Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ask Not for Whom the Trolls Yell

Dennis Prager has mentioned that one of the things that turned him toward religion was the experience of college. There he encountered, as have most of us, the utter foolishness -- the horror, really -- of secular liberal thought in all its ghastly maninfestations. Thus, to the extent that a modern (not classical) liberal education is useful, it is primarily as a bad example. Which is not nothing. We learn just as much from adverse experiences -- perhaps even more, in a way -- as we do from positive ones.

Another way of saying it is that the true path is straight and narrow. If we could imagine the Way as a line in space, arcing toward its nonlocal deustiny, then there is obviously a vast potential area for deviation. There is no way anyone makes it straight to the goal without deviations and mid-course corrections. But how does one know when one is actually making progress toward the goal?

I was reminded of this by our recent atheist trolls and the absurcular whirrledview they propagrate on the nerves, which is at turns stupid, monstrous or silly. Although we are always ridiculing them, hopefully it is in an instructive and good-natured way (despite their telling absence of humor). For example, the constitutionally impertinent Dupree made several surprisingly pertinent remarks yesterday, including the observation that "this is your brain on atheism." Thus, as it so happens, you can learn a great deal about God by listening to an atheist -- just as Dennis Prager learned a great deal about God by detouring through the academonic ivory tower of leftist babble.

I would even venture to say that we could learn a lot from someone as dense and unevolved as Herman, even though I let him know at the poutset that the bobverse was not true -- that there was literally nothing a man like him could learn about God from a man like me, at least in his present noncoonfiguration. That he confirmed this perception with over 100 comments (including the many comments that Dupree deleted because he felt they were so stupid as to lack even entertainment value) is in itself a powerful proof of the reality of coon scent.

Yes, in just his first few rudimentary grunts and gestures, this mothbreather to the One Cosmos flame was mysteriously able to provide a vivid clueprint of the dreary architecture of his soul -- or, shall we say, soullessness -- that let us know that we were dealing not just with a spiritual cipher, but someone who was -- for whatever reason -- resentful and hostile toward God. (Thus, the soullessness is entirely self-induced and, we pray, a temporary condition.)

Although I try to present these things in a lighthearted manner (i.e., "coon scent"), I am nevertheless talking about something real. There really is a "spiritual perfume" that is emitted by certain particularly lofty souls, just as there is a "soul stench" given off by others. In Herman's braincase, something tells me that we are also dealing with a closed head injury (er, figuratively), so it is unclear how much of his malevolence toward God is involumetary, if you cc what I mean.

That is, like a person who has been reduced to verbal "clanging," Herman kept repeating the same fragments of thought (fragments that in turn reveal a fractured existential state) to the effect that he would like for us to prove to him that God exists. Again, I knew that none of the kind advice that was offered to him would be of any benefit to him, since he lacked the underlying "qualifications," so to speak, for knowledge of God. In this regard, his story is a very old one, first recorded by Plato with his analogy of the cave. This analogy is so simple, and yet, it has never been surpassed, since it comes about as close to concrete and objective metaphysical truth as humans are capable of formulating.

Human beings live shackled in a cave that is illuminated by a light that comes from outside it. Thus, all they see is the play of shadows cast upon the wall, which they call "knowledge." One of the cave dwellers breaks free, turns around, and sees the actual source of light. He tries to tell the other cave-dwelling hermen about the light, but they don't want to hear it. Some think he's crazy, while others are outright hostile. And the rest is history -- or yesterday's thread.

Sri Aurobindo's simple formulation for seeing the light was aspiration-rejection-surrender, referring in a sense to the vertical, the horizontal, and the interior, respectively. That is, we aspire with heart, mind, and soul for that which surpasses us. At the same time, we reject the horizontal distractions and temptations that lure us down and out and cause us to deviate from our goal. And we humbly surrender, or empty ourselves before the object of our devotion.

I think you will see that Raccoons of whatever devotional stripe agree on the basics of this formulation, and it is one of the things that distinguishes us from the new-age sew-age. As I have mentioned before, for a number of years I tried to be a "do-it-yoursopher," as I was attracted to spirituality -- as indeed nearly all humans are - but biased against God, largely as a result of my postmodern brainwashing and souldirtying.

In ether worlds, I wanted to have the experience in the absence of its transcendent cause. Therefore, I was attracted to such approaches as Zen, since it seemed to be free of dogma -- and of God. Just sit, close your eyes, and wait for "liberation." Thus there was rejection and perhaps a little aspiration, but no true surrender, since there was no One to surrender to. I suppose you could say that you surrender to "it," but "it" doesn't come down and meet you halfway -- which is why you can sit for your whole life and probably not have the experience of moksha.

But for me, the key was surrender, for only in surrender does the grace even have a space to operate. And afterwards, it is the grace that does all of the work, not us. Or, to put it another way, our task is to do what we can to allow the grace to operate. We do not change or "grow" our spiritual selves, any more than we grow our own bodies. True, we can do certain things "at the margins" to make our bones stronger or our muscles bigger, but none of us could actually create a muscle or bone, much less the spiritual self which will grow under the proper circumstances. It is an organic or natural process -- albeit a supernaturally natural one.

I don't want to put words into his fingers, but in response to the Dense One, JWM essentially highlighted the truism that the only God that can be proven to exist is the God you are capable of experiencing (although again, it is the grace that makes the experience possible). Everything else is either speculation or dogma (the latter of which is a necessary but insufficient cause). As I pointed out in my worstselling book, all traditions recognize this spiritual truth in one way or another. Thus, in the words of Hieromonk Damascene, author of Christ the Eternal Tao, "the only way to get past religious words and concepts is to seek, without compromise and self-pity, the Reality behind them."

Or, in the words of another Orthodox monk, "without the experience and testimony of the saints about the reality of God, the Bible would be an empty letter." Similarly, Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote that dogmas "can only point to the mysteries of God" and "mark a way, not an end.... Dogmas are obstacles unless they serve as humble signposts along the way." The greatest pagan mystic, Plotinus, wrote that language must be cautiously employed "only to give direction, to urge toward that vision beyond discourse, to point out the road to one desirous of seeing," while the Vedantin Nikhilananda wrote that "conclusions of the scriptures... must be experienced by the aspirant himself" or not at all. I could go on and on like Herman, only in reverse.

Which is a yoke, but one that is easy, not to mention funny-side up. That is, Herman's evident "circularity" is there for everyone to see. In fact, if my sniffer doesn't lie, he will no doubt be back today, telling us all about the little world of dancing shadows he sees as he circles the drain in an ever-tightening spiral. But I can only repeat that there is nothing a man like me can convey of God to a man like him. For one thing, a man like me can't even convey anything of God to a man like me. Rather, only God can do that. And for that to happen, I actually have to get mybob out of the way. In short, never do as I say, but do as I do. Only then will you -- or I, for that matter -- understand the mutter.

114 Comments:

Blogger juliec said...

I find it funny but sad that today's post was, to me, crystal clear and gently handled, yet I'm almost 99% certain that the cave dwellers will call it nonsense and get angry about it.

Is it just me, or is there a new form of BDS developing here? The symptoms seem to fit - on the one hand, Bob is stoopid (look at the nickname! and he doesn't say anything with all those big words, it's all just a mean joke!) and on the other, Bob has the power that no other mortal has, the ability to prove to those whose wood(n't) beleaf the existence of a living God.

5/31/2007 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger MizzE said...

And afterwards, it is the grace that does all of the work, not us.

Grace, has reserved a hammock, just for you.

5/31/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Julie--

Precisely. You know exactly what I mean, while atheists do not and/or cannot, but elevate this defect into a virtue. This is why athesim a philosophy of open stupidity. Which is fine. Again, for the hundredth time, my writing is not addressed to them, so there is no reason for them to even be here, much less presume to "disagree." Or, they think they're disagreeing when they are simply being dense.

5/31/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

"To surrender" is literally the last thing the ego thinks of, isn't it?

5/31/2007 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Bob,

I understand what you are saying because I am experiencing it for myself. I used to meditate for thirty minutes each day. It was good. Now, I surrender thirty minutes each day to prayer, to God. It has been incredibly fruitful. All the benefits of meditation alone plus things get fixed that I didn't even know were broken, or I just grow out of them. I'm not sure how it works. You are right, I think, we are not smart enough to fix ourselves.

Trolls,

Ask yourselves are you truly happy, are you truly at peace? If the answer is no then I understand why you are here. If the answer is yes then you wouldn't be trolls.

5/31/2007 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

James--

Yes, exactly. You're O->k, I'm O->k. Which is why we understand each other. And why the atheists can never score a k->O here.

5/31/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

as he circles the drain in an ever-tightening spiral. 

And le bon dieu that descended into hell does not scruple to meet us even as the matted clog in the screen, the series of last chances of which each may be the last, the a waving particle of light that interrupts and interrogates the otherwise darkling headlong descent. Dialectic is fruitless sometimes.

Speaking for myself, we didn't come here to argue, except when we do, nor do we claim ourselves to be benevolent and godly. Who on earth could claim that for himself? The question is, is there a moon, and does the finger point us in that direction? Everything else is straw-figures and frantic imagination.

5/31/2007 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Not that I can surpass the Plato's Cave analogy, but I do have a favorite spin on it, one that I occasionally trot out for a passing atheist:

A village of the blind-since-birth. One individual suddenly develops eyesight, the first villager to do so. Quite the revelation! This individual's spatial sense deepens beyond his previous imaginings. And the colors! He never knew they existed.

Taking in the sky, he tries to explain the color blue to the villagers. In fact, he tries to explain the concept of sky to them. Bottom line, he can't. He might use analogies like, well, "blue" is like a coating that you can't really touch, plus it's sort of "cold-like," not like ice, but like river water, etc. Some of the villagers might be intrigued with his analogies, but that's a far as it would go. Most would dismiss him, would almost have to dismiss him as crazy. They simply lack the frame of reference by which he senses colors - eyesight.

Anyway, I think that genuine apprehension of God and the Divine Archetypal Realm, to the extent that humans are capable of such, is literally the activation of sense organ(s), that is, a 6th, 7th (and on up) sense organ.

I would think that such higher sense organs would have some link with an aspect of the human brain, like the pineal gland, for example. Maybe the real substance of these higher organs is non-material. In any event, until such organs are to some degree activated, everyone lives in the village of the blind with respect to awareness of the Real.

5/31/2007 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, the brain architecture comes into being simultaneously with the encounter with a particular world....

5/31/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Scheiben Honig said...

Once again you have posted nothing more than one vague, unspported assertion after another.

How could you be so cruel, so insensitive, so downright hostile in your discrimination against atheists? To suggest that an atheist cannot understand what you say is yes, I say it again, downright discriminatory and I am going to report you!

I'm going to report this guy as well, after I repay his cruelty with 100 comments:

http://theplanetogo.blogspot.com/2005/12/austin-cline-and-other-lazy-atheists.html

This man, I think, is even more callous than you.

Herman the Speedbag.

5/31/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Here is a Chinese Proverb from an amazing book I am diving into right now..."Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand."

The book is The New Rules Of Posture, How to Sit, Stand, and Move in the Modern World by Mary Bond. Really great book if you are interested in physically moving through life in a graceful and effortless way.

Only about 12 bucks on Amazon, use one of Bob's links and he'll get some dough too!

5/31/2007 09:19:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Nice job, Will. I was thinking, after yesterday's food fight, of the analogy of a new math concept -- like in calculus for me -- that remains inpenetrable until the sudden insight makes it all seem so simple. But your description is better.

I was also thinking about the dark Herman's frustration that we weren't telling him anything, something he said over and over. My assumption is that most of us have been working at this, in one way or another, for many years. In Bob's case, as a psychoanalytically trained therapist, he must have spent a good deal of time on the couch in self-exploration to boot. It's a measure of someone's failure to grasp the immensity of what we are grappling with that he or she believes it can be so simply conveyed.

Dilys, you seem to me to be an extreme exception. I'm not sure I've ever known -- and I'm in my late 50's -- someone who was a spiritual seeker who ended up settling down with atheism at the end. It's almost always the opposite trajectory, which says a lot, I think.

5/31/2007 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

"use one of Bob's links and he'll get some dough too!"

How does that work, if it's not something he has listed? I didn't know we could do that.

5/31/2007 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous tapuwasi said...

From yesterday's posts, but pertinent to the discussion at hand:

"I'm afraid that there is no evidence for the existence of God, and hence no reason to believe that there is one. I would quite happily believe in Gods if there was evidence available, but there isn't any."

I would say that there IS sensory evidence of God (and people that get it know what I mean by this), but that this evidence cannot be repeated for others to experience--in other words, it has no route to intersubjectivity.

Bob tries, but I would say that even he can't do it.

Believers are getting the sensory evidence, but can't transmit the experience of it convincingly--

Non-believers, for whatever reason, are not receiving any sensory evidence and are therefore legitimately suspicious of claims made by believers. Who wouldn't be? You'd have to be an idiot.

How to break this heartbreaking impasse? I can see the frustrations experienced by folks on both sides of this huge divide.

And I wouldn't be so quick to pan Zen meditation; perhaps the first sensory opening could be gained by the practice in those who before weren't hearing anything.

5/31/2007 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous tapuwasi said...

Oh, I see that Will commented on this similarly (and better). Excuse my otiosity.

5/31/2007 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

On the subject of spiritual growth, I received this recently from a wise older one whom I admire and now might be the time to share (apology for the length):

From the Ground Up

"We descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility." —St. Benedict

Charles Simeon was a 19th century English preacher and leader of the evangelical revival in the Church of England. As he aged he was noted for his gentle, humble ways, but in his early years of ministry Simeon was proud and self-assertive.

One day he was visiting a friend, Henry Venn, who was pastor in the village of Yelling some 12 miles away from Simeon's church in Cambridge. When he left to go home, Venn's daughters complained to their father about his manner. Venn took the girls to the backyard and said, "Pick me one of those peaches." It was early summer, and the peaches were very green. The girls asked why he wanted the green, unripe fruit. Venn replied, "Well, my dears, it is green now, and we must wait; but a little more sun, and a few more showers, and the peach will be ripe and sweet. So it is with Mr. Simeon."

Simeon, in due time, came to know himself and his arrogance. The warmth of God's love and the "showers" of opposition, misunderstanding, misrepresentation, disappointment, and frustration that fell upon him became the means by which he "grew downward in humility and upward in adoration." So the God of all grace works his enchantment on all his children, humbling the proud and exalting the humble, to make them ripe and sweet.

We imagine that spiritual growth, like everything else we value, is upward, when in fact we're meant to grow down. The path to usefulness is a downward spiral through difficulty, contradiction, injustice and humiliation. There is no other way. We must be brought low, rendered powerless, stripped of pretense and defensives. We must be left empty, insignificant, useless, feeling like dirt.

"Dirt" is exactly the right word for fruitfulness grows from the ground up. (Our English word, humility, comes from a Latin word, humus, that means ground, earth or soil, and humilitas, from which we get humiliation, means "nearness to the ground.")

God's work is to bring us to ground; our work is to see God's grace in our frustrations and accept them as his loving hand upon us without growing weary or running away. We must take courage, and wait for the Lord to make us "ripe and sweet.".

One of my favorite lines in all of C. S. Lewis' writings is found in his Narnia tale, The Horse and His Boy. The great warhorse, Bree, (The "horse" in the title) had humiliated himself by running away from battle. Now he thought he could never show his face in Narnia again and was stricken with terrible remorse over his cowardice, "I've lost everything" he cried. "My good Horse," said the Hermit of the Southern March, "you've lost nothing but your self-conceit. No, no, cousin. Don't put back your ears and shake your mane at me. If you are really so humbled as you sounded a minute ago, you must learn to listen to sense. You're not quite the great Horse you had come to think, from living among poor dumb horses. Of course you were braver and cleverer than them. You could hardly help being that. It doesn't follow that you'll be anyone very special in Narnia. But as long as you know you're nobody very special, you'll be a very decent sort of Horse, on the whole, and taking one thing with another."

by David Roper

5/31/2007 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Has hermy come out from behind the curtain?

Carl, you know this guy?

5/31/2007 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

QWATO (the sighted villager): I'm telling you, Og, this banana, this fruit we've been eating all these years, has a color to it. It's "yellow". Nice touch of "green" to it, too.

OG: What is "yellow"?

QWATO: Well . . . bear with me now . . . umm . . . let's see . . .

OG: Demonstrate to Og that there is such thing as "yellow!"

QWATO: Look, Og . . . I don't think I can. You'd have to demonstrate it to yourself.

OG: Og never feel this "yellow".

QWATO: Look . . . "yellow" is . . .well, you know that mood you're in after you partake of the wockawocka plant? That's sort of . . . yellow, I guess . . .

OG: Banana not wockawocka plant!

QWATO: Okay . . . "yellow" is . . . like the afternoon sun . . .

OG: Banana not hot! That is water buffalo dropping talk!! Og ask simple question, get total crap for answer!

QWATO: Man, you are so in the dark . . .

OG: You insult Og!

QWATO: I'm trying not to insult you, Og, but the truth is I perceive something you can't, what else can I tell you?

OG: Crazy man! Crazy man! Let's feed him to the mastodons!

QWATO: They're kind of brown, by the way.

5/31/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

julie, technically I am not sure how it works...I just assumed that it tracks what you purchase from the original link to the site. Maybe Bob has more information, God knows!? ha ha ;)

5/31/2007 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger CARL TOFFLE said...

Which guy?

5/31/2007 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Some of the best quotes come from The Horse and His Boy.

Thanks for posting that, Nomo. I really needed to hear it. My struggle to "improve" had inadvertantly become a struggle to move upward. I guess in biblical terms that is "striving in your own flesh." Time to head downward. :)

5/31/2007 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Pineal Gland - Interesting that Will mentions it here, today, in this setting. Just yesterday I was reading about a Nobel real Prize winner, by of all names, Axelrod.

5/31/2007 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

Mmmm... I love the way the air smells after a good hard rain; here in the desert, you can almost feel the growth taking place all around, and the visibilty! You can see for at least 50 miles from the right vantage point.

For those who like choral music, free cd's are available here.

5/31/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Very timely, Nomo. Thanks very much.
Your posts are always refreshing.

5/31/2007 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

OK, way off topic, but "The Horse and His Boy" reminded me. I've been meaning to recommend a timeless (and our favorite) Little Golden Book for all of you with wee ones still (in case you don't already have it). "Mister Dog" by Margaret Wise Brown (1952). It well satisfies the coonish senses.

5/31/2007 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The light comes from a fire on the inside of the cave.

5/31/2007 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Nomo, I'm going to look that up. I have a Golden Book that my mother read to me as a child...A Child's Garden of Verses. The illustrations still take me back to a world I want to inhabit. The poem about autumn fires...I always wanted to live there in that valley! :) I doubt they are considered "art" but they had a big impact on my imagination.

5/31/2007 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Anonymous said...

"The light comes from a fire on the inside of the cave."

Uh, according to the one who became free, 'twas otherwise.

5/31/2007 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all of those things--trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones."

Puddleglum

The Silver Chair

5/31/2007 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

later that day . . .

QWATO: I'm telling you, Og, having eyesight just makes life, well, better. You know we like to stand near the ocean and feel the breeze and smell the salty air?

OG: Og knows.

QWATO: Well, you should SEE it like I do, with eyes.

OG: Eyes? Eyes are for shutting when Og sleeps.

QWATO: Right . . . anyway, there's this great expanse of blue water and fleecy white clouds, golden sand . . . . seeing it just makes life more expansive. It makes me happier, to be honest.

OG: Og not need eyes that see to be happy!! Og plenty happy now!

QWATO: I'm sure you're happy in your own way, Og. I'm just saying you'd be happier if you had eyesight, that's all.

OG: Why you go around dividing people into eyesight ones and those without eyesight??

QWATO: Because . . . I'm only pointing out what exists, Og.

OG: So you look down on Og! Og is not great like you!!

QWATO: That's not it, Og. It's just that can see and you can't and I'd really like it if you could because then we could share in a way we can't now . . .

OG: I now silently sneak up on you and bash you with club.

QWATO: Og . . . it doesn't matter how silent you are . . I can SEE you, you moron. Sheesh, I really got to think about relocating to the valley . . .

5/31/2007 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

"God's work is to bring us to ground; our work is to see God's grace in our frustrations and accept them as his loving hand upon us without growing weary or running away."

Or as Sister Bessy, the Pentacostal grandaughter of slaves who cleaned my mother's Virginia home, told me long ago, "You'd better get your mind right with God, or else God is gonna whup ya. And you don't want God to whup ya."

5/31/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Actually the villager, even though gifted with sight, would not have words for the colors, unless there were some that had preceded him and their lore had been handed down. So most likely he would have to describe colors with a familiar name, such as dandelion for yellow. The villagers would laugh at his claims that the banana was like a dandelion, of course. But if he were to meet someone from a neighboring village, someone who also could see, they would immediately recognize each other's sight even if the other used "buttercup" for yellow.

Of course, if the people who met only knew of sight from hearing, they might start a war over the difference between dandelion and buttercup. This is probably more likely.

5/31/2007 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Between Kingdoms
all the world's asleep
dreaming of roads to glory
few men will walk them

5/31/2007 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Good points Magnus and Maineman! Wars have been started over lesser matters!

5/31/2007 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Sister Bessy's wisdom reminds me of my friend's mother's saying:

"A hard head makes for a soft BE-hind."

5/31/2007 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger James said...

Coons,

I just read the River of Fire. It is riveting. I couldn't stop reading it. I feel like I'm a step closer now. Thank you all for the spiritual fellowship. It is there if you have eyes to see.

5/31/2007 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Magnus, I agree. I think the more we can perceive, the more we need figures of speech, tropes, allusions, metaphors and the like to express ourselves. It leads to poetry, in other words.

Also, when we can perceive with greater scope, we begin to see natural likenesses, particularly of the "as it is above/without, so it is below/within" sort. Metaphor just isn't a projection of the mind - it exists by nature.

5/31/2007 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I am very conscious that we are evolving the language to describe these realities as we enter into them. I think it is very much analogous to the early explorers of the new world, who all landed in different areas and came back with diverse and seemingly contradictory discriptions of what they'd found.

At first the descriptions are going to be highly subjective and not connected to the others, but as we increasingly colonize the space, we start to see how all the descriptions fit together. Certainly that it what I was trying to do with the book, and even more so with the blog, in part because I know that my neurology has changed as a consequence of repeated encounters with the New World. I see things very clearly now that were more shrouded before, just as I see things vaguely now that will presumably become clearer as I go.

But to reduce the reality experienced to a brain state or neural network makes no more sense than to reduce the truth of Shakespeare to the left brain, just because that's the area of the brain responsible for langauge. After all, with that logic, you could dismis science itself as an illusion of neurology.

5/31/2007 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous terrence said...

I read somewhere that people who get eye sight late in life often have an incredible orientation. When they finally do see, it is very disorienting, and can take some time to become comfortable.

Magnus Itland said the guy who got sight “would not have words for the colors.” This is true, and would be a big problem, at least for the first few “seers”.

Another way to look at the issue is to use the sense of taste, rather than sight. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to describe a taste to someone not familiar with it. If someone has never eaten chicken, it will not tell him anything if you say, “It tastes something like chicken”. We learn tastes by eating the item in question. Before you had tasted cilantro, what would good would a description of the plant be to you?

Gagdad is right that we are learning a new language here. And like tastes, we learn it by doing it, or being done to, as the case may be.

5/31/2007 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

Nice analogy, magnus.

One question I do have, minor in scope that those here may deign to answer directly -- what's a "coon"?

Aside from procyon lotor, of course, which is somewhat interesting considering Alan Mackenzie's recent objections.

5/31/2007 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Hi James,
Who is the author of River of Fire?

5/31/2007 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm pretty sure that the first mention of the existence of our secret society, the Transdimensional Order of the Friendly Sons and Daughters of the Cosmic Raccoons, was in a post from April 1, 2006, entitled Noble Raccoons, Trousered Baboons, and Horizontally Marooned, and it just took off from there.

By the way, I am coonsidering banning the diminutive and using only Raccoon, the reason being that Coon could be deemed needlessly offensive. It's not about political correctness. It's just that I felt slightly awkward in discussing the Coons with an interested black friend.

I am sure there are many black Coons, but the only way that would sound right is if they adopted the approach of gays who have co-opted the word "queer" as a from of "empowerment," and we'd like to entirely bypass that sort of silliness. So I think I'll just say "Raccoon" rather than "Coon."

5/31/2007 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

Nick,

The River of Fire
By Dr. Alexander Kalomiros

The link was provided by bullet proof monk in yesterday's comments.
http://philthompson.net/pages/library/riveroffire.html

5/31/2007 01:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Biker Lady said...

The problem with any Atheist is they think they are in the position of "accepting God" when they have it backwards, of course.
They want to be made perfect in one fell swoop - after all, God can do it!
They're just not going to stand for having to kill the old man every moment of the rest of their shallow lives in order to keep on being that perfect man.
Typical two year old rant - who think the sun rises and sets on them.
Which is to say - they want to be God - they could do a much better job of running the cosmos if God would only get out of the way.
They believe in Him alright!
Otherwise, why do they bother showing up here throwing dart at Bob. Hmmmmmmm, maybe they're just a little afraid to curse God?

5/31/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks James

5/31/2007 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Yes, new perceptions must be shared before an agreed-upon language, one that connotes the bounderies of the new perception, is forged.

At first, only "outsiders" would speak the new language. In time, it will become the norm. And in time, yet another new language based on still newer perceptions will be forged.

Obviously the most fractious time is when the outsiders begin to expand in number and outreach. This is when the distinctions between old language and new would be most divisive.

Attempts at conciliation between old and new would be inevitably, necessarily futile. Those of the old persuasion would have hope of becoming new - should they so desire - but the new can never return to the old status. They either eventually succeed in establishing newness or they are eliminated by the reactionary old.

Way it is.

5/31/2007 01:57:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Well, Kalomiros believes modern Atheism is actually Antitheism, a certain purposeful forgetting or ignoring of a hated god-figure.

5/31/2007 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

If you've been brought up in a religious environment, like Susannah and myself, trying to even imagine what the alternative would be like is almost impossible. It's like trying to remember not being able to walk or talk or something.

Somw would say that the meme is just deeply embedded, and that we could be free of it, if we tried hard enough.

Thanks for all the different examples of how to try to explain why the experience is not transferrable.

OT- still on the Robertson Davies train. "The Maniticore", which involves psychoanalysis, is much more enjoyable/beneficient, thanks to various things Bob writes about.
The late Mr. Davies is a Racoon.

5/31/2007 02:05:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Anyway, the idea here is that spiritual inclination, awareness of God and the Real is literally a matter of perceptual ability.

It is not a matter of mental construct as the atheists assume - not that they can assume anything else.

5/31/2007 02:08:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Hey Raccoons:

Has anyone heard this new rendition of Bach's Goldberg Variations, done up for string trio? Amazon has snippets, but how's the whole?

Found this review:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.
cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/27/PKGH3P0TF61.
DTL&hw=goldberg+variations&sn=001&sc=1000

Humm.... Not sure the above will work. Review found in SF Chonicle, Datebook section, Sunday May 27

Adapted for strings by Dmitry Sitkovetsky in 1985 & dedicated to Glenn Gould. GG's 1981 Goldberg is my personal all-time-favorite Goldberg.

I'm sure to buy it anyway. There's no such thing a too much Bach, as far as I'm cooncerned (sorry Bob)

Anyone?

5/31/2007 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

If you've been brought up in a religious environment, like Susannah and myself, trying to even imagine what the alternative would be like is almost impossible. It's like trying to remember not being able to walk or talk or something.

Agreed. I'm one who never had that 'darkest before the dawn' or 'powerful conversion' experience. I was raised in various protestant churches; and always had a sense for the sacred. My real struggle was in my family life. Eventually I came to understand that God could and would be my shield, for all things and all times. Fortunately for me, when I came to this realization, I had all of this information I'd collected over the years to make everything click together. It has always been a 'renewing' experience for me; I return to the old and it is new again, and again, and again.

Rarely does one such as I, among especially the younger set, give what is called a 'great testimony'. No near-death-to-drugs experience, etc.

It made me glad to find someone who takes an intellectually vibrant approach to religion. Without it, I would have surely grown bored. Or, I suppose I would have read more about the Orthodox at some point...

Tis good to be among the raccoon in this jolly joint.

5/31/2007 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Never seen before picture of River's baptism!

Caption: "I see... living people!"

5/31/2007 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Ximeze - You're in good company. The Beatles nearly titled one whole album after their song, "Get Bach".

;)

5/31/2007 02:29:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Oooooh River

Just the cuuuuutist!!!!

Can I take him home?

5/31/2007 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I too, was thinking of The Horse and His Boy yesterday.

But more thinking of "The Last Battle," where Lewis does an homage to "The Cave."

The dwarves were being held in what they thought was a darkened barn, what was indeed the place they thought they wanted to be. Meanwhile, not knowing they had "crossed over" into a heavenly realm, every kindness, every generosity was misinterpreted in the darkness of the dwarfish, smallness of their hearts.

"The Dwarves are for the Dwarves" was all they could muster. They were a tight-knit group that tried to work every angle toward their own paranoid fantasies about the Lion. Because it was all they knew.

It was actually all they wanted to know. And Aslan showed the Narnia kit-Kings what even He could and could not do. He placed a feast of unimaginable repast in front of the dwarves, who immediately deemed it something foul and poisonous.

So why should a troll expect a mere B'ob to be able to do what God himself cannot?

5/31/2007 02:35:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh, River! Just... awwwwwww! Soooo cute!!

You look so innocent!!

5/31/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous magnum opus said...

What I get from today's postings (I especially like those done as dailogue by Will) is that

1: Solid and meaningful interaction with God may be predicated on a sensory ability to pick up God's emanations, which can come in through any of the five senses and also via cryptic passsages like intuition, memory and emotion.

2: This sensory ability is highly subjective--effective language to describe it is only now being developed.

3: Humility is required to develop the sensory ability--the normal ego works as a screen or veil that jams God-stimuli so that it cannot get through. Conversely, when ego is disabled, such as after an enormous and troubling personal humiliation, loss or disaster, or via a slow effacement of ego by effort or willpower, then the sensory information finally gets through.

4: Finally, even if the sensory information gets through, it must be accepted as real. Lots of people might be passing off these experiences as products of their own imagination.

5: Therefore, to interact with God one must be humble and trusting in whatever comes, yet also discerning enough so that spurious products of the imagination do not take hold. This appears to be a delicate and difficult endeavor in which mistakes can be made.

6: It is likely that any atheist can interact with God by carefully discarding disbelief (but paradoxically not all of it),
cultivating humility (a masssive endeavor in and of itself) and listening and looking carefully at what comes, both inside and out.
This is a tall order and it's perhaps not surprising that few seem to take it on.

Comments, anyone?

5/31/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comment - none of the 1-6 indicate conservative politics is the sole conclusion of the spiritually engaged.

5/31/2007 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Magnum, I think that's a fairly good summation.

River - I think I'm going into sugar overload :) I have to restrain myself from making cutesy baby noises just looking at that photo.

5/31/2007 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Alan Mackenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/31/2007 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous petey said...

As a writer, you're a good shutterbug.

5/31/2007 03:42:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

"Comment - none of the 1-6 indicate conservative politics is the sole conclusion of the spiritually engaged."

Actually, #3 clearly rules out the secular Left.

5/31/2007 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Don't ya mean Shudderbug, Petey?

5/31/2007 03:50:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Magnum:

Though I agree with the essence of what you're saying, there's something almost passive about its tone.

I, for one, hardly take my lessons from O in a 'humble' manner. More like 'kicking & screaming', more often dragged or pushed. Lets just say 'does not go gently', shall we?

Certainly, Trust in the outcome has come over time (read: repeated thrashings). It's a complete mystery to me why God would want me at all. There's very little 'spiritual' or 'pious' about me. I'm a fighter - have been from birth. Yet God gnos that my Heart bows before Him, even tho the rest of me rebels.

Go figure.

5/31/2007 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

ximeze: God hooked you, and then...
"She's a fighter! Lookit 'er fight! She can fight!" ... etc. Maybe he's fishing?

I know I'm an impious sonavagun too. But I get all passive agressive. I've been hit by a brick or two ;)

"He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive assertions of his fellow countryman, River Cocytus, who famously pointed out that the GodBag would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable NYLON, but must, I say must, wear Pajamas of the finest silk."

Two points, sir, if I may burble:
1. That's The River Cocytus
2. Were you here when we were running naked around pizza?

Away!

5/31/2007 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Wolf said...

He must've gotten a nousbleed up here in the riffrafters.

5/31/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

RC--you made me say "awwww" and then you made me laugh. :D

Ximeze, you're not alone. I can relate to Rich Mullins' song:

"I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want,

Than take what You give that I need."

Julie, thank you for the comment. :)

Magnum Opus, I think it's a great list. As for those spurious imaginings, scripture makes a good measuring stick. It has a way of showing me to myself.

5/31/2007 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger Scheiben Honig said...

ximeze said...
“Hey Raccoons:
Has anyone heard this new rendition of Bach's Goldberg Variations, done up for string trio? Amazon has snippets, but how's the whole”

ximeze ~ not familiar as yet. I listened to all the snippets and ordered – I’ll have it in two days. My favorite GV is also the later Gould. As a matter of fact, or in this case opinion, I have it on the top of my “marooned on a desert island” short list.

The most recent Gould offering which contains both the 1955 and 1981 recorded versions – A State of Wonder, (2002 release) - is really fun and includes insightful interviews with Gould. The 1981 recording sounds better here than in the original release.
Thanks for the heads up!

5/31/2007 04:47:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Jumping to the end here before going back and finishing the comments:
Will. Have you read the story "Country of the Blind" by H.G. Wells? I feel like a dope for not thinking of it yesterday.
Here's a link. I wrote down the html and then lost it.
http://www.readbookonline.net
/readOnLine/2157/

5/31/2007 05:13:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

A.Mckenzie:
I went over and looked at your nasty blog. I didn't figure that you'd show up here again, but since you did, I'll say this, "You, sir are a vile piece of work."
Notice I'm not even gonna' give you any clever put downs, or respond to your asinine attempt at writing. (Tell us Alan. Was that satire?)
I think you have a rope to go piss up somewhere, don't you? Be a good boy and get on with it.

JWM

5/31/2007 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Bob wrote,
"Sri Aurobindo's simple formulation for seeing the light was aspiration-rejection-surrender..."

This has been pestering me all day.
A great mnemonic.

5/31/2007 05:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Guy T. said...

> The link was provided by bullet proof monk in yesterday's comments.
http://philthompson.net/pages/library/riveroffire.html

James -- I read that today and was very impressed. Thanks for pointing it out!


> It is likely that any atheist can interact with God by carefully discarding disbelief (but paradoxically not all of it),
cultivating humility (a masssive endeavor in and of itself) and listening and looking carefully at what comes, both inside and out.

Magnum Opus -- I couldn't help thinking of this when I read that:

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

5/31/2007 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Gorgeous picture of a snowflake on his site, though. How such order and beauty came about by pure chance, I'll never get through my head.

My reaction the last time I observed perfectly formed snowflakes (they were the largest I'd ever seen) was the opposite. I think the word "praise" comes closest. Again, whom do they thank? Without the "whom," thanking is meaningless.

That reminds me of a kiddie show I once watched with my daughters. It was an Earth Day episode, and the little children ran about absurdly thanking the trees, the flowers and the sun. We laughed at their foolishness.

How many times can we quote Romans 1:21-23 before wearing it out? :)

5/31/2007 06:09:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

jwm - thanks for the link to the Wells story. Very apropos.

5/31/2007 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

I have always thought that this was a very funny line. I have a feeling that it had his audience howling. Imagine it in the hands of a good comedian.

wv: fekrf The damn thing is sentient, and it's mocking me!

JWM

5/31/2007 06:32:00 PM  
Anonymous georged said...

I heard the Sitkovetsky of the Goldberg variations version on XM radio today. It was too slow and too thick.

5/31/2007 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I usually try not to forward these mass emailings but I thought it was crucial to prevent some unwanted health concerns so I am passing it along to all you rawcoons....

Subject: Tick Warning

I hate it when people forward bogus warnings, and I have even done it myself
a couple times unintentionally... but this one is real, and it's important.
So please send this warning to everyone on your e- mail list.

If someone comes to your front door saying they are checking for ticks due to the warm weather and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up,
DO NOT DO IT!! THIS IS A SCAM!!

They only want to see you naked.

I wish I'd gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid.

5/31/2007 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Big Black Steinway said...

Well, that business model is hosed.

5/31/2007 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Well, to Mistah Mackenzie I would just say:

I pay attention to no puffery emitted by dozy nuts; nor ruffery permitted or befitted by such! No guff or scuff you bumbling tumbler, you rumbling grumbler of stuff! Enough!

5/31/2007 07:19:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Jwm - I read a whole buncha Wells when I was a kid, so I may have read that one. If I did, I can't recall it.

I'll check it out, thanks.

5/31/2007 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Thanks, Lisa - I really needed something to smile about tonight.

5/31/2007 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Scheiben Honig said...

georged said...
"I heard the Sitkovetsky of the Goldberg variations version on XM radio today. It was too slow and too thick."

Did you hear the trio version I just ordered or the version for chamber orchestra? I'm guessing for the larger group since the snippets on Amazon for the trio seemed lively enough.

5/31/2007 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Scheiben Honig said...

Never mind, georged, I just went to Amazon and answered my own question. The chamber group is much slower, as one would expect.

5/31/2007 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Lisa - LMAO!!!!! Too much. Oh, the visual. Oh, my stomach. Thank you.

Sus - Life isn't long enough to wear it out. I'm not sure eternity is long enough.

5/31/2007 08:06:00 PM  
Anonymous harry caray said...

"Here's the rookie McKenzie stepping up to the plate...oh, he's showy folks! You can see GasBag taking a little longer with the chalkbag...Hoo boy, McKenzie has stepped out of the box and he's pointing his bat at GasBag! He's just holding it out like an extension of his arm, pointing it right at the mound and smiling! Oh, listen to the faithful! You don't do this and get away with it here at Cosmos Park! Will ya look at the motley crew jumping at the fence just behind the dugout! Why that one little whore..hey! I can't say that! They'll haul me away in a Van! Ship me up the River singing Aw, Suzannah! But these folks are mad! Oh look at this! The newcomer McKenzie is stepping around the plate! He's switching to leftie! Can he do that? He can! GasBag hasn't tossed a pitch yet! Oh you can see the smile on McKenzie's face now as he sights his bat on..yes, left field, from the left side of the plate! Oh this is a statement folks! The crowd is tossing their animal skin hats onto the field! Two cavemen are fighting in the lower regions of the stadium over a yellow insurance flyer! Some gal has taken off her clothes and is dancing around with her arms in the air! Boy is she limber! Some guy is sitting on the steps with his eyes closed and his legs crossed and his palms face up on his knees and the faithful are pelting him with peanuts! I tell ya folks, this is a stellar moment and the only ones not enjoying it are the cosmos faithful who are either frothing at the mouth or just looking dumbfounded! Some military guy just keeled over with a beer in each hand! Whoo! Looks like GasBag is getting ready to put up or shut up... here's the windup and the pitch...HOLY COW! I felt that one all the way up here! McKenzie! What a performance..."

the signal fades, and the little boy halfheartedly fiddles with the needle on the crystal knowing it doesn't matter now if all he can pick up is Bobby Darin...he can sleep well tonight.

5/31/2007 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

me thinks harry carry is really mackenzie...no one really cares about either of them, but it is flattering that they took so much time out of their precious lives to write a typical Hollywood treatment of OC.

but then again I did fall for that tick scam! ;)

hee hee~!

5/31/2007 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Poor McKenzie. Beaned by a slowball.

JWM

5/31/2007 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

ximeze:

Has anyone heard this new rendition of Bach's Goldberg Variations, done up for string trio?

There are some musical recordings which for me have been "perfected" such that I have no interest in alternative versions. The sublime 1981 Gould recording of the Goldberg Variations is one of those recordings. Yo Yo Ma's Cello Suite #1 is another.

Re the ongoing week-long athiestivus, I am continually reminding myself as I read the desperately predictable Herman that I was where he is, not so long ago. Bob has mentioned several times that a man like him cannot say anything meaningful about God to a man like Herman. I would emphasize: Herman as he is today. For some of these trolls I believe there is an underlying thirst for something beyond their constrained logical-postivist mental garret, otherwise they would probably not be here (there are plenty of riper opportnities for stirring up trouble on the web then at a humble Raccoon den!).

I of course can say nothing about God to Herman either. All I can do is point out that I somehow moved from being a rather unpleasant and unfocused athiest in my youth to a much happier, saner and productive person today. While I was well along the path to God before I discovered One Cosmos, this site has helped me broaden and deepen my understanding of my own spiritual experiences. Had I discovered One Cosmos as the person I was in, say, 1993 I would have gotten precisely nothing out of it. I would have been pure Herman, all the way.

So, if you're still there Herman, it won't kill you to keep an open mind and just relax those hypertrophied syllogistic/empiricist muscles a tad. You may not be ready for anything yet--and God forbid, you may be simply incapable at all--but I hope you'll at least entertain the possibility that there is more going on here than simply a bunch of nut-bars worshipping some web guru. That ain't it. That ain't it at all!

5/31/2007 08:35:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Mackenzie's writing is so simple, even an atheist can understand it.

5/31/2007 08:40:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Mac does take nice pictures of butterflies and bunnies. Perhaps his introduction to God will come via a metamorphing insect.

Nomo, fine piece by Roper, btw. He would be a great role model if I were capable, so for now I hold him as an ideal man. He can tie a mean fly, I can attest to that.

5/31/2007 09:05:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

The hot and cold running guy in the hat and dark glasses.

5/31/2007 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

About all the consternation about our not giving the trolls the keys to the kingdom, did you notice that they really seemed to think that we would be able to if we had opened the door ourselves? Like sneaking someone into a theater by the back door?

They don't seem to get that it doesn't work that way. Personaly, I think it has to do with free will - if awareness of God could be communicated, given, triggered, it wouldn't be what it is - a personal opening up, not a passive reaction. In the world of scientific knowledge, it isn't knowledge - information that can be reliably acted upon, unless it is reproducable and communicable from one person to another. But knowledge of the spirit, is interior knowledge, personal - able to be felt, absorbed, reveled in, pondered - within you. The door opens up on the inside to an inner outside (that ought to rile the goons up). It is real and tangible to you, but only for you. You can describe it - somewhat, give clues on how you experience it, and how you go about it - but they don't have the same landscape to match it up to, each person has to blaze their own inner paths.

Funniest moment today? Taking a quick gander at the a.m. rude-eu's blog, and seeing in the comments his refering to "The poor form they demonstrated on my blog, Austin's blog, and Bob's carried forth a message that they were not prepared to engage in rational argumentation". Talk about ISS!

Speaking of which, In-Laws here, beer o'clock tracking with scotch o'clock means up stupidly late o'clock - night (hmm morning?)all!

6/01/2007 01:06:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Honig:

It's on my desert island short list too, along with Turando featuring Renata Tebaldi, a boxed set of Gregorian Chant, a complete set of Carlos Gardel, an OP Flamenco dated '56, Hawaiian Steel Guitar Classics 1927-1934 (or so) & something titled 'Music Goes Round' that's a mixture of American Standards from the '20s, '30s & early '40s recorded at those times.

Have both the early & later GVs, but not State of Wonder. Just might have to get it, especially if '81 sounds even better & comes with nifty liner notes.

Tell me they have NOT engineer out GG's humming. Know some find it annoying, but I love hearing what went on in his head while he played. An unexpected bonus, if you will.

6/01/2007 01:55:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Ah, but Van. You did get the memo, didn't you?

Several neuropsychologists have proven that there's no such thing as free will. I read it in the NYT -- and maybe here, too.

As I recall, their method was exquisitely simple and ingenious. They just got into a cage, locked it, and concluded that they were locked in a cage.

6/01/2007 04:16:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

I figure that A. Mack gave his atheism thing his best shot, but seeing that none of it "stuck," opted to try to convince us of our foolishness by telling stories. (Bless his concern for us, for when he hit "publish," it was the middle of the night in England!)

Personally, I am forever prejudiced toward non-fiction -- so my preference for Will's caveman stories came easily.

6/01/2007 04:46:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Speaking of laundry, Plato’s cave reminded me of ..well.. a Three Stooges episode I watched a very long time ago. Funny how things stick with you.

Sorry, ladies, for the 3S flashback.

The episode begins with the Stooges in their new business venture.
This time it’s a laundry service.

Larry is furiously trying to remove a stain from a pair of pants.
He’s scrubbing and scrubbing and he can’t make a dent.
Except I think now he has cleaned a hole right through the pants to the table.

He lifts the pants and there is the same spot on the table!

He turns around and sees the same shaped spot as a hole on the window curtain.

Son of a gun.

6/01/2007 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Alan Mackenzie,
Have you noticed the bunnies do not take pictures of you.
They never will.
Don’t take that personal.
They could never grasp why you take pictures of them no better than you won’t, at the moment. Similarly they do not want to know why.
There is no need for pictures.
So they just go munching along.
Animals get a pass for this.

6/01/2007 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The Great White Raccoon...!

but then again I did fall for that tick scam! ;)

hee hee~!


No! Bad Lisa! *eyes cross*

She's makin' trouble again!

6/01/2007 05:40:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Lisa, that was a gut-buster!

Why does A.M. bother with us? We're hopeless. :D

Van...

"Personaly, I think it has to do with free will - if awareness of God could be communicated, given, triggered, it wouldn't be what it is - a personal opening up, not a passive reaction."

I think you are absolutely right. The "evidence" is external change resulting from inner transformation.

I'm married to a former pot-head who skipped school at every opportunity, would rather work on his dirt bike, and had zero concern for what "authority" thought. He just plain didn't care about grades, responsibility, etc.

What would cause a person like him to start applying himself, carrying a Bible around, singing hymns with other Christians in a church, facing rejection from his former friends, voluntarily going to Bible school...eventually getting a doctorate in systematic theology and teaching others about God?

What effected the inner transformation? People who knew him then do not believe it when they hear what he's doing now.

That's the part that's difficult to convey. He says it was like being "placed under arrest" by the Holy Spirit, and that was the result of some simple, ordinary words spoken to him, something to the effect of, "It's not too late today."

Believe me, if it weren't a reality, a man like my husband would have nothing to do with it. He is a good judge of truth, and a skeptic when it comes to emotional hoodwinking. He doesn't follow the crowd. It was exactly like you described, an "inner door opening."

I don't have a then/now experience, but there's the experience of divine love in a time of utter brokenness, enveloping, tender, so undeserved. It could melt the hardest heart. But you are so right, it's not easy to convey. There's the experience of deep conviction--not condemnation, but that sense of being "under arrest" by the ultimate Authority, a sense of "choose ye this day," that my husband described. How can you describe that to someone else?

I can see how someone living on the horizontal plane could easily designate it insanity.

6/01/2007 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Van and Susannah - Of course I agree about free will. But I also personally have to somehow put it in the context of Romans 8:29-30, etc. "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."

For me, there was always some kind of "drawing to Him" going on. At least that's how I describe it.

6/01/2007 07:23:00 AM  
Anonymous ronjon said...

101. I like that.

Ricky Racloon said:

"Alan Mackenzie,
Have you noticed the bunnies do not take pictures of you.
They never will.
Don’t take that personal.
They could never grasp why you take pictures of them no better than you won’t, at the moment. Similarly they do not want to know why.
There is no need for pictures.
So they just go munching along.
Animals get a pass for this."

News flash:
Humans get a pass for this also, unless you're talking to a fundy christian, who's adamant that the penalty for not falling into step with him and his party (hook) line (and sinker) is...eternal damnation. The "fear as motivator" angle works so well even cavemen can do it. And did. And it's still being worked hard by unscrupulous salesman today, in selling anything from global warming to life insurance. All you gotta do is make someone overly concerned with "not" thinking like you do with some trumped up fear, and you stand a good shot at getting them to at least not realize you're selling something. Kind of, for example, like mixing spiritual insights with fear of "leftists". You're gonna sell some books.

Look out! Here comes a leftist! Quick, to the OC blog, where the assembled chorus will help you toss...whatever you find at hand!

Step back out into the real world, kits. Daddy has shown you the world, now get off his back and start "seeing" for yourselves. Daddy's got his own work to do. This audience factor is just weighing him down. Even a caveman can see it. There's no room for enlightenment here. Everyone's too busy defending the trail of dung this "church" leaves behind. The water of life served up here in the blog&comments taken as a whole has begun to stink, consistently.

6/01/2007 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I believe Kalomiros said, "We are to become what we always were"? That is his interpretation of predestination; that we are something essentially, and that our temporal life sort of reveals that thing. Kind of like we're all seeds, and until we're placed in the soil no-one will know if we will germinate and burst forth from the surface of the earth.

6/01/2007 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

News flash:
Humans get a pass for this also, unless you're talking to a fundy christian, who's adamant that the penalty for not falling into step with him and his party (hook) line (and sinker) is...eternal damnation. The "fear as motivator" angle works so well even cavemen can do it. And did. And it's still being worked hard by unscrupulous salesman today, in selling anything from global warming to life insurance. ... (etc)


100% wrong, man. The law of necessity is beneath God; he judges only to correct and only in love. If there is a condemnation it is we who do it, "I have not come to condemn the world, for it has condemned itself already"? If we speak against leftism it is for the same reason that Christ spoke against the Pharisees - we speak against what we see is wrong. If you think we fear leftists or are trying to promote a fear of them you are misled.

Bob writes, more or less, the way a jazzman plays. This is similar to how many of us comment. So, why not just leave?

Humans get no pass for it. God demands that we be just. This is no justice, and thus is due for castigation in the least. Fear mongering is a base tactic unless there truly is something to fear.

etc.

Phew. Just don't comment if you don't have something to add, or some kind of entertainment. You're neither.

6/01/2007 07:52:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Ronjon;
Saver of souls, defender of humanity.
I think whomever is going to get your tediously circular message already has. Get a life or fix the skip in your brain and come up with something new.

6/01/2007 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Everyone's too busy defending the trail of dung this "church" leaves behind. The water of life served up here in the blog&comments taken as a whole has begun to stink, consistently."

Whereas this individual leaves behind such a *pleasant* odor wherever he goes. :)

Talk about irrational prejudice...how could anybody read this blog and walk away with "fear as motivator" ringing in his ears? Only if it's already between his ears to begin with and he can't see anything else.

I think it's incontrovertible proof that they're not actually *reading.* Just spewing.

6/01/2007 08:28:00 AM  
Anonymous ronjon said...

Everyone's too busy defending the trail of dung this "church" leaves behind. The water of life served up here in the blog&comments taken as a whole has begun to stink, consistently.

Thanks River & the always projecting & insightful Hoarhey,for proving my point. I will certainly try to take your advice and not come back. Unfortunately or fortunately, the need to point up another's faults is often stronger than the desire to rid myself of my own. We both know Hoarhey I am not talking to you, as you have non-functioning, cauliflower ears from all the beatings you've taken over the years, and besides have no further need for either self-reflection or inner work. Nor, apparently, inner peace. So I'm only talking at you. Never mind, go back to the heavy bag.

River, you are another story, a genuine work in progress and unafraid to show it. I admire you even if I don't always agree with you. (take another look at that 100% part, for example). God's shine be within you.

Personally, the rancor here has begun to draw me more than the succor. Yes, that's my specific problem and I admit it. I suggest I'm not alone. Try to go easy on the curious, and ignore the angry. Anger carries its own penalty, the first being denial. It spreads from there.

6/01/2007 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

ronjon said... "Humans get a pass for this also, unless you're talking to a fundy christian, who's adamant that the penalty for not falling into step with him and his party (hook) line (and sinker) is...eternal damnation."

Problem with your attempt at thought there (it's an inbred lefty thing, not completely your fault), is that he's telling you you need to make a choice - he's not forcing you to do it - as for instance the islambies do, and (cue the sound bite):

"All you gotta do is make someone overly concerned with "not" thinking like you do with some trumped up fear, and you stand a good shot at getting them ..." worked up into pushing something like enforced recycling? genocide via banning DDT? Kyoto anybody? (actually you can insert any leftist policy proposal of your choice here - all work on forcing others to do as you would choose).

"Look out! Here comes a leftist!"

Duh.

6/01/2007 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

NoMo said...
Van and Susannah - Of course I agree about free will. But I also personally have to somehow put it in the context of Romans 8:29-30, etc. "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son..." taking that 'predestined', as a 'it is written' and therefore Fate has more to do with your choices, than your choosing does - sorry NoMo, but that's just a little too literal a reading for me.

Now I could give it some credence as 'those who conform their lives to follow truth, will eventually lead lives that will make them first-born among many brethren' and so forth.

As I think the back and forth between James and Gagdad illustrated, the 'giving up' of accepting, and prayer, versus the mistaken use of zen meditating as a means of attaining satori shows, that which might be called Grace is upon you most often when you've hit rock bottom, stopped striving for it. I think of it as when you are trying so hard to remember a name on the tip of your tongue, straining towards the name... right there... argh! Can't get it! - and then as you give up, and go back to eating - poof! there it is blurting out of your mouth. I think your memory had it right there, but you were seeking after it elsewhere. In seeking for, you are telling your memory 'don't bother me with that now, I'm trying to find something!', it's only when you turn away from the chase, turn back around towards the source, that it can drop what you had given up on finding into your open arms.

At the root of our souls, in it's first principles, the 'answer' the 'key' is there, sometimes when we seek, we do so by turning away from the source, and it is only when we've given up trying to find it out there, turn back towards the humus at our roots, that it can say 'Good to have you back, here you go'.

6/01/2007 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

ronjon said "...as you have non-functioning, cauliflower ears..." and

"Try to go easy on the curious, and ignore the angry. Anger carries its own penalty, the first being denial. It spreads from there."

Gottal love such spot on self diagnosis & medication.

6/01/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Van - As I said, "I personally have to somehow put it in the context of Romans 8:29-30". Perhaps it is a reflection of God's omniscience. After all, it is His choice that we are even here. Just because He already knows what all our choices will be, doesn't mean we still don't have to make them.

6/01/2007 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

NoMo said "Just because He already knows what all our choices will be, doesn't mean we still don't have to make them. "

Right you are... (finished my comment for me, thanks!)

6/01/2007 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

ronjon, I have a special place of ire for people who seek to use flattery as a way to divide me from those whom I choose as my friends.

Do you understand?

6/01/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger CARL TOFFLE said...

hoarhey ~ That's my Dad. He's a rather poor satirist. Otherwise, he runs pretty hot; but I'm biased.

6/01/2007 03:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Sal said...

What I find curious is that Van or Julie or Joan or Will or any of us, actually, have a distinct "voice".
But the trolls all sound the same- and I don't think it's just because so many of them are 'anonymous.

6/02/2007 06:46:00 AM  

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