Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On Being a Cosmic Fugitive From the General Law (7.29.10)

I don't know if I even have time to carefully read, much less assimilate, all of those responses, much much less come up with a thoughtful, non-repetitive one of my own. I'm guessing the big O is probably feeling the same way right about now.

I thought I'd turn to a couple of the experts, and see what they have to say, beginning with Schuon. In a letter to a disciple, he talks about the moment in life when a man makes the decision "to realize a permanent relationship with his creator" and "to become what he should have been" all along, whether we call this state "salvation" or "union."

But after the initial enthusiasm subsides, in many cases "the aspirant is unaware that he will have to go through difficulties he carries within himself which are aroused and unfolded by the contact with a heavenly element." Very similar to what Sri Aurobindo taught, the "lower psychic possibilities -- quite evidently incompatible with perfection -- must be exhausted and dissolved." This is known as the "initiatic ordeal," the "descent into hell," the "temptation of the hero," or "spiritual combat." In Vedanta, it is called the fire of "tapasaya," which refers to the burning that accompanies the dissolution of these patterns and knots.

And as I mentioned yesterday about discerning the plane from which the difficulty is arising, Schuon says that the psychic elements that are unfit for consummation can be "hereditary or personal." Or, they can result from our own will, or, conversely, pressure from the environment. In any event, they generally take the form of "a discouragement, of a doubt, of a revolt," and the important thing is to not further empower them by "embarking on the downward slope of either despair or subversion." One must detach and fight back, not build an errport for these parasitic thoughts to land.

In an essay on Trials and Happiness, Schuon points out that "a trial is not necessarily a chastisement, it can also be a grace, and the one does not preclude the other. At all events, a trial in itself not only tests what we are, but also purifies us of what we are not." Just think of all the things you thought you wanted at the time, but which would have been disastrous if you had gotten them.

Who we are is up ahead, not behind. It reminds me of mountain biking. In order to avoid a crash, you should generally not look down at what you're trying to avoid, but up ahead ten or twenty feet. By focussing on where you want to go, you'll keep your balance and automatically avoid the obstacles.

Similarly, as Schuon says, "we have to avoid becoming hypnotized by the surrounding world, for this reinforces our feeling of being exposed to a thousand dangers." It is as if we are on "a narrow path between two abysses; when looking to either side one risks losing one's balance." Instead, one must "look straight ahead and let the world be the world," or "look towards God, in relation to Whom all the chasms of the world are nothing." This is the meaning of Jesus' statement that "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62).

Schuon also talks about the distinction between the "trial by water" and "trial by fire," the former essentially involving the siron song of temptation, hypnosis, and seduction, the latter the dragons of the unconscious mind and the dreaded General Law.

I first came across the idea of the General Law in Mouraviaeff's Gnosis. I don't know if there is actually a General Law in the cosmos, but there might as well be. He begins with Origen's comparison of the cosmos to a living organism, the soul of which is God, the "soul of souls." He then asks what the purpose of human existence could be. On the one hand, it could be "an element of the universal organism," serving its aims; or "an isolated individual" pursuing his own aims.

If we compare the human being to a cell in the body, the cell is subject to two categories: "The first keeps the cell in its place. In esoteric science we call it the General Law. The second leaves a certain liberty of action for the cell, and is called the Law of Exception." I'll skip some of the details, but as it pertains to humans, the General Law allows man a certain margin for free movement. Although objectively limited, the limits appear subjectively vast to horizontal man, who "can give free rein to his fantasies and ambitions" within their bounds -- what you might call "bourgeois happiness":

"As long as man accepts the principle of the final annihilation of his personality without a fight, he can carry on in life without attracting the increasing pressure of the General Law upon himself."

Ah ha! This would explain why the sub-Raccoon population seems so blandly content. They have no idea that their lives are subject to the General Law. They don't rock the cosmic boat, and therefore do not attract the attention of the authorities.

But dash it all, wouldn't you know "the case is totally different if he struggles to surpass the limits which [the General Law] imposes.... It acts simultaneously on several planes: physical, mental and moral. Its action on the moral plane is conceived by man, since time immemorial, in the form of a personification: the Devil."

Now, in the Orthodox Christian tradition -- which I suppose we'll be getting into later -- there is much practical consideration and advice about how to deal with the provocations of the General Law, i.e., how to wage hand-to-hand combat without hands. In any event, it is a commonly encountered pattern that "once positive results are obtained," the seeker will "unmistakably run up against the opposition of the law and the game of the Crafty One."

Pleased to meet me, hope I guess my name!

Again, you can debate about the ontological basis of all this, but as far as the phenomenology goes, it is identical in form to the resistance that is universally encountered in psychotherapy. As soon as you make a move toward health, a legion of internal propagandists and saboteurs will be aroused from their slumber to block the way. Likewise, by "placing himself under the aegis of the Law of Exception, man goes against the General Law, which he is even called upon to overthrow, if only on an individual scale." The seeker must remember -- "under penalty of surprise attacks" -- that "salvation depends on victory over the Devil," which "is the personalized aspect of the General Law."

In other words, as I wrote in One Cosmos, in the words of Zimmerman, to live outside the law, you must be honest. Whatever you do, don't engage in autokidding, or pulling the wool over your own I's. You must show proof, including three forms of disidentification, that you are a worthy candidate to defy the authority of the General Law, because as soon as you defy it, you'll get it from all sides, brother, including your own family, for as Jesus said, "a man's worst enemies are those of his own household" (Matt 10:36).

The Law of Exception is a narrow way, more difficult than a Camel passing through the lips of the surgeon general, but it's where the razoraction is.


Anonymous Van said...

"...more difficult than a Camel passing through the lips of the surgeon general..."

Wo... that's not very encouraging, not even Hercules faced that difficult of a trial.

8/29/2007 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Van said...

"This is known as the "initiatic ordeal," the "descent into hell," the "temptation of the hero," or "spiritual combat." In Vedanta, it is called the fire of "tapasaya," which refers to the burning that accompanies the dissolution of these patterns and knots."

Is that why when you try to turn over a new leaf, it quickly seems to be a tobacco leaf going up in that Camels smoke?

"The first keeps the cell in its place. In esoteric science we call it the General Law"

And so often it's Deputies are "... those of his own household" (Matt 10:36)." doing their well intentioned best to keep you in line.

8/29/2007 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...


Went out and bought all 3 of Joss Stone's CDs. I've been listening most of the day while catching up on email, etc. She is gifted in a way that only happens a few times in a generation. Incredible power and control, along with a remarkable ability to channel soul greats of 35-40 years ago.

Still listening to Amy Winehouse as well. She's a bit tougher to take since despite the massive raw talent she really is a mess personally and could very well end up becoming this generation's Janis Joplin (i.e., deceased before she hits 30). Of course that means there is no doubting the pain and anger that comes through in her songs...

Between these two alone I'm starting to think we're coming out of the dark period in popular music that has lasted for almost two decades (though I've never been as completely dismissive of current music as some are).

8/29/2007 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Hey, I'm not dismissive! Just trying to catch up with what happened before 1982. By 2032 or so, I should be able to begin determining what was good in 2007. As they say, the only new thing is the (musical) history you don't know.

8/29/2007 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

But dupree, the pretty girls are dancing out in the street to the top 40 now...

Carpe diem ;-)

8/29/2007 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

after your comment Monday I actually bought her (Amy Winehouse's) album; then I realized what a mess she is personally. I haven't listened to Joss Stone yet, but since your and Lisa's comments I'll have to check her out, too.

So much great music, so little time...

8/29/2007 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Good point. Go out there and carpe dame. Apologize later.

8/29/2007 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The Cuervo Gold
The fine Columbian
Make tonight a wonderful thing...

8/29/2007 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hey, here's a very off-topic quesiton, but you never know, given this wide-ranging topic of feeling sub-par. Being that I have type I diabetes, I am most likely going to croak from heart disease. Therefore, I'm very aggressive with regard to cholesterol and blood pressure, even though they're fine for a normal person. For example, my LDL is 101, but I would like to drive it down to 70.

So I'm taking lipitor for cholesterol and dioxin for blood pressure. Anybody out there have bad experiences with these? It seems to me that they contribute to general achiness, but who knows? Some of these patient forums are pretty alarming, but the information doesn't seem very reliable.

8/29/2007 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Well, crap. I had first dibs on tapasaya and then the network went down for an hour. Van, you sneaky camel.

So 1.5 dibs on tapasaya!

"In Vedanta, it is called the fire of "tapasaya," which refers to the burning that accompanies the dissolution of these patterns and knots."

Bear grass is a common sight in the Idaho forests. It's usually sparse, limited to the few clearings and sunny spots it can find - except after a devastating forest fire in which not only trees but all brush and grasses are destroyed. In the several years after such an event, bear grass wildly proliferates, covering the mountainside in a glorious sea of white caps. It's a wonderful sight.

Although the bear grass itself is consumed, the rhizomes not only manage to survive the intense heat, but require the burnoff to start a new cycle. And there's no stopping it until other vegetation starts to choke it out again. Then some midnight toking joker throws a smoldering joint out the Hummer window and it starts all over again. paraphrase Chauncey Gardner, "Attend to your inner rhizome and all will be well." ;-)

empty mendicants
temple gong reverberates
inverted rice bowls

wv: gougjaz - the next musical wave

8/29/2007 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

I don't know about the medication, but I am not convinced the diabetes is really a highway to heart disease; it may be two symptoms of the same problem, as most diabetics also have more body fat than their race was made for. My mother got diabetes in her 40es and died of cancer at 78. My father got diabetes in his 50es and is creeping up on 80.

8/29/2007 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Have you considered supplementing your meds with cinnamon? It's said to be helpful in lowering cholesterol as well as regulating blood sugar (type II diabetes, so I'm not sure what it means for type I; I'm fuzzy on the insulin control differences between them); there have been some studies done, so all the evidence is not merely anecdotal. Like the b vitamins, it seems to be without negative side effects, in any case.

8/29/2007 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I think (I hope, because this may be me in a decade or two) that part of the issue is how well type II diabetics take care of themselves. My grandma had serious heart disease, which ultimately killed her, but I suspect it came as much from her addiction to malted milkshakes with extra ice cream (made worse by the diabetes, but still her own behavior) as from the diabetes. I know lots of diabetics who know what they need to do if they don't want to have more extensive problems, and they ignore the advice anyway. The heart disease seems to go hand in hand in the sense that type II diabetics tend (in general - I know this isn't everyone) to be less healthy over all.

8/29/2007 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, type II is a completely different disease. It's confusing that that they call them the same thing. It's usually associated with being overweight, whereas type I is not.

Yes, I used to use cinnamon, but the most thorough study indicated that it doesn't do anything, so not anymore. In any event, I don't have a problem with blood sugar control. The problem is, blood sugar control is associated with a reduction of diabetic complications, with the exception of heart disease. Therefore, you almost have to treat the heart as a separate issue -- as if you already have heart disease, even though you don't. Again, this is a very aggressive approach, but I think it's well worth it.

8/29/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Bob F. said...

OK, one size fits all: for those stuck in pop music, undergoing a dark night, or experiencing difficulty producing insulin, try Brahms' German Requiem; don't even have to listen to the whole thing, just the second movement, and if you're still game, move on to the sixth.
No more of this reverse snobbish resistence to classical music, no more excuses from our host about not getting to the real oldies but goodies.
Brahms took his text (not the usual requiem text) from Luther's translation of the Bible; the initial text is from Peter: "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away."
Any questions?

Bob F.

8/29/2007 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Also the notion of the "General Law" was quite interesting. Although I am somewhat puzzled as to whether accepting final annihilation of our personality was considered a good or a bad thing.

There is certainly some stabilizing force in life, that pulls us toward the spirit if we linger too much in the flesh, and pulls us toward the flesh if we linger in the spirit. Surely this is as it should be. It is as if we are moving a much larger mass than it looks like. Some invisible "dark matter" that surrounds the "visible" person we think we are, and its inertia pulls us at any time toward the center of gravity we share with it. The further ahead (or behind) we come from that center, however, the stronger the pull. So not exactly gravity, more like some kind of elastic? I suppose people have made names for all these concepts, but I don't know them. It is mostly just observation.

8/29/2007 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Oddly, this idea of spiritual combat was taught to me from a young age - playing video games.

Many play complaining and not thinking about what they are learning or doing.

But most likely, like people who grew up playing an instrument, the experience itself has seeded them with a lot of knowledge that will burst forth at the right time.

When I discovered this 'trial' as it is called, I remembered all the games I've played and how much it is like them. It changed the way I play (when I play anymore.)

I wonder what the art of playing games in this fashion would be?


8/29/2007 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"the most thorough study indicated that it doesn't do anything"

Good to know; I've been taking it for a while. Of course, I've always suspected that something that apparently has no side effects (or contra-indications with certain medications) probably also doesn't do much of anything. Not that that keeps me from trying things reputed to be beneficial.

"Again, this is a very aggressive approach, but I think it's well worth it."


8/29/2007 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

Bob F.

No questsions. I agree wholeheartedly re the transcendently--painfully--beautiful Requiem.

Many pieces of music do this for me, almost none of them created in the past 80 years or so. Well, Strauss wrote Vier letzte Lieder in the late 1940s I believe, and I know of few better examples of pure Beauty available to normal people.

wv: boaobq - Really! Am I invited?

8/29/2007 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...

All I know about Lipitor I've learned from my physician father, who claims it has and will add more years to more lives than anything since antibiotics.

Even outwardly healthy, fit people can have severe problems related to artheriosclerosis and should get a "fast" CAT scan done if possible. The sooner you address these silent killers the better.

8/29/2007 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Just listen to Brahm's Intermezzo in A (forgot the opus?) or pay me to play it live, whichever - it calms the soul and excites the spirit, I'd say.

Crass commercialism and timeless beauty! Chimerical!

tw: gnokj

('gno joke')'?

8/29/2007 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Here's a pretty encyclopedic site for natural blood pressure remedies. It's recently become an issue with us, even though Señor is quite fit; we're experimenting with biofeedback breathing (autonomic changes, not just "stress control") and large amounts of flax/fish oil. Will know more after a scheduled workup.

And, absolutely, Brahms. [No bigger leap from the OC playlist than the one most of us have had to make, from whatever we were reading, to OneCosmosTheBook and Schoen (^.^*)]

Doesn't this pretty much sum it up? Where we bog down, and where we are headed?
How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Psalm 84:1,2,4

8/29/2007 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Oddly, like said video games, the achievements within will only be interesting to fellow-seekers - or even, be NOTICEABLE by them. Only the best of the best get any notice from the outside world who can't help but (in the case of the Spiritual path) notice the glow ... (or in the case of Video Games) the rings under your eyes.

8/29/2007 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


Excellent point about the fast cardiac CT scan. I had mine done about four year ago, and I'll get another one soon. Even if your insuance doesn't cover it, it's well worth it.

An MD friend of mine just published a book calledStupid Reasons People Die, and one of the reasons is not getting the heartscan. Another one is not getting a colonoscopy when you turn 50. Because of that bastard, I'm getting one next month. No post that day, to say the least.

And yes, lipitor is a miracle drug.

8/29/2007 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Here is a little more on Mouravieff's "General Law." The associated links, quoting a mishmash of thinkers, echo that, unawakened and unchanged, we are but blind & self-congratulating "food" readied as per C.S. Lewis' Screwtape for the ungrateful appetite of the Prince of this World, subject to "the bindings of convention, [not] social convention, but the conventions binding our perception."

This is the tremendous razor's edge of entering some aspect of The Tradition.
--One will most likely not wake up alone, without a time-tested discipline of soul work;
--the "invented" traditions incorporate the conventions and are flimsy Light'n'Life cages; and
--the great traditions are chock-full of noisy schemers who echo the received non-wisdom, and will attempt derivatively to use the numinous force of The Tradition to enforce the sleepy conventions.

A real maze, but we running it is not an elective.

8/29/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Re: Heart disease, etc. What I have been reading lately about "super nutrient" Salba (Salvia Hispanica L.) looks very promising. Courtesy of the ancient Aztecs...

8/29/2007 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...


Before anyone else says it.


wv: unhdehl (believe it!)

8/29/2007 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Today's Bobservations bring to mind Genesis 13:14
And the Lord said unto Abram...Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward...

Lookit Kits, "Who we are is up ahead, not behind. One must detach and fight back, not build an errport for these parasitic thoughts to land. By focussing on where you want to go, you'll keep your balance and automatically avoid the obstacles."

Hope that Bob will continue exploring the General Law/Law of Exception vein. Much to be mined there.

Especially interested in the "commonly encountered pattern(s)" & "as far as the phenomenology goes, it is identical in form to" sort of things.

Just as manifestations/permitations of 'O' abound thru place & time, these (B)observable patterns emerge, indicating that there IS some There there. So we call them by differing names & arrange the pieces in different orders to 'explain' stuff, but we're still talking about the same existentialada with the same ingredients. A rose by any other name, etc.

We've extablished "why the sub-Raccoon population seems so blandly content. They have no idea that their lives are subject to the General Law." I'm puzzling over how anyone who can see pattens (in general) refuses to acknowledge that these patterns (in particular) exist.

I'm thinking of the Shrimpster & Inty. Both clearly have the brains to 'get it'. How do they account for these observable patterns? Pejillions of people thru time & place report identifiable 'phenomenology indentical in form'. Can every last one of them be totally off kilter? Isn't a core of the scientific method to vector in on anomalies, since they point to a more complete understanding? Do they have the hardware, but their software can't handle the job?

Then again, re Inty: he seemed to be coming along nicely until after last Christmas. I sensed he spent NewYears imbibing too much of theWilberforce & dang, was he hung-over when he got back here. I'm think'in what really scared him off was Coons talking about the bulls-eye getting painted on his back & that if God wanted his butt, Inty was due for some severe thrashings.

Perhaps these two are both well aware of what it means to be subject to the General Law/Law of Exception sort of stuff & what-all comes with. That's exactly why they ran for the hills.


8/29/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

I've been taking Lipitor and Plavix ever since my excellent adventure in the cardiac ward last fall. (Oddly enough I have no problem with blood pressure.) But physically, the Liptor keeps me feeling like I'm running a 12 volt system on 9 volts. Ditto on the aching muscles. It's not enough to prevent me from doing anything, but I do notice it. One thing that my doc told me is to always take it at night before going to bed. Good advice. If I forget, and take it in the morning I am noticeably slower and weaker during the day.
Middle age rocks!


8/29/2007 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"Perhaps these two are both well aware of what it means to be subject to the General Law/Law of Exception sort of stuff & what-all comes with. That's exactly why they ran for the hills."

If they were to admit that, just possibly, there really is some There there, it would mean they'd actually have to re-examine their lives, and as we Raccoons know all too well, that's when you break out - and often get broken in the process.

A few years ago, when I was trying to figure out what I believed, exactly, I decided to start simply: First I asked myself what the consequences are of being wrong in your faith, and at the time I was thinking specifically about how it pertains to death (I had lost several family members within a few years). If you're a believer and you're wrong, presumably when you die there'll be a big fat lot of nada, and you'll never know the difference. But if you're an atheist and you're wrong, I suspect there'll be rather a lot of explaining to do outside those pearly gates. These days, the distinction seems unimportant, since I'm more concerned with life than afterlife, but the point is that it gave me a starting point. Realizing that atheism was really a dead end, I then had to wonder, assuming God is, what does that mean to me? And how am I living up to His expectations? And of course we all know, in our own ways, the answer to that thorny question.

I think that's a big stumbling block for a lot of people - first, they have to admit they have a problem. Much easier to shut your eyes, plug your ears and shout "la la la - I can't hear you, there's nothing wrong with the way I think! And you're a doody head for suggesting otherwise!!"

8/29/2007 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


That's an excellent tip about the Lipitor. I'd been taking it in the morning. I'll try it at night and see what happens.

8/29/2007 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Smoov said...


Also known as Pascal's Wager.

8/29/2007 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Julie said:
Much easier to shut your eyes, plug your ears and shout "la la la - I can't hear you, there's nothing wrong with the way I think! And you're a doody head for suggesting otherwise!!"


Nailed it!

8/29/2007 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"In Pascal's assessment, it is inexcusable not to investigate this issue" (from the Wiki - I had to look it up)

That was the conclusion I reached, after much consideration. Thanks for putting a name to it, Smoov.

8/29/2007 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

In context, Pascal's wager may have made sense, but in its pure form it is highly dangerous. The next step, once one believed in God, would be to wager upon his nature. Is God kind and forgiving, or cruel and jealous? If you believe in the wrong God, he first would forgive you, but the second would not. Therefore you should worship the cruel and jealous God. And the more cruel the God, the more important to pick Him over any other. This path leads to Protestantism or even Islam, in which you have to prostrate yourself before God or suffer unspeakable torture for all eternity.

Be very careful; a wager can also be lost. And you may lose more than your soul, you may lose God.


8/29/2007 07:31:00 PM  
Anonymous late convert said...


Here's an interesting looking blood pressure control device; I purchased one today because my BP is always a bit on the high side.

It seems all hypertension and cholesterol lowering medications come with nasty side effects. Are you supplementing with CoQ10?

8/29/2007 07:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Late Convert said...

Forgot ... have you looked into polycosonol? Also, a tablespoon of flax meal (or even psyllium) taken a half hour before meals (mix it in water and wolf it down) is supposed to be helpful in reducing cholesterol and, if memory serves (sometimes it doesn't), so is granular lecithin.

Celery (four ribs per day) lowers BP.

I assume you are supplementing with Omega 3 oils and/or eating cold water fish (not farmed); they're all-around good for you.

8/29/2007 08:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Van said...

Ximeze said "I'm thinking of the Shrimpster & Inty. Both clearly have the brains to 'get it'. How do they account for these observable patterns? Pejillions of people thru time & place report identifiable 'phenomenology indentical in form'. Can every last one of them be totally off kilter? Isn't a core of the scientific method to vector in on anomalies, since they point to a more complete understanding? Do they have the hardware, but their software can't handle the job?"

You might want to plug your ears as I toot my own horn, but that is exactly what I'm starting to dive into on my site, with the 'Reasons of Reason", here and here, with probably a 'here' and a 'here' soon to come.

8/29/2007 08:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Van said...

Robin Starfish said " Van, you sneaky camel. So 1.5 dibs on tapasaya!"

Joe camel tapasaya carpe dame!

8/29/2007 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

"General law", "law of exception"...does anyone else suspect Bob is studying Paul's letter to the Romans?

8/29/2007 08:28:00 PM  
Anonymous noodles said...

Don't forget Mrs. G's letter about the "Sunlight Path" of the other day.

There is a path where tapasya or struggle is not required. This is the "baby kitten" or "sunlit" path, where all effort is taken away from the supplicant in return for absolute surrender of all parts of the being.

I am going to convert to this path as soon as I can get sincere enough. It requires letting go of so much (everything, really).

And yet you gain everything.
It is like jumping off a cliff and believing that you won't hit the rocks at the base. If you believe absolutely, then you won't. If you entertain the slightest doubt about your safety, then "splat."

8/29/2007 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

You make a good point about Pascal's wager. When I followed this particular train of thought, I did not then follow the method of wagering on God's nature. Frankly, based on my own life experience, the idea of a cruel, controlling and capricious God doesn't hold up well when tested against reality as I know and understand it, even though life is often hard and even horrible. Any question as to God's nature must, in my mind, be compatible with reality, with this world He created.

Once you believe that God exists, it ceases to be a matter of coin-tossing or hedging your bets in the "safest" direction; that isn't how you learn about God, it's just how you cover your own ass. Granted, I'm perhaps not being consistent with my starting point, but I wasn't following a specific set of rules at the time. I was just trying to get my bearings.

8/29/2007 08:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...


I had a by-pass in 02 and had been on Lipitor until last May the numbers were very good. I always took it at night with no side effects. Last May my Doc put me on Vytorin which caused my low numbers to drop like a rock, take it at night with no side effects.

8/29/2007 08:53:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Julie said, "Any question as to God's nature must, in my mind, be compatible with reality, with this world He created." And, I would add, compatible with the infinity of reality beyond our comprehension or perception.

8/29/2007 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

in Norway where I grew up (and in the neighboring countries for sure) the most active form of Christianity was one in which God and Jesus did a kind of bad cop / good cop routine, where religion basically consisted of hiding from an angry God. For years I struggled to reconcile this faith with the overflowing love I felt from God. In the end I benefited from reading different translations of the Bible, mostly in English, and realized that I had been had.

(I guess this is one reason why I am not weeping for the rapid fading of Christianity here in Norway. The way it is generally perceived, even I have called it a faith worse than death. It borders creepily on Islam in my eyes, while my own faith is more like a Buddhism for people who are not so damned proud that they must do everything themselves.)

8/30/2007 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

With a biggish family history of colon cancer, I've done the 'scope a couple of times already.
Thinking about it tends to be worse than the procedure.

The prep is easier if you can follow the fiberful diet a few days before.

Treat yourself to a new book and wrap up warmly- drinking all that cold liquid in a short amount of time can lower your body temp uncomfortably.

For anyone without chemical issues like Bob, Fleet's Saline in ginger ale trumps any of the other prep concoctions. Insist on this, if you can.

Again: squeamish to think about- not so terrible to undergo.

8/30/2007 04:15:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Really? They have ginger ale?
No Dr. Pepper?
Okay, stop it, Sal!
No more play-by-play descriptions of colonoscopies.
I'm puttin' my foot down here.

The first time I had one I had demerol. Not good enough.

I opted for some kinda knockout drug the second and third time, so I "barely" recall anything from those, except for 99...98...97...96...95...

Take the knockout drug, Bob.

8/30/2007 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Now I see where you're coming from. I was very fortunate to not be exposed to that kind of angry Christianity. Though I think my husband's family was; his father was raised in a church that sounds as though it was as you said, and ended up with a tremendous amount of anger at God and religion. Church was never really a part of my husband's life.

8/30/2007 06:55:00 AM  
Anonymous sean said...

Have you looked into Gugulipid.
I used Gugulipid about ten yrs ago and it lowered my cholesterol significantly ( 250 to 100 ). Probably too low. My only worry about it is that around the same time I used it I developed heart rythmn problems. This could be coincidental, but I'd check it out thoroughly before using. Good luck.

8/30/2007 06:59:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Magnus, I believe that Chesterton commented on it thusly:

"It has been left to the last Christians, or rather to the first Christians fully committed to blaspheming and denying Christianity..."

He was referring to, in this case, sex, as he continues:

"to invent a new kind of worship of Sex, which is not even a worship of Life. It has been left to the very latest Modernists to proclaim an erotic religion which at once exalts lust and forbids fertility. The new Paganism literally merits the reproach of Swinburne, when mourning for the old Paganism: "and rears not the bountiful token and spreads not the fatherly feast." The new priests abolish the fatherhood and keep the feast - to themselves. They are worse than Swinburne's Pagans. The priests of Priapus and Cotytto [fertility deities.] go into the kingdom of heaven before them."

But it appears to be this same Christianity, which is in full rebellion, which hides in Christ from an Angry God, which separates sex and reproduction, pleasure and fruitfulness, God and Love, &c.

It is these same people that fear the wrath of God, and desire perfection in all things through fleeing said wrath. The usual way is through external pieties; flagellations, rants against immorality, prohibitions from sex or pleasure, which are of course underlied by a deep corruption; gay liasons, secret libertinism, masochistic or sadistic tendencies, logical inconsistency, lying, cowardice, and so on.

It is awfully like Islam, which is what an Orthodox fellow said to me of some kinds of Protestantism.

It is said that a fool worships what he hates, and hates outwardly what he secretly worships.

I'm glad I was spared this type of Christianity.

8/30/2007 08:21:00 AM  

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