Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Monuments to Stupidity and Wisdom

The Absolute necessarily shades off into the relative, but at a point that is more or less impossible to identify precisely. Thus, it is difficult to say exactly where orthodoxy turns into heresy, morality turns into immorality, or a true American turns into an anti-American. But in each case, people who fall into the latter categories use the existence of this continuum to argue that the former are illusions and that "all is relative." In turn, this abolishes the idea of sin, since they imagine that they have eliminated any objective standard.

This is a hopelessly unsophisticated ontology, for it assumes that higher realms are mathematical in their precision. In reality, they are not so much like mathematical equations as they are like, say, magnificent granite monuments. The greatest theologians are somewhat like painters who can convey the image of this monument with clarity and certainty, but it is nevertheless an image and not the thing-in-itself.

This is what I meant the other day when I said that revelation is the closest we can come to an objective representation of O. It is like an image of the monument, given by the monument itself. But each person's angle on the monument is necessarily going to be different. If you put thousands of people with cameras at the base of the Matterhorn, the photos are all going to be slightly different -- in other words, there will be the illusion of diversity despite the fact that there is only one Matterhorn. With respect to itself, it is not relative but absolute. Our view of the Absolute is necessarily relative, but only relatively so -- it is "relatively absolute." There is no such thing as absolute relativity.

A photograph is not just a literal translation but a transformation, as is perception itself. To perceive something is to transform an object in such a way that certain abstract coordinates and relationships are preserved, while others are distorted. If you consider the modern art of the early 20th century, for example, artists were attempting to stretch the coordinates between object and image in creative new ways. One could say that James Joyce did the same with language. Instead of trying to use it like a photograph to map reality in a 1:1 manner (which is impossible anyway), he used language in a new "holographic" way, so that it in turn mirrored the hyperdimensional nature of consciousness itself. He was actually using language to alter consciousness in such a way that a new view of reality emerged.

For example, let's take the first sentence of Finnegans Wake, since I happen to know it by heart:

rivverun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

At first blush, this sentence is "nonsense," as it appears to be about "nothing." In other words, it is difficult to apprehend the "object," so to speak, of which this sentence is supposed to be a representation.

Nevertheless, like the object scripture attempts to describe, this sentence is an adequation to a hyperdimensional reality that transcends the senses. This reality is called "history," which in turn is thoroghly entangled with consciousness itself -- the same consciousness that is both the subject and the object of history. For Joyce, history was literally like a dream (or nightmare), in the sense that there is the Dreamer and the dream, but in the end, the two must be one and the same.

Therefore, it is very difficult -- impossible really -- to actually write "straight (or what Joyce called 'wideawake and cutandry') history" and imagine that the historian is not actually its dreamer. We are all in this thing called "history." History surely exists. And yet, we could no more objectively and exhaustively describe it than we could objectively describe the content of a dream. Rather, we can only take our photographs of the Matterhorn.

For one thing, where is the line between the dreamer who dreams the dream and the one who experiences it? In this regard, a dream is very much like a spider's web, which the spider spins out of its own substance and then proceeds to inhabit. Human beings are no different, only on a more abstract plane. Do you really think that the web a leftist spins out of his psychic substance and then inhabits is anything like your web? Or an atheist? Or an Islamist? All of these, in their own way, are completely entangled in a web that they themselves create, become entangled in, and take for reality.

How to extricate oneself from the psychic webs we create? "History," wrote Joyce, "is the nightmare from which I am trying to awaken." When I watched the Democrat debate the other evening, I could see how all of the candidates wear offering their "prescription for a nightmare." The nature of leftism prevents the one and only true cure, which is to say, "just wake up." No. Leftism is the philosophy of creating newer and stronger soporifics in order to keep man asleep. In so doing, it aggravates the symptoms it is supposedly treating, and simply makes the nightmare worse. Plus, people get hooked on leftist prescraptions, and require more and more of them in order to stay asleep, just like an addict.

Furthermore, just as in a mental patient, the more unpleasant reality impinges, the more denial is necessary. Terrorists want to blow up JFK? It's Bush's fault. Zzzzzz. We now see that some one third of Democrats have created a nightmare in which the United States government is actually responsible for 9-11. As it stands, it is probably fair to say that 90% of Democrats believe that the Iraq war was not waged for the reasons so stated by the administration, but for some sinister ulterior purpose that no sane person has yet been able to describe.

I am currently reading an outstanding book entitled A History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900, which attempts to be a corrective to all of the noxious deconstruction that really got under way in the 1960s. Back then they called it "revisionist history," which sounds innocent enough but which in reality was highly agenda driven, and attempted to rewrite history in such a way that the English speaking peoples were the bad guys rather than the (literally and repeatedly) saviors of history.

It is interesting how easy it is to trace the roots of today's crazy leftists in a straight line back to their academonic source. For once history is deconstructed, it is very difficult to put it back together again. Thus, the left is operating in an upside down world first made possible by the early revisionists who, among other things, argued that America's founders were just a bunch of greedy white males protecting their economic interests, or that capitalism is pure exploitation instead of an extraordinary liberator of human potential, or that the colonized did not benefit from colonialism, or that America was at fault in the Cold War, or that Roosevelt's economic policies helped rather than aggravated and prolonged the great depression, or that poverty causes crime, or that it was wrong to drop the atom bomb on imperial Japan. These and similar ideas proliferated exactly like a toxin, infecting all of the academic rivers and then flowing downhill into the streams of journalism and politics. When some nutty academic sneezes, rank and file Democrats cognitively die off in droves.

What is so striking about the book is how America has remained constant, while the left has changed so dramatically -- and gained so much cultural power. For example, there is absolutely no moral difference -- none whatsoever -- between the way Roosevelt responded to the fascist threat of his day and the way President Bush is responding the fascist threat of our day. The only difference is that America's motivations have been so undermined by the left, that it is as if we are dealing with two entirely different countries. But when did the "good" America of Roosevelt and the "greatest generation" transmogrify into the evil America of President Bush? It never did. Again, it is exactly the same profoundly decent country. Only the left has changed.

Actually, one other thing that has changed -- for the worse -- is how utterly ruthless men such as Churchill and Roosevelt were in pursuit of their war aims. President Bush doesn't even come close (although one senses that Giuliani could resurrect a bit of this higher ruthlessness). I don't have time to provide examples, but suffice it to say that it boggles the mind how completely ahistorical the left is in this regard. Now, because of the influence of the left, it is almost impossible for us to be as ruthless as we need to be in order to prevail in the struggle against our enemies -- who do not see our lack of ruthlessness as civility but weakness and lack of resolve. Which it is -- that and self-hatred.

If it had come out in 1943 that some German or Japanese soldiers had been mistreated in an American prison camp, I cannot believe that any American would have wasted two seconds thinking about it. So. What. Whatever we did could never approach the barbarity of the Germans, Japanese, and Soviets. And besides, context is everything. There is no moral equivalence whatsover between what America and her enemies do, any more than there is an equivalence between the police and criminals just because they both shoot people.

It is obscene to call waterboarding a terrorist to obtain information that will save innocent lives torture. Absolutely morally obscene. To call Gitmo a "gulag" represents a kind of moral stupidity that is satanic in its implications. One of the most horrific consequences of leftist thought insinuating itself into our discourse it that it prevents one from speaking simple moral truths. It undermines everything -- not just morality, but even the ability to speak about morality. I believe this is because, following Descartes, it elevates our capacity to doubt to the highest wisdom. Thus, it ends up with cynicism as the highest ideal: a philosophy of stupidity, including moral stupidity.

Returning to our original metaphor of the monument and the mountain. The leftist notices the unavoidable fact that different people have different views of the monument. Therefore, the monument doesn't objectively exist. Furthermore, anyone's view of it is just as good or bad as anyone else's. As such, Truth is abolished and raw power rushes in to fill the void. The leftist always speaks power to Truth. Always.

Which is why I do not waste a moment arguing with leftists, humanists, atheists, or radical secularists. Rather, every day, I simply do my best to describe the monument before me as accurately as possible, so that others might begin to apprehend its outlines and contours equally vividly and gain strength from that. In short, I am not advancing an argument but presenting a vision of what I see (which the leftist also does, only while asleep, i.e., while dreaming). It is a single object, but there are many views of it. I guess this would be #640 so far. Tune in tomorrow for #641. Or possibly #2 from our #2, Will (a beautiful pneumagraph that I have already seen, by the way), depending on various exigencies that temporarily obscure my view.

67 Comments:

Blogger CARL TOFFLE said...

I nearly missed 'nearly me gaff'. I recorded the first positive vote for the poor reviewer who was 0-4 in 'helpfulness'.

Nice one, Bob.

6/05/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Bob,

I have been having a few questions related to the subject of this post.

I have been reading of late a number of articles on just war theory, particularly in the Catholic mold, and how it relates to the Iraq War (the articles have been both for and against). The Iraq War does not, in my mind, meet the criteria for a just war. Regardless of how one thinks in this debate, do you think that an appeal to just war theory is useful?

Do you find England's colonial activities, particularly with regard to India, in line with Roberts' view or in line with Aurobindo and Ghandi? Or is their some middle ground?

6/05/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

I found an apt illustration of your point today while reading some of the Amazon reviews of Roberts' book. One of them dismissed it with 1 of 5 stars, labeling it "feel good nationalism". Zzzz, indeed.

Profound post today - and I don't use that word often. Thanks.

6/05/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, "nationalism" too has been discredited, as if there is no difference between good and bad nationalism -- or nations.

6/05/2007 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Man, talk about contentious reviews, I was looking at the reviews for Meditations on the Tarot. They are of these molds:

1. This is occult/gnostic!!!!111!! (without explanation)
2. This is soooooo groovy and new-agey cool, dooood. (retch!)
3. Oh my gee golly, don't be fooled, this is totally not a guide to reading the Tarot! (duh!)

The first reviewer is okay, although he doesn't seem to recognize that you can see Jesus as the archetype for what man is meant to be without discarding his Divinity, Humanity, sacrifice and resurrection. Or somehow do people not recognize that regular ol' Christianity calls Jesus the 'Exemplar'. What is that supposed to mean then?

Dunno. Though, the 'nearly me gaff' annoys me. I mean, I really, really don't need ads for thongs when I'm trying to read 1C. I turned off some of Amazon's features as a result... but the dang ad won't go away.

Ah, well, I blame y'all for talking about male exotic dancing and thongs :P

6/05/2007 09:19:00 AM  
Anonymous arkutani said...

In Aurobindo's "On War and Human Destiny" we find that he believed that war in general is for the purpose of political unification.

Humaninty has gone from band to tribe to city state to nation state. Then on to empires, culminating in today's America and her free-market democracy satellites and allies.

These increasingly large political units are linked to man's spiritual ascent as well.

Aurobindo believed in and condoned a global political unity where personal freedom is ascendant. The USA and her trading states and allies form just that political entity.

I believe Aurobindo would condone the war in Iraq as part of the process of bringing that nation into the fold and prepearing for further work on other nations in the region.

The so called "reasons" for the war, which are the smaller surface texture, are important only inasmuch as they are stated to be in the cause of liberty.

In fact, there need be no other reason for intervention than the fact that Iraq was not a free-market democracy. All nations that are not that now will eventually need to be anyway, by peacful means or otherwise.

Rest easy on Iraq; it is the right and proper thing we are doing.

6/05/2007 09:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Bulletproof Monk said...

Forgive me if I post a bit off topic. A few days ago I offered the essay "River of Fire" to the community and it seemed to be received quite positively. For those who wish to read it the link is, again,

http://www.philthompson.net/pages/library/riveroffire.html

Some people, after reading it, commented that they were having significant difficulty reconciling the viewpoint presented in the article with their understanding of human freedom and will before God.

In the past few days I have therefore searched for the best way to answer, and found what I think is an appropriate essay addressing some of those very important core issues. The essay is called, "Beyond Justification: An Orthodox Perspective" by Valerie A. Karras.

http://www.stpaulsirvine.org/html/Justification.htm

It is not a "light" piece -- if you have not read much theology you may need to go to the dictionary a few times. But nor is it overly academic or dry, as it presents quite clearly many of the key issues that distinguish eastern from western theologies. I hope this will go some way towards answering the questions raised a few days ago.

6/05/2007 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

River and Karl - I'm glad you guys mentioned the gaff, because I was wondering why it kept showing up. Everything else in that amazon box seems to be related to recent searches I've done, and being female I'm really not looking for that type of apparel. I just spent fifteen minutes improving my amazon recommendations, but since you guys are seeing that item, too, I don't know if it'll help.

When all else fails, you can always refresh the page though.

6/05/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

BPM, my church, which is Protestant, does not find a conflict with Faith v. Works - it is said, "We are saved by grace, through faith, to works"? Paraphrase. I'm reading though, with great interest.

What struck me as interesting is how much my own home church dives back into the early church texts and writings to figure stuff out.

6/05/2007 10:04:00 AM  
Blogger PrincessSpirit said...

~ "Theres no Reality so Beloved By a Fool than His Own Narcissism." ~

G-BOB: LOVE your post today. The subject of Objectivity, How to develop it more in-depth & How Vital a Key Ingredient & Skill it is to constantly develop in order to Know O Transcendently is a sorely needed theme I hope you address more often in future posts.

This Post & yesterdays on Changing & Abiding themes Inspired a Prayer from the Princess' Pen:

+ OUR DAILY BLOG +

"Our B'ob (Fearless Leader),
Who Abideth in OneCosmos Heaven,
Hallowed Be Thy Blogging."

"Thy Wit + Wisdom Come,
Thy Blog-Bidding Be Done,
On Earth As It Is
In OC Heaven."

"Preach to Us Syncophants This Day
Our Daily Blog,
And Forgive Us Our Typose --
As We Forgive Those Trolls Who Typo & Transgress Against Our Blog, Daily."

"And Lead Us Not Into
Spiritual Suicide + Retardation,
But Deliver Us From Trolldumb, INTYgral Idjits, and the Evil Stoopidity of Leftyism."

"For Thyne Blog Is
The OneCosmos Kingdom,
The Vertical + Horizontal Power,
The Transcendent Truth & Glory,
Forever, and Ever,
+ Amen and Amen +

~ PrincessSpirit ~

Princess Pithyisms:
~ Dont Be Dhimmi-Witted !

~ You Can Lead a Fool to a Wise + Witty Blog, But You cannot make a Fool Read nor Appreciate Wisdom as Fools only appreciate Hisdumb.

~ Feed Ur Spirit, Starve Ur Troll.
~ Read GBobs Blog, Transcend Ur Troll.

~ A Troll is a Terrible Thing to Transcend... But an Orc is just a Terrible Thing. Never shirk Ur Duty to Kill an Orc onsite on-demand in Blogland -> And for O's-Sake Dont Dialogue w/the Varmint, either - We dont speak the same Spiritual Language. Regarding Trolls, Take Aim, but try to Teach-A-Troll first before you Hit the Enter Button & Fire Away.

~ Troll-Teaching, like Truth-Telling, is HardWork, but Someone has to Lead the Blind away from their navel-gazing cesspool self, out from PlatOs Dark Cave into WisdOhms Light. Odds arent in Favor of Blindmen finding Her --> Everyone Knows Men: 1) Hate to Buy a Map and 2) Wont Stop & Ask for Directions when Lost.

~ Eat A Fascist -> Save a Nation.
~ Eat An Orc -> Save a Blog.

~ Eat Wisdom -> Save Ur Sanity.
~ Teach Wisdom to Others -> Save the World One-Troll-atta-Time.

6/05/2007 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

The leftist notices the unavoidable fact that different people have different views of the monument. Therefore, the monument doesn't objectively exist. Furthermore, anyone's view of it is just as good or bad as anyone else's. As such, Truth is abolished and raw power rushes in to fill the void. The leftist always speaks power to Truth.Always. "

Petard. Hoist. You know the drill...

6/05/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger CrypticLife said...

The media is often guided by principles which de-emphasize the truth in service of sales or politics, often to the point where it becomes quite difficult to make valid comparisons. Most of the young today have no basis for comparison, and aren't aware of this deficiency (the lack of awareness of self-ignorance being more dangerous than the ignorance itself) due to the colored nature of the media reporting.

I do find it interesting how often mysticism coincides with politicism. I don't know if I'd call the historical revisionists moral relativists, though, if that's what you're implying. They seem to have rather absolute ideas of morality, but disagree with the causes of past events.

"If it had come out in 1943 that some German or Japanese soldiers had been mistreated in an American prison camp, I cannot believe that any American would have wasted two seconds thinking about it. "

Well, I can certainly imagine the Americans of German or Japanese descent may have thought about it. Certainly, at least the Japanese in internment camps themselves may have considered it.

6/05/2007 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

The whole thing turns on one's view of revelation, it seems to me.

Because really, without a proper understanding of revelation, the relativist can only rightly ask, "Which view is closest to the monument's being? How can we ever know?" My answer would be, "The monument's," of course, but a lot of people don't accept that answer anymore.

Funny thing, I was reading an old college journal I did for a class in which this question was posed. Comm theory or interpersonal communication or some-such pseudo-scientific class... Anyway, it was interesting to see how I grappled with it then. Pretty much came to an OC conclusion.

(Sorry, nothing clever here, but I never claimed to be erudite. :) Um, I have to go clean the bathrooms now.)

6/05/2007 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

"Thus, while the union between human and divine in Christ is qualitatively different (hypostatic as opposed to participatory) from that possible to us, Christ’s transfigured human nature, revealed to the disciples on Mt. Tabor, serves as the model for realizing our full potential as human beings created for communion with God and who, while remaining always creatures, may be transformed into "divine creatures"[86] through grace, that is, through union with God’s own energies."

Change... Growth.... Transfiguration!

6/05/2007 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Er, just to give credit whar its due,

that was from BPM's previously-linked Beyond Justification.

6/05/2007 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous joseph said...

arkutani,
Interesting comments. I am still awaiting the day when America will have free market, as that will be a glad day. Until that time, I dare say, waging war, for that reason alone, will prove utterly fruitless.

6/05/2007 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous waganupa said...

War is good; to be warlike is also good.

I urge raccoons to develop a pugilistic stance towards life.

I suggest that raccoons keep slingshots, spears, and bows in the home and use them in the backyard as these implements inculcate a warrior's mindset.

A handgun should be in each vehicle and a shotgun in each home.

Each home a fortress, each raccoon as soldier. Such is how it should be.

6/05/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

waganupa:

Never say "slingshot" to a raccoon!

wv:kimmuyp - (you can say that, however).

6/05/2007 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"I urge raccoons to develop a pugilistic stance towards life." (waganupa)

Raccoons are remotely related to 'roos - excuse me - kangaroos, so no problem.

6/05/2007 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

OK. Very remotely.

6/05/2007 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

OK. Not at all. Not even remotely.

6/05/2007 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>Now, because of the influence of the left, it is almost impossible for us to be as ruthless as we need to be in order to prevail in the struggle against our enemies<<

This why, I'm afraid, it's going to take a series of national traumas this time to stir the sleeping giant - even then, only a segment of the giant may be awakened. But that segment will, I expect, prove to be legendary.

Things do look dire at the moment with respect to national resolve, but it's amazing what a trauma, what really having your back pushed to the wall, can do. The people of whom you'd least expect a heroic response can and often do rise to the occasion.

6/05/2007 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

Happy to see the merry band of raccoons has carried on without my little local self, who has returned from four days of relocating
said self and all her worldly possessions. I've spent most of my morning time catching up on all the missed coonmuniques.

Couple of things stood out.
1.) [From GB's Sunday post, "Deep Change"]: Because, in my opinion, revelation is as close as we can get to an "objectification of O." I realize that some Christians are uncomfortable with this, but I do not reduce revelation solely to the Bible or to Christ -- the latter being another objectification of O, by the way. I won't get into the other revelations that I consider divinely authorized objectifications of O, but that's not important anyway. The point is to engage in the ceaselessly generative process of interior engagement with the sacred forms of revelation -- which we "light up" from within, and which in turn light us from within. The purpose is to change us. In depth. In turn, this "deep change" is sufficient proof of the reality of God. Whatever that is.

In between unpacking and placing stuff, I read a Scott Hahn book and have now finished the first 19 pages of Joseph Ratzinger's recently released book, Jesus of Nazareth, written during his time as Pope Benedict XVI; however, in his own words, the book "is in no way an exercise of the magisterium, but is solely an expression of my personal search 'for the face of the Lord' "

Not being familiar with Catholic orthodoxy, my hunch so far is he does not rely solely on Christ or Biblical revelations and will be exploring in time-space depth other revelations as they inform
the authenticity of his search.

1.) Today GB wrote: "A photograph is not just a literal translation but a transformation, as is perception itself. To perceive something is to transform an object in such a way that certain abstract coordinates and relationships are preserved, while others are distorted."

Excellent essay here on the nature of the transformation that
occurs outside the frame.

(And what happened to the familiar B&W photo of DL ?)

6/05/2007 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"The whole thing turns on one's view of revelation..." (Susannah)

It is also important for me to remember that it is not my experiences that judge revelation, but revelation that judges my experiences.

6/05/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

I might point out that prior to WW2, England was mired in a resolve-sapping pacifism that was generated mostly in the universities.

Yet with their backs against the wall, the RAF rose to the occasion in the Battle of Britain. Despite terrible losses, the Brit pilots turned back the Luftwaffe and probably saved England from invasion.

Worth noting that the Brit pilots were, for the most part, of the wealthy class, university-educated. You wouldn't have expected it, but . . . there it is.

6/05/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Was reading Cassandra's recent post, Tempting Fate, and she noted

"I still do this. I cannot imagine driving without music. If I’m alone in the car I’ll turn the volume up until I can feel guitar chords beating against my body, flying down a ribbon of highway surrounded by wind and sunlight and memories:"

Then I heard this:

Music is the remembrance the soul gives to the spirit of things, and of nothing. Like things it is wheels within wheels turning, whether they be notes, motifs, phrases, measures, cadences, strings, wind, records, discs, speakers, or the steps of a dance. But like nothing, music is, and has always been in the mind, and the soul is the measure of it, the heart the tester of it, and whether it is the mind or the disk that recalls the song, it is made to be remembered and not forgotten. And this is true, unlike a painting, every time a song is heard it must be remembered by both the player and the listener, and so music is above all things a remembrance.

6/05/2007 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

..."I cannot imagine driving without music. If I’m alone in the car I’ll turn the volume up until.......".

That experience registers high on my resonator meter. I'll do the same at home alone too. Not everyone shares the same enthusiasm, particularly when it develops into "car singing" and you are not in charge of the selection. One such incident a few years ago cured me of my resistance.

I was trapped for 10 days in a van with 10 Aussies, 30 years younger than me, singing songs I'd never heard of while touring Turkey.

By Day 10 I knew all the words to Groove Armada's "I See You Baby - shakin' that ass - shakin' that ass - shakin' that ass" *and* I had overcome all my active *and* latent anal retentiveness.

I actually bought Groove's CD when I got home to commemorate valuable memories.

6/05/2007 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

It is also important for me to remember that it is not my experiences that judge revelation, but revelation that judges my experiences.


Amen!

I do believe in a subjective form of revelation (not sure what else to call it)...I'm just not so sure one can make that normative for everybody else.

6/05/2007 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger MizzE said...

To punctuate Will's earlier observations:

“No people may be held in thrall forever. The machinery of propaganda may pack their minds with falsehood and deny them truth for many generations of time, but the soul of man thus held in trance, or frozen in a long night, can be awakened by a spark coming from God knows where, and in a moment the whole structure of lies and oppression is on trial for its life.”

Winston Churchill, 1949

6/05/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

I've just been listening to Hugh Hewitt moderate Christopher Hitchens and Mark D. Roberts in The Great God Debate. I'm sure they will have link to a transcript posted on Hewitt's blog soon. Hitchens In insufferable. It's incredible the intellectual lengths that a man like Hitch will go to to convince himself of the non existence of something that he didn't want to believe in in the first place. He's actually kind of pathetic. The man drips fear. You can just feel it over the radio. Mark D. Roberts is too nice. The transcript should make good reading.

Oh- you know how we got stuck with the Gaff? Those ads are selected by a computer program that picks up key words from the titles. The gaff thing showed up when Bob had several posts with "Change" as part of the title. The same thing happens on another board that I post on. I've seen the titles of posts about toy robots unintentionally generate ads for the kinkiest stuff imaginable.
Oh- here's a thought I had for a possible guest post. We have three very bright lights in Dilys, Susannah, and Sal. Interesting that three women represent an Orthodox perspective, an Evangelical perspective, and a Roman Catholic perspective. I'd like to hear them discuss a point on which their respective faiths would offer contrasting points of view.

JWM

6/05/2007 06:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting that you should refer to Joyce and history. To my mind his writings (especially Finnegans Wake)were effectively a wake in "celebration" of a "culture" that was already in ruins---a "culture" that was already spiritually bankrupt.

What is history anyhow? Isnt it a narrative or story of how things in the present moment came to be.
Different cultures have different narratives. Creation stories are the original "historical" narratives. There are/were thousands of such creation stories all of which were very real to those whose lives were shaped by or embedded within them.

In my part of the world (Australia)the history wars have been very much a part of the culture wars in general.
I suppose it is the same in the USA.

In recent years in my part of the world those on the "right" have been systematically campaigning, and legislating, for there to be only one officially acceptable narrative or history for everyone to accept. White anglo-saxon protestants and "free" markets rule OK.

There has also been a concerted effort to abolish any sympathy or even recognition of the incredible multi-dimensional meta-narratives of the "dreamtime" of the so called "aborigines" who have been here for over 40,000 years.
They are just primitive savages who need a steady job and a good bath. That will straighten them out.

One of our formative myths celebrates an unmitigated military disaster as something to be proud of.

6/05/2007 06:11:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Hmm. I don't mean to get personal, but what do you have against bathing and gainful employment?

6/05/2007 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MIZZE:

This is the house that funk built!

ANONYMUNCH:

If you're referring to the Last Stand of Leonidas or something similar: it mystifies me how people so devoted to idealism in every facet of their lives can dismiss the "wrong" form of idealism so easily. A couple thousand men went to battle for the sake of one good idea, knowing full well that they'd probably lose, and you don't find that kind of devotion to a cause inspiring?

6/05/2007 06:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no, you mean Gallipoli. Well, if you can't accept that there was anything to be proud of there - like devotion to a country or a cause - then I really can't help you.

6/05/2007 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Just sharing here; thought this story is the sort of news that
Raccoons like.

6/05/2007 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"One of the most horrific consequences of leftist thought insinuating itself into our discourse it that it prevents one from speaking simple moral truths. It undermines everything -- not just morality, but even the ability to speak about morality. I believe this is because, following Descartes, it elevates our capacity to doubt to the highest wisdom."

Doubt chews & worries at whatever it is directed at, shorn of anchor and stars, it's guided by the tangible immediacy of wind and wave alone, it's uncomfortable when not eating and so eats ravenously of all beliefs and truths, sound and fury signifying nothing, direction and purpose consumed.

Something about what primarily directs eftist thought is a sort of mirror opposite of the 800 lbs gorilla in the room... rather than ignoring a truth (though obviously it is doing that azzzzz well), it primarily manufactures an effigy of straw and shiny baubles, pretends it IS an 800 lbs gorilla, and demands that all who enter the room pay fearful deference to it and the crises it represents, unaware of the real gorilla glaring at their back.

Globabble warming-cooling-droughting-raining, underfunded schools-welfare-workerReeducation-alternativeEnergy-theArts-healthCare and on and yawn and yawn. They bow theatrically to their straw gorillas, their backs exposed to growing anarchy, immorality, intentional weakness - steady nourishment to malevolent evils rousing all around them, and us.

The lefties gorilla is always something that can be objectified, seen and measured (at least in some distorted fashion - 'look at that iceberg breaking apart! Shocking!'), while the Truth is merely a principle, a moral, an ideal that can be discussed, but not displayed - 'That's according to you, it can't be proven!', and should you prove it, it will be objectified, squashed and discarded 'War is Just?! Look at that injured child, is that Just?! Ogre!'(zzz).

Urgency, Quantity & emotional potency, become the gauges for action and fervancy, not what is Right, Good and True... without Morality, Impressions are far more impressive and persuasive than understanding those become merely quaint and tied to the True/Ignored 800 lbs gorilla in the room.

Until the real 800 lbs Gorrilla rouses and smashes the straw gorilla about their heads - then real danger, not feigned concern becomes inescapable and draws their attention once again. Perhaps in time to thwart it - perhaps not.

Rudyard Kiplings Gods of the copybook headings" comes to mind again:
"...
Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.
..."

6/05/2007 07:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Kali's Child said...

History is a dream, the dream of reason. As long as man believes in this dream and seeks to acquire a solid fixed historical identity, he remains unconscious of the fact that he is a bridge between the cosmic realms of heaven, and of earth.

Finnegan's Wake appeared in that fateful year of 1939. It was the last epic in European literature. Written in a language of great desnity and obscurity it was a symbolic return of European consciousness to the primal ground of dreams and chaos. Joyce novel is/was a reflection of the cycle of development of the entire human race. Joyce presented the myth of history as a dream.

In it (the dream) all that seemed so solid and real shifts and changes, transformed in a magical shimmering of words and forms that have no base and endure only so long as there is a collective desire for them to endure. It was a "revelation" that all of this world, its houses, peoples, armies, governments, loves, and warring intrigues, has no other ground but the playful urge of a creative force whose existence, fear based reason, cannot admit, and in any case would find impossible to understand.

Howth Castle represents the mandalic fortress surrounding the primal being at the very centre of consciousness, a being that transcends history. In its creative destruction of the rational (rational lies), Finnegan's Wake is/was the pure psychic complement to the unspeakable outrage of the second world war and its precursor WW1.

The epic as a whole is literally a Book of the Dead, a passage of rite through the realms of consciousness repressed by the centuries-long dominion of technical prowess. In a stroke the entire left brained literay intellectual tradition of modern times was parodied, surpassed and laid to rest.

Once Finnegan's Wake had been achieved, Europe could descend to the depths of collective unreason. The European epic from the wars of Homer to the wars of Hitler had come full circle: zero point had been reached.

European culture was completely shattered and exhausted. The atomic bomb was a dramatic "symbol" of that "smithereening" and disintegration of European consciousness, which includes the USA.

6/05/2007 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin dupree said...

Good rant. I'll buy much of that, but more detail is needed. I should get Bob to do a full post on on the Wake... Maybe on Bloomsday... it's coming up in a few days.

6/05/2007 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph,
I think we've had this conversation before, so I won't go into the details of my thoughts about any Free or semi-free nation having a perfect right to overthrow a threatening dictatorship at anytime they feel it worth their while in doing so.

I guess my question to you, is what do you think is unjustified about the Iraq war? Not the tactics used, which I've got numerous disagreements with, but how is 911 awakening us to the potential danger to us of the existence of any nation which supports terrorism, not plainly justification in and of itself for War?

Personally I think that the idea of 'Just War' is folly itself. Like most things touted by lefties (not to say that there aren't plenty of righties supporting it as well), it gives an unwarranted benefit to those who have no claim to it - other than what they can manufacture from their opponents (us) own sense of Right and Wrong.

In my book, the Geneva convention - out. UN - out. Just War - out.
Property Rights - in. Individual Rights - in. Peaceful trade - in. Strong self defense - in.
Violating either is to beg your invasion. Spreading such violations outside your borders, a garauntee of death and destruction. That is the justification for War. The only Just guidlines for the severity of its prosecution, rest entirely with the cost/benefit estimation of the wronged and avenging parties judgement, their own safety and prosperity being of paramount concern.

6/05/2007 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

From the article Walt linked to:
"The woman sitting in front of us was very upset and asked me how I could just sit there reading," Katie Hayden said. "Bob's been shot at. He's been stabbed. He's taken knives away. He knows how to handle those situations. I figured he would go up there and step on somebody's neck, and that would be the end of it. I knew how that situation would end. I didn't know how the book would end."

FWIW, I like JWM's idea for a three-way discussion amongst the Haremetical Research Group.

6/05/2007 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of baths and cleanliness I quite like the example of the outrageous Realizer Zipruanna who used to humorously sit on piles of garbage and excrement.
He especially used such theatrics to shock us Christian whitey's who are pathologically uncomfortable with bodily processes---or shit, piss and fuck.

Meanwhile I do like to have a regular shower.

Re Gallipoli. The poor smucks that perished there and in the "great" war were suckers. Conned by the the imperialistic jingoism of the times---literally nievely innocent lambs marching of to the great adventure of mass slaughter in the manifested hell realms and charnel fields of Europe.

There was a very popular movement against conscription for the war lead by a highly respected Catholic Bishop who later became a Cardinal.

Our current government has systematically militarised the content of Australian history. It has quite literally pressured all the state government Education Departments into accepting this version of history. It is also the case with the large private school sector. No carrots--just the blatant use of the stick. Include this material or we will with-hold and/or cut various other subsidies and grants from you.

We seem to be in the midst of a collective, government and right-wing media created, nostalgia for the "good times" of the war years. It could even be said that we, via our government, are invoking the next war to provide us with some collective "meanings" that we can all participate in and celebrate when it is all over and life gets back to normal.

6/05/2007 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

aninnymoise said...

"Our current government has systematically militarised the content of Australian history. It has quite literally pressured all the state government Education Departments into accepting this version of history."

and

"There has also been a concerted effort to abolish any sympathy or even recognition of the incredible multi-dimensional meta-narratives of the "dreamtime" of the so called "aborigines" who have been here for over 40,000 years."

If you don't see the value of 2,500 years of Western Civilization over 40,000 years of aboriginal dream time... is there something preventing you from leaving your computer and just wander off into the outback?

I sure hope not.

6/05/2007 07:58:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Van said:
FWIW, I like JWM's idea for a three-way discussion amongst the Haremetical Research Group.


Van, that pun is gonna' get you in trouble.

Me? I'm gonna' watch.
;)


wv:lxcrail One day wv too shall pass.

JWM

6/05/2007 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Interestingly, it seems that the Orthodox perspective on justification/sanctification is the most existential, I.E, if you are justified and sanctified, you will have something to show for it. That is, "I will show you my faith by my works."

Of course, it appears to be the 'most' everything, including mystical. Guess its had a lot of time to grow.

So the question is, 40,000 years of dream time, right? And what do they have to show for it?

Well?

It is a perfectly valid question, which will in time be asked of everyone.

Speaking of baths and cleanliness I quite like the example of the outrageous Realizer Zipruanna who used to humorously sit on piles of garbage and excrement.
He especially used such theatrics to shock us Christian whitey's who are pathologically uncomfortable with bodily processes---or shit, piss and fuck.


Well, unsurprisingly, doing those things in public places aids the spread of disease.

Really, I don't need to see you naked. No, I'm serious.

Anyway, so you're admitting to being repressed? Geez. I have to tell you, having watched what is commonly available on the 'net, plus having read a good deal and watched a good amount of TV has pretty much cured me of 'repression'. I've pretty much seen it all and decided that some of it doesn't belong in public.

But look, if you want to go out and crap in the woods, be my guest. It's free, for now.

6/05/2007 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Van,

He's already told us he admires a man who sits on piles of shit. More than I needed to know.

My only question at this point is: how the hell do people like this get here? They dump these completely inconguous posts here, apparently without having the foggiest idea of what this blog represents.

6/05/2007 09:11:00 PM  
Anonymous alice springs said...

The aborigines enjoy a very different consciousness from ours. It's worthwhile to study them and see if some of what they see and think can rub off on us.

I'm curious to feel some of that "dreamtime."

6/05/2007 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous joseph said...

Van,
I think you misunderstand my question. I did not say I find the Iraq War to be intrinsically unjust. As I mentioned, I have been reading about Catholic just war theory (and I assure you, these are not leftists). According to this tradition, the Iraq War does not, to me, appear to be just. Now since I am neither Catholic nor Christian, I am not obliged to adhere to it, but I am finding it interesting to think about and examine. I have been astonished, for example, at how opposed the Pope was to the war. I was simply curious if Bob had seen these theories and what he thought of them, and if he believed an appeal to them served any purpose in our world today.

6/05/2007 09:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Joseph said "I assure you, these are not leftists".

As a Catholic, I would beg to differ. The same virus that has effected much of western civilization has not left those in the Church untouched. Frankly, most priests I know fall into the left wing mold (to say nothing of our bishops in the US).

Reading your note, I had to go review for myself...

Just War Doctrine

I was interested the fact that the doctrine, if read literally, would never allow one nation to attack another to free the second nation's people from tyranny. However, in the broader note above about the moral aspects of the use of force, we most certainly can use force.

If we use an analogy, we could not break into someone's house to save the children from their abusive parents. Somehow, this doctrine would appear to be infused with the same magical thinking about a nation's borders and right to exist being above the moral order of the world (sounds like UN-think, huh!?) However, if we look at "community of nations" to include the Iraq in this case, then our attack is purely defensive.

So is the magical national boundary above moral law?

6/05/2007 11:40:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"He especially used such theatrics to shock us Christian whitey's who are pathologically uncomfortable with bodily processes---or shit, piss and fuck."

Reminds me of Matthew Fox, who always seemed to have some sort of fundamental problem with modern plumbing.

The closest we got to our own crap, he complained in one book, was a backward glance in the toilet before the flush.

Me, I call that progress.

Then again, I probably get crap on my hands multiple times a day. Only men who never change diapers, clean up potty accidents, or scrub toilets could complain that Western Christians are "scared" of crap. Wooooooo! Scary!

Crybabies.

I LOVE the wife's attitude in the article! That was great!

6/06/2007 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Looks like my link didn't work, but the syncretist dude is google-able.

6/06/2007 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Van and Susannah -

Yes! What the wife said was the "money quote!" And after posting an excerpt on The Anchoress blog-site, she commented, "I just love these stories about manly men!

6/06/2007 03:59:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hmm, now this is just my opinion, but Just War theory always seemed like bunk to me. To my mind, war is victory through strategy. You fight fair unless your opponent does not, then you may use anything, including The Secret Art Of War.

This is to say, war is universally present and requires the victory of the best. To me it is tied inextricably with the State which I have residence in, in this case, the USA. I don't believe in any kind of world organization that is tighter than a federation or agreement, simply because I have not seen any that combines representation with responsibility.

They say, "all is fair in Love and War." Yes, but not all is wise in love and war.

6/06/2007 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph said "...I have been reading about Catholic just war theory (and I assure you, these are not leftists). According to this tradition, the Iraq War does not, to me, appear to be just."

As Alan said, "...if read literally, would never allow one nation to attack another to free the second nation's people from tyranny.", but since it began, we've been following its tenets every step of the way - which is why its still going on in the way that it is.

There's a book by Mickael Walzer called 'Just and Unjust Wars', in it he says things like a soldier 'can only shoot if he has a reasonably clear shot; he can only attack if direct attack is possible... Simply not to intend the death of civilians is too easy... if saving civilian lives means risking soldiers lives the risk must be accepted' and that book is used as an ethics textbook at West Point. Just awful.

Sounds like a decent plan for police SWAT teams to follow - but not the military. That and the whole idea of 'proportional response', as a guiding policy, I utterly reject. Anything that unnecessarily puts our soldiers in jeopardy, that serves in fact to extend a war 'nicely', as opposed to ending it bluntly, I think that is morally wrong - not surprisingly, most 'Just War' theorists hold that using the atom bombs on Japan to end WWII, was immoral. Similarly for Sherman's march through the south to end the Civil War. Nevermind that both brought their wars to swift closes, they weren't nicely proportional to the enemies ability to respond. B.S.

Also, I've got to go with Alan on the resemblance of many if not most Catholic priests (and on up) being left leaning, if not outright tipping over; and it is not surprising, since the Catholic Church has always been among the most learned, that means that they've imbibed the roots of leftist thought from its source in academonia. Truth to tell, that goes for most Republicans as well, there is a reason why the republican upper ranks are not very conservative, why Bush is pursuing the Iraq war on the Just War motif - they all got their ideas from the same sources.

BTW, and I should say that I haven't done more than read the book mentioned above,and a few articles on Just War, and that a while back, but doesn't Just War theory have its roots in some interpretations of Augistines writings on what was a propper basis for self defence? For individuals, not nations (such as they were then)? I'll have to take another look, it would follow from the SOP of that mode of thought which is the source of leftist thinking, context dropping and equivocation.

6/06/2007 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Susannah said "Then again, I probably get crap on my hands multiple times a day. Only men who never change diapers, clean up potty accidents, or scrub toilets could complain that Western Christians are "scared" of crap. Wooooooo! Scary!"

Lol. One of the strangest transformations to happen on becoming a parent, was going from my normal reaction of recoiling from boogers and poop, to reaching towards it!

6/06/2007 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

I checked out the Anchoress' post, which led me to this post. I have the same affection she describes. :)

I loved the last comment to that post. The fact is, a woman has to *be* the kind a man wants to protect, by respecting and honoring her man for who he is.

6/06/2007 06:03:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

>>The aborigines enjoy a very different consciousness from ours<<

And we enjoy one very different from theirs.

Eventually, of course, we will again possess "dreamtime" consciousness - I think that's what the quickening is all about, actually. It should be understood, however, that we had to lose the aboriginal consciousness of nature so that we could transcend herd consciousness and be individualized.

This is how we will differ from aboriginal peoples - we will possess dreamtime consciousnes and at the same time be individualized in a way that they are not.

6/06/2007 06:24:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

RE ‘unjust war’,

If you are calling what we are doing in Iraq (today) a war, then I believe that is a mistake.

There is the War on Terror - which really began when the terrorists declared war on us. Their attacks began well before 9/11. 9/11 was the one that woke enough of us up to actually do something about them. I remember clearly our President stating shortly after 9/11 that we would go after states harboring or sponsoring terrorism. The terrorists can’t do what they wish to accomplish without lots of money and a place to plan, train and prepare.

When we entered Iraq it was to remove Saddam. Our action may translate as a battle or mission within the overall War on Terror. He was removed, that mission was accomplished.

What we are doing there now certainly involves fighting but no more different, in general terms, than simply protecting those who can’t protect themselves.

The fact that the terrorists are drawn from around the world to this area, because they realize as they should that is a critical fight in the War on Terror, is to our advantage in the War on Terror. The innocent caught between the cross fire deserve our protection and they are getting it as best we can provide it.

You may ask then, “Why Iraq and not the others ‘states’?” I say we only have the capability to do so much. Iraq made the most sense strategically and also realistically at the time. The others in due time, either by the force or deterrent of a greater ‘coalition of the willing’ – with which, hopefully, Iraq will strengthen enough to join soon, or simply by us alone one state at a time as long as we have the will to continue until democracy is in every state.

I can’t remember if it was Will or Walt or someone else here who said to the effect, ‘It doesn’t matter if you believe there is a global Jihad, because ‘they’ believe it.’

6/06/2007 07:01:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

I mentioned this the other day, but Bill Whittle's discussion of the Prisoner's Dilemma over at Eject3 is very relevant to what's being discussed here.

The bottom line is that, by not adopting an eye for an eye approach, at least more often than not, betrayal (i.e. dishonesty plus self-interest) as a strategy is automatically promoted. This jibes with the Broken Window theory and with Rudy's success in NYC. It suggests that tit-for-tat is just part of the horizontal landscape and is ignored at our own risk.

By implication, to tolerate Saddam's chronic betrayal of international law on multiple levels -- daily attacks on our planes, funding terrorist attacks on our sworn ally, training and harboring international terrorists, turning the UN into his own savings and loan, really on and on and not even going into multiple uses of WMD and continuing efforts to develop them -- would have been suicidally stupid from the standpoint of attempting to promote some workable level of international order. We still may not succeed in doing that, but to sit back and not try would have been unconscionable and very dangerous.

Meanwhile, Joseph, I see no conflict between what Bob was saying and colonialism which, besides being military and economic, involved an unprecedented effort to elevate those who were seen as less fortunate and had not yet discovered the cultural keys to the kingdom that had accrued in the West -- unless of course spending all day trying to ward off the sun in the Outback and dreaming of finding a good nest of insects to eat is your idea of paradise.

As for Ghandi, implying some spiritualism by mentioning him alongside Aurobindo seems to me to be a good example of revisionist history. Ghandi was a political exotic, one of who's favorite books was "Constipation and Our Civiliation." He was convinced that evil was a product of dirt and bad food and was only able to accomplish what he did because British liberalism.

We are now, by the way, seeing the fruits of the British colonial rule of India, which is that they are kicking butt economically, having finally given up the leftist dream that held them back for so long.

6/06/2007 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ricky,
Tactically (of which I'm no expert whatsoever), I see Iraq and our position there as being similar to Normandy... or maybe Italy would be a better example with Sadam subbing for Musolini. He had to go. Period. As with Italy in WWII, it was less a War, than a battle in the extended War. The Iraqi land is useful as for us as a base in the area for us from which to stand or strike from as needed, and with that in mind, Syria & Iran need to be the next to be focused upon.

BTW, "one state at a time as long as we have the will to continue until democracy is in every state." I know you know the difference, but Democracy itself is no garauntor of freedom, it needs to be some form of a constitutional republic with the rule of Law protecting Individual Rights at it's core. Without that, it's just ritualized mobbery. And personally, I have little confidence that they will create or implement such a gov't on their own. We need to decide, with our own long term best interests in mind, whether it's to our advantage to let them try and fail on their own, or impose it ala the Japan & German model until they get the hang of it.

Maineman, I was thinking of E3's Prisoners dilemma as well. Until the people of that area alter how they speak and act, we need to respond directly and forcefully. As long as mooqi al sadr can speak as he does (not to mention ahminyjihad in Iran) against the west, he is the skulking equivalent of broken windows and spraypaint. If we respond passively instead of tit for tat, there'll be no end in sight.

6/06/2007 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

River Cocytus's comment at 6/06/2007 05:12:00 AM - Yep

6/06/2007 08:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

Maineman,
I mention Ghandi next to Aurobindo because a)he is universally recognized as a "saintly" man in India, b) he was greatly, with small reserve, admired by Schuon, but c)he fought, as did Aurobindo--which was actually my main point--for Indian independence. Since clearly, Aurobindo was a "seer", it strikes me as somewhat at odds with the overall thesis of the book Bob is referring to, for Aurobindo to have worked for Indian independence. Hence my question.
There always seems to be a suspicion of some kind of agenda when certain questions are posed here. What I really value in Bob is his incredible insight. He is constantly challenging my assumptions, which, though painful at times, is a spiritual blessing. So, when I ask a question, it is not to provoke an argument, but to read Bob's answer.

6/06/2007 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

The whole point of the Prisoner's Dilemma is, is that as long as we live in a world where people DO screw each other over, we must operate with a tit-for-tat mindset. It isn't that we LOVE the tit-for-tat mindset, but that we know that it is in reality best in the long-run. Plus, since we kind of 'live in a fog of error' people are bound to fall into error just out of their fallenness; tit for tat arranges an automatic system of communicating truth or at least boundaries.

6/06/2007 09:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if I've invented the term or if it already existed, but I like to refer to what we do as "torturing in self defense".

Just as killing someone in self defense is not considered murder "torturing someone in self defense" should not hold the same immoral connotations as torture that is performed with the purpose of doing more harm to innocent people rather than our brand of torture which is done to protect innocent people.

6/06/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph said "...So, when I ask a question, it is not to provoke an argument, but to read Bob's answer."

For my part, I didn't think you did Joseph - we usually see things just a bit off from each other, which I also find "challenging my assumptions..." and which is why I always enjoy seeing your nic pop in. I pretty much always get something out of the exchange.

(hope you don't mind wading through my replies too much!
;-)
)

6/06/2007 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Sorry if I came across as cantankerous, Josef. You're right that I thought you were putting forth an underlying assumption that British Colonialism was strictly bad rather than the mixed, imperfect bag that it was. I'm just so used to hearing it. And I do appreciate your clarification.

As you can tell, I do see Gandhi as given too much credit for what was really the British decision to begin dismanteling the empire, essentially an expression of unwillingness to be as ruthlessly controlling of others as would have been necessary.

The civil rights movement here is a similar case. It was a national change of consciousness, not something that was forced upon us by a heroic minister. And it was an unprecedented evolution of awareness and intent that we should all feel proud of and be credited with. Yet the current zeitgeist about civil rights remains one of warmed over recriminations on one side and white guilt on the other.

6/06/2007 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous joseph said...

Van,
I always enjoy and value your responses, even when they are wrong:)

Maineman,
Not at all. My weird logical method is to argue both sides of a question until I am blue in the face, or until I find one side more convincing. Obviously, I even get cantankerous with myself.

6/06/2007 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

joseph said... "Van, I always enjoy and value your responses, even when they are wrong:)"

LOL! WEll Said Joseph, well said!

;-)

6/06/2007 06:04:00 PM  

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