Friday, May 11, 2007

The Cosmic No: Truth and its Oppositional Opponents

The typical contemporary intellectual is a proud cynic. As such, his artificially inflated mind revolves around the low-hanging fruit of what it can easily disprove and what it does not believe. Yes, it's a Tree of Death, but the mind must eat something. Being that the lower mind can disprove most anything it can prove, this simply redounds to one of the many flavors of nihilism -- for there is only one One, but numberless zeros.

A bare acquaintance with the history of philosophy proves this beyond doubt. Philosophers cannot even agree on the questions, let alone the answers, so it becomes the proverbial "journey of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing." In the absence of religion, there is simply no way to exit this closed circle of thought, for religion is nothing more or less than a leap through the hole that has been conveniently planted in the (vertical) center, or "heart" of the cosmos. To be perfectly inaccurate, there is an upside-down Tree of Life that grows from this hole, its roots aloft, its branches and leaves down here below.

In fact, for the most part, philosophers have given up asking the big questions as unanswerable, the result being that contemporary philosophy has become analogous to the drunken Dupree who looks for his keys under the street lamp because that's where the light is. People ask why I gave Dupree a miner's helmet for his last birthday, and this is why. Now, when he's stumbling around looking for something in the middle of the night, he can pass beyond the horizon of the dim little 60-watt out in the garage.

Is there something comparable to a miner's helmet for the human mind, so that we may carry our own headlight with which to examine truth, instead of restricting truth to the narrow area that is lit up by the scientific method? Few scientists even think about metaphysics, but science is implicitly rooted in what is called ontological monism. As such, it begins with an a priori faith in the idea that the world is materially and logically self-sufficient, and that no outside causes need be evoked to explain or account for anything. Therefore, the materialistic scientist necessarily believes in a closed system from which it is impossible to escape:

"Any scientific inquiry is carried out under the rubric of rational thinking, which has a limited domain of application (an epistemological horizon) that predetermines its ontology [emphasis mine]. It is always difficult for science to transcend this horizon and to judge its ontological statements from the outside, from the epistemological frame that transcends the world (into the realm of existence not embraced by science), because this 'outside' is not identified by science as a comprehensible, objective reality" (Nesteruk).

Yesterday we spoke of Jim Morrison, and the postfabricated romantic mythology surrounding him. In fact, as the Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement properly pointed out, there is an aspect of Morrison's life that had some truth to it. That is, his frenzied Dionysian attempt to break on through to the other side by any means necessary was simply his struggle to sever those darn surly bonds of ontological monism and blast off into inner space. Does it work? Yes and no. This is precisely what I was referring to on page 216 of the Coonifesto, where I wrote that

"Although it would be misleading and sanctimonious to dismiss this approach as fruitless, it doesn't present itself as a sustainable lifestyle, nor may it be consistent with the relatively long life required to achieve a stable (¶) [i.e., vertically oriented nous, or psychic being]. For other, more sober types, these tantalizing flashes of an alternate reality may become the initial motivation for a more methodical spiritual practice that attempts to follow (?!) back upstream to their source in O. Only through spiritual development can these metaphysical freebies evolve into a more conscious relationship to something that is felt as a continuous presence."

I know this is true because I went through my own dionysian phase, as does most any young man who passes through the bacchanalia sometimes known as academia. But as the cliche goes, "if you remember the '60s, you weren't there." Indeed, that is the problem: how to transform altered states -- which are available to anyone -- into altered traits.

Here again, Christopher Hitchens' acknowledged immoderate consumption of spiritual lubricants to escape the implications of his own dead metaphysics comes to mind. In reality, he cannot tolerate the infrahuman, crimped little world he has created, so he must secretly escape it. If he were to be completely honest, he would say that this is his truth and his metaphysics: that there is an escape! You just call it God, I call it booze! Likewise, I think we can agree on what would constitute "hell" for Hitchens. It may or may not be hot, but it would certainly be dry.

At any rat, a proper human liver must metabolize Truth, which in turn requires a leap of faith. Conversely, the vain cynic who is intoxicated with his ability to say "no" is like a spiritual anorexic, in more ways than none. For beneath the anorexic's rejection of food are issues of trust, control, and fear of dependency. Food is imbued with all of the ambivalence felt toward the original love object, so the control of food is ultimately a strategy for controlling this unconscious Other.

I'm not an expert on anorexia, but back when I was in graduate school, there was a book entitled Starving to Death in a Sea of Objects. I have no idea whether it is still considered valid, but the author's point was that the anorexic gains a sense of power and control through what she can reject, as opposed to what she can assimilate. It is the power of No.

When I saw Hitchens flogging his new anti-theistic puerilemic on the Daily Show the other day, it occurred to me that I was seeing the intoxicating power of the cosmic No in all its nakedly cynical glory. I know this feeling, because I used to be that way. I remember the sense of exhilaration, the self-satisfied "aren't I clever!," that accompanied the intellectual thrashing of a feeble man of faith.

But although I always won the argument, only now, in hindsight, is it obvious to me that I never won the Argument. Rather, winning was just another form of losing, for it was simply the cosmic No imagining that it had vanquished the cosmic Yes, just because this particular Yes came across as an unsophisticated yahoo. Even the most dense sort of No can do this. It requires no skill, just a rudimentary grasp of reason detached from Reason.

And if you don't know what I mean by the "dense No," just try perusing Dailykos or Huffpo. Anything they say about science, God, or philosophy is the most bovine sort of No you could imagine. A two year-old could do it. And as a matter of fact, as you parents out there know, this is the age that the cosmic No enters the human lexicon. Furthermore, the No is all about control, not about truth. The developing child begins to build a sense of mastery, boundaries, and control by saying "No!" But I am reminded of something Bobby Knight once said about sportswriters: "All of us learn to write by the 4th grade. Most of us move on."

As Nesteruk writes, "Science never questions how to free itself from the necessity of [ontological monism].... It is simply an impossibility, because science cannot make an ecstatic exit from its own monistic boundaries in order to evaluate itself from a broader epistemological perspective -- that is, science is not able to develop an awareness that the world has no grounds of its being in this being. If this were to happen, science would cease to be just an exploration of the outward world; it would transform into a metascientific enterprise conducting a quest for general principles of the knowledge and foundations of the world."

And as the Lizard King himself might have mumbled through the beerlight, "As soon as philosophical scientists realize that science cannot overcome the monistic ontological necessity in its epistemology and ontology on its own, they will become prepared to start thinking of the breakthrough beyond its boundaries by appealing to open epistemology" (Nesteruk, emphasis mine).

In short, one patriculates to ontological dualism, or the open system of Father and Son, or the abbasolute and his adopted relativity. And one does this by responding with a Yes! to this source and ground, and by opening his presence of the miner's helmet of divine revelation.

And what do I see with my fleshlight? Well, for one thing, I see dead people.

In Finnegans Wake, Anna Livia Plurabelle is the carrier of the Eternal Yes.... To Anna, fittingly, is given the last word of the dissolving dream. Seemingly, this last word loops back to join immediately with the first. But in that suspended tick of time... a brave renewal has taken place.... The dream and the strange book that celebrates it will have more to say the second time, inflecting more exquisitely and abundantly the timeless story of that slow combustion which ever consumes and sustains itself in the interior of the spinning atom, in the living world, and in the soul of man. --Joseph Campbell, A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake

80 Comments:

Blogger walt said...

Booze, food, control, the interplay of YES/NO....and "dead people."

Bob, this could easily become a major chapter in your next book.

5/11/2007 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous yohda said...

As we know, writer Godwin is composed of three elements:

Petey:
nous or psychic being, fully evolved, nominal leader of the Godwinian enterprise

Gagdad Bob:
contains the intellect, higher emotions, intuition. Evolving but not fully evolved.

Cousin Dupree:
lower emotions, ego defense, sexual appetite. Less evolved than the two upper parts. Source of mental energy and vigor

I agree with all that is said in today's post, but wanted to point out the significance of "giving Dupree a helmet with a light on it."

This shows the conscious intent of GDB to pull up his lower elements. The whole Godwinian unit can only advance as fast as its heaviest and most earthbound segment (Dupree) so GDB wisely assists him with the ablility to discern things clearly.

This is a teaching we can all take advantage of, as we each have these same three elements (although few of us have assigned them names). Find your own Dupree and give him a helmet with a light on it, or a swift kick in the ass to get him moving, or whatever else might help.

5/11/2007 08:22:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

No!

5/11/2007 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Lost Man, Mine
last letter to steve
did the mail truck come today
wish you were (still) here

----------------------
As B'ob said the other day:

There is nothing more beautiful than God, and in fact, nothing so beautiful could possibly be untrue. But only if you experience the truth of this beauty in the depths of your opened -- or possibly broken -- heart. You will know this is happening if you shed tears of joy upon hearing it, which occurs when we touch the divine plane, and are thereby touched -- or when the prodigal subject returns to the loving embrace of its Subject.

These wonderful words have new meaning for me today.

5/11/2007 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous USS Ben said...

"In short, one patriculates to ontological dualism, or the open system of Father and Son, or the abbasolute and his adopted relativity. And one does this by responding with a Yes! to this source and ground, and by opening his presence of the miner's helmet of divine revelation."

Yes! Aye! Amen!
Ain't no room for the Cosmic No in this soul.

Thanks Bob!
An invigorating message today!

5/11/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

And then there is the cowardly, offputting yohda. The Judge from On High, Teacher of Bob, Fully Evolved Bringer of Light, Entity of Many Blog Titles, mysterious, hidden, the voice of reason in a sea of tumult and chaos, a one note Harry whos life would be made whole if he could but effect one result, Evolve Bob! Evolve! and become as me!, a disembodied shell of a pathetic human being living in a fantasy of being self actualized and spiritually advanced. A passive aggressive do as I say not as I do kinda guy looking to everyone else to change in a way that he approves so that he can feel okay and safe.

Take it somewhere else.

BTW, You forgot the "Now class" at the beginning of your post.
Pfffftt!

5/11/2007 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous USS Ben said...

"Indeed, that is the problem: how to transform altered states -- which are available to anyone -- into altered traits."

It all begins with Yes, which opens the door of our hearts to the Good, True and Beautiful.
Only then may we fly on the wings of Grace, Mercy and Gratitude.

More and more I'm realizing how interconnected virtues and priciples are.
God is Love, but He is infinitely more than that, which is why we need much more than Love; hence Truth, Justice, Obedience, Liberty, Joy, Peace, Gratitude and every gnown virtue and principle eternally reveals more of the O-->k as our character is molded by the Master Potter.

All this and so much more when we choose the fruit of the tree of Life...and Yes!

5/11/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Just a nit pick - I don't consider Truth a virtue, since virtues are ideal traits attainable by man... things like Courage, Discretion, Justice, Temperance, Faith, Hope, Love. Instead, the Virtues seem to exist to orient us towards the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. Honesty perhaps, or Sincerity, or Truthfulness, Humility; Just as Goodness, Virtuousness, or Loveliness, Dignity and Elegance are virtues. I guess it's just a quibble. But I'm of the opinion the distinction is important. Whether its just an opinion or reflects something true.

5/11/2007 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Ha-ha, I have a certain sympathy for Dupree. In years' past, during the summer months when nights were warm, I would don my miner's lamp and work outside at 4A.M. And my father before me: he was a corn farmer, and would irrigate the crops at night, with only a flashlight. (He said that, when it was very quiet in the middle of the night, he could hear the corn grow.)

5/11/2007 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

RE Hitchen’s booze, it is not a way “in”, it is a way “from”.

Deep sea diver analogy:
When he descends to his depths, he finds he can’t live there very long. He can’t work at that depth. The deeper he goes or the longer he stays at that depth the more pain and the harder it becomes to work the longer he stays there. With booze he can escape “from”, whereas our transcendental virticalrealm, we escape “to”.


PS Thanks for placing Yes in the “Spin of The Day”.

5/11/2007 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Walt,
A corn field at night makes a wonderful sound. Thanks for reminding me. I don’t think I’ve been in one at night since I was a kid.

5/11/2007 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

yohda said...
"As we know, writer Godwin is composed of three elements...

As we know, yohda is composed of only one element: gas

5/11/2007 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"In the absence of religion, there is simply no way to exit this closed circle of thought, for religion is nothing more or less than a leap through the hole that has been conveniently planted in the (vertical) center, or "heart" of the cosmos."

And as I think you've said before, without accepting that, there is no experiencing it, the Inward and the Outward will never meet.

Like the cartoon character who finds himself trapped in a room, then finally discovers a hole in his pocket, takes it out and puts it on the wall and steps through the opening... It takes believing in that inwardly-outward place to find it, recognize it and travel through it.

Remarkable how much more there is to the building than was visible from the inside.

5/11/2007 10:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

And for some reason, I'm not the least bit surprised that Dupree's musical recommendation for today is The Ultimate Yes.

5/11/2007 11:03:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>>Conversely, the vain cynic who is intoxicated with his ability to say "no" is like a spiritual anorexic, in more ways than none<<

It seems to me that, in one sense at least, the "no" saying can be boiled down to a proud refusal to and fear of relinquishing what is ultimately a false sense of personal autonomy. You know, the same thing that motivated ole Scratch back when.

The dreadful irony is that in maintaining such a false ego and sense of autonomy, one becomes, in one way or the other, a slave to the appetites, to the lower instinctual forces. Conversely, by surrendering to God, one becomes not a slave but a true partner, which is the ultimate individuation.

That book by Scott Peck, People of the Lie (or of the "No") - I realize it's sort of a Spiritual Psychology For Dummies book - but it did include a compelling portrait of a sour, perverse, hyper-egocentric woman, the essence of whose blank core was eventually revealed to be an overwhelming fear of surrendering herself, her false sense of self, to God. Ultimately, her problem was that she could not let go of a satanic pride.

5/11/2007 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Webutante said...

I'm just a country girl, and only think I understand all you're saying. But from what I gather, I think you're right on and I agree with the Father/Son stuff and the relativism that sees only dead people.

5/11/2007 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Van - Cartoon character? Uh oh.

5/11/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Zi said...

bob, you wrote

"A bare acquaintance with the history of philosophy proves this beyond doubt. Philosophers cannot even agree on the questions, let alone the answers, so it becomes the proverbial 'journey of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing.'"

Its true that a 'bare acquaintance' with the history of philosophy will give the impression you have. That is why serious people will get a thorough acquaintance with it before dismissing it as you do. Socrates is a much better example of human excellence than Jesus or Augustine.

You also wrote, "In the absence of religion, there is simply no way to exit this closed circle of thought"

and

"but science is implicitly rooted in what is called ontological monism. As such, it begins with an a priori faith in the idea that the world is materially and logically self-sufficient, and that no outside causes need be evoked to explain or account for anything. Therefore, the materialistic scientist necessarily believes in a closed system from which it is impossible to escape"

What you fail to be aware of, it seems, is that for many there is desire or need to escape. Perhaps you do need to posit something outside your everyday Being to make it worthwhile or to explain it, but this is your pathology and you shouldn't suggest that we all share it. You worship this pathology, which is fine, but don't pretend that we all should.

Also, your conception of Religion is myopic. Not all religion is an attempt to account for some misperceived Lack in the world.

Look to Taoism [as represented best by Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu] and you will see a wholly naturalistic religion/philosophy which believes, as you say of science, "the world is materially and logically self-sufficient, and that no outside causes need be evoked to explain or account for anything." This isn't to imply that the two are synonymous however.

This concept in Taoism is Tzu-Jan which means that the world is 'self-so' or 'self-ordered'.

To suggest that Socrates and Lao Tzu are "leading from nowhere to nothing" is amusing.

5/11/2007 12:16:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

The question is not whether we are pleasing to Zi, but on the contrary whether Zi is pleasing to us; it is not possible for the B'ob to make Zi’s stay as agreeable as possible. We owe him nothing, he owes us everything; we can have no motive to desire his visit, it is he who desires to see us and who therefore must make himself intelligible and acceptable; we do not ask anything of Zi, it is clearly Zi who asks something of us, otherwise he would be able to stay away.

5/11/2007 12:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Zi said...

dupree, if you keep repeating that often enough maybe it will become true.

Where does the sense of entitlement['We owe him nothing, he owes us everything'] come from?

Its true, I do ask something of you; reasonableness. I understand that you have no desire for someone to point out your pathologies. No one wants that.

I do not ask you to make my stay, as you put it, agreeable at all.

I do ask you to be reasonable and to listen to, without juvenile hostility, information that challenges your myopic view of so many things.

That is my Pathology. I am compelled, even though there is amble evidence that I will most often fail, to try to, as Socrates was so successful at doing, destroy people's unwarranted certainties and bring them to Aporia, which is the only place from which genuine learning and growth can happen.

5/11/2007 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Socrates is a much better example of human excellence than Jesus or Augustine.

Bwahahahahaha...

Sorry. That was a good one.

Socrates?!?!??!?!?!?

Riddle me this, how is God Incarnate worse than a drunken old Greek?

I mean, you don't have to answer. Its just rhetorical.

5/11/2007 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

...serious people will get a thorough acquaintance with it [philosophy] before dismissing it as you do. Socrates is a much better example of human excellence than Jesus or Augustine.

So would a serious student of philosophy begin his argument by begging the question?
Just wondering.

JWM

5/11/2007 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Zi - I'm just going to point out what should be obvious here: Why do you "owe" him anything? Because it's his blog. Now, since you don't appear to have a blog maybe you don't get it, but this is, essentially, an intangible guest room in his home, where people can stop by and visit. Does a visitor not owe the owner of the house he visits a certain amount of respect and decorum? And if the visitor finds his host distasteful, unreasonable or disagreeable, is it not incumbent upon the visitor to leave, after exhortations to be nice have failed?

You're as irritating and unwelcome as a door-to-door salesman, zi. You are trying to "offer" the host here, and his guests it seems, a product they have no interest in buying, whatever the value may be. That is our prerogative. Why waste your time with the ingrates here, when you could be off making a successful sale to someone who better appreciates your product?

Bob is an exceptionally gracious host. If you came to my blog and insisted on denigrating me and my other welcome guests for disagreeing with you, I'd simply block your IP address from my comments.

5/11/2007 01:18:00 PM  
Anonymous bolt said...

The seduction of a closed system is so strong for some. The simple act of declaring the boundaries of our limited human conception capable of defining an absolute understanding of reality is so comforting and so empowering. No messy reality beyond our philosophical capacity, no scary open doors to the transcendent. And such pride to sit in a cozy cognitive womb, imagining the cosmos pin-wheeling around the point of I. Maybe the sun really does revolve around the earth.

5/11/2007 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

NoMo said "Van - Cartoon character? Uh oh. "

;-)

Sorry, I'm animating characters on a PPC form - guess cartoons are on the brain at the moment.

5/11/2007 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Van - sounds like either fun or frustration. I hope it goes well. Is this anything we might see on TV/ online?

5/11/2007 01:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Zi said...

jwm, begging the question is an informal fallacy in logical argument. What you quoted from me was not an argument, it was two assertions. I was not arguing Socrates is a better example of human excellence, I was stating it.

JulieC, If I was hacking into Bob's actual Blog and changing things in his posts, that would be one thing. But I post in the comments section which hardly seems analogous to a guest room in his home. If he desires to block my IP he can do so. The comments section of a blog, I would think, would be a more public space, only regulated as last resort. If I posted a hundred times a day or my remarks were totally off topic or were full of profanity or other violent language then it would seem sensible to regulate it.

Instead, it seems that this 'this is a private blog not meant for people like you' stuff gets trotted out when someone raises questions that actually challenge the dogma of the community.

Ban or don't. If not, then either respond to or ignore what I say rather than psuedo-police it.

5/11/2007 01:45:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

New title for today's post:

Truth and its Oppositional and Probably Unemployed Opponents

5/11/2007 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

Zi,

I have to say that for many years I shared your feelings about philosophy. I was taught in school that these great thinkers are responsible for much of what humanity has today. I went through a period in college where I wanted to make Taoism the focus of my life. I never could pull it off. I never even considered religion as a valid organizing life principle, and for many years I drifted. Then I discovered this blog and finally said yes to Christianity. At first this yes was an act of faith, and felt kind of silly. That faith has enabled me to experience things I didn't think were possible. Since my conversion my life has been filled with, I don't know what else to call them, personal miracles. I've been able to do things that I never been able to do before. I've changed and the changes are real. I've grown from a fearful, sullen man into someone who is happy for the first time in years. I have prayed and wept real tears. It is a process, but it is happening. I'm changing into a better person and that has never happened before. I tried to be a Taoist. I tried to cultivate the virtues, and be rational. I tried hard, but I was never able to get anywhere close to where I am now. I'm as amazed by this as anyone. My point is that much of philosophy talks about the good but doesn't provide a practical method for getter there, or bringing about genuine change. I couldn't make it work, and I tried for years. You can judge something by it's fruits. Christianity has been tremendously and surprisingly fruitful for me. I never could have imagined that until I said yes, and experienced for myself. Try this, say yes to God, have faith, and pay attention. You will be amazed.
Now if I can just figure out this slack thing.

Mothers,

Happy upcoming Moms day. To the women who make everything possible.

5/11/2007 01:58:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

I was not arguing Socrates is a better example of human excellence, I was stating it.

*sigh*

JWM

5/11/2007 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Some people just won’t take Yes for an answer.

5/11/2007 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ok, two things,

1. zoo, Socrates never made any pretentions to knowing any of the answers you are so eager to claim and impose. His passion was to question, he asked many a question, poking your sophistic spiritual forefathers full of holes, and he at least did it with wit.

You and your puffery far more resemble Meno, than Socrates.

You couldn't get past your first paragraph in your first post without misrepresentation, condescension and pomposity. You're unfit to lick the toe jam from Socrates feet.

Stick to aping Confucius & Lao Tzu where you can at least try to hide behind cultural differences.

2. River, Socrates was never drunk.

5/11/2007 02:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Philament said...

Anoxerics. If anyone gives hypocricy a bad name it is they -- as Will says -- a dreadful irony...

5/11/2007 02:24:00 PM  
Anonymous philament said...

Anoxerics s/b Anorexics

5/11/2007 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

The version of the Tao Te Ching that I have is an old one, by Lin Yutang; long out of print. I was told that it was Watt's favorite translation, and since we lived not far apart way-back-when, I figured that was the one to get. Below is my all-time favorite passage:

"The vulgar are knowing, luminous;
I alone am dull, confused.
The vulgar are clever, self-assured;
I alone, depressed.
Patient as the sea,
Adrift, seemingly aimless."

5/11/2007 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Julie, I've called trolls some pretty bad things, but, "door-to-door" salesman? Oh dear.

You've just brought this blog to a new low...

:o)

5/11/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Van: Fair.

Cock Sacrifice was weird enough.

(Though to that point, I hope he was just being poetic...)

Walt: Sounds like a Psalm.

5/11/2007 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

PS - we've been accused of lacking compassion, I believe. We may at times have little compassion, but those here (though I can only speak for myself) are not lacking in Love.

5/11/2007 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

River said "Cock Sacrifice was weird enough."

I... (one breath, two, three...)

At lea...(one breath, two, three, four...)

He cou ...(one breath, tw)

Did you th......(one breath, two, three, four, five...)

Oh... ok, I won't say it... so many good openings there. sigh.

Don't get too anachronistic on the old boy, he was wanting to be sure his debts were square with the Gods as he knew them, remember what they were sacrificing in the mid east around 400 years B.C.

5/11/2007 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Cock sacrifice? I missed that reference...

5/11/2007 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Ohhhh. Those two words together had me shuddering in horror, and I don't even have one :)

5/11/2007 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Zi said...

James, I appreciate the genuine response. The fact that you tried to be a Taoist and it didn't work is fine, but it isn't really relevant. I don't think your experience about not being satisfied with Taoism entails anything about Taoists generally or about the value of its teachings to anyone else. It seems like maybe the problem you had with it is evident in this statement you made, "I tried to be a Taoist. I tried to cultivate the virtues, and be rational. I tried hard..." Doing Tao is not about effort. But thats a whole other conversation.

Its too bad you were a fearful and sullen young person but not all philosophy and religion is adopted to fix some Lack nor do I trust it when it is. I don't begrudge you your faith and am happy on one level that it allows you flourish, but I don't think that requires me to ignore its problems or errors. But thanks for the human-heartedness.

van, I tried to impose no answers on Socrates. You are right that he questioned tirelessly. That is what Aporia is about. I'll admit that his wit was more sharp than mine. He was a master of that.

I resemble Meno? Perhaps you could illustrate how. I don't believe that I purport to know what Virtue is and can easily describe or define it. Quite the contrary.

You maintain I misrepresented, I maintain you are uneducated ignorant on the subject. You admitted as much yourself if I recall correctly.

Walt, classic Tao.

5/11/2007 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Sorry, I couldn't help it. The 'drunk old greek' crack was just an ignorant quip.

5/11/2007 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

don't believe that I purport to know what Virtue is and can easily describe or define it.

Paul had no problem doing that. Why not use his words?

5/11/2007 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Or, Solomon -

All is Vanity... This is the conclusion of the matter, fear God and keep His commandments; this is the whole man.

5/11/2007 03:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

I can't post for laughing.

5/11/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

zufus,
Aporia is what Socratic Dialogs often ended in, not the process. The process he engaged in was his dialectic reasoning, with elenchis being his method.

And I'm sorry for the Meno comparison, I shouldn't have been so hard on him. Meno at least thought he knew what Virtue was. You on the other hand make assertions and arguments regarding proper thought and behavior, completely unaware that it has any relation to Virtue.

5/11/2007 03:33:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Van-

My bad. I'm the one that brought up Inty. I apologize.

Zi -
You are classic, as well.

5/11/2007 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Susannah -

Then I'm in good company.

5/11/2007 03:48:00 PM  
Anonymous integralist said...

I, a different troll from the first version, assume the mantle of his famous name. I am the Resurrection of Integralist.

Now then, can't we reach some common ground here? Why do you raccoons always insist that you are right? Why not blend in elements from other disciplines?

After all, Truth is a plastic entity that must evolve and change as we do. It is not in the nature of the universe to hold on the status quo.

Someday even gravity will be rescinded; but for now, lets just assume that Zi is right about Taoism. He knows his subject, and yet Van seems to have a vague knowledge of it as well. Some synthesis can be built from the two thinkers.

Right dupree?

5/11/2007 04:33:00 PM  
Anonymous yohda said...

Hoarday dings yohda; says yohda is cowardly. But what of the gist of yodha's assertion? Can holes be poked therein, or only the tone and manner of the presentation?

Of that yohda is curious although stung badly and in pain.

5/11/2007 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

zinteqite,
THis is distasteful... finally home for beer o'clock, and it appears as if you didn't use Aporia as it seemed in the last comment. Really doesn't change much about what you don't have to say, but ... serves me right for trying to swat and work at the same time.

Walt, yeah I know... I suspected it would come as I replied though. Ah well, we were bored.

5/11/2007 05:04:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

On saying "No".
Or "Yes".
I really used to hate religious geeks. Especially the ones who take it upon themselves to aggressively proselytize to strangers. You know- the ones who take a perverse delight in framing the "Yes or No" question as an ultimatum. "Sinners in the Hands..." and all that. They cover Christianity with a sticky obnoxious coating of The Ultimatum, guilt, and a cloying Jesus. It's a powerful repellant. I call it the Jesus Willies. The Jesus willies drive a lot of people, my wife included, over to Eastern religions, particularly Buddhism. They drive a lot of people away from religion altogether.
I had 'em for years.
Coming here got me over them.
But it didn't happen overnight. I said "yes" rather insincerely in 1982. I said it for real back in '91. "Yes", was the third step out of twelve: (paraphrase)...placing your life and will in the care of God.
Thy will, not mine be done. It's enough to give you the willies all right. Because it is God's will that your life should flourish. And that means, paradoxically, that you put what God wants ahead of what you think you want. It may mean that you have to reasses everything you thought you knew was True, weed out a lot of BS, and then change in accordance. That might mean that you have a ferocious ass kicking coming because you are seriously on the wrong path with the wrong people.
Nothing in this process has either been quick or easy for me. Only in retrospect can I see how the butt-kickings were necessary. They pushed me into the web of coincidence that brought me here. And I got over the Jesus Willies.
(whew, that was hard!)

JWM

5/11/2007 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

Okay. Whew! I think I'm ready to ask a couple of stupid questions.

Although every time I scroll past "Cousin Dupree says: No!" I bust another gut.

"Is there something comparable to a miner's helmet for the human mind, so that we may carry our own headlight with which to examine truth, instead of restricting truth to the narrow area that is lit up by the scientific method? Few scientists even think about metaphysics, but science is implicitly rooted in what is called ontological monism. As such, it begins with an a priori faith in the idea that the world is materially and logically self-sufficient, and that no outside causes need be evoked to explain or account for anything. Therefore, the materialistic scientist necessarily believes in a closed system from which it is impossible to escape:"

For some reason (maybe because I'm not scientifically inclined), I have trouble wrapping my head around the implicit ontological monism of the scientific method.

How would science look if it were done by a Coon?

Theology used to be known as the queen of sciences, and no one at the time perceived any kind of contradiction in that designation.

Atheism is generally a visceral thing. The atheist has some personal beef against God. It's not like materialists just used scientific method to come to some sort of a rational conclusion. So, why do materialists blame their bad religion on scientific method? Because in fact there were theistic and even Christian scientists before the onset of militant materialism. So, they had their miner's helmets on. Right?

Or am I way off base?

5/11/2007 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Bob,

"...for one thing, I see dead people."

As you'll recall, though no one believed the boy, he WASN'T kidding. I'm pretty sure you aren't either; nor am I. From a Coon's perspective, of course.

Might make for an interesting post, sometime.

5/11/2007 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

"Because in fact there were theistic and even Christian scientists before the onset of militant materialism.."

And I should have said there are still Christian and theistic scientists.

Okay, I guess I don't even know how to formulate the question I'm trying to ask. LOL!

So, science done by a coon would still employ the scientific method, only recognizing its limitations?

5/11/2007 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Susannah--

I'll probably be continuing this line of thought tomorrow, so I should be able to address all of your questions.

5/11/2007 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Bob, you might already be familiar (through your work) but I'm reading 'Manufacturing Victims' by Tana Dineen. It does not paint a pretty picture of the therapy branch of Psychology, and I was wondering what your opinion was? I know you've written before about your distaste for giving therapy.

I am incredulous; my father has been a psych for going on 30 years or more now, is the field really as much of a disaster as Dineen says?

5/11/2007 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

RC:

Yes, in my opinion, most therapy is pretty silly and superficial unless it is rooted in some form of psychoanalysis, i.e., working in depth with the unconscious with a skilled practitioner who has himself undergone analysis, such as ShrinkWrapped. Even then, you have to have the gift. If you truly have the healing gift -- which is rare -- then the exact school of thought probably doesn't matter so much. But in any event, it's much more about the "being" of the therapist than the "knowing." Any idiot can obtain the knowledge to get a PhD, but Being can't be faked. It's no different with theology.

5/11/2007 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Ah. That gives some depth to Dineen's findings. It seems that much flim-flammery goes into faking said Being - and ignoring any scientific evidence of any kind. The question is are the therapists trying to reassure their patients of their competence, or themselves of the validity of their profession?

Hmm. Well, I'll keep reading. It is terribly sad to read what 'Repressed Memory' therapy is responsible for; and now I have the other side of the picture of people who come to churches seeking healing for 'Satanic Ritual Abuse'.

5/11/2007 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

PS- she says one of her worries is that the bullhockey that goes on will more or less permanently discredit psychology as a science or field in the minds of many people (I know many who do not trust psychologists) and no doubt the number of fakers dilutes any numbers representing those who do their work with skill. Similar I suppose to how the Enviro-lobby destroys the real concerns about the Environment in the minds of many by their foolish extremism.

5/11/2007 07:26:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The higher the reality, the more potential for flim-flammery.

5/11/2007 07:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

We know a Christian psychologist. He wrote a book called Homesick for Eden: A Soul's Journey to Joy, in which he described a method of using contemplative prayer to bring about emotional healing.

We have also found Neil Anderson's books helpful (i.e., the "truth encounter") in finding freedom from certain spiritually rooted problems. The "truth encounter" doesn't seek to replace psychology or psychiatry, but it does address spiritual areas overlooked by them. It's amazing how something as simple as harbored unforgiveness can damage the psyche, and how taking equally simple, scriptural steps to renounce it can bring healing. I can't begin to describe the changes I've seen as a result.

5/11/2007 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

susannah: Indeed; I think there is something about harboring guilt that eats away at a person. I supppose you have to have an attitude of resolving these things - and forgiveness sought and given is a key part of resolving conflicts with your brothers and sisters.

One of the things that kills tons of people (spiritually, at the very least) is not 'low self-esteem' but rather self-hatred-- which should be taken to mean a hatred for what you actually are, often disturbingly coupled with a high self-esteem...

5/11/2007 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

inteQiZiTe said "Socrates is a much better example of human excellence than Jesus or Augustine."

An assertion that Socrates would have been appalled at. No further corroboration, no hint of reasoning to back it up. Very telling.

"What you fail to be aware of, it seems, is that for many there is desire or need to escape. Perhaps you do need to posit something outside your everyday Being to make it worthwhile or to explain it, but this is your pathology and you shouldn't suggest that we all share it."

What you fail to be aware of, running around in your enclosed hall of mirrors, apparently enjoying the view, is that there are people who have been where you are, and have stepped out of it, and to their mind, above it. It is true there is no proving it to you or another in your position. You either attempt to step outside, or you don't. Those here, having been in that hall, finding it limited, have or are attempting to leave it behind as undesireable, and discuss it. No one here is attempting to drag you into the discussion with them.

How are you like Meno (again my apologies to Meno)? You are quite happy in your ignorance, pleased to call knowledge that which another questions, serenely sure of your own superior opinion, pleased with your reflection everywhere you look, you scoff at the idea of possibly stepping out of it, and deny anybody elses reports from their experience, that they have. But you are even less than Meno, who was at least a good natured fool; no you are more like Euthydemus or Dionysodorus - making your silly points just to show you can make ambigous what others see as clear. And like them, you don't realize that those you attempt to impress are laughing at you, clearly aware of your shallow ignorance which you attempt to dress up in patronizing tripe.

Random case in point: "jwm, begging the question is an informal fallacy in logical argument. What you quoted from me was not an argument, it was two assertions. I was not arguing Socrates is a better example of human excellence, I was stating it."

Wow. Most impressive reasoning there, likely made boatloads of converts with that thrust.

"I do ask you to be reasonable and to listen to, without juvenile hostility, information that challenges your myopic view of so many things."

As JulieC mentioned, and as I have as well, whether you go by aninnymouse, inte, zi, qi or te, ad infinitum, your presence, 'views', manners are unwelcome, uninvited and emphatically disinvited. You don't care. And in not caring, you show that you have no manners or decency, therefore it is easily inferred that you have no grasp of, or respect for Truth, Virtue, Goodness... and any isolated attempts you make at the pretense of them, or worse, seek deference or protection on the basis of them, of reasonableness, is juvenile and despicable. You have no claim to Reason, reasonableness, or courtesy, having repeatedly discarded and spat upon the spirit of each.

"JulieC, If I was hacking into Bob's actual Blog and changing things in his posts, that would be one thing." You are unable to differentiate between the use of actual force and the boundaries of decent behavior. Pitiful.

That is your pathology.

"Also, your conception of Religion is myopic. Not all religion is an attempt to account for some misperceived Lack in the world."

Most people who adhere to a Religion do so not in an attempt to dissolve all religions into one squishy mash of amens (thats only the practice of sophists such as yourself), but as a source of spiritual truth. To say that is myopic is even dumber than noting "You are only drinking from one glass! Don't you know there are several at this table?! Here! Watch me slurp from three at once!". Dumber, but it does suit you.

"Look to Taoism [as represented best by Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu] and you will see a wholly naturalistic religion/philosophy which believes..." In other words, 'look at this religion that believes differently than you do, it believes differently than you do - isn't that amazing?! That means yours is wrong!" Dumb and Dumber.

"... try to, as Socrates was so successful at doing, destroy people's unwarranted certainties and bring them to Aporia, which is the only place from which genuine learning and growth can happen. "

Socrates was tenacious, but he wasn't rude. He didn't barge into gatherings where he was uninvited. If he saw that he was getting nowhere, he disengaged and moved on. Socrates had many things which you lack, Wisdom being only one of them.

"You maintain I misrepresented, I maintain you are uneducated ignorant on the subject. You admitted as much yourself if I recall correctly."

I maintain that in manner and deed demonstrated here, you have no claim to decency, as you began here this time, by selectively giving an isolated quote, the furtherest translation towards your views as possible to select, the purpose of doing so was in order to misrepresent the whole of Confucius's views. I do believe that if Confucius were to come across one such as yourself, he'd clobber you with his walking stick and shove you from his way.

I have many gaps in my knowledge. I make many errors. I'm thrilled (though temporairly embarrased) when they are brought to light for me, since that makes it possible to improve them. Why? In hopes of deepening my Education, in hopes of becoming more knowledgable, more whole, better mannered, a better more helpful parent, husband & person.

But for all my gaps and slips, one error I would not knowingly make, would be to have the disgustingly bad manners to insert myself among a group of people, where I was not wanted, especially where the Host made it plain I was not wanted. I would not make the mistake of taking a typically sophistic position based on technicalities of 'membership', 'locked doors', etc, in order to continue inserting myself into, and irritating that group of people, in obviously vain attempts to foist my oppinions upon them.

A descent person wouldn't dream of doing what you do.

"Its true that a 'bare acquaintance' with the history of philosophy will give the impression you have. That is why serious people will get a thorough acquaintance with it before dismissing it as you do."

Any philosophy which doesn't, at it's root, hold decent manners and behavior to be values which the Truths and Principles found in the rest of the philosophy must reinforce and extend - is unworthy of the name of Philosophy, or of religion. Anyone who behaves in such a way, refutes any claim they might make to any knowledge of philosophy. What 'knowledge' such a one as yourself has, is of trivia only. Disintegrated. Useless. Repulsive. Any pretense to being an 'Educated person' or a scholar, from a person who knowingly condones conduct such as yours, is obviously not Educated in anything worth being educated in.

Pull your head our of your hall of mirrors and look around outside your own reflection.

You won't, and this is mostly a waste of time, I know. But that's my pathology. I'm working on it Joan. I'm working on it.

5/11/2007 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

wo - didn't realize I'd gone on that far... sorry about that folks.

5/11/2007 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(just call me P2)

5/11/2007 08:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

"One of the things that kills tons of people (spiritually, at the very least) is not 'low self-esteem' but rather self-hatred-- which should be taken to mean a hatred for what you actually are, often disturbingly coupled with a high self-esteem..."

That's a really good insight. Recognizing who you are in Christ (imperative to spiritual healing) requires you to approach God in humility. Humility really is the basis for "self-love" (without which love of neighbor cannot happen). Or maybe another way of saying it is: being securely founded in God's love on the basis of His goodness, rather than having to shore your self up with "self-esteem" psychobabble.

Wish I could be as succinct as the rest of you! :)

5/11/2007 08:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Van-
Actually, I thought your Vanifesto regarding aninnyitzi was quite good.
You tore the criminal defense lowyer to shreds and then burned the shreds.
:^)

Rick also had a good one, albeit a wee bit shorter:
"Some people won't take Yes! for an answer."

5/11/2007 08:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

What a coinkydink. What I'm listening to right now (in Hindi):

Jesus my King, Lord of the Three Worlds
You are the Sustainer of the Lowly and the Lifter of the Downtrodden
Protect my honor in the world, for I have no one here but you
You are the Sustainer of the Lowly, and the Lifter of the Downtrodden
You came into the world for me, a sinner, and gave your life for my deliverance
You are the Sustainer of the Lowly, and the Lifter of the Downtrodden

wv: skylj

5/11/2007 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Van,
Sometimes you just have to get it out of your system. Now if only even one of those points would shatter a mirror, perhaps the air around here would be a wee bit clearer.

You know, our little chi chi is a good example of that disturbingly high self-esteem. I bet there's a corresponding pit of self-hatred lurking behind those pretty mirrors; perhaps that's why it doesn't want to step out of the hall.

lmtwynj - all empty whinge - word veri nails it again...

5/11/2007 09:02:00 PM  
Anonymous USS Ben said...

River-
Not to be overly nit-picky of your nit-pick, I did say virtues and principles (although I could've included absolutes, but I figgered
that went w/o sayin').
But your nit-pick is dully noted.
Just sayin'. :^)

Okay, obviously I could've said it better, but I didn't want to steal B'obs thunder, so to speak.

Okay, okay, I blame Skully.
He distracted me with his brand new miners hat.
Damn, those things are bright!

5/11/2007 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

;-)

Thanks, out of the system now. Going downstairs to watch Narnia with the 8 yr old.

P.S. River, you know the 'one breath, two'... was joking, right?

G'Night all

5/11/2007 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

zi wrote:

If not, then either respond to or ignore what I say

I vote: "ignore".

He is utterly uninteresting, and if he did have a blog I would stop reading it permanently after the first few sentences.

Ignore him. He has nothing compelling to say.

5/11/2007 10:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Zi said...

Quite a tantrum.

5/11/2007 10:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uh oh... zi just aporia'd his pants again.

Can't he feel it?

"No!"

Well, everybody else here sure can smell it.

5/11/2007 10:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Jacob C. said...

BOB:

Yesterday we spoke of Jim Morrison, and the postfabricated romantic mythology surrounding him. In fact, as the Minister of Doctrinal Enforcement properly pointed out, there is an aspect of Morrison's life that had some truth to it. That is, his frenzied Dionysian attempt to break on through to the other side by any means necessary was simply his struggle to sever those darn surly bonds of ontological monism and blast off into inner space. Does it work? Yes and no.

The standard seculeftist stand on such things is that in the unlikely event that there is some sort of higher c(O)nsciousness, then the only way to get through to It is far more visceral than the dry and dusty old religions would have you think. This, incidentally, is why most leftists (and not a few libertarian righties) consider Bill Hicks to be a cultural patron saint on the level of Jim Morrison. They're both men who yearned, in the limited way that progressivism allows one to yearn, for something more vertical...

To paraphrase the Prophet Hicks in one of his more sermonesque moods: "You find out the old religions are irrelevant when you find out that there is a LIVING GOD who's willing to talk DIRECTLY FxCKING TO YOU... I can see why some people think God made them in only seven days; it looks like He rushed it."

Of course, whatever virtue might have been contained in his body of work was lost when antitheists like Maynard James Keenan (a man who was sadly left off Gagdad's list of pernicious modern musicians from about six months back) began co-opting his message as their own.

5/12/2007 01:37:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Morning wish: that trolls only work M - F.

5/12/2007 04:37:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

You saids it.

Van- I was aware of the joke - it was an attempt to be humorous from the first Socrates/drunk line to the end of the 'ignorant quip'.

Some day's I'm only as sharp as a rusty hammer...

5/12/2007 06:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

This is off-topic and longish (sorry), but I thought folks here would be interested to learn that the government is once again attempting to limit our access to it and would appreciate a heads-up. I got a legislative e-lert from HSLDA:

"We urgently need you to call your U.S. Representative to resist
efforts to place federal control over grassroots lobbying activity. The House of Representatives is preparing to introduce its own lobbying reform bill, and it is very likely that attempts will be made to regulate grassroots lobbying....

The House Judiciary Committee plans to consider the House lobbying reform bill as early as Tuesday of next week. At that time, two other bills may be introduced as amendments: H.R. 2093 http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4097 and H.R. 984
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4098 . The Democrat leadership in the House has not released the official date of the Judiciary
Committee action, but it is a strong possibility that it will happen on Tuesday, and the lobbying reform bill will very likely be voted on by the full House of Representatives as early as May 22. For that
reason, we urge you to call your Representative immediately.

Home School Legal Defense Association opposes both of these bills, as they will increase regulation on entities who urge citizens to call their elected officials. H.R. 2093, a bill to "Amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995," will regulate attempts to encourage citizens
to contact their elected representatives, otherwise known as "grassroots lobbying." This is done by broadening the definition of a "lobbying firm" to include entities that spend, receive or agree to spend or receive $100,000 per quarter on grassroots lobbying
activities. H.R. 984, the "Executive Branch Reform Act of 2007" will require over 9,000 employees in the Executive Branch to report any "significant contact" between the employee and a citizen about any official government action.

Although these bills may not affect most homeschool support groups, organizations, or churches at the outset, they strike at the heart of free speech and the rights of citizens to stay informed about their government and call their elected officials. If these bills are passed, more restrictions will follow on anyone who urges citizens to call Congress, including restrictions that would severely burden homeschool support groups, organizations, and churches. Please read more about this and the victory for grassroots lobbying in the Senate at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4099 .

ACTION REQUESTED

Please call your U.S. representative today and urge him or her to vote against H.R. 2093 and H.R. 984 if they are brought up as amendments to the lobbying reform bill, and to vote against any effort to restrict grassroots lobbying. Your message can be as simple as, "As Congress prepares to take up lobbying reform, please make sure that the First Amendment right of citizens to call their elected officials is protected. Please vote against H.R. 2093, H.R. 984, and any other bill that restricts grassroots lobbying...."

Please pass this alert on to friends and other concerned citizens and urge them to call their U.S. Representative.

You can reach your U.S. Representative by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or by using our legislative toolbox at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=3602 .

Thank you for standing for liberty.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Smith
President, HSLDA"

5/12/2007 06:53:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home