Saturday, June 02, 2007

There's No Substitute for Death

Greetings, denizens of One Cosmos, readers of the B’ob, virtue mavens, spiritual pilgrims, cool kits & cataphatic coons. I am the entity and frequent O.C. comment poster known to you as “Will." While Bob is taking some time off to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a male exotic dancer, I will be your substitute teacher.

Remember your substitute teachers from grade school? Remember that uncomfortable silence that fell upon the classroom like a cold mist when you realized that this *stranger*, this wholly unknown property, was at the helm? It seemed as if you had just gotten yourself to the point that you had made a rough peace with the ghastly idea of even having to attend school. You had learned what to avoid, how far to push, when to back off, when to attack. In fact, there was a comfortable familiarity with the predictable routine of shambling into class each morning. That gnawing fear that had lodged itself in your solar plexus like a glowing bar of plutonium had finally retreated. Why, going to school was almost fun!

And then... substitute teacher. The fear, the stomach-contracting paranoia, came flooding back. It was almost like the first day of school all over again. Well, that’s our situation now, isn’t it? Sure, I can empathize with your existential discomfort, but let me ask you something: did you ever once ask yourself what it was like for the substitute teacher? Did you ever once try to rise above your narrow and narcissistic self-regard to contemplate the fact that this was equally unknown terrortory for the substitute teacher? Well, DID YOU, you little brats? Hmm?

Well, I certainly didn’t. Which is why, in the time-honored manner of the grade school bad-boy miscreant who grows up to be a cop, I’m going to assume the role of Mister Iron Fist. Boys will sit on the east side of the classroom, girls to the east, please. No talking, no fidgeting, eyes straight ahead. Lisa, that attire is entirely inappropriate for class, go home, change, then you may return. A little more cleavage, please. Just kidding. Not really. I didn't say that. Bob, shut up! Speaking of inappropriate attire, get back to your exotic dancing. "Y-M-C-A, it's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A!"

Anyway: this naturally raises the subject of *change*, of metamorphosis (and don’t expect me to riff away with Bob’s jazz-like fluidity and panache). That change is a necessary part of life is a tired cliché, yet it would seem that never before has the obligation of acclimating oneself to and integrating change been more paramount than it is at present.

I sometimes reflect upon what seems to us to have been the essential *changeless-ness* of life prior to the last three centuries or so. One apparently led one’s life in the leisurely, stately rhythm of the procession of seasons. Hunt, farm, warm yourself by a fire at night, wear furs in the winter, etc. etc. Aside from falling off a cliff, the fastest a human could travel was on the back of a horse. Most never ventured 30 miles from where they were born. Basically, this was your life, day after day, year after year, century after century. And it would always be.

What is it then about our human organism, the human neurological system, that managed to adjust to this incredibly fast-paced manner in which we moderns live? It would seem that three centuries is scarcely enough time for the human brain to develop a processing capacity that could absorb what some would say is the unnatural change-flow that we humans have to negotiate.

Well, perhaps the truth is that nothing has changed regarding the human capacity to absorb change. What’s the greatest change we can experience? I think it would probably be death, wouldn’t you? Nothing like shuttling off the old mortal coil to make one marvel at just how changeable things can really be. Death: Prince of Changes. In this respect, the premoderns were certainly more acquainted with change than we moderns are. Death was a ubiquitous side-by-side companion for them in a way that it is not for most of us modern Westerners. Death in childbirth, death by disease, constant tribal warfare, etc. –- you were lucky if you reached the stoop-backed, gnarly age of 40, which was the old 70.

Q: So it’s good that we aren’t acquainted with that kind of traumatic change, isn’t it, Will?

Will: Not necessarily. Being exposed to death -- having to live under the constant threat of death -- can teach us much about the transience of physical life and about the always urgent need to be present and aware; it compels us to ponder the great ontological questions.

Q: Ah, so it’s a bad thing that we live in an age where death does not play such a prime role in our quotidian lives?

Will: What kind of barmy calliope music do you have rattling around your vacant braincase? Who would want to live with death as the nutty next-door neighbor who’s always popping in unannounced?

Here’s something else to consider: while we must change in order to grow, we moderns have the luxury, indeed, the individuality and self-autonomy, to consciously and creatively shape the changes we must experience, in a way the premoderns did not. You might say that you can arrange your own birth -- which is to say, death.

Of course, we always have the option of resisting change, in which case change will be forced upon us. Don’t like leaving the house to go about the untidy business of engaging the world? That’s a good recipe for being trapped in a house fire. Avoided eating sardines all your life because, well, they just looked icky? Well, you might just find yourself at a reception thrown by your fiancé’s beastly mother and, er, all there is to eat are sardine canapés, and, umm, you’re just so hungry you’ll pass out if you don’t eat something, and...

True, that was a bit of a lame example, but it could happen. Anyway, I'm sure you get the idea. Change is growth. What marks us as creatures unlike any other on earth is our divine capacity to consciously change ourselves, to grow, to expand and deepen our psychic horizons, our very consciousness. To what extent are we capable of growing? Well, a certain Someone once brazenly pointed out that we are “gods in the making." This is another way of saying that you must eat the sardine before circumstances force sardines upon you. "Sardine." "Sar-deen." "sar-DEEN." What a strange word for a miniature fish....

So knowing what we do about the necessity of change, why do we have a tendency to resist change, including Bob's odd and irrelevant insertions into my original pristine text? Obviously, change is uncomfortable, at least in its initial stages. We feel ourselves vulnerable when in new, unknown territory. Don’t ever underestimate the power that vulnerability can cast over the soul. We all know people who would rather continue living in miserable conditions than leave the familiarity of those conditions and face the uncertainty that comes with change. Remember, too, that change and growth imply entering new arenas of intimidating personal responsibility.

We might ask, why are we so comfortable with the familiar when we are indeed designed by God to change and grow? I think the human soul has a natural pull toward an ultimate rest, or stasis. There is a name for this ultimate stasis and rest: heaven. The comfort of familiarity to which we cling can all too often be an ersatz heaven. As we all know, the greatest of human follies is the desire to construct an earthly heaven. It is not only leftists, fellow-travelers, and fallow trivialers who go about the idiotic business of trying to establish earthly heavens. In a certain sense, we all do that when we resist the changes necessary for our spiritual growth, opting instead for the ersatz heaven of familiarity.

What does all of this imply? Well, basically this: earthly life is not supposed to be all that comfortable, and expecting it to be is a fantasy. The search for divine stasis and ultimate rest in this life will always be in vain. We must always be as accepting of and open to change as we can. The saints did not and do not spend their lives looking for divine stasis, as many would believe. Those who are familiar with the lives of the great saints know that theirs' was anything but a comfortable life -- that in fact, their lives were filled with incredible hardship and challenge. Their lives may have been cloistered in one sense, but they were always setting foot in unknown lands. In some ways, we might define a saint as someone who is wholly open to change.

We should know, however, that the best way –- the only way, really –- to prevent the coming changes from overwhelming us is to always keep a soul’s I on that which does not change: the immutable, the Eternal. In a sense, all of Creation is governed by two principles: that which does not change (the One) and that which is always changing (the Many) –- and the One interpenetrates the Many. Change without knowledge of the One is meaningless. But only absolutely.

So now after my little soliloquy about change and the necessity thereof, I’m sure you are all a tad more accepting of me as your substitute teacher, no?

No?

Very well.

Van, I see you passing a note to Joan back there. You want to read that note out loud to the class?

By the way, I’ve noticed that the blog Eject! Eject! Eject! is proposing an online community of virtue-minded citizens. When I read this, I thought, what a great idea! In fact, I thought it was a great idea when I first encountered the reality of it here in One Cosmos.

93 Comments:

Blogger Smoov said...

I had a hall pass! Honest. Also the dog ate my homework.

I'd like more on the change theme please, Teach.

6/02/2007 07:59:00 AM  
Anonymous debass said...

Thanks for the early morning laugh. You brought back some funny memories. Back in high school (in the previous century), when we had a substitute band director, we would switch intsruments. He never did figure out why the band didn't sound good.

6/02/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

I don't have any spare change, Smoov! Why don't you just get a job at Subway or something?

Hippie.

But all seriousness aside - change is good. Except what it's not. Just make sure that when it's time to change, YOU do the crafting, consciously and with cunning care. Capiche?

6/02/2007 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Will -

Re: Bob's dancing.
Please provide the You Tube link as soon as it's available.

6/02/2007 08:29:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

debass - and who, pray, were you really hurting with your little switch-the-intruments stunt?

(heavy sigh)

It's not that you let me down, debass - - it's that you let YOURSELF down.

6/02/2007 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

(Do you think he's dangerous?)

"Van, I see you passing a note to Joan back there. You want to read that note out loud to the class?"

(arghh) ahem...'Joan, I drew this dinosaur for you. If you want more, just ask'

(this is so embarrasing)

6/02/2007 08:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"When I read this, I thought, what a great idea! In fact, I thought it was a great idea when I first encountered the reality of it here in One Cosmos. "

As with JWM's comment about Ben yesterday... so did I.

Time to go again. Changes. Graduations. Birthday's. Stuff happens.

6/02/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Walt, that thing about Bob's exotic dancing - well, he doesn't want me to tell you this, but that's a sham, a cover story on his part. He's embarrassed to tell you what his real passion is:

He wants to be a rodeo clown.

And I think we should all support him. So c'mon, folks, let's let Bob know there's nothing shameful at all about being a rodeo clown.

6/02/2007 08:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am confused. Is Will a separate physical unit or is he an alter ego/mind parasite/demon or whatever like Cousin Dupree and Petey?

6/02/2007 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, but the world's first exotic rodeo clown!

6/02/2007 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Van, since you seem to like dinosaurs so much, why don't you just write me a liitle, oh say, 20 page paper on the grazing habits of the stegosaurus, with footnotes and a bibliography, and have it on my desk tomorrow morning?

6/02/2007 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

anonymous - check back, say, on a year's worth of comments by "Will".

Either Will is a separate entity or Bob's in a lot more trouble than we thought.

6/02/2007 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Hmmm....I just had a thought of a rodeo with Coons as the riders, our own past coon selves as the horses/bulls, and Bob as the clown.

Poor trolls are in trouble because they don't even realize there is a higher self to ride themselves.

Good job Will - here's an apple. Given that Bob is still in the class, that would make you more of a student teacher than a substitute.

6/02/2007 08:54:00 AM  
Anonymous unanimous said...

Anonymous? confused?
Heh!
Spitball to the back of the head!

6/02/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Alan - we don't say "Coon", we say "Raccoon". Get with the program, please.

And unless that apple is stuffed with insider trading stock tips, return to your desk.

And thanks for the compliment.

6/02/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I call BS on the whole "substitute" idea. You're just teacher's pet, Will, and you sneaked into the teachers' lounge under cover of the tons of cigarrette smoke, grabbed the key to the classroom while Bob was contemplating a new round of troll bashing, and then you came back all Large and In Charge.

You're not the boss of me, Will!
You wanna be "The Substitute"? Fine. Hope you brought back-up.

:p

(Van, the dinosaur was soooo cute! Almost as cute as River's Baptism pic, but yours was better cuz you drew it an' all and that took way more time than just googling the word, "raccoon".)

6/02/2007 09:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

I will always say Racoon
I will always say Racoon
I will always say Racoon
I will always say Racoon
I will always say Racoon
I will always say Racoon
...(93 lines later)
I will always say Racoon
(Alan's slumps back to his desk)

6/02/2007 09:04:00 AM  
Anonymous geckofeeder said...

Sorry to be late but the alarm didn't go off and I was changing . . .

6/02/2007 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

exotic rodeo clown

Brrr! Some words just don't belong together in sequence like that... or sequins, for that matter.

wv: fubbmxh. Yeah. My reaction entirely.

6/02/2007 09:05:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Okay, I have to run out of the house now to attend a Taeqwondo test at the local . . . . yes, it really is at the YMCA, Evanston, IL.

I'll be back. Sorry.

Meanwhile, you're all on double secret probation.

YES, spelling counts.

6/02/2007 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Gecko... thanks for the laugh!!

:)

6/02/2007 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Yeah. Run away while ya can, Will.

6/02/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Joan, don't make me bring up that Cube test thing . . . .

OK, I'm outa here for a bit . .

6/02/2007 09:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Regarding the coonfusion of the Traveling Willbobbery-- all Raccoons are "brothers under the pelt" but separated at birth, so to speak. One Cosmos is the Raccoon Family Reunification Project, or "internet reacharound."

6/02/2007 09:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Petey is REALLY bad - that last comment made me laugh out loud in front of my kids and I can't explain what was funny.

Sorry for mistyping Raccoon.

6/02/2007 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

So...do I understand this correctly...?

Both the teacher and the substitute...are no longer watching us...?

Well, now!

6/02/2007 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger juliec said...

When I had subs at school, we usually got to watch movies, play games and have a party. C'mon, Will, can't we watch a movie?

debass - were you in my band class? What instrument did you play (for real)?

spelling test: mcvqbqza
Awww, how come I always get the tough words?

6/02/2007 09:23:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

juliec:

OK, I've dragged out the old school Betamax player from the storage room behind the teacher's lounge. I found an old, dusty copy of this gem propping up a desk in Groundskeeper Dupree's shack:

"The Raccoons" (1985)

No talking!

6/02/2007 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Yeah, but all the kool kits are skippin' class.

6/02/2007 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous late convert said...

And then... substitute teacher. The fear, the stomach-contracting paranoia, came flooding back. It was almost like the first day of school all over again.

Hah! No fear, just cold-blooded calculation ... exactly how much prevarication could we employ without subsequently bringing the wrath of the real teacher down on our heads? That was the sixty-four dollar question.

By the way, you do know that we are never assigned homework in this class, right?

==================================

Debass -- I always hated having a substitute band director. They kney, and we knew that they knew we knew, that anarchy was lurking just outside one false move on their part.

6/02/2007 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I was going to apologize for being late to class, but it's only a sub so it doesn't really matter. That'll teach me to sleep in... Had to go home and change, per teacher's orders! How was that, Will? I'm pretty good at changing, but I have a funny feeling you meant some other way...Focus, Will, the eyes are up here. Don't try that detention business either, I'm not falling for that tick warning again! ;)

6/02/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

EEEeeeek! Just, look!

Looks just like the sort of scare-film we used to see in Health Class just before summer, full of dire warnings about having too much fun, or being out at night where miscreants might take advantage.

Well, we've been warned, fellow raccoons. The miscreants are after us!

Me? I ain't moving from this spot.

6/02/2007 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous late convert said...

They kney???

Well, I'm sure you knoy what I meant.

6/02/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Seriously though, this is so true...
"We should know, however, that the best way –- the only way, really –- to prevent the coming changes from overwhelming us is to always keep a soul’s I on that which does not change: the immutable, the Eternal. In a sense, all of Creation is governed by two principles: that which does not change (the One) and that which is always changing (the Many) –- and the One interpenetrates the Many. Change without knowledge of the One is meaningless. But only absolutely."

Just as all movement starts with a slight drawing in or contraction of the body to the center before expanding away in a spiral like motion. Cellularly we are changing all the time. Breath and breathing are the most important things you can physically do for yourself. Take care to breathe into the full dimensionality of your lungs, including the back and sides. Try placing a towel behind your back holding it at your solar plexus area and feel it along your ribs and back. Breathe into the towel and feel the lower lobes of your lungs expand.

If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, that is just your brain getting more oxygen than it is used to. Welcome to my world...ha ha!

6/02/2007 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Great piece at the New Criterion about the modern art world. The nihilistic art reminds me of the intellectual vacuity of atheism. The two very much go together.

6/02/2007 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Sub teacher for a Saturday class? Is this detention for all the coons, er, Raccoons who have misbehaved the week before?! If so, what's everybody else doing here?

So like I'm in real hot water now; not the class to wander in to late. I'm gonna pay, I just know it.

I'm gonna hafta come up with a real good practical joke. Anybody wanna help me super glue Will to his chair when he comes back? Hee hee. Then we can all run around and clap erasers together and...

No? Spoilsports.

OK. I'll take my punishment like a good procyon. But I'll be thinking mischief...

6/02/2007 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Cosa - I understand your need for miscreancy, really I do. And you'd better be slick about it because I'm very familiar with the game, having done everything to bedevil the teacher, with the exception of the laser pencil gag, and that was because they didn't have laser pencils back then.

Lisa - you are a fount of bio-spiritual wisdom. >>Cellularly we are changing all the time.<<

Edgar Cayce once said that when we consciously and with resolve set on a personal change of some sort, it takes 7 years for that change to fully integrate itself into the cellular/brain network, at which point it's "locked in".

Cayce also pointed out that the lower instincts can also be cellularly locked in, and when they are, they can be hell to break.

Moral: don't let your spiritual goals remain amorphous, ill-defined. Write 'em down as succinctly as possible. Carry them in your imagination.

6/02/2007 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Actually, I have a serious question, unless everybody took off.

I'm working my way through the River of Fire article and am having trouble reconciling his apparent view of God as unceasingly forgiving [e.g. ". . . He only bestows blessings and never does harm, remaining always the same."] with some of the things that have resonated with me lately, including Bob's argument that attacking and eliminating evil is essentially a moral obligation. Or Bill Whittle's wonderful riff on The Prisoner's Dilemma, which seems to prove that "tit for tat", "an eye for an eye" is how we promote good and the best outcome for all.

If man is made in God's image, and if always turning the other cheek promotes betrayal and regression on the part of others, why would it make sense for God to handle things so completely differently?

Or am I missing something?

6/02/2007 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

So, etching something into your nervous system takes seven years... the old "seven year etch."

6/02/2007 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

And to be honest, I'm not sure if Cayce's 7 year change cycle is salient these days - what with the universal quickening and possible changes in elemental materiality, any change we desire in ourselves might be locked in much more quickly than in the past.

We still need the clarity and resolve, however

6/02/2007 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Dupree, i was about to ask Lisa to come up and see my seven year etchings.

6/02/2007 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Whew. No principal's office.

Q: So it’s good that we aren’t acquainted with that kind of traumatic change, isn’t it, Will?

Will: Not necessarily. Being exposed to death -- having to live under the constant threat of death -- can teach us much about the transience of physical life and about the always urgent need to be present and aware; it compels us to ponder the great ontological questions.


This brings to mind Castenada's "death as an advisor" motif, which I've found a useful picture for many years. Not so much a threat as an inevitability, consideration of one's death can (and should) be consulted regularly to not only keep eyes on the prize, but on the moment.

6/02/2007 01:08:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Maineman - turning the other cheek doesn't always promote betrayal. Sometimes it can mean to just back away, let the passion die down.

When it comes to dealing with genuine evil, however, I believe that the expression "turning the other cheek" implies the need to *righteously* resist, that is, do not fight on the same plane as evil, but rather to take one's place as a warrior on the transcendent plane.

Put simply, do not fight or resist out of passion, hatred, ego.

6/02/2007 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Maineman,
I think you're probably right about that. River of Fire has some excellent points, but that's one of th ways in which I disagreed.

Psst.. Lisa, pass it on! (passes a note under the desk, tries not to giggle, sits up and assumes angelic expression)

6/02/2007 01:17:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

juliec - you want to show that note to the class??

Oh, yes, you just did.

A +

It invites us to enter our own space, while reminding us of the ultimate futility of entering symbolic space itself, even as it frees us of contemporary post-modern yuk.

6/02/2007 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anon said...

To the brothers under the pelt,

USS Ben now has an Amazon Honor System button.

6/02/2007 01:41:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Cosa -

>>consideration of one's death can (and should) be consulted regularly to not only keep eyes on the prize, but on the moment<<

It should, but obviously one can't go around with a you-do-die-at-any-moment parisol over one's head, at least not too spectacularly. That could be a bit distracting.

But I think you're right - we do have to keep the acknowledgment in some part of our consciousness while we go about our lives, while we go about life.

I think it's possible to achieve the balance, or come as close to it as we can in this material life. In one sense, God and spirituality are where contradictions, opposites meet in perfect balance.

6/02/2007 01:43:00 PM  
Anonymous wickiup said...

Today's post was bland and banal in comparison to the real thing. Bring it back, bring it back.

6/02/2007 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Doh, Will took away the note before I read it, but now that the whole class gnos...funny pic, julie! I'll try harder next time to be more covert.

Sigh, teachers abusing their authority by tricking naive young co-eds up to their cottage to see their "etchings"....awww, good to know Truth is eternal and some things never change!!! ;)

6/02/2007 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

You could be right, Wickiup. Hey, I don't recall you ever squeaking up in here before.

Tell ya what, why don't you sum up my bland lil message for me? Tell me what it means, what significance it may or may not have.

6/02/2007 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Just been on the phone all day. Guess you all heard about JFK airport. One of our closest partner companies makes systems that look sepcifically for that precise form of activity.

Gotta catch a flight. Great column Will!

6/02/2007 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Thank you, Smoov. Safe flying.

6/02/2007 02:26:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

Kudos, Will! I love it. You are quite right, we may not want to go back to momento mori skulls on our desks, but glancing at the Surgeon General's warning from time to time is good.

Lisa, what was the name of that book, please? I just can't wade through the comments on that post again. thanks.

Hey, Van - when they play "Pomp and Circumstance", don't forget to wish Elgar a happy 150th.

6/02/2007 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

So, Will or any rawcoon, do you think it's possible to, how do I say this accurately?, schedule or manipulate in some way the production of newer cells, sort of like a quickening of cells in the body to make way for this 6 or 7th sense you brought up in another thread?

6/02/2007 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

sal- it was and is The New Rules of Posture, How to Sit, Stand, And Walk in the Modern World by Mary Bond. I highly recommend it. It will help you visualize the innercosmos of the human body.

wv: biaevo

6/02/2007 02:36:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Thanks, Sal. I might add that we 13ers are sort of a subset of the Raccoon community.

And that terror plot at JFK - there's quite a bit of violence in the air, even if not manifested.

I don't even want to think about that internecine fight yesterday in the Chicago Cub's dugout.

6/02/2007 02:39:00 PM  
Anonymous terrence said...

I don't know a better way to do this on One Cosmo. So, here is link to a neat photo of a Bleeding Edge Racoon:
http://bitsandpieces1.blogspot.com/2007/06/you-can-hide-anywhere-nowdays.html

6/02/2007 02:44:00 PM  
Anonymous late convert said...

Wickiup,

You could have gone all day without speaking up.

Too bad you didn't.

6/02/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Wickiup:

I think I'll take the day off again tomorrow. Would you mind writing a little extended piece of similar quality to your luminous comments, so I can post it tomorrow? I'd like to prove a point.

6/02/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Lisa, well, you know, you don't actually have to image the cells and coax them into assuming the shape of chinese glow lanterns . . .

Although, I suppose you could try . . .

Seriously, the spiritual pursuit itself changes your metabolism, brings it in tune with the higher senses. Reading O.C. (with the possible exception of today's post) can change your metabolism.

Obviously, it's not good to chase after "psychic" gifts or particular graces for themselves. These things, we are assured, will be added in time. First, seek the Spirit.

Sheesh, now I really am sounding like a teacher.

6/02/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Wickiup --

By the way, don't knock yourself out -- just 30 minutes or so, enough to exhaust the contents of your soul.

6/02/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Excellent photo, Terrence, thanks.

Poor raccoon. He must suffer from elevator claustrophobia.

6/02/2007 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Bob -
Somewhere today, Cal Ripken is breathing a big sigh of relief!

Will -
Great job today! Hope you get to do it again!

6/02/2007 03:51:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Thanks, Walt.

Well, no danger of me turning Bob into a Wally Pip, but, who knows, I might pinch-hit again someday.

6/02/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Will, this is an educational blog! :)

6/02/2007 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

I fear change.
I fear Will.
Want Bob back.
This not good.

Will good but want Bob back.
Can't think.
Can't speak.
Paralyzed without B'ob.

Bob?
Bob?
Bob?

Not easy nuff for NoMO.
Not easy nuff for caveman.

Bob?

6/02/2007 06:50:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

a note stapled on to this fading day -

Against my better judgment, I went into the KosKids site to see what they were saying about the JFK exposed terror plot. As it turns out, not much, and most of that was dismissive.

No surprise there really. But I was reminded at just how much a web site/blog is indeed a *place*, replete with its own sensations, "vibes", if you will, echoes, ghosts. Ever walk into a room where a passionate argument has just taken place? You can feel it in the air like a static electricity. Web sites can be like that. Though not material per se, web sites soak in the passions, prejudices, thoughts, of those who run and frequent them. And just as in the case of an actual material dwelling, a certain kind of ambient soul is created, one that inhabits the site. In a way, it's high-tech golem making.

Not to over-dramatize this, but the Kos site gave me an impression - no, more, it gave me a visceral sensation - of airlessness, of harshness, acridity, deadness. When I stop to think about it, it's really amazing. Prolonged exposure to that kind of thing, I am convinced, would make many of us physically ill, would certainly wound psychologically. And here's the thing - I wouldn't have to read any of the material on the site to respond that way. I am certain that I could be blindfolded and have someone sit me down unwittingly in front of a computer that was logged onto that site, and I would still be able to tell I was in the presence of something toxic.

How is it that some people actually find that kind of hell to be their heaven? Because the Kos devotees aren't holding their noses when they go in there. On the contrary, they obviously find it comfortable, homey. And I would suspect that many of them would have the same visceral reaction to One Cosmos - they would find it a hell. Again, I'm not merely addressing philosophical differences here. I'm talking two radically differing kinds of perception, I'm talking two different species of human being. This underscores a theme I've often commented on in OC, that of the polarization that seems to be taking place on our planet at this time. People are being magnetized to whatever pole they have situated for themselves, and there they will live and have their ultimate being. For what it's worth, the great Christian mystic Jacob Boehme once noted that the devils in hell do not suffer in the sense we might imagine they do - no, hell is their natural abode, they want to be there. Heaven would be hell to them.

Anyway, if ever you start taking the ambient soul of OC for granted - think again. Even in a sea of spiritually oriented sites, OC is unique.

6/02/2007 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

No, I'm not colorblind
I know the world is black and white
Try to keep an open mind
But I just can't sleep on this tonight

Stop this train
I wanna get off
And go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But honestly, won't someone stop this train?

Don't know how else to say it
I don't want to see my parents go
One generation's length away
From fighting life out on my own

Stop this train
I wanna get off
And go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
But honestly, won't someone stop this train?

So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game
To find a way to say that life has just begun

Had a talk with my old man
Said "help me understand"
He said "turn sixty-eight
You renegotiate"

"Don't stop this train
Don't for a minute change the place you're in
And don't think I couldn't ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly we'll never stop this train"

Once in awhile, when it's good
It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
Till you cry when you're driving away in the dark
Singing

Stop this train
I wanna get off
And go home again
I can't take the speed it's moving in
I know I can't
Cause now I see I will never stop this train

- John Mayer

wv - xsxtz (perfect)

6/02/2007 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

BTW - Most excellent job
today, Will.

"When you're dreaming with a broken heart
The waking up is the hardest part"

Sorry, but the NoMos are stoked about going to hear John Mayer tomorrow night.

6/02/2007 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"I'm in repair, I'm not together but I'm getting there..."

6/02/2007 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

I remember reading a piece by Zecheriah Sitchen (no I couldn't get through the whole book :P). He brought up the sudden appearance of Sumerian Civilization some gozillions of years ago. His premise is that it was an alien intelligence spiking the gene pool, so to speak, that was responsible for the advent of sentient life here on Earth.
It starts to sound plausible. After all how does Man go from roving bands of hunters to building libraries in the space of only a very few generations? Had to have some help from someone, right?
But look at what my grandfather witnessed. He was born in 1900, and died in 1990. 1900. Horses. Wind. Steam locomotives. 1990. The space shuttle. Sattelites. Computers.
And there is the change that those of us hovering reluctantly around the half century mark have seen. The cold war. Vietnam. Then the fall of the Soviet Union. Now, in the global jihad we face an enemy that makes me nostalgic for the the deadly balance of M.A.D. with the old evil empire.
The change- evil, in the Soviet system, or even in the Nazi's was vectored through man-made institutions, ie: governments. Did a darn good job at it too, considering the death toll. But when the last festering tank of human evil was ruptured the poison merely reverted to its proper and most deadly vector, the realm of the spirit. Now it's no longer contained within the borders of nations. Now it's coming straight from the pulpit in every country on the planet. It's been festering under our noses for generations. Waiting. With the fall of the Soviets, the last of the bush league vectors had used itself up. Now it's the Beast calling the game. It's on folks. Global holy war for the soul and future of this Divine experiment in free will. Don't believe it? Too bad. Some billions of moslems do believe it, and right this moment they are very busy waging this war against us.
Whew. Hold on. I'm thinking about he change in me, and in many I've 'spoken' with on line. The Quickening. The Alignment of Sides.
In one respect I feel queasy that it took 9/11 to smack me into reality. On the other hand, as time passes I become more and more convinced that not everyone saw it. But something in the horror of that day did indeed rip a screaming hole in the Force, and those of us who saw it maybe assumed that everyone else saw it as well. Consider the number of people who consider the idea that our own government was in on it. Not everyone saw it. Given my moonbatty hostility toward Christianity, why should I have seen the rift, and my church-going brother-in-law will make a case for the evil of Bush, and the plight of the palestinians? But seeing that rift awakened a serious hunger in me. It brought me to the doorstep of faith.
It brought me here to this group, where I woke up one morning and found I was on the other side of that doorway.
Wow. I just did a tirade, I think. Or mabe a ramble. That all just sort of exploded. Uh-can I go have a smoke in the boy's room?

JWM

6/02/2007 08:02:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

A little synchronicity here. I posted my last comment, and then went over to check LGF. Here is an excerpt from a Daily Kos diary that Charles just posted:

Iraq War—lies upon lies to get Americans to launch an illegal war of agression, 9-11—failure to prevent what anyone with a lick of sense could see coming for years (ask me why I wasn’t surprised that day—shocked by the massive slaughter, but not the attack), Economy—

There are those who saw it, and those who did not.

wv: hmeeol
It' laughs at my misery, and it has no mercy.

JWM

6/02/2007 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

JWM,
This quote from that same article seems sadly laughable to me:

"People at Freerepublic and LGF are gullible f*cking morons, bloodthirsty sh*tbags, and weak-willed losers who NEED big brother to tell them what to think, how to act, and who to hate ."

The irony being that classical liberals and conservatives are generally calling for less government, not more, and generally have much more debate amongst themselves about everything than do leftists. (If I stumbled across that link from someone here, my apologies - it's wine o'clock, and I don't remember now where I saw it first). That we can see what evil is without someone having to jam our heads up our butts for us suggests rather the opposite of this guy's opinion.

6/02/2007 08:33:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

juliec:
Good thing we have Bob and Will to tell us what to think, how to act, and who to hate. Otherwise we'd be stuck with that Big Brother guy.

wv: icvcm- What year was that?

JWM

6/02/2007 08:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hmm. The mythical anti-Bob actually exists.

6/02/2007 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Just went over there. Lileks couldn't top that.

JWM

6/02/2007 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"And there is the change that those of us hovering reluctantly around the half century mark have seen"

JWM - Man, if I could hover, it wouldn't be reluctantly.

6/02/2007 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

First it's "There's No Substitute for Death", then it's the "Ghost of Godwin"?

I don't have a good feeling about this.

6/02/2007 09:37:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

No tirade, JWM. Dead center. I nominate you for Bob's next subbie when rodeo season begins.

Will gets an A for stepping into the Big Shoes and furthering us kits' education. When the subject is death, no less!

Bob, I hope you enjoy(ed) the long-deserved vacation. Refreshing, ain't it?

Gotta run, but not before I leave a brain teaser that stopped me today, from Rev 9:6: In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.

Whether taken literally or not, the quickening days that are nearly upon us are going to bring about such astounding changes that words fail. Game on.

6/02/2007 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous walmart shopper said...

According to a news blurb I heard earlier today, the would-be terrorists chose JFK airport as the target because (quoting from memory) "Americans love Kennedy, and it would be like killing him again". So a communist killed him the first time, and this time it would've been Islamists. It's interesting the overlapping roles that the radical Left and Islamofascism seem to play.

6/02/2007 10:31:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Nomo:
Hovering is a last desperate gasp at wishful thinking on my part.
(or maybe a B- choce of colorful verb) It's, you know, like sure I can be like fifty five, but like sixty is like no way, space brother.
No hovering allowed in this time zone.
Bummer.
Before you know, all us ol' hippies will be headin' fer the last love-in...
wv: zrqwjite. Get thee behind me wv!

JWM

6/02/2007 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Nomo, JWM, Cosa, thanks.

JWM, good screed indeed. I think 9/11 was THE Change to which we all necessarily had to shape our response and thus shape our own personal changes. In other words 9/11 could be seen as part of the "magnetizing" process. Well, by the time this is over, I don't think there will be any fence-straddlers. One side or the other.

6/02/2007 11:21:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Re: the anti-Godwin - that eeriely fits in with what I was saying about the heaven/hell polarization as it relates to OC and Koz-like sites.

These people are not just of a differing perspective, they are of the anti-perspective. Matter and anti-matter.

The "anti-godwin" even symbolically tips his hand by using the moniker that he does.

Ha, never say that we aren't given signs.

6/02/2007 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

If I read the GoG rightly, he's a teacher. In college, it seems. "My freshman composition class."

Why does this not surprise me?

Thanks, Lisa! I want to preserve and compound the results of my physical therapy.

6/03/2007 03:51:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6/03/2007 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

Will -
Re: your reaction to the Kos site. I have often wondered about this, for I read lots of stuff just for the sake of "gathering data," but I cannot deal with the Kos vibe! I was killing time yesterday, poking around A. Mack's and Mr. Cline's site, and had a similar experience (ha-ha, our expressions here today would give them anti-god fodder for a long time!) - came away in a "strange space," wondering what kind of world their "ideas" would lead to.

Aha! The world of the Ghost-of-Godwin, of course!

Oh, and JWM - try, try...to remain calm, won't you? (I believe The Stones will be playin' at the last love-in, BTW...)

6/03/2007 04:47:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

For those who think Will may be onto something when he stated,
"People are being magnetized to whatever pole they have situated for themselves, and there they will live and have their ultimate being," check out a "living example" in
Hitchens vs. Hitchens.

6/03/2007 05:10:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Walt, I actually think that their ideas - or rather the perception, the states of consciousness that lead to their ideas - are creating a world *now*.

I think of it as a zone of the lower astral plane, if you know what I mean. It hasn't manifested fully in the material world, but it's real and it can affect you.

If there is a quickening at hand, it would mean that everyone would be able to more readily access dimensions of being that are trans-material. Now - not all trans-material dimensions are benign. You might think of these dimensions as the downward portion of the vertical, the portion that figuratively goes down straight through the earth.

If we can now more readily call down heaven, we can call up hell as well.

6/03/2007 05:12:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Walt, yeah - Biblical resonance there.

Doesn't it say somewhere that brother will be separated from brother?

6/03/2007 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

[Raises hand] I have a signed excuse. Is it okay that I missed class? Can I do the makeup work?

Seriously, we are in a hotel room right now, visiting a graduating niece. I missed out on a good discussion.

Will, your post touched on questions that have circulated my brain quite frequently.

On one hand, I believe that death is not a normal aspect of our existence. I believe it wasn't meant to be this way. And I can't help but think that our spirits rail against death with good reason, and we invariably find it a shock for that reason, too, even when it is expected and long in coming.

This was so even in a time when people were faced with death far more often. The literature I have read from the America of the early 1800's (including memoirs written by family ancestors), before the advent of antibiotics or vaccines, indicates that even when premature death was far more prevalent, the human response was the same. Losing a child then was no less wrenching than it would be now. Death is just wrong, and no matter how much we try to convince ourselves that it's a "natural part of life," somehow we know differently deep in our spirits. Otherwise, we would deal with death as the animals do.

A person who dwelt on death to a morbid degree would not live a full life. On the other hand, a person who *never* faces death and lives in denial lives the sort of life Will described.

That's why the gospel proclamation, "Death is swallowed up in victory," is central to our salvation. Christ has decimated the fear of death. In humility, we remain aware of our mortality (man is "but a mist"), yet because of our "deposit" of heaven, via the Spirit, we live an abundant life, an eternal life, even in the here and now. We are citizens of a Kingdom that never ends. We don't have to be afraid of the ultimate Change. "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord," and, "We do not grieve as others do who have no hope."

I guess I didn't put that very succinctly. Sorry.

As always, the post and the comments were a fun read! Thanks!

Oh, and I had no idea Christopher Hitchens' brother was a believer! That was a great article. Thanks!

6/03/2007 07:02:00 AM  
Anonymous wickiup said...

Will, I stand chastised. Of course your post was pretty good, far better than I could of done.

In a moment of weakness I let spite and disppointment dictate my cruel words about your post.

I must be plain, however. I prefer GDB. Is that a crime?

6/03/2007 09:21:00 AM  
Anonymous debass said...

juliec,

I played tenor sax in band and string bass and bass clarinet in orchestra.

Will,
Were you a substitute band director?

6/03/2007 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Maineman: God is not bound by necessity, being absolute. We, living in the world are. therefore we require also earthly virtues until the new creation. Thus, God can be unceasingly forgiving, but the world itself and God's love retaliate against evil. I.E, the river of fire.

So, while we aspire to not have to judge, to have to discern, to require valor or discipline; it ain't gonna happen. Like will said, no hev'n on oith.

6/03/2007 01:00:00 PM  

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