrictions on abortion whatsoever. It is literally not illegal to kill a 9 month old fetus five minutes before it is born. Wait the five minutes and it becomes homicide.

This represents a cosmically sick society. There are times when I despair that Western nations are as bad--or even worse--than many Muslim nations in the eyes of God. How can we countenance this mass slaughter of innocent souls in our very midst, then turn around and point the finger at Iran, LGF style, when they chop the hands off a thief? Abortion is a vastly worse cosmic crime than hand-chopping.

I really can't think about this too much or else I get physically ill. I fear that some day our epoch will be seen as one of unparalleled barbarity, even in comparison with the Saudi Arabias of the world.

4/20/2007 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

This would be an appropriate place to plug Will's awesome Neon Cat Music because, ahem, he's not gonna.

Can we hope to hear Standing Ground there soon?

4/20/2007 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

NoMo said "What you believe is who you are. Who you are is how you behave. (I'm known for keeping it simple) "

Simple and sensible.

Nick said "Bob, Do you believe Christ was sent by God to earth? If you do, what do you believe His purpose or mission was? "

Excuse me for butting in, but a more interesting question might be do you think that has any relevance to your being on earth, and if so why?

4/20/2007 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yarr, you said it right, today.

'If you do, what do you believe His purpose or mission was?'

Nick, I think he could easily say:

"What did he say about himself?"

- 'If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me'?

- 'I have come to do the will of the Father.'?

- 'I have come to show them the Father.'?

- 'For God so Loved the World that he sent his only begotten Son, that whomsoever believeth on him shall not die, but have life everlasting'?


I think The Jesus speaks for himself. It is best to repeat what he says about himself in these situations rather than trying 'say it better' - we can't. We can give impressions based on how He works in our lives, those impressions create how we act and live. Because you can only experience Christ, where or not you 'say' you believe in him. Because if you do believe on him it will change everything.

4/20/2007 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...


I hear you. What astounds me, is that the issue can be dismissed with a simple 'For' or 'Against' by either side.

Gagdad said "The "rule of law" is vastly superior to the "rule of man," unless it is only the rule of law -- for if it is, we are simply back to the rule of man. "

Additionally, if the people ruled by law - grounded in the transcendent or otherwise, think of it as being nothing other than rules of men... then you just have a lawless society of rules.

I don't want to get into either side of the legal question, but it seems to me that the moral issue is due for some deeper consideration. The way it is, most of both sides are looking to set up rules - and we all know what rules are made for....

4/20/2007 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I agree with Dennis Prager. The problem with abortion is that is is obviously immoral. However, at the same time, it seems that few people spontaneously regard it as indistinguishible from first degree murder. If it were no different from first degree murder, then we truly would be morally compelled to kill abortionists and treat them no differently than people who ran nazi death camps. But to teach people that a fetus has no more intrinsic value than a decayed truth is a terribe thing to to. I am quite certain that it leads to a cheapening of life.

The obvious starting point is to overturn Roe vs. Wade and let the question revert back to the states.

4/20/2007 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous julie said...

Van, just for the sake of clarity, when you said "...but a more interesting question might be do you think that has any relevance to your being on earth, and if so why?"

Did you mean what relevance does Bob's opinion about Jesus have to Nick, or did you mean what relevance does Jesus have to Nick? Actually, both are interesting questions but I must admit I was confused.

wv: grolg - no thanks, I've had far more than I can handle already; igdzd - yeah, that's about how it felt, too...

4/20/2007 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger The Bunnies said...

To anyone who wants to see a firsthand example of "taking the Name of the Lord in vain" (not that examples are particularly hard to come by), watch this:

It begins with the typical "Amerisreal is evil" stuff, but the part that got me is the prayer at the end. For some reason, that hit me more than most other jihadi stuff. I've always seen prayer as such a beautiful thing, and to see it warped like that. Ugh. I need to take a bath.

4/20/2007 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

I was out walking at noon listening to an audio version of Ecclesiastes (ch. 9). This passed through my earholes:

The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.

Then I came back and read smoov's post, which pretty much verified old Solomon's wisdom.

We are all infected with fatal 'evil heart' disease. Without the antidote we are all culpable. With the antidote of God's free mercy and forgiveness, we are capable to overcome the evil one and called to stop the spread of evil wherever possible.

The Supreme Court took a right legal step this week which is a sign that some of the salt of which we are made still works. But no court's actions can ever reach individual hearts and minds. That's our job.

4/20/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Hi Nomo,
Here's the thing... I've been reading the blog here for 6-7 months or so. It's actually become a part of my daily life where I check it every morning. By the way, just as a quick side note, gotta give Bob props for the new music feature... that thing is wicked cool.

Anyway, I truly love Bob's writing. If Bob were a single woman between 21 - 25 years I'd propose marriage!

And admittedly while I don't fully understand some things Bob writes about, I'd say 90% I do understand, out of the 90% I have never even once been able to find error or fault in any statement (which doesn't say a lot seeing how the only expertise I really have is marketing, and barely that :) ).

The reason I asked the question, in all honesty, is that I simply wonder where Bob is on this. (this being what is the nature of Christ, who is He?)

I was reading some reviews on Meditations on the Tarot which I have bought, One of the reviews on Amazon states:
"And what is Christian Hermeticism? It is an occult philosophy that is the Western equivalent of what in the Hindu tradition is called the "Purusha," the doctrine of the Primordial Man or the Divine Man, in which the life of Jesus is viewed as an archetype of the relationship between every man and the Divine reality. The historical reality of Jesus is not so much denied as reinterpreted as a real-but-symbolic representation of the nature of man and man's relationship to God. The nature of man in a sense mimics and recapitulates the nature of God ("As it is above, so it is below.")"

Nomo or Bob: is this an accurate representation of what gnostic Christianity holds to be true?

To restate it the way I interpreted it, which may not be correct, I would say that Christian Hermeticism holds the following statements to be true:
1. Jesus was a historical figure
2. Jesus represents every man's nature and the nature of man's relationship with God?

Which leaves open the question: was Jesus actually a part of the trinity (i.e. God)...? b/c I don't see anyway of simply saying that he was only man, or that he is only a representation of mans nature and symbolic of man's relationship with God... if the apostles told the truth and they did see Christ after he was killed in a new body/form, would that not mean Jesus was in fact God, part of the Trinity, Divine, more divine than a regular man (as no regular man can not raise himself from the dead)?

I approach the cosmos from a Christian perspective... where I believe that Christ saves us from our adopted, post fall, sinful nature which by its nature separates us from order to be reconnected with God. That isn't meant as religious babble either, each word in my mind and heart is loaded with meaning.

I'm sorry, I know the answer might be obvious to everyone else here, but I have a thick skull and it takes me time to get things... Nomo or Bob, would you mind helping an uneducated coon out? What do you hold to be the nature of Christ? Could ya give a coon a helping paw and clarify?

4/20/2007 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Bob wrote:

"it seems that few people spontaneously regard [abortion] as indistinguishible from first degree murder"


"the eternal moment between when the depraved Palestinian ghettoblaster pushes the button and the rat-poison-laced screws reach the Jewish baby's head"

How do we know that God does not consider these equally abominable? Why wouldn't He? Killing the unborn is cosmically evil--it is the quintessence of the slow cultural (and literal) suicide of the West.

I am compelled again to state that we have no cause to consider ourselves vastly morally superior to regular Muslims (though I still consider virulent Islamists to be among the worst humans to have ever existed). As long as we go on butchering living, miraculous human life in its earliest stages we are little better than Saudi Arabia, culturally speaking. At least they don't murder their unborn children to the tune of one million per year as in the US.

This has always been the hardest thing for me to deal with. As much as a I love and respect our Western heritage, there is just no getting around this massive bloody elephant in our room.

Naturally abortion is a project of the feminist Left, the very dark pith of human evil.

What do we do about it? We rationalize, that's what.

4/20/2007 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Recommended to Coons: Was Cho Taught to Hate?

4/20/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


I didn't intend to spark a debate, but everyone is obviously free to voice their opinions. All I am saying is that most people see abortion as morally evil without equating it with first degree murder. There are degrees of evil. It would be wrong to not kill a nazi if you had the chance, but it would be evil to kill a doctor who performs abortions. I believe abortion is an evil, but there is no part of me that can morally equate it to the Holocaust.

If we could only begin discussing aborition as something that is clearly immoral and counter to God's wishes, I believe this could shift the debate. But if we start saying that pro-choice people are indistinguishible from nazis and Islamists, then I don't think we'll change many minds.

4/20/2007 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nomo --

The reviewer you cited had a pretty garbled understanding of Meditations, which has nothing to do with the Purusha. The writer of Meditations was an orthodox believing Catholic. The afterword of the book is written by Balthasar, who was nominated to be Cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

Also, you might be confusing gnosis and gnosticism, the latter of which is a heresy.

I apologize for not answering your question, as I assumed by the tone that you were a fundamentalist troll. They always have a question for me that is not reallly a question. Rather, they have a dogmatic answer in their mind, and just want to know if I share the same answer.

In any event, your question about the nature of Christ is one that only you can answer (with the assistance of grace, of course, which is a kind of answer itself).

4/20/2007 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger dicentra63 said...

Can you call it first-degree murder if the person who does the abortion truly believes that he/she is not taking an actual human life?

Some people actually believe the stuff about "not a real person" if the fetus (Latin: baby) is living as a "parasite" or is not viable or can't run or talk or play or whatever arbitrary criterion is used to define a "real person."

Others see it as an act of self-defense: baby vs. mother. The baby is the unwanted intruder, so of course the mother can get rid of it.

Which brings us back to the Nazis: can you fault their murders less because some of them truly believed that killing the Jews was an act of national self-defense or that the Jews were sub-human? Some of them would tell you that they were killing rats during the Black Plague, not committing murder.

Would that make the initial act of dehumanization, which enables murder, to be almost as evil as the murder itself?

Bob, if in our society, everyone was clear about the humanity of the unborn, would it then be justified to try and execute an abortion doctor, the complicit mother, and anyone else who enabled the act?

4/20/2007 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


As I said, I consider it evil, but not first degree murder. In my opinion, to force people to see it so would actually require a disabling of our innate moral sense. I believe in gradations of evil, which it is the task of our moral reason to distinguish.

For example, if a mother's life would truly be threatened by pregancy, then I personally have no moral difficulty in saying that her life is more valuable than an embryo's. The vast majority of abortions, of course, are not of this nature. Still, my example illustrates a principle.

4/20/2007 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "I agree with Dennis Prager"

Uh-oh, looks like this has grown since I took my daughter to the doctors... I don't know Prager's position on it... my very uncomfortable position on it, starts with the Law's position and function within society. The law is to regulate the interactions of individuals within society in order to preserve and protect their Individual Rights. As far as the Law is concerned, prior to being born, the fetus (I dispise the necessity of a euphemism for Baby, but that comes into play in the 2nd part) is neither an individual nor a member of society, from the point of view of the Law. Prior to being born, the baby is a member only of the Mother's Cosmos, and it is her awful responsibility and decision, hers and hers alone (not husbands or boyfriends), to decide whether the fetus comes into the world, society and the Law.

Prior to all of that, prior to their ever being a fetusbabychild at all, there must be the moral responsibility and charachter and behavior of boyfriend/husband/mother. Behaving as if the ultimate intimacy of being and soul occupies no higher status than riding playing a video game or jumping off a high dive, will draw them, society and the Law into the horrible conflicts which will always arise from behaving as a horizontal being in a Vertical world.

This last part, as I mentioned in my first reply to Smoov, is where I think the discussion can, needs, must be centered.

4/20/2007 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger a.k.a. Blandly Urbane said...

dagbhad said:

"I agree with Dennis Prager. The problem with abortion....."

My wife and I lost a child that was about 1 week along; we lost it the weekend after we found out. We were crushed to say the least. To consider nascent life, even if only a "fetus" and even at this early stage not a life or human is truly sad. They have allowed the manipulation of language to twist their understanding of that which makes us human.

They can have their opinion, but that doesn't mean they are right.

Our first child (our 3yr old daughter, we have an 11 mo old boy after the early miscarriage), was found to possibly have a heart defect (she doesn't), but I recall being horrified when the specialist, before anyone could even slightly be (and then no guarantee) sure that she had a defect; said 'well you have six weeks up to the 25 week to decide.'

DECIDE????????? We don't make those decisions!!!! Suffice it to say we have a beautiful daughter that is at the moment playing in the backyard on her Dora quad under a beautiful overcast AZ sky. The boy is alright too, the little ape...

4/20/2007 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I didn't intend that to be ambigous when I wrote it, but did notice before posting... and thought it would be interesting to see which way Nick took it.

I was also curious to see whether he took 'being' in the sense of 'being here or there', or in the sense of activly living, Being, human...

(psst...don't tell Nick)

4/20/2007 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

When we went through IVF, two embryos were implanted in my wife, one of which died along the way. True, it was sad, but I simply cannot equate this with the calamity of losing a child. Again, just my opinion and my experience.

4/20/2007 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Nick - Be sure to note Bob's comments to me at 3:21 PM - they were actually intended for you.

Following who said what to whom can get a little confusing here at times.

4/20/2007 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Smoov said "I am compelled again to state that we have no cause to consider ourselves vastly morally superior to regular Muslims"

That's a major overstatement, sparked by the awful nature of the topic, but an overstatement nonetheless.

The West was vastly superior to the Islamicists even when Jefferson was president, even with slavery and all else.

The test of a cultures morality isn't necessarily what they fail to correct, but what their culture has gotten right and whether or not it makes it possible to correct those failings it does have.

The West does. The Islamicsts do not.

"At least they don't murder their unborn children to the tune of one million per year as in the US."

Yeah, they just butcher their already born people, children, daughters, sons, wives, to a similar tune. Not to mention make the lives being lived, a living hell.

Come on.

4/20/2007 04:11:00 PM  
Anonymous desmond morris said...

Infanticide has been around since the misty origins of our species. People were apt to kill babies as a matter of course (a notable example is Oedipus of Greek fame).

In some parts of the world people still practice infanticide, like in new Guinea and the Amazon basin.

To control reproduction by contraception or killing babies is a deeply ingrained trait in our species and won't be effaced overnight.

The Hebrews used to sacrifice children to Moloch as recently as 500 BC. In biological time that was yesterday.

My take is that abortion will have to go--the flow of evolution is against it. We've stopped infanticide and we've stopped cannabilizing. Like those, abortion is an atavistic throwback that needs to be eliminated.

Some fix will be found so unwanted children are not created in the first place. Probably some kind of cheap and reliable implant at birth that makes conception impossible until it is reversed or removed (requiring medical intervention in order to become fertile, in other words) is the way to go.

In the meantime, limited abortion will have to be tolerated to avoid the creation of a very large cohort of poorly nurtured children.

4/20/2007 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous desmond morris said...

Let me clarify that I do belief that abortion is just a variant of infanticide. Because we can now go after the infant inside the womb, it seems different because the child is smaller and less time and energy has been put into its creation.

In terms of children, size does matter. The larger the older the child, the more resistant we'll be to killing it.

4/20/2007 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...


I don't want an unproductive debate either. In order to get through life I (and I suspect almost everyone else) adopt a position which is in practice the same as yours, more or less.

Degrees of evil -- I can live by that.

However even if abortion is a lesser evil than first degree murder, that is a far cry from claiming--as a majority of Americans apparently do--that it should be legal.

It isn't legal to drink three beers in a row and drive a block. Why should it be legal to stop the heart of a being which already has a clearly discernable EEG signarture?

As for IVF, that is the OPPOSITE of abortion. IVF is a noble attempt to create life, not destroy it. God himeself designed us so as to "allow" for numerous natural miscairrages of unviable fetuses. Abortion destroys life, very often in the name of a banally evil counterfeit of freedom ironically called "choice". The classic example is the recent article about the Manhattanite who "selectively terminated" two of her three healthy fetuses because she didn't want to have to move to the suburbs and "buy those giant jars of mayonaise at Costco". This was said without a hint of self-consciousness or irony. We have created generations of moral monsters.

Anyhow, this is in no way meant to spark "debate" here at OC. I simply need to express this stuff in hopes that one of my superiors here will offer some nuggets of wisdom to help me make sense of all this.

4/20/2007 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Blandly Urbane,
Sounds familiar... we've had three miscarriages on the way to having three fantastic kids.

With our last, the perfect 7 year old daughter I just took to have an ear infection looked at, well when we went in for her first ultrasound, brothers in tow, the [insert vilest string of obscenities possible here] 'dr' using a new, experimental measurement test which he didn't understand, told us she'd probably be born a mongoloid ' but you have several weeks to decide to terminate the pregnancy'.


Just thinking of that... if that [re-insert] were here within reach right now, I'd be guilty of violent manslaughter... after several excruciatingly enjoyable minutes of heavy exertion.

Thank God for the Internet, we shortly realized he was not even up to the level of being wrong, and got him fired and bounced.

4/20/2007 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Smoov said,
"It isn't legal to drink three beers in a row and drive a block. Why should it be legal to stop the heart of a being which already has a clearly discernable EEG signarture?"

That adds a bit of perspective doesn't it? And don't even think about mistreating an animal... get put away for years for that one.

"The classic example is the recent article about the Manhattanite who "selectively terminated" two of her three healthy fetuses because she didn't want to have to move to the suburbs and "buy those giant jars of mayonaise at Costco". This was said without a hint of self-consciousness or irony. We have created generations of moral monsters."

Monstrously blind.

4/20/2007 04:37:00 PM  
Anonymous juliec said...

Slightly offtopic,
Now this is blasphemy. Back to Prager again, I've heard him note that there is no fouler method of taking the lord's name in vain than crying "God is Great" while committing murder. I must agree. It rather puts the casual use of faint damns into perspective.

4/20/2007 04:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Thanks for the candor. I understand your answer.

Its hard for me because some of the writing you have speaks to me in a very powerful way... and in one way it makes perfect sense with what I know... and in another sense I feel, and its just a feeling (and I don't know why I have it), that I should be very cautious in terms of validating as best I can the things you say...

I don't know if that makes me a fundamentalist troll. By the sound of the name I hope not... LOL

Anyway, I don't know if that makes sense Bob... but its where I'm at.


4/20/2007 05:38:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Bob, they have today's post at the top of The Scroll over at PJMedia, in case you haven't seen it.

Like bees to honey, they will come!

4/20/2007 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


My only hope is that I can help you think more deeply within your own tradition.

4/20/2007 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Bob - That is exactly what you do for me - and most excellently! Thank you.

4/20/2007 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

You do make me think more deeply... I guess a lot of what you write is unknown to me and so I try to tread and to think carefully... I wasn't looking for the answer: "Dude, Nick... you're totally right!" to prop my ego... its big enough as it is and doesn't need propping...

I guess part of it was a simple curiosity in mind to answer whether or not you felt Jesus was Word made flesh or a mere philosopher...

P.S. Thanks Nomo for your input...

4/20/2007 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Very interesting following the lines of thought today, and considering the various opinions. I'm sure the next election will have abortion right at the fore, as THE ISSUE for many; that is an easy prediction!

But while following the comments here, I spent the day pondering Bob's experience: "I suddenly felt...existentially naked before the full brunt of my divine conscience."

That sentence, for me, was like a slap, the kind that wakes! I wonder if we truly want an awakened conscience?

4/20/2007 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


Thed answer is no, which is why the world has never forgiven the Jews. Anti-Semitism is a war against the divine conscience.

4/20/2007 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

From the James Lewis article at American Thinker that Gagdad provided the link to this afternoon:

Or to ask the question differently --- was Cho ever taught to respect others, to admire the good things about his host country, and to discipline himself to build a positive life?

And that answer is readily available on the websites of Cho's English Department at Virginia Tech. This is a wonder world of PC weirdness. English studies at VT are a post-modern Disney World in which nihilism, moral and sexual boundary breaking, and fantasies of Marxist revolutionary violence are celebrated. They show up in a lot of faculty writing. Not by all the faculty, but probably by more than half.

Then Lewis goes on to describe the books and content of the various PoMo promoter's web sites (with links) and observes "they are there to do "research," to act like fake revolutionaries, and to stir up young people to go out and revolt against society. Well, somebody just did."

Creepy tempters are f**ing organized.
Read it all.

4/20/2007 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Ooops, forgot my manners.

gagdad bob said...
Recommended to Coons: Was Cho Taught to Hate?

4/20/2007 07:39:00 PM  
Anonymous USS Ben said...

"Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards all presume to be religious, so just ask them: does abortion please God? And if not, why not? And if it does please God, please tell us a little more about this God of yours and his relationship to human beings."

Bob's "cut to the core of truth" point: "does abortion please God?"
is where debate about abortion should start.

Outstanding post Bob!
My eyes are opened more, and everything is a bit clearer when I understand posts like todays.

4/20/2007 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Walt said "That sentence, for me, was like a slap, the kind that wakes! I wonder if we truly want an awakened conscience?"

That slap of arrousal to now and conscience is what two others tried to deliver to their fellow men. Jesus said "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword."

Socrates, in his 'defense' said "For if you kill me you will not easily find a successor to me, who, if I may use such a ludicrous figure of speech, am a sort of gadfly, given to the state by God; and the state is a great and noble stead who is tardy in his motions owing to his very size, and requires to be stirred into life. I am that gadfly whichGod has attached to the state, and all day long and in all places am always fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you. You will not easily find another like me, and therefore I would advise you to spare me. "

The response which most people give to your question can probably be found in how both of these men were repaid for their troubles!

4/20/2007 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hmm... tough stuff. Nick, the realization came to me that Christ is both the Son of God (fully God and fully Man) and also the exemplar - well, calling him fully God and fully Man basically implies that, doesn't it?

I also - not to try to speak better than those sages - realised that if through Christ all was created, then through him even evil was allowed to exist. This means that his death on the cross (and the casting off into hell) was God bearing the burden for that which he had made possible.

Christ embodies creation - all possibility - but he is perfection - he had the choice of every evil but chose no evil at all.

To be more like him!

(PS - I think some reviewers read a single esoteric word and they think they've discovered the den of vipers. There's a difference between esotericism (of various types) and pantheism. One recognizes truth and the traditions of understanding it; the other understands nothing but pretends like everyone is right.)


By the way, coons. I built by hand a fluorescent hanging light for my vegetable seedlings today - the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers rejoice!

4/20/2007 09:16:00 PM  
Anonymous juliec said...

"I built by hand a fluorescent hanging light for my vegetable seedlings today - the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers rejoice!"

I'm trying my hand at tomatoes and peppers at the moment, too. Of course, it'll be a miracle if they survive the first transplant by my hands, but I'm an optimist :)

4/20/2007 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

You need a little 6 x 8 greenhouse like we have - ahh, the wonders you can behold. We populate dozens of pots with home grown greenery for our patio and yard. Nothing like the process. From little seeds...

4/20/2007 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

So what do you think Nick, interesting place, eh?


4/20/2007 11:41:00 PM  
Anonymous uss ben said...

That is some very vivid stuff, Will!

PS- I would've provided excerpts but I wasn't sure about the copyright laws.
Plus I wasn't really sure what words you used. I'm not psychic you know. Not in the traditional sense anyway.

PPS- I just noticed my ps was longer than my main text.

4/21/2007 12:19:00 AM  
Anonymous USS Ben said...

I've been having a lot of bizarre almagram dreams, with many battles in them, the last week.
The evil I fight is more than what it represents on the surface,
and I actually have "helpers" in these dreams, which I normally don't have. They too are more than they seem on the surface.

I'm also experiencing a lot of pain in these dreams, waking up with the same pain at times but in a different context, so it isn't torturous in conscious reality, but man, it's amplified in the dreams and in a torturous context.
I didn't talk though, ha ha.

Anyhow, very quickening to be sure.

4/21/2007 02:45:00 AM  
Blogger phil g said...

What I don't understand is how any Doctor can perform the partial birth abortion procedure (murder) either in good conscience or in light of his hippocratic oath. I can't believe that the medical profession has not come out totally against this wicked act regardless what the politicians say.

4/21/2007 04:28:00 AM  
Anonymous juliec said...

I know a woman who is both a good person and a good gynecologist. At her house once I read an article in a medical journal which discussed partial-birth abortion, and was generally in favor of it as a methodology when the mother's life is deemed to be threatened by the pregnancy. I mentioned how awful I thought it was, and her response was a passionate argument that the alternative methods are far worse. In that context, she was correct. Her medical opinion at the time was that sometimes, it is a necessary evil.

The biggest problem I have with late term abortions in today's world is that I personally can think of no reason why a baby that far along in development must die to save her life, when there is such a strong chance that it could live if delivered prematurely for the same reasons. However, I am no doctor, and I'm sure there are a lot of reasons, even today, why that might be the case.

Horrifying? Yes, absolutely. But often times there is more to the story than we know.

The doctors involved will tell themselves whatever they must to live with what they do. Being in a job where they must have seen a lot of death, even if only during their residencies, they deal with mortality any way they can; this, then, might not be as difficult for them to cope with.

But in case it wasn't clear, I'm against it.

4/21/2007 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

julie- I found the key to transplanting is

1. don't damage (or minimize damage to) root hairs

2. water after you transplant - regardless of how wet or dry the plant likes it or how wet or dry the area is.

I'm always fascinated at how all plants look close to the same when they emerge (two leaves and a stem) but differentiate amazingly from there.

4/21/2007 05:47:00 AM  
Anonymous juliec said...

River, I know what you mean. I planted my tomatoes and peppers at the same time. The tomatoes sprouted first, and I actually started to wonder if the peppers were going to grow. A couple days later they sprouted, too, and now appear to be thriving more than the tomatoes (but both are doing well for now). The directions said to transplant them at 5" (both plants). Do you find that to be a good rule of thumb?

Also, what do you think about the hanging tomato planters being marketed these days (the tomatoes grow out the bottom, so no staking is required, supposedly also reduces some pests and other problems)?

4/21/2007 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Saturday morning, reading through this thread--from heavenly meditations to earthy tomato plants--and all I can think of is a new colloquialism, "herdin' 'Coons."

As in, "You're trying to get everyone on the same topic? You may as well be herdin' raccoons."

A nice visual, I think.

4/21/2007 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger John P. said...


Meaning cannot be reduced to its expression.

The distillation of meaning, knowledge, truth, liberty, and the like, into formulae is ultimately impossible because these are inexhaustible, ever renewing, ever in process of being increased. The mere attempt to express meaning GROWS meaning. Yet meaning, truth, liberty, etc., do not change in themselves. The fire of liberty remains fire, but grows brighter with action done in its service.

With the increasing illumination one imagines that attraction likewise increases and that correspondingly that "spirit whence issued forth of old..." this cosmic activity, smiles a little more at the unfolding of his intention.

4/21/2007 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...


Note to trolls: Playah, don't be playin'

Like Glenn Reynolds says, we're a pack, not a herd!


4/21/2007 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

How big they should be depends on

1. your climate

2. the size of the pot they are growing in...

From what I know, they should be transplanted in either the morning or evening; not in full sun so they don't get stressed (being moved puts stress on them, so the sun puts extra stress on them.)

It also depends on the root type. Plants like smaller flowers that have shallow, fibrous roots can grow in smaller pots for longer.

So, if you had like 1-inch units you were growing the seedlings in you'd basically transplant them as soon as they got their first pair of non-seed leaves (this is what one seed company recommends) but if they're in like, 4 by 4 by 4 pots, 5 inches probably makes sense.

Either way, frost kills tomatoes dead. I'm growing cumcumbers as well, and from what I know pollution is bane for them.

What kind of tomatoes and peppers? At the moment, I'm growing beefsteak (the seedlings are tiny) and the peppers are both arbol and jalapeno.

4/21/2007 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joan of Arrgghh! Now that's a news story.

(pssst... Hoarhey, Ben... would ya stop posing for the camera! Just gotta push our luck... Sheesh.)

wv:ussscy - any ideas on this one Ben?

4/21/2007 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Nick said...

I love this place. I really do. And the way River Cocytus put this:

"This means that his death on the cross (and the casting off into hell) was God bearing the burden for that which he had made possible."

I had never thought about it in this light before in my entire life. Definitely good stuff.


4/21/2007 10:56:00 AM  

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