Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Passion, Nonattachment, and Jihad: Thoughts and What to Do About Them

I evaluated a patient the other day who had developed a rather serious depression that came on within a matter of days. Many people assume that depression simply involves sadness, which it usually does, but perhaps even more distressing is the characteristic loss of capacity to experience pleasure, or anhedonia. Only when your ability to experience pleasure is compromised do you realize the extent to which we use this capacity in a thousand ways to orient our lives and to even "know what to do." Without it, you are pretty much paralyzed, both mentally and physically, for there is no reason to do or think one thing over another. It's all meaningless, just different shades of grey. In short, feeling is a very rapid and sophisticated form of information processing.

At the same time, we all know that the opposite of anhedonia -- hedonism -- also leads nowhere, since it involves the mindless pursuit of pleasure for its own sake. Millions of people who are not depressed live this kind of pointless life, which might be thought of as a sort of "inverted depression," pursuing one fleeting passion after another. Their lives are truly "smoke driven by wind."

A big part of slack involves understanding the role of pleasure in one's life. The Buddha thought he had hit upon the solution by suggesting that attachment to our desires was the central problem of human existence. Desires come and go, but if we just stop identifying with them, then we can be liberated from them. While I studied a fair amount of Buddhism in my earlier years, I ultimately rejected it as fundamentally inadequate and incompatible with our own wisdom traditions in the West.

Yes, the West has problems, but Buddhist nonattachment is not the answer. Rather, the answer lay in a recovery of our own spiritual roots, which easily transcend and include the insights of Buddhism. Or, perhaps we can say that there are certain insights of Buddhism that can help illuminate certain ideas that are present but underemphasized in our own tradition. But Christianity is obviously fundamentally complete and needs no other revelation to complete it. It is missing nothing.

The other day a commenter rejected our metaphysics on the basis of something Confucius supposedly once said (I say "supposedly," since diverse translations make Confucius' point rather ambiguous at best -- in this case, it was unclear if he was making a point about Truth or recommending the kung pao chicken). But even if accurate, it is not possible to isolate a particular comment by Confucius, wrench it from its cultural matrix, and then apply it to a different culture that operates along completely different assumptions.

It is simply a truism that no one is more blind to his Christian assumptions than the anti-Christian atheist who is the beneficiary of 2000 years of Christian conditioning. Thus, he values all of the precious things that uniquely developed in the Judeo-Christian West and nowhere else: democracy, individuality, liberty, science, freedom of conscience, etc, but then attacks the metaphysical roots of these things -- as if any of them were developed by atheists living in purely secular cultures. In reality, the most atheistic cultures are tied (or is it hanged?) neck and neck with Islam for producing the most cruel and barbaric cultures (with the possible exception of primitive tribes).

It should be sufficient for us to reject Confucianism and Buddhism on the basis of the sort of societies that developed around Confucian or Buddhist values (again, while still appreciating timeless insights that illuminate our own tradition). In short, would you prefer to live in America, Great Britain, Australia, or Israel? Or China, Cambodia, Vietnam, or Sri Lanka? Ideas have consequences, especially the spiritual/metaphysical ones at the basis of a culture. Even it you entirely reject the Judeo-Christian tradition, if you live in the West, I can pretty much guarantee that you have a Judeo-Christian unconscious. (In the past, I have recommended Gil Baile's brilliant Violence Unveiled, which traces the profound anthropological consequences of the Christian revelation, which, in a certain very real sense, was the "cure" for religion -- including bad forms of Christianity)

We should also reject Islam on the strongest possible grounds on the basis of the horribly inhumane cultures it has spontaneously produced. Conversely, if it could produce a single place worthy of human habitation, then we might reconsider. But facts are facts, and even the UN acknowledges that the places on earth where Islam rules are among the worst places on earth to be condemned to live.

Just look at the so-called "Palestinians," one of the most comprehensively depraved peoples to ever appear in the human zoo. These people have hideous values, none of which are not rooted in Islamic teaching, by their own insistence. Indeed, this grotesque ideology is preached from their mosques day in and day out, year after year. And it is also embraced by treasonous terror-front groups such as CAIR, who are ironically only able to operate in the U.S. because of a certain pathological blindness that is unique to our Judeo-Christian culture -- what you might call the "intolerance that tolerance creates," the "discrimination produced by the indiscriminate," or perhaps the "moral perversity that flows from diversity."

Only in the West, because we value liberty, are we free to pursue whatever it is that pleases us. This alone vastly broadens (in ways both bad and good) and deepens our worldview in a manner that no other culture can match. For example, much of our clash with Islam is over the "content" of our culture, content that no one in the Islamic world is apparently mature enough to deal with. Therefore, there are strict controls on information, exerted from the top down.

And much of this objectionable content is psychosexual in nature, as their cultures revolve around a fear and dread of female sexuality, which must be sadistically controlled by men. And the understandable rage and frustration produced in these cultures is so destabilizing that they can only function at all by externalizing it into Israel and the West. In the absence of imaginary Jews and other infidels -- who serve as a psychological "pressure valve" -- these societies would implode from within.

In short, ironically, we have no need whatsoever for the Islamic world, but they desperately need us. Or, to put it another way, we need their oil -- a material thing that is only accidentally theirs, and in fact, worthless without superior cultures to buy it -- while they desperately need our very existence in order to have something to psychologically project into. People say that we must become "energy independent" from the Middle East, as if that would really solve the problem. Oil is a global commodity, so no matter what we do, more and more money will flow into the Islamic world, if only because of the rapidly expanding Chinese and Indian economies.

What the world really needs -- but which no one talks about -- is for Islamic countries to achieve "emotional energy independence." That is, they must stop relying upon imaginary sources of hatred -- i.e., Israel and the United States -- and realize that they are sitting on the goldmine. They don't have to import a drop of hatred from us, since they produce it in such abundant quantities, if only they could appreciate it. Black gold, indeed.

But it seems that in every Islamic country, there is a fundamental confusion over "where all this hatred is coming from." They all feel it, but amazingly, no one recognizes its source. Even a casual visit to LGF or memri.org will confirm that this rabid hatred permeates the Islamic world. And yet, no one is allowed to raise his hand and say, "Hey, you know what? I think I see the problem, and Israel has nothing to do with it." This thought is not permitted, any more than a Democrat is permitted to "see" the thriving Bush economy.

Indeed, the psychological state of affairs in the Islamic world forms a fascinating parallel to the situation in the West, where it seems that at least half the population -- the left half -- is on board with the Islamists, and cannot say, for example, "I think I see the problem, and it's not us. It's radical Islam." But then, to compound the problem, after failing to recognize their own hatred, the leftist projects it into that half of the West that sees reality with moral clarity! Therefore, someone like... I don't know, like me, will be equally hated by the freaks of Islam and the freaks of the left. Both recognize the hatred they are immersed in, but misidentify its source as being outside themselves. We more or less get an example of this projection here on a daily basis.

For example, yesterday it was "The hypocrisy of it all is that the One Cosmos blog is the most restricted and speech-coded place I've ever seen," or "The truth of our existence is love. Not much of that on this blog." It would be easy to address trolls if they merely disagreed with us. But all of them, without exception, come in here with their projections leaking all over the place. That is the first thing we always notice, way before the content arrives, for the content -- such as it is -- is simply riding piggyback on the energy of the angry projection. As we know, the bulk of Dupree's work involves mopping up after all these leaky projections spilling all over the floor. Which really bothers Dupree, because the area rug under his murphy bed really tied things together in the garage, and now it's a mess.

And this all comes back to the problem of desire and what to do about it, for hatred is a form of desire, in the sense that it is a libidinal attachment to an object. As we have mentioned before, we can be connected to others through an L (love) link, an H (hate) link or a K (knowledge) link, but it's the link that counts. You might say that Muslims don't so much hate Jews as they are in "minus love" with them as a poor substitute for their loveless lives. The bond is just as strong -- indeed, perhaps even stronger, since love often fades, while hatred can endure for centuries with just a little nurturing and a lot of frustration.

Even more fundamentally, Bion identified the central problem of the human condition as follows: thoughts and what to do about them. One would think that the obvious answer would be to build an apparatus to think them, but history proves that this is something of a rarity. Rather, people will do almost anything to avoid taking responsibility for their thoughts and to actually think them. For example, they can act them out, they can project them, they can deny them, they can convert them into physical symptoms, they can try to control others as a substitute for controlling one's own thoughts. Once you understand that thinking is the exception, not the rule, then everything starts to make more sense.

To requote Schuon, "whoever does not know how to think, whatever his gifts may be, is not authentically a man; that is, he is not a man in the ideal sense of the term. Too many men display intelligence as long as their thought runs in the grooves of their desires, interests and prejudices; but the moment the truth is contrary to what pleases them, their faculty of thought becomes blurred or vanishes; which is at once inhuman and 'all too human.'”

We often use the word "infrahuman" to designate the enemies of human evolution. But we could just as well say "all too human," for the human being is nothing if he is not a bridge between the is and the ought, the form and the essence, the now and the not yet, time and eternity, the vertical and the horizontal, the kingdom of earth and the kingdom of heaven. First and foremost, you must live a life that is ruled by desire for what is permanent and transcendent: which is to say, a passion for the true, the good, and the beautiful. Extinguish this passion, and you will have killed man. Or, at the very least, man will drift in a kind of gravity- and friction-free existential space that some might confuse with "nirvana." Yes, it is a kind of "liberation" -- from the human being, properly so called.

Or as Joseph Campbell once said, participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.

156 Comments:

Anonymous Sal said...

You might say that Muslims don't so much hate Jews as they are in "minus love" with them as a poor substitute for their loveless lives. The bond is just as strong -- indeed, perhaps even stronger, since love often dies, while hatred can endure for centuries with just a little nurturing and a lot of frustration.

A golden post, Bob. That's the clearest description of the projection I've ever read.


Susannah- Fire Dept?! Was there lightning? Tell us, please.

5/09/2007 08:00:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Who could fail to love a world in which Dupree's area rug's matches the garage. I'm pumped for the day!

Lots of useful stuff is available on projection, not least Robert Bly's A Little Book on the Human Shadow. As to what to do about it, I know nothing better than the thought experiments of Byron Katie's Work. But I don't see an interest in Muslim culture to make even a 5-minute investment in thinking. It's forbidden.

5/09/2007 08:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

Excellent, Bob. Just, excellent. Through and through.

"Rather, people will do almost anything to avoid taking responsibility for their thoughts and to actually think them."

That's a crucial insight, analogous to the "heart is deceitful" biblical teaching. My husband likes to say that a man who lies to himself cannot be saved. Lying to others is bad enough for the self (not to mention the people you deceive)...but lying to yourself is like committing spiritual suicide. It's only when you tell the truth to yourself (own your thoughts) that you are able to come to God to be healed.

The ending...just too good! :)

5/09/2007 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

Re: fire dept. It was a false alarm. We're renters, so we have no info. or code for the alarm system. DH accidentally set it off trying to stop it from beeping most annoyingly in the middle of the night (something's wrong with it). Even the firefighter set it off accidentally a second time. They came out again because it was still emitting an inaudible signal to dispatch.

The funny thing is that in this town, the dispatched truck is preceded by an air raid siren! Literally. Why pagers are not sufficient for a volunteer fire dept., I don't know. DH thinks it's because they want to be sure we know they are on the job.

It sounded like the Battle of Britain out there. (Embarrassing.)

5/09/2007 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dr. Sanity makes many of the same points about the cognitive pathologies of the leftist enemies of civilization: The Children of Postmodern Nihilsim.

5/09/2007 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

I echo everyone else's opinions on today's post (golden, clear, excellent, etc.), and would add that, IMO, it is too well done and too IMPORTANT not to be somehow more widely distributed. I will definitely be passing it on.

Thanks!

5/09/2007 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous USS Ben said...

"Once you understand that thinking is the exception, not the rule, then everything starts to make more sense."

Ha ha! This is priceless!

5/09/2007 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous leftist fantasy land said...

I'm one of the pathological leftists that you describe, and I must admit that I do not think.

My internalized vision of the "white man" is of a pot-bellied, stubble jawed white man holding a tall can of Bud in one hand and a hickory stick in the other. He is wearing a wife-beater tee-shirt and jeans. His facial features vaguely resemble GWB.

He is sceaming at a cowering black girl-child "You know the rules! Now clean my shoes, beeyotch!"

His terrified mousy wife cowers nearby simpering "Now Honey, you know you have a temper..." She sports numerous bruises in various states of healing.

A sullen and listless son sits out on the veranda, the spirit beat out of him.

His promiscous sister is downtown as usual, escaping from her hellish life. When she gets home, her drunken father will belittle her and call her a whore, which she is.

Later this generic white man will go sit with his cronies and clean his shotguns and dream of the animals and people he will kill.

I know all this is irrational but nevertheless I've internalized this image and I'm not sure where I got it.

I think the whole world has it in some variant (except the white males themselves, and I don't blame them).

5/09/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Leftist fantasy-
I saw your sister on the news.

www.foxnews.com/wires/2007May07/0,4670,DecoratedRoadkill,00.html

5/09/2007 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Sorry, try this-
www.foxnews.com/wires/2007May07/
0,4670,Decorated
Roadkill,00.html

5/09/2007 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

For further insight and understanding of the path to pomoman, I am reminded of and recommend Francis A. Schaeffer's "Escape from Reason".

5/09/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Oddly, this is the image my roommate (a curmudgeonly but otherwise sane sort) has. It leads him to mimic (humorously though) what he thinks this sort of person would do for sport. This involves using the 'N' word, saying 'White Power' and also a bunch of other ridiculous stuff. I don't have the heart to tell him that his 'red stater hick' only exists in his mind, and the racist is, if anyone, his liberal self...

Not to say I haven't told him. The only thing that worries me is that he really is that racist (he seems to believe stereotypes about black people as more than just a description of culture) and that he will spout the 'N' word in public some day and get himself seriously hurt.

5/09/2007 09:17:00 AM  
Anonymous herman said...

AT has a good article on Ataturk that jives w/ today's post.


http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/05/post_6.html

5/09/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger MizzE said...

"We should also reject Islam on the strongest possible grounds on the basis of the horribly inhumane cultures it has spontaneously produced."

I'm friends with both of my xHs. I've been having email exchanges for several months with xH1, who's a dhimmicrat, the Jimmy Carter kind. Anyway, he keeps coming back for my view on Middle East topics. I send him lists of books to read and essays from the internet. Yesterday he wanted to know what I thought of Edward's new PR video underscoring his No. 1 goal: "Get out of Iraq Now."

I think I finally snapped. Geez hadn't he learned a thing or two by now? Anyway, I dashed off this unlike-me response - kind of as my last word on the subject. What I noticed today is I'm developing a passion for growing my inner Fallaci.

Here's my unvarnished, unedited take:

I think it's unrealistic to expect the Islamonazis to want and build  a representative republic.

Allah has all the answers you know.

It's in the survival interest of all infidels to weaken the Camp  of Islam using any any all means possible. 
In order to do that though, all infidels would have to understand and get on board with that.

Unfortunately most think they can placate the bedouins and make-nice-and-dialogue-and-build-bridges-and-overcome-and-we'll all become friends.

You oughta know by now, Allah don't want to be friends.

If and when the placaters get their heads out of their scared fannies  and commit to doing what needs to be done to weaken the camp of our enemies then we'll have a chance.

What ought to be done:

Cut off all aid to muslim countries who have not adopted the  Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Don't buy their stinkin' oil.

Don't allow any muslim to buy anything from an infidel.

No trade of any kind whatsoever.  No immigration from a muslim land  to the Land of the infidels. If infidels need to institute a Benes decrees plan in their country - just do it, for christ's sake.

Then pull out of Iraq.  Then NATO needs to eliminate Iran's nuclear  building project.

The sunnis and shias will start going at each others throats and  treasure and millions would be slaughtered - just like in Cambodia after we left Nam.  The do-gooders will cry and moan, but the realists won't pay them any mind.  Pretty soon the barbarians will  have exhausted themselves and will be begging for another game, but  we won't play until they have burned that goddamn koran and submitted  themselves for however long it takes to the deculting propaganda of classical liberalism and  The Ten Fabulous Commandments - not the perverted, fundamentalist kind - the kind found in the Sermon on the Mount. 

The Rebel Jesus was and is - still is the light of this darkened world.

F**k Allah.

5/09/2007 09:33:00 AM  
Anonymous A thomist said...

Through reading this blog, I started reading Schuon. First, a technical point- how does one say his first and last name? Does it rhyme with something?

Secondly, Shuon seems to look at different aspects of Islam than are pointed to here. My reading of him is limited, but he seems to look at Islam in either more sympthetic or sanitized light (I lean toward sanitized, myself- it's hard to deny that the desire to conquer by the sword is at the heart of that religion)

So what do you think, is Shuon's take on Islam rightly sympathetic, or overly sanitized? I remember him once, or example, defining Islam as "the relation between God as such and man as such".

5/09/2007 09:50:00 AM  
Anonymous lurker uncloaking said...

G-Bob said..."Or as Joseph Campbell once said, participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world."

Among the many reasons I peruse this site daily, is that I rarely leave wthout an "Aha!" moment...today I had three such moments in one shortish post! Another reason is that G-Bob thinks like I do (he just does a much better job of it)... and a very special reason for today...he (and Joseph Campbell) affirmed for me the personal philosiphy that gets me through my day...cheer up, it's worse than you think!

I LOOOOVE this place!

wv-zjfixzbi...don't know what it means, but I like it!

5/09/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

Mizze,
Sometimes I look at the example of Iraqi Kurdistan and gain a bit of hope that Muslims can, especially with enough support and determination on our part, form a strong Western-style democracy. Then there are stories that come out like the recent honor killing of a Kurdish girl by her community because she fell in love with a Shia boy (to be fair her family is not Muslim, but this seems to be a broader aspect of Middle-East culture), and I have to wonder. A people who can hold an individual human life so valueless is incomprehensible to me.

I was listening to Laura Ingraham one morning (more than a year ago, now). She had a caller, a soldier who had been in Iraq. He talked about a translator who worked with them, a friendly, likeable man who got along well with the American soldiers. One day he came to work, sighed regretfully, and casually mentioned that he would have to kill his daughter, because she had been out late one evening.

It is often noted that Iraqis love their children. What kind of love can it be, though, if they will so easily take their children's lives, apparently without any sense of remorse? I cannot even begin to comprehend it.

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

Lurker - I was thinking the same thing. I love that quote.

5/09/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thomist:

You raise a very complex point that is not without a fair amount of divirony, and there is no way I can address it in this comment. Suffice it to say, Schuon was a universalist in a way that no Muslim is permitted to be, despite the fact that he himself was the head of an esoteric Sufi order -- a fact that he almost totally excluded from his public writing, since he didn't want it to detract from his universalist message. But in short, he felt that comtemporary Islam was pretty much of a mess, but he also thought that the contemporary world in general was basically a mess, if not a monstrosity. He died in 1998, so there is no way of knowing what he would have thought about subsequent events. I have my suspicions, but they're just that. I do know that he loved and understood Christianity in a way that is unsurpassed by most Christians, at least in my experience.

5/09/2007 10:12:00 AM  
Anonymous walt said...

Still useful, for folks wishing to penetrate Muslim thought:

"The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs," by David Pryce-Jones (pub. 2002)

Not likely to cheer anyone up, however.

5/09/2007 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous joseph said...

Your quote from Schuon in this context is interesting. Thus far, his key idea of the "religio perennis" and its consequence, "the transcendent unity of religions" remains unparalleled and unrefuted.

Thomist:

you might be interested to know that Schuon has a few Thomist disciples in the pre-Vatican II era.

5/09/2007 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous walt said...

Total aside to Van -

50th-year retrospective on Atlas Shrugged you might find interesting at frontpagemag.com today, which I've tried to link
here.

5/09/2007 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I assume you've all seen the hideous Palestinian Death Cult Mickey Mouse. It was just cancelled, not because they have a conscience, but because they sense that others do. If only they or Iran could feel the full weight of the world's conscience....

5/09/2007 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Andy McCarthy writes today about the MSM's reporting of the six Muslim men arrested in south Jersey for conspiring “to kill as many soldiers as possible” at the Fort Dix U.S. army base.

In his essay at NRO Andy concludes with: "My friend Bill Bennett likes to quote Hanna Arendt’s aphorism, “Nothing so inoculates a person against reality than the hold of ideology."

5/09/2007 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Zi said...

bob, you said, in reference to me,

"The other day a commenter rejected our Coon metaphysics on the basis of something Confucius supposedly once said (I say "supposedly," since diverse translations make Confucius' point rather ambiguous at best -- in this case, it was unclear if he was making a point about Truth or recommending the kung pao chicken). But even if accurate, it is not possible to isolate a particular comment by Confucius, wrench it from its cultural matrix, and then apply it to a different culture that operates along completely different assumptions."

Some corrections;

I didn't say, and its not accurate, that I reject your metaphysics based on this statement of Confucius. I reject it because it seems woefully misinformed. But my point was not to convince you that you are wrong.

You had said that man serves Truth and not vice versa. You also said that this view is a requisite for being intelligent. I wanted to suggest that 1)Confucius was intelligent and didn't hold your view, and 2)Sharing Confucius' view that the Superior Man[perhaps the 'ideal human', in your terms from today] needs the quality of Jen[human-heartedness] more than, and in addition to, Wisdom and Righteousness.

To put it more plainly; you can know the truth and still have a great lack as a human being. This isn't to challenge the value of Truth, but it is to put it in a subordinate position to Compassion in the hierarchy of values.

My intention was not "to isolate a particular comment by Confucius, wrench it from its cultural matrix, and then apply it to a different culture that operates along completely different assumptions."

Firstly, I don't believe I did violence to Confucius' words. I am well educated and experienced with Asian philosophies and I believe that, while I didn't[and couldn't possibly] give copious levels of context it was in line with generally accepted meaning within Confucian philosophy. A little more context;

"Tzu-kung asked, 'Has the superior man his hatreds also?' The Master said, 'He has his hatreds. He hates those who proclaim the evil of others.' 'He hates those who are forward and determined, and, at the same time, of contracted understanding."

"The superior man is correctly firm, and not merely firm."

Second, I wasn't applying Confucian thought to our culture but rather I was pointing out the existence of, as you say, "a different culture that operates along completely different assumptions." I am not trying to engage in Cultural Relativism but instead to suggest that your social and political views[and how they relate to your metaphysical views] are not the only coherent and functional ways to conceive of and organize Human Being.

You also said,

"It should be sufficient for us to reject Confucianism and Buddhism on the basis of the sort of societies that developed around Confucian or Buddhist values (again, while still appreciating timeless insights that illuminate our own tradition). In short, would you prefer to live in America, Great Britain, Australia, or Israel? Or China, Cambodia, Vietnam, or Sri Lanka?"

It is no surprise that many Americans would prefer to live in a familiar culture where they are part of the dominant group and speak the language. But your comparison is also flawed. Why not compare contemporary America with contemporary Japan instead of with Vietnam? I think that there is as much to say for the Confucian Japanese culture as for our own Judeo-Christian one. Or how about choosing between 7th century China and 7th century France or Italy?

5/09/2007 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

For Cousin Dupree,
As a token of appreciation for your wetwork duties, a comphy new throw rug for the garage:

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
x x
x T r o l ls x
x x
x D O A x
x x
x Q e D x
x x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

If the shippers are the same ones who smushed up Joan of Argghh!'s cake, maybe you can get Sal to neaten up the stiches?

5/09/2007 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

x.................x
x..T..r.o.l.ls....x
x.................x
x..D....O....A....x
x.................x
x..Q....e....D....x
x.................x
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

5/09/2007 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

darn those shippers!

5/09/2007 11:27:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

zi, if a Confucius hack, such as myself, could spot your descrepencies right off, and find several alternatives that put that isolated quote in an opposite light - then you did violence, intentional or otherwise, to his words.
If you are as familiar with the analects & others as you claim, then I drop the 'or otherwise' and let the 'intentional' stand.

5/09/2007 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

Zi--

Thank you for rejecting our woefully misinformed metaphysics. We know you have a choice of metaphysics with which to sprititually fly, and we are profoundly grateful that you have chosen another carrier. Good bye.

5/09/2007 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous bare feet said...

Zi,

Good luck. This place is a hall of mirrors with double standards applied in as classically liberal a fashion as the mood allows, and then only from a safe pedestal dug with their own hands. The only requirement here is to praise Bob from whom all flossings blow. The reward is company as smug as bugs in rugs, with their values and innate self worth stockpiled so high around them they can't turn their heads, much less the other cheek. Check out the sample rug today provided by Van.

The value of the site is to watch the sheep dip themselves daily in this tripe then comment to each other how good they all smell. I come, I read, I smile each time they LOL. It beats kicking the dog.
Engagement here is best done with self. If something offends, take note of what it is and why. The wise are listening. The smart gather around outposts such as these, braying what they know to those also waiting to speak.

5/09/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

"I am not trying to engage in Cultural Relativism but instead to suggest that your social and political views[and how they relate to your metaphysical views] are not the only coherent and functional ways to conceive of and organize Human Being."

So, what's it like to find yourself repeatedly engaging in Cultural Relativism even when you're trying not to?

5/09/2007 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Yeah, but Bare Feet, Van's funny and you're not.

5/09/2007 12:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

If compassion should be higher than truth, how do we know that the axiom is true? By having compassion for it?

5/09/2007 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

Native America
shoshone feather sky
paiute flute hangs in air
grandfather walked here

---------------------
Motel Zero has been hosting a powwow all week.

5/09/2007 12:07:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

bare feetsaid "Check out the sample rug today provided by Van."

Ah! my handiwork has been appreciated! Won't you rest your toes upon it?(Cuz, ready... aim....)

5/09/2007 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous hinty of inty said...

Cousin, cuisine:

That's your idea of not shooting? No wonder you were dropkicked straight from the 50's into the 90's. My behind would still be sore too. Keep your good eye on the floor, Cuz. Wouldn't want to miss a good opportunity to place a rug...

5/09/2007 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

That reminds me, Cuz - are you planning to seek out the Big Dupree to make him pay for sending those pomo goons out to ruin your rug?

wv: skunkn: We were having a perfectly interesting discussion until those trolls started skunkn up the place.

skunks - the anti-coons?

5/09/2007 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous sheep herder said...

Maineman:

Thanks for the good example of relativism. Van, to gauge by his fingerspeed and agression level, may be a lot of things Bare Feet is not. You are neither wise nor a shoe, but I'll bet you've done your share of avoiding shite. So does that make you and Bare Feet alike? Maybe I missed your point.

5/09/2007 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Bare dropping:

rope
up
piss
go
a

Can you figure out the sequence?

JWM

5/09/2007 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous sheep herder said...

JulieC:

The opposite of an OC coon is a complacent coon.

Proof: "Complacent coons, unite and post here on Gagdad B'aaab's, home of those for whom happiness isn't a state of mind, it's a debating point!" And he who wins...well, he...WINS, gosh darnit! Better watch the door. I can hear the complacent ones on the march.

JWM:

I
"complacent"
said
c
o
o
n
s
.

5/09/2007 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous sheepish in seattle said...

??????????????????????

5/09/2007 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

We ate Chinese last night. In my fortune cokkie was this Message:

Fisher of men calls trolls - bait.

5/09/2007 12:42:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Okay, come clean.

Who linked to the prep school site?

5/09/2007 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

I was going to leave a comment, but I think I'll wait....

5/09/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks again, Bob

Maybe someone has pointed this out already, but it seems that atheists are only bold enough to question the Judeo-Christian God. Hitchens didn't have the stones to name his new book "Allah is not Great".

5/09/2007 01:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Clean-up on isle 6!

5/09/2007 02:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

"To put it more plainly; you can know the truth and still have a great lack as a human being. This isn't to challenge the value of Truth, but it is to put it in a subordinate position to Compassion in the hierarchy of values."

I've seen people put compassion before truth, and the results aren't pretty. Unless compassion is guided by principle, it can result in nosey parkerism or coercion of the worst kind. Bob is absolutely right about that.

Truth proceeds from God, who *is* love. If we wish to approach the truth and the holy love, we have to admit that we are not God and submit to them for the healing we need. It's that simple. We can't wash ourselves clean...which, to me, is the crucial difference between Confucionism and Christianity. The former is probably the nicest try humanity has come up with to date, but still is utterly powerless to accomplish what it sets out to do. (Because only God can do it for us.)

Only by being in the divine Presence can we truly see ourselves. It is amazing how the manifest presence of God cuts through all our muck and gets to the heart of the matter. It's both comforting and terrifying at the same time! His love is so evident in that it always brings conviction rather than condemnation--not the executioner's sword, as we deserve, but the surgeon's knife, which compassionately heals us. It is His Word (truth) that divides soul and spirit, joint and marrow, and discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Also, there is noodling the Truth in one's brain, and there is *knowing* it (partaking of it; being intimate with it). I think someone linked once to a Lewis quote, paraphrased thus...Jesus did not say "Take, understand," but "Take, eat." Yes, merely noodling the truth will leave a man lacking sorely. I have been guilty of that a lot myself. It is a different thing entirely to stand in the gaze of His Truth. Entirely.

5/09/2007 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Susannah - Indeed. Well said. Thanks.

5/09/2007 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

sheep herder said "Maybe I missed your point."

Get a collie, maybe it can help you to find one.

5/09/2007 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here Van, here Boy! Got some truth right here Van..come on... truth!, come on boy! Here's some fresh truth little Vannie poo...

Oh never mind. Go chase the troll.

Now there's some truth.

5/09/2007 02:49:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Hey Van,

There was a troll comment a few days ago that slipped by. What, you were tuckered from mowing the lawn?

5/09/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

He's everywhere! He's everywhere! Oh well....

Bob, the Buddha Dharma has been a big influence in my life, but like you, I "ultimately rejected it as fundamentally inadequate" - for myself, at any rate. I WANTED it to be adequate, since it addressed a lot of things that were deeply interesting to me, that I didn't find dealt with to my satisfaction elsewhere.

Now, over the months you have alluded to "Buddhaflaw correcting," and I thought it was a clever phrase, kind of a joke, nada mas. But I think you nailed the "flaw" that never sat-quite-right with me when you wrote that, "...you must live a life that is ruled by passionate desire: desire for the true, the good and the beautiful. Extinguish this desire, and you will have killed man."

To me, THAT is the flaw: the elimination of man as a bridge, or connector, between "the is and the ought." That is the aspect I could not (want to) deny or ignore, and which no degree of non-attachment (unto nirvana) could address.

We makes our choices in this life. Ideas do have consequences. At least now I get the joke.

5/09/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Maybe he needs a pit bull.

5/09/2007 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Troll who uses my name falsely can eat shit and die.

5/09/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Let's see: BOTH posts at exactly 2:52. Now THAT is serindipity!

5/09/2007 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Help! I'm being impersonated by a thin-skinned, barefoot, anonymous shephard or something.

5/09/2007 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Maineman -

I can sympathize.

5/09/2007 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

Walt, you (the real you) brought out a good point.

"O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water."

No thirst, no living water. I could not want otherwise, either. :)

5/09/2007 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Completely off topic, but is anyone else having trouble loading OC using Firefox today? The main page won't load completely, and I can't scroll down. I finally gave up and went back to Safari, which doesn't seem to be having this problem. Also, it's not a general Blogger problem, since the other Blogger sites I've been to worked fine.

Also, Bareass mentioned earlier today coming here instead of kicking the dog. I'd like to note that no good coon would ever consider kicking a dog just because some people commenting on a website don't agree with them. Coons may take great pleasure in whacking trolls, but then again the trolls seem to take great pleasure in being whacked. Not so the dog.

5/09/2007 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Too many men display intelligence as long as their thought runs in the grooves of their desires, interests and prejudices; but the moment the truth is contrary to what pleases them, their faculty of thought becomes blurred or vanishes

Schuon's quote reminds me of why, after studying other faiths, I still know in my knower that Christianity is complete: it often runs contrary to what is pleasing to the horizontal, but the truth of it is immediately seen for its beauty. It utterly disarms the honest soul with a clarity and joy. "At last!" says my soul, "something greater than I!"

5/09/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Zi said...

van, earlier today you said,

"zi, if a Confucius hack, such as myself, could spot your descrepencies right off, and find several alternatives that put that isolated quote in an opposite light - then you did violence, intentional or otherwise, to his words. If you are as familiar with the analects & others as you claim, then I drop the 'or otherwise' and let the 'intentional' stand."

You admit you are not educated about Confucius and then you go on to lecture me about it. This is odd. You say that you found discrepancies and that you were able to put the quote in an opposite light. What were the discrepancies? It was not a mis-translation, even if it wasn't a translation you approve of. But since you are, as you say, a Confucius Hack, I'm not sure why your view on which is the appropriate translation is important at all.

And as to putting the original quote in an opposite light, here is what you posted two days ago,

"This is also translated as:

'It is not the Way that broadens people, but people who broaden the Way.'

or the one I think probably puts it into the best perspective:

'Man can make System Great,
it is not System which makes Man Great'"

Then you give your exegesis[again, as you admitted, an uninformed perspective]

"He had more of what we might call a parable type approach - more interested in propper ethics, behavior, things which showed the process of good community relations and respect - and which really needed to be understood and applied, rather than just easy quote's for easy occasions. Which is the reason why I think the last seems closer to an accurate translation. You, your understanding, your integrity to do what is right, to take principles, think them through and thoughtfully apply them, is what can make a system Great (such as with a constitution that can be printed on just a couple pieces of paper), as opposed to a system which is rigid, seeks to dictate every thought and action and variable - comes up woefully short, and breeds loop-holes and corruption (such as the tax code, or other socialist systems)."

Your second alternative doesn't put my original quote in an opposite light. It changes it somewhat, makes it pertain more to social organization rather than Truth, but the meaning is largely the same; that Human beings are more significant than anything they invent or utilize, whether it be a Governmental system or a set of Propositions about the true states of affairs of the objective world, system or truth. And your first alternative certainly supports my initial reading since 'Way' is obviously a translation of Tao which is as close to the kind of Transcendent Truth you and bob believe in as Chinese thought gets[though the differences are numerous and significant].

The reason for my initial comment was to point to Confucius' belief that Jen [human-heartedness or compassion] is the quintessential human characteristic and what is most significant to the Superior Man, more so than truth, wisdom, piety or any of the other Virtues. You can disagree with him, but it is non-controversial among any scholar of Confucianism that this is the view put forward in the Analects.

One more thing you said,

"I way less familiar with Confucius than I am with the Western philosophers, but from what I've read, he didn't make a lot of cut and dried pronouncements about "Truth" as a definable, graspable thingy, easily observed, tagged and put on the shelf."

This is the only thing you said about Confucius that was mostly correct. This would be good advice for you and the whole group of Bob-followers who make Truth a much too easily observed and graspable thing.

5/09/2007 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

A wonderful post!

Forgive me, as I don't have time today to read through all the comments, and someone may have already noted this, but here...

Which really bothers Dupree, because the area rug under his Murphy bed really tied things together in the garage, and now it's a mess...

...you seem to be referencing that classic The Big Lebowski...


;-)


Jamie Irons

5/09/2007 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

"This would be good advice for you and the whole group of Bob-followers who make Truth a much too easily observed and graspable thing."

So you're saying that Truth is not easily observed and graspable, and you're blaming your blindness on Confucius. I don't know anything about Confucius at all, so I won't dispute your interpretation of his words. Instead, I'll dispute your words.

The sad thing, Zi, is that truth is easily graspable - but you have to be willing to let go of your illusions. Some examples: The truth is that more people have thrived under capitalism than under any other economic system. The truth is that more people, over the centuries and especially recently, have benefited as a direct result of Judeo-Christian values than any other value system - even when they themselves are not Jewish or Christian, and even considering the evil that has often been wrought in God's name (the worst type of blasphemy). The truth is that when there are fewer rules and regulations, people actually fare better. This isn't secret, hidden information - it's easily discoverable.

Compassion comes from honesty, not the other way around; I'd rather be told I'm being a jackass so that I can try to fix it than believe everything is fine because nobody wants to hurt my feelings. I'd rather be told if my policies are harming people so I can change them than pretend that because my intentions are good, the bad side effects can be ignored.

The truth is that sometimes doing what is right feels as bad or worse than doing what is wrong - in fact, in important matters that is often the case. That's why some choices are hard. If doing good always felt good, we would be living in utopia. These truths aren't secret. They're not hard to grasp - in fact, many of them I learned as a child.

Simply put, Zi, if you maintain that compassion is more important than truth you are wrong. Compassion without honesty is simply a "nicer" way to do harm.

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

Man, every time that doggone siren goes off I start and say, "It's not us! I promise!" to no one in particular.

That thing is obnoxious.

FTR, I'm a God-follower, not a Bob-follower. But it sure is nice to find kindred spirits in the blogosphere. :) It's nice to totally get where someone is coming from, even though (esp. because) he's coming at it from a different angle than I'm used to.

Since I know Truth is found in a Person, it's not something I can set on a shelf. It's more of a relational thing.

But wouldn't even Zi agree that some truths are self-evident?

Besides, even to say that the truth is a slippery devil that nobody can grasp is a pretty cut&dried statement. Says who? You?

I think I'll keep on trusting in Christ's authoritative Word, instead of any Buddhist's "gut."

wv: stuetieu
And to you too!

5/09/2007 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Ironman:

Very Bobservant. One indulgence for you!

Between you and Walt, that makes two obscure jokes deciphered in one day.

5/09/2007 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Heart is in bondage until love is incarnated in the world.

Love should make decisions. Therefore let the Heart be your intelligence.
Allow the heart to break, and be that sign.

The process that is true religion transforms life and touches all aspects of your living. True religion,then,is the primary requirement of all human beings. It is not merely something that comes down through time that should be used to command moral or socially useful behaviour.It is a Heart matter. And it is about ecstasy, or the transcendence of egoity.

Love is the victory. Love is the meditation. You simply must become willing to love. To love under all conditions and circumstances is to be truly religious.

5/09/2007 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

Julie said it way better.

5/09/2007 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Thanks, Susannah!
And Petey - I totally called that earlier today (the Big Dupree reference), though perhaps I was a bit obscure?

5/09/2007 05:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Zi said...

JulieC, some truth is easily observed and some is not. It is easy to test whether or not I have a gallon of milk in my fridge. It is much more difficult, if not impossible, to test your assertions that "The truth is that more people have thrived under capitalism than under any other economic system. The truth is that more people, over the centuries and especially recently, have benefited as a direct result of Judeo-Christian values than any other value system." You no doubt disagree. But can you tell me how one could go about testing or falsifying your assertions?

As to Compassion and Truth, you didn't seem to want to understand what I was saying. Also, you kept substituting truth and honesty, which are not the same. But regardless, my point was not that Confucius was saying one should ignore what is true in order to be compassionate. It is not a simple dichotomy like you suggest.

To be manifest Jen[human-heartedness] one must possess knowledge, how else could one be successful at aiding others. The point is that we look for and use the truth for the greater purpose of fulfilling human needs and purposes and not just so that we can sit content that we know what is true. There is merit in seeking and knowing many truths, but this is just the beginning of true virtue. The Superior person uses truth for the aid of their fellow beings and places the good of their fellow beings as the chief good.

5/09/2007 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are mortal and entirely subject to the Mercy of God. You own nothing and you know nothing. There is not anything to be believed that is the truth. You must be touched in your feeling by the unspeakable suffering of this world and return everything to God.

You will be overwhelmed with anger your entire life if you do not understand this, if you do not appreciate it, if you do not feel your situation profoundly enought to accept changes in this spirit.

You must be free of sorrow while you live, free of doubt, and also fear, or you will be crippled through your recoil upon yourself.

5/09/2007 05:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

The Dude abides. Taken 'er easy for all us sinners. :)

5/09/2007 05:51:00 PM  
Anonymous sheepless in Seattle said...

Zi,

Get with it man! Confucius is sooooo 60's. I mean, the dude went out with Kung Fu reruns.
Time to move it on down the road son.

5/09/2007 05:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Tinker Bell said...

Love comes to here in time,and numbers all the things of beauty in the house.

A single room is shown to be a unity, within and every where.

No point of view is stood apart.

No word is made to say, this place is empty, or, this place is full.

Only light comes to here--a merest touch of brightness neither mind nor body can deny.

It is the heart's explanation of reality.

It is reality, plain spoken to the heart--and by the heart alone.

It is the beautiful, itself.

5/09/2007 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Susannah said...

"The point is that we look for and use the truth for the greater purpose of fulfilling human needs and purposes and not just so that we can sit content that we know what is true."

You mean, like, participating joyfully in the sorrows of the world?

How can having a passion for the true, the beautiful, and the good *not* lead you to the two greatest commandments: Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, & strength--and, as a (super)natural outgrowth, love of neighbor as self?

5/09/2007 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Zi said...

sheepless, it was not my intention to get into a debate about Confucius. I made, several day ago, a point about Confucian philosophy that I thought would just be a footnote to the conversation. I didn't think there would be debate since what I posted is non-controversial among scholars. The point was to show an example of a coherent and effective cultural paradigm that runs counter to many things Bob claims are Truth about the human condition.

I am not a Confucian, though I have learned from it, and I thought maybe someone here could as well.

5/09/2007 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Zi said...

dupree, I am not trying to impress anyone. Is that what you are trying to do?

Well, I am not impressed by your aggression.

Do you think that nothing can be learned from those who disagree with you? I don't think that. I can learn from any situation or person, even those who seem foolish.

a bit of wisdom from another Chinese book.

"A great nation is like a great person: When he makes a mistake, he realizes it. Having realized it, he admits it. Having admitted it, he corrects it. He considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent teachers. He thinks of his enemy as the shadow that he himself casts."

5/09/2007 06:36:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

"The question we need to ask is not whether we are pleasing to a given troll, but on the contrary whether a given troll is pleasing to us; it is out of the question, for a spiritual blog, to make a given troll’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 anyone, it is clearly visitors who ask something of us, otherwise they would not come."

5/09/2007 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

It's amazing how often you must deploy that particular bit of wisdom. Perhaps the combination of quality with quantity will eventually sink in...

5/09/2007 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Jamie Irons said...

Susannah,

The Dude abides. Taken 'er easy for all us sinners...

Not long ago my dear wife saw a bumper sticker that asserted merely

The dude abides...

Man, where can I get me one of those!?

Jamie Irons

5/09/2007 06:57:00 PM  
Anonymous bare feet said...

Zi,

Some things you have to learn for yourself. You'll agree now that it's true?

This place is a hall of mirrors with double standards applied in as classically liberal a fashion as the mood allows, and then only from a safe pedestal dug with their own hands. The only requirement here is to praise Bob from whom all flossings blow. The reward is company as smug as bugs in rugs, with their values and innate self worth stockpiled so high around them they can't turn their heads, much less the other cheek.

Engagement here is best done with self. If something offends, take note of what it is and why. The wise are listening. The smart gather around outposts such as these, braying what they know to those also waiting to speak.

5/09/2007 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

A great nation is like a great person: When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.

Much learning hath made thee mad.

Or at least, irony deficient.

5/09/2007 07:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Athletes foot said-
"The reward is company as smug as bugs in rugs, with their values and innate self worth stockpiled so high around them they can't turn their heads, much less the other cheek."

Speakin' of cheeks, yers is butt ugly.

5/09/2007 07:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Joan said:
"Much learning hath made thee mad.

Or at least, irony deficient."

The Islamofascists are just itchin' to supply that iron for these pacifist idjits.

5/09/2007 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Geez. You fools. Mirrors only work on people who are constantly looking. Close your eyes, open your ears and see the groovy sounds of the glory 'o God. All of life is a hall of mirrors.

Faith comes by the Hearing... stop starin' at ya navel!

5/09/2007 07:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...or at least irony deficient."

How pre-chumpsious of you.

The key word for your arg-ness to breathe after is "realize".

5/09/2007 07:26:00 PM  
Anonymous skully said...

...and I know a pretty ass when I kiss it.

5/09/2007 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Anonymous said "Here Van, here Boy! Got some truth right here Van..come on... truth!, come on boy! Here's some fresh truth little Vannie poo..."

Hmm... somehow I don't think the Dog Whisperer needs to worry about the competition.

The AssWhisperer though...

There you might have and angle... better yet, team up with his little 'hee-haw' wit, and the two of you could be a team! Some cool parlor tricks to amuse trolls by as you both start speaking out of both ends... good for a nights entertainment for you all, I'm sure.

5/09/2007 07:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Anon said-
"You must be touched in your feeling by the unspeakable suffering of this world and return everything to God."

Yeah, yer touched alright. Straight-jacket on isle 6.

5/09/2007 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I have a land-line phone at my house. The number is never used save for the opening of the gate for guests at the condo complex. I mean, no one has the number and I can barely remember it. In fact, I can't.

So, it's always fun to answer the darn thing when it rings. My favorite is, with a crisp, professionally trained voice, I pick up the phone and the first thing I say is a clipped and cheerfully cold, "You've dialed (pause)the wrong number." It sounds just like your Verizon voicemail prompts.

The fun part is when the caller says, "how do you know?"

I hang up.

They call back and I repeat exactly the above greeting.

"Wait a minute! How do you know I dialed a wrong number??"

Trust me. You dialed a wrong number.

"Well, who is this?"

You called me. Who is this and what do you want?

"This isn't Wok the Dog Restaurant?"

No. You've dialed the wrong number.

"But wait a minute...!"

Click.

******

Ah, my uninvited callers. Like trolls, but much more entertaining!

(You should hear my routine when I know a number has been auto-dialed!)

5/09/2007 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The Troll song:

The most beautiful thing is the heart!
Yes, the navel is lovely to behold
My nadir is where I'd dwell
If I could cram myself well
Enough in there already!

Its kind of like the moon (in June)
Or the sun in september I'd say
Unlike that princely girl
I'd trade all of the world
Just to have my navel!

The belly is fine indeed (indeed)
And so its crownly button
To fill it full (again)
And to think of when
I might live in my navel!

But I guess I already have it so
Why Am I not happy yet (yet again)
It is without out a doubt
Someone else's fault
That I can't live
In my navel.

5/09/2007 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

ass whisperer.

Bwahahaha!!!

(Did you know there's a blog out there called, "Farting through my Fingertips"? Could be our troll-source!)

5/09/2007 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Some perverted scumbag troll (7:27) has tried to sully Skully's um...sterling reputation.
It shows its true color: yella.
Henceforth, Skully will use my name, so the dirtbag commie cowards can no longer get away with their nefarious schemes.

5/09/2007 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ha ha! Well done Lady Joan!

Skully

5/09/2007 07:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

River,
You should give up writing poetry for lint.

5/09/2007 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

bore foot said "Engagement here is best done with self."

I'm betting you have lots of experience with that.

5/09/2007 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous skully said...

And BTW Ben, anyone ever tell you you got a nice ass?

5/09/2007 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Juliec and Susannah-
You Ladies beat this clown like a rag-headed Jihadist stepchild!
Bravo Zulu!

Skully

5/09/2007 07:47:00 PM  
Anonymous bare feet said...

Van bleated: I'm betting you have lots of experience with that.

Yes. You might want to try it sometime. But here's the twist you obviously haven't tried: No touching allowed.

5/09/2007 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

"Engagement here is best done with self."

At last! Hast hit the mark!

Go, get thee a self!

Come back if thou findest its dank hiding place, if it can be convinced to travail this mortal coil any longer at thy side.

5/09/2007 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Good one, Van!
You done keelhauled that sucker!

5/09/2007 07:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Sully said...

Skully via Ben,

I like the cut of your jib, sailor. What say we blow this taco stand? I got a little personal anti-immigration campaign I could cut the right minded fellow in on... Help some people see the light?

5/09/2007 07:58:00 PM  
Anonymous knight in shindig amour said...

Joan,

Thou spendest too longest at the RenFair. Fie and flee, and get thee thyself to a kingdom where real men doth hang out.

5/09/2007 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I've never spent any time at a RenFair.

You've never spent too much time at anything, obviously.

5/09/2007 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

River,
You should give up writing poetry for lint.


I was writing poetry? Homer, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer and Frost would die of laughter - you idiot - I was writing bad poetry. Which in all cases is much more fun.

5/09/2007 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

No can do, sully.
You see, no one here is anti-immigration.

But you will find that we are anti-criminal.

Sheesh! More talkin' points by the bereft left.
Where's yer creativity.
Like that college girl that's dressin' up roadkill.
I mean sure, you gotta wonder how she even came up with that thought to begin with, and yeah, it's disturbin', but at least she had an original stupid idea.

Can't say the same for you.
Skully

5/09/2007 08:16:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Such a compliment, Though. Real poetry! I'm honored!

5/09/2007 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

That song was, by the way, 1:00 of poetry in 1:00's time -- so quality is not assured. I'm no Bill Evans of the lyric form.

5/09/2007 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

zoo said "I didn't think there would be debate since what I posted is non-controversial among scholars."

I'm sure.

The translation of that particular fragment of the analects, Book XV, 28 that I was looking for, and which JWM found, was this

"The Master said, A man can enlarge his Way; but there is no Way that can enlarge a man."

translated and annotated by Arthur Waley. (1938), and with a footnote:
1)Without effort on his part. Play on 'Way', and 'road'. A man can widen a road...etc."

"The point was to show an example of a coherent and effective cultural paradigm that runs counter to many things Bob claims are Truth about the human condition."

Uh-huh.

You contrasted Gagdad's quote:
"The truth is not at your service. Rather, vice versa. Only by virtue of this constraint -- the yoke which is paradoxically easy -- are you free. Not to mention, intelligent."

with this:
"it is man who makes truth great, not truth which makes man great."

I have not researched Confucius deeply, having only read a few translations, settling on Waley's as most understandable to me. Perhaps you are a far more impressive schollar than Mr. Waley. Don't know or really care. Of what I've read, your choice seems to me the least compatible with the rest of his writing, in any of the translations, and the way you separated it to stand on it's own, obviously as a banner for your viewpoint, seems disengenious at the least, deceptive seems more likely.

Representing it as a "basic Confucian principle"... well, perhaps it's just me, but I see that as a misrepresentation, typical of the kind of relativistic thought whose family tree resembles the Asspen.

In short, I think you're full of it, "I am not a Confucian, though I have learned from it, and I thought maybe someone here could as well.", and I think your own words agree with me.

5/09/2007 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Forcoon cookie:
Pay no mind to the Drive-by Flatulator.
His deposits blow away with very little wind.

5/09/2007 08:24:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Atheism: which? ;-)

5/09/2007 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Van, Ben…all coons too, in case this was missed, file under “History is Offensive”:
Professor on Brink of Being Fired for E-Mailing George Washington's Thanksgiving Address

RR

5/09/2007 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

bare sully knight,

Whisssperer

5/09/2007 08:30:00 PM  
Anonymous ring-tailed rouser said...

I think if we put the pelts of Joan of A & RiverC together with the combined IQ of Van and Skully, we might have enough for a reeeally thin-skinned kewpie doll.

5/09/2007 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Molon Labe.

5/09/2007 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Bad poetry? Why, River, you've captured the very essence of Troll in that song! Of course it's bad!

Bad footing, intemperate metre, imagery mired in meaningless mumbles. It's a tour de farce!

All your Troll Song poem needed was more assonance.

It's understood that the artist must suffer a bit of transference in order to faithfully portray his subject. I do hope you've recovered.

;)

5/09/2007 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Well, the key part is that the troll cannot discern the difference between his navel, his nadir, his heart, his belly, or - the one I missed - his ass. OF course we all know what the Democrat party mascot is.. it wasn't always so fitting, but now that it is, how sweet indeed.

If someone wants my pelt they can peel it off my dead body.

Noticed my IQ wasn't in consideration... I guess I've finally graduated from intellectual sophisticate to real human being! Hurrah!

(No offense Skull & Van.)

5/09/2007 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Van: I think maybe he was just Confuced...

Paul always says those things better.

Ancient Chinese Proverb say: Beat Confucius with stick and you better tent maker.

5/09/2007 08:43:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I say we pelt the trolls.

5/09/2007 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Regarding Trolls, Confucious says:

He who breaks wind in church
sits in own pew.

5/09/2007 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

I'd say we should stone 'em but they're probably already.

5/09/2007 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

ring-tailed rouser said "I think if we put the pelts of Joan of A & RiverC together with the combined IQ of Van and Skully, we might have enough for a reeeally thin-skinned kewpie doll. "

We just had a great dinner out, after the 18 yr olds last game of the season (won), my 14 yr old's band (playing bass btw) just won an audition, and I tucked the now 8yr old in bed after reading her a story. Wife's studying for a bit, and I'm having a little fun before reading and bed.

I'm feeling as thick skinned as all slack will allow.

The actual situation, is that you are spending your time on a blog you don't enjoy, responding to commenters you don't agree with and dislike. On the other hand, we are enjoying a blog that we find truly enriching, enjoying eachothers contributions and wiseass (far better than being dumb all over, like some whisssperer's we know) comments, and when we've read the interesting ones, we go back and click to expand and respond to your pathetic, but amusing, efforts.

One of us has skunked themselves... and I do believe that the odor is coming from your direction.

;-)

5/09/2007 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Besides, it brightens my evening (as though Baltimore isn't enough of a LAND STAR as it is) to think that at least one of the trolls (if there is more than) has come to a point of annoyance or frustration.

Its something like, I suppose, the satisfaction the Zen master gets when the dullard student actually fights back.

5/09/2007 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous ring-tailed rouser said...

RiverC,

molon labe indeed! (It was just a figger of speech, and not to be taken litrally). Even hypothetically you'd have to fight Van & Scully over that agenda. They're fairly overflowing with their own brilliance, hemorrhaging brains at every fissure.

Come and take it turns to "come and get it".
Moron labe, perhaps?

5/09/2007 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

River said "Its something like, I suppose, the satisfaction the Zen master gets when the dullard student actually fights back."

Ha! I think you've captured it well there. I think it's especially fun when he runs around in circles trying to nip at all of us at once.

If only we could capture him (?) on YouTube! Bet it'd stack up to the poor kid that did the light saber video!

5/09/2007 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

idjit said "have to fight Van & Scully over that agenda. They're fairly overflowing with their own brilliance, hemorrhaging brains at every fissure."

See what I mean?

LOL!

5/09/2007 08:58:00 PM  
Anonymous ring-tailed rouser said...

"The actual situation, is that you are spending your time on a blog you don't enjoy, responding to commenters you don't agree with and dislike. On the other hand, we are enjoying..."

Once again Van your perspicacity dazzles you. I'm sure you give equal thought to all your conclusions. If you dont believe you, just ask you.

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

ring worm said "If you dont believe you, just ask you."

When the alternative is asking you, it doesn't leave much of a choice does it?

5/09/2007 09:02:00 PM  
Anonymous bare feet said...

Yawn. My dog thanks you. Good night.

5/09/2007 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Actually, we're just kickin' a piece of troll trash down the street while we all walk and talk with each other. From time to time we stop to reach back with a fine ffwwoppp! and laugh like hell until poor troll can gather his wits about him. Then we stroll up to him for another go.

But actual, um, fight in this troll? Nah. Stubborn, maybe, but that's just a trait of its willfully adolescent mind.

5/09/2007 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Now he feigns boredom as the last resort of the unarmed mind.

5/09/2007 09:06:00 PM  
Anonymous ring-tailed rouser said...

Wha? Just when the coons are starting to throw things from the tree!

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

Ricky - the worst part about your link is that the painting classes I've been taking (not for credit - I already have a BFA) are affiliated with that school. I'm not taking summer classes there; now there's one more reason not to take any fall classes either.

Shameful. And it cheeses me off that no matter what I do my tax dollars are still going to go there.

5/09/2007 09:08:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

jaRiver said-
"Noticed my IQ wasn't in consideration... I guess I've finally graduated from intellectual sophisticate to real human being! Hurrah!

(No offense Skull & Van.)"

Eh?
Watchoo talkin' 'bout River?!
Skully

5/09/2007 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Joan,
Re bare feet,
as Linus says:
“I think you killed it.”
But I’m certain it will grow back.

5/09/2007 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Well this has been fun 'coons, but it's nighty-nite time for me.

Remember to leave enough of ring worm for Dupree to play with in the morning.

5/09/2007 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Hi JulieC,
You don’t need no stinkin’ classes.
:-)
RE taxes, just think of them as excess profits put to better use.
That always cheers me up.

5/09/2007 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Thanks, Ricky :) I took them to brush up on my skills and stay motivated to actually paint. They did help with the former, and I have more reasons now for the latter, so I think the training wheels are now officially off.

5/09/2007 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Rick-
Thanks for the link.
It's insane what these college perfessors and burrocrats get away with!
Bloody nuts!

Skully

5/09/2007 09:32:00 PM  
Anonymous la la lefty is a fem said...

Well, I got some attitudes. My thinking goes along the following lines:

Women of color are heroic

White men are O.K as long as they admit they are guilty and bad. They must act self-deprecating and gentle. Crying is good.

Illegal immigrants are heroic and are better than we are. They are wiser and gentler than we are.

Women should hold positions of leadership and men should do more childcare

White men are bad. They are arogant. Brown men, on the other hand, are compassionate

Vagina good, white penis bad, brown penis tolerable.

White men need to atone for what they have done. They need to be apologetic and soft-spoken, and they should not be allowed to have rough sex. They should be on the bottom when they do get lucky, which shouldn't be too often.

Tea better than beer.

Well, that about sums it up. I know this stuff is all crazy ape-sh@#t stuff, but my head is full of it.

I share it because these attitudes need to come out into the open and get discussed.

5/09/2007 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

la leftus flemus - I have one word for you...

wv: gcfbjbup

5/09/2007 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speakin' of nutz...

5/09/2007 09:50:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>Yes, the West has problems, but Buddhist nonattachment is not the answer<<

Well, I think when the West errs, it errs on the side of dynamism, the innate desire to grow, to expand one's vision and range of creativity. The East seems timid in this regard, as if afraid of committing error. Consequently, the East has seemed to me too willing to believe in spiritual evolution, literally so - an evolution that ultimately overrides human initiative and simply carries us along in its path. I've heard it said that no country/nation that is mostly Buddhist has ever engaged in war. Okay, kudos is due, but on the other hand . . .

I suppose in way the difference between the Western and Eastern perspective is the difference between "destiny" - the receiving of a divine anointing by virtue of one's will, imagination, and creativity - and "fate", which is a blind surrendering to "whatever happens".

An esoteric perspective might blend the two in a mystically nuanced way, of course, but seen in a more material light, the two would have to eventually diverge dramatically, I think, and make a huge difference in the degree of genuine civilization that is attained.

5/09/2007 10:06:00 PM  
Anonymous bare feet said...

La La,

What if a guy is white BUT also gay? Is that cool? Well I know it's cool but is it acceptable and integral in the brave new world?


BTW, ya busy Saturday night?

5/09/2007 10:50:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Coon fucius on trolls:

May the people who buy the seats in front of you stand through the whole concert.

May you always have someone in front of you and behind you who talks through the whole movie.

May you pay top dollar for a Vegas show just to sit next to the most obnoxious heckler on the strip.

May you have telephone solicitors.

May you have door to door salesmen.

May the people in the next booth have a baby who cries through the entire meal. May your soup be cold and your fries limp.

May the guys in the campsite next to you have a thousand megawatt monster boom bass stereo. And may they be into hip hop, guns, booze, and meth.
wv:dbzgnrsj DBZ gonners? (wish I could do the Kamehameha wave)

JWM

5/10/2007 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I found this gem this morning, an excerpt from a speech by Abraham Lincoln at Cooper Union. Seems Lincoln was an unfriendly, unyielding Raccoon; refusing to find middle ground on serious moral issues that complicated political process.

It's a longish quote, all the better to confound the troll attention span:

Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this?

Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States? If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT."

-thanks to SharpKnife blog.

5/10/2007 04:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joan,
I wonder which colorful shade of integralism Lincoln was?

He obviously didn't get the value of inte-grating the different coherent and effective cultural paradigm that runs counter to many things Lincoln claimed was True about the human condition.

How unscholarly of him.

5/10/2007 05:20:00 AM  
Anonymous verifiable said...

Wow JWM.

Not that we're not flattered, but...Maybe you should be thinking about other things while you're cleaning up. For your own benefit, not anyone else's.

Or you could just paste a "Christians aren't perfect..." sticker on your cart, and maybe God will call it even even if your own body doesn't.

5/10/2007 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Irony is lost on veridefiable.

Joan-
Thanks for that speech!
Was Lincoln cool or what?
RIGHT MAKES MIGHT!
Nothin' about metrosexual pacifists in that speech.

Skully

5/10/2007 05:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

As much as I respect Lincoln, he was, in fact, quite great at giving middle ground. He believed slavery was wrong, maybe even evil, but he was never interested in making a federal law against it where it existed, or going to war over it.

5/10/2007 07:30:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

verifiable

rope
a
piss
up
go

Can you figure out the sequence?
I knew you could.

JWM

5/10/2007 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph,

I was reading through Lincolns speaches last summer, from early runs at congress through to his last, and it is extrememly interesting to see how he saw and dealt with the issue, and how over time slowly realized there was no getting around the issue.

Like Jefferson, he regarded the institution as evil, but beyond some fine words on the matter, didn't see how to do anything about it. There was a sense of "Yeah, nasty stuff... but I've got other things to do." There was the separation between principle and practice. He wasn't particularly enamored with Blacks themselves, and (later on) was annoyed with how Douglass (Frederich, not Stephen) kept putting him on the spot in his speeches.

But He began to see how the Principle of slavery, though practiced on blacks, was going to destroy the principles of America for all. He tried every way he could to dismount the Tiger the country had agreed to ride (over Jefferson's early objections), without getting wounded, biten, eaten, having to fight for Americas life against it.

He also slowly came to the realization that, try though he might, there would be no easy sidestepping of the issue, shipping them back to Africa wasn't going to work out, separating the races wasn't going to work, we were all going to be in it together.

And though it grated on some of his own prejudices, he continued to go forward, to confront what was right against what seemed easier, and step by halting step chose the course of what was right.

As Gagdad quoted Schuon, "whoever does not know how to think, whatever his gifts may be, is not authentically a man; that is, he is not a man in the ideal sense of the term. Too many men display intelligence as long as their thought runs in the grooves of their desires, interests and prejudices; but the moment the truth is contrary to what pleases them, their faculty of thought becomes blurred or vanishes; which is at once inhuman and 'all too human.'”

Lincoln struggled to be "authentically a man" against all the prevailing custom, policies and feelings of the day, and in peril of his life, and even of his childrens drawn into the war.

Astounding.

5/10/2007 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Van,
I should have said he wasn't interested until the "southern rebellion" occurred.

I believe Lincoln was the best president the country has ever had, but he was also a consummate politician, and often gave middle ground.

There is, however, no evidence that I am aware of to suggest that Lincoln went to war to end slavery. In my opinion, the war occurred to end slavery, as well as to create a strong central government, and Lincoln valiently rode that wave.

5/10/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph, I think I'm pretty much in agreement with you. Still,

"Van, I should have said he wasn't interested until the "southern rebellion" occurred."

Oh he was interested in the issue, but not in making an issue out of it, so to speak. He definitely wanted to solve the situation of slavery legislatively, eventually, and desparately wanted to avoid war over slavery or any other issue.

"...no evidence that I am aware of to suggest that Lincoln went to war to end slavery"

That's kind of a tricky one to answer. Technically, even broadly speaking, that is correct... but it was the issue of slavery that drove so many people, policies, wedges and actions on the ground... maybe safe to say that because of the issues involving slavery, they brought to the fore the differing views of the meaning of a Federal Gov't held by the south and the north, and so brought the country to war. I hope that's not so general as to say nothing....

Because "he was also a consummate politician, and often gave middle ground", he was able to bring the rest of the country forward to the view that he found himself coming to grips with. People forget that the Emancipation Proclimation didn't emancipate all the slaves, only those in locations at war with the Union. And that it wasn't given until well into the war. But it was another step.

His goal was to preserve the Union as a strong central Gov't, and he came to see slavery as destructive to that, in deed and principle.

I think Lincoln knew, saw and dreaded the additional steps that were going to be needed, and took them.

As a ridiculously pale comparison, people might want to consider their views on social security. Most see it as doomed. Many see it as destructive. Some see it as in opposition to the deepest principles of the Constitution. Some depend upon it. Few see a way out of it. No one is willing to come out for abolishing it outright.

Amp that issue up a thousand fold, and we can begin to see the dillemma of Lincoln and his time.

5/10/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

That post by leftist fantasy land makes me think he's listened to "Southern Man" too many times. And I can tell you where you can by it. It's the standard stereotype of Southerners. An hour or two of Jeff Foxworthy ought to clear your head out a bit. Isn't it funny that no one thinks of skin color when viewing these soccer playing, coffee swilling, gadget loving boys-that-pass-for-men (maybe it's because of the windsurfers here.)

5/10/2007 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous USpace said...

A great post about the psychosis which is Islamic Jihad...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
terrorists must have success

otherwise they were framed
in evil government plot
.

5/15/2007 11:03:00 PM  

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