Thursday, August 16, 2007

Signposts on the Road to Nihilism

As mankind falls from plane to plane, we can see how realist man opens the door to vital man, for as Peggy Lee sang in one of the most weary and cynical lyrics of all time, If that's all there is my friends / then let's keep dancing / let's break out the booze and have a ball / if that's all there is.

Yeah boy, let’s have a ball! There is an age when doing so is appropriate and even inevitable. You don’t want to prematurely disillusion a child or adolescent's pure vitality and joyful engagement with the world. They’ll become disillusioned soon enough, as they mature. If not, they will become pathetic, as they fall into the vital as a means of escape from boredem, meaninglessness, and the emptiness in the heart of one who has severed their contact with the divine planes.

I'm finding that Judaism has many important ideas about this as I travel on the road with Rabbi Steinsaltz. There are so many examples; he talks about how his own search began when he determined that "this world was not enough," but how tradition maintains that there are 600,000 gates into the divine, including a "private gate" for each of us. While everyone "has some capacity for making contact with a world above the concrete world," we must struggle to find it: it "has so many locks. It has so many keys. And there is a key that is mine alone. And there is a door that is mine alone. And that is the door made for me." People can wander aimlessly because they are travelling on someone else's pathway, not their own.

He writes that "the individual journey begins when a person tears himself away from the state of aimlessness," and of the effort required to "get beyond the mental constructions, the words, and ideas" devised by others. He laments "those of us who waste our time seeking peace of mind. The spirit is at war, as its natural state": "Man's question should not be how to escape the perpetual struggle but what form to give it, at what level to wage it.'" One must be obstinate and tenacious; in the spiritual life "you don't have any charmed gateways. But you are given some kind of path, and you have to work your way up." "The feeling of 'behold, I've arrived' could well undermine the capacity to continue, suggesting that the Infinite can be reached in a finite number of steps."

I can tell in an instant if I am dealing with a vital man, but it happens on such an intuitive level that I’ve never really put words to it. But the more you develop spiritually, the more you will recognize a gulf between yourself and this kind of person. Incidentally, it doesn't matter whether this person is outwardly “religious,” because there are plenty of vital types who get involved in religion -- and not just exoteric religion. Even creepier are the vital beings who get involved in esoteric religion, for then you start to touch on the demonic.

If, like me, you are intuitively repelled by Bills Clinton or Maher, this is probably why. Now, I am the first to admit that there was a time that I was not repelled by Clinton. The repellence has only come with spiritual development. And it has nothing to do with ideology per se. After all, he largely governed as a rudderless, poll-driven moderate, and he seems to have no ideological core that isn’t negotiable anyway. I was certainly never a Clinton hater, nor am I now. Rather, he radiates a very specific essence that bears on what we are discussing today. For Clinton is a purely vital man in all he thinks and does.

Clinton is obviously not an unintelligent man, but that doesn’t matter either. For as Sri Aurobindo noted, there is a realm of the psyche called the “vital mind,” so it is not at all uncommon to encounter a vital intellectual, just as it is not uncommon to encounter a noble and light-filled common laborer. It’s all about the light, not the intellectual content. If you were to attempt to slog through Clinton’s 1056 page autofellatiography, I believe you would find it tedious beyond belief, and this is why. For although he is a passionate man, his passions are on a very low “earth plane,” while spiritual development specifically involves the “subtilization” of emotions.

In fact, you will notice that some exoteric paths involve the repression of emotion rather than its transformation. I am afraid that I have noticed this pattern on a fairly widespread scale in the religious movement of which Clinton is a part. This is not to tar everyone with the same brush, as the exceptions are obvious and many, but there is an aspect of southern Christianity that seems to almost express itself in a bipolar way, going from vital expression to vital guilt and manic reparation and then back again.

I recently got an intimate glimpse into this dynamic in reading the outstanding biography of Elvis, who was a profoundly spiritual man in the sense we are discussing. Same thing with Johnny Cash. So too Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke, Hank Williams, Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and so many others. They never really escaped from the vital, but instead swung from pillar to post between expression and repression.

But true spiritual growth involves a spiritualization, transformation, and subtilization of emotion. Emotion becomes “finer,” lighter, more translucent. I am now at the point that I have some difficulty being around crowds of vital beings, such as a sporting event. But part of the problem is that the teams now increasingly pander and cater to vital beings.

For example, I used to love to go to Dodger Stadium, because it was like going to a park. It was positively edenic. No loud and annoying rock music blaring from the speakers, no ads filling every square inch of unused space, and a certain gentility among most of the fans. But now, they literally don’t give you a silent moment to ruminate and enjoy the natural rhythm of the game.

And the fans are much more loud, vulgar and animalistic. When I was a kid, no one cursed in public at a game, but now it’s constant. I sensed a real shift about a decade ago, when they had a baseball giveaway promotion. The umpire made a bad call in the seventh inning, at which point baseballs rained down of the field, endangering the umpires and players. Fans wouldn’t stop, so the Dodgers had to forfeit the game.

You may think this is a small thing, but on a cultural level it is huge. When I attended games in the 60s, 70s and even 80s, this type of behavior among Dodger fans would have been unthinkable. Perhaps they would have done something similar in San Francisco or Oakland -- Giant or Raider fans always attract and celebrate the vital -- but not in the Sacred Temple of Dodger Stadium.

Something “tipped” in the 1990s, and hasn’t stopped tipping ever since. No one set fire to their city after winning a championship until what, 1991, with the Chicago Bulls? Now it’s a barbaric tradition. You can easily hear the same phenomenon in music and see it in TV, movies, and modern "art," as our culture becomes increasingly crude and falls into the vital. Here we are at the cusp where vitalism slides into destruction, the fourth stage of the nihilist dialectic.

Father Rose points out that the fall into vitalism is at the heart of the reverse utopias of the left, which immamentize Christian hope and try to create a “vital heaven” on earth. For if higher truth is eclipsed as a result of “realism,” then leftism results from the flight from despair that such an erroneous and infrahuman metaphysic entails.

Bear in mind that, as we discussed a few days ago, the spiritual impulse remains, but now it is no longer guided by traditional channels. It becomes “unhinged” so to speak. I am quite sure that most of you bobbleheaded Children of the Light can read dailykos and know exactly what I am talking about. The well attested creepy feeling one gets from any writer or commenter on that site is your own higher mind sensing the unbound vital, completely detached from more refined emotions and from the intellect properly so called (i.e., the nous or noetic faculty). On dailykos you will find nothing that elevates, only that which pulls the soul downward.

As Father Rose points out, “there is no form of Vitalism that is not naturalistic,” which again goes to the many pseudo-religions that are an expression of vitalism. Here again, if you are remotely sensitive, you will notice this with regard to most “new age” spirituality, which is vital to the core, a cauldron of subjective fantasies, a “rootless eclecticism” of half-understood fragments, earth worship, narcissistic "realizationism," and sometimes frank satanism (even if unwitting). In reality, these pseudo-religions are “a cancer born of nihilism.”

Even more than this or that policy, this is what makes the left so frightening. Because of their vast influence, there may come a point when vitalism swamps the light of the collective higher mind, as it has already done in academia and the mass media. The prospect of an awakened multitude animated by the “terrible simplifiers” of the left is not a sanguine one... then again, "sanguine" comes from the French word for blood.

49 Comments:

Blogger Smoov said...

I can't help feeling I missed a post somewhere along the line where the definition of the term "vital" as we are using it here was concisely defined. Perhaps one of the senior raccoons (River?, Van?) could provide a brief definition--or even Bob himself if he has time--so that I can lock this down conceptually.

8/16/2007 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Infrared
subtle camouflage
evil hidden in plain sight
charming constrictor

8/16/2007 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Smoov:

I'll talk more about the Vital MInd tomorrow.

8/16/2007 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Sorry, Bob, I jumped the gun, so might as well post. Smoov could look at a paragraph from this not-clearly-attributed post.

In the Vitalist stage, the criterion of the Truth is substituted by a new standard: the “life-giving”, the “vital”. This may take the form of pseudo-spiritual experiences, the invoking of “powers” and “presences”, or else the “cult of nature” with its primary elements of the earth, the body, and sex. Vitalism, Father Seraphim said, is “an unmistakable symptom of world-weariness. It is the product, not of the ‘freshness’ and ‘life’ and ‘immediacy’ its followers so desperately seek (precisely because the lack of them), but the corruption and unbelief that are but the last phase of the dying civilization they hate.

Most of us moderns see to some extent through an education- and media-sponsored ("you can have it all!") Vitalist lens. A good test is just how horrified we would be with Fr. Seraphim's acceptance of the inevitability and essential nature of accurate (see the Beatitudes ) suffering:

For to be a Christian is to be crucified, in this time and in any time since Christ came for the first time. His life is the example–and warning–to us all. We must be crucified personally, mystically; for through crucifixion is the only path to resurrection. If we would rise with Christ, we must first be humbled with Him–even to the ultimate humiliation, being devoured and spit forth by the uncomprehending world.

And we must be crucified outwardly, in the eyes of the world; for Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world, and the world cannot bear it, even in a single representation of it, even for a single moment. The world can only accept Antichrist, now or at anytime. “No wonder, then, that it is so hard to be Christian–it is not hard it is impossible. No one can knowingly accept a way of life which, the more truly it is lived, leads more surely to one’s own destruction."

Statements like these appear from the Liberal or Vitalist perspective the sheerest masochistic madness. They can be lived only with great wisdom, and, I'm sure Fr. Seraphim would say, within The Tradition. Otherwise you get situations like the guy who was desperately seeking virtue by donating his second kidney.

8/16/2007 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Bob’s post today “directed” me to the Apostle Paul’s post to the Corinthians:

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written (quoting Isaiah), “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him." For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For “Who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him?” (Isaiah again) But we have the mind of Christ. (I Cor 2:6-16)

Remarkable parallels. Quite a "blog" that Paul had going, huh?

8/16/2007 09:58:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Yesterday heard of a book due out later this month that may be in line with these posts:

The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (Hardcover)
by Diana West

Amazon's editorial reviews make it sound like fun: "penetrating and witty book" & "brilliant and irreverent skewering of America's fixation on youth is a wake-up call for every individual who wants to see Western civilization endure"

Wonder whether her take does not boil down to "vital man". Seems likely. Will read & see.

8/16/2007 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Perhaps "vitalism" is "natural man" at his "best".

8/16/2007 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

It seemed to me as well that this must be related to the infantilization of our civilization. But what is cause and what is effect?

For about a century now, each generation has been measurably more intelligent than the previous, and this intelligence is seen earlier and earlier in life. Lately not only the mind but even the body matures in what used to be childhood. But at the same time, people are treated like children for longer and longer. High school is now little more than a kindergarten, and even college students frequently live with their mom and have their meals cooked and their clothes washed while they play their days away. The only "adult" part of young adult is frequently that they now play with genitals in addition to all their other toys. Their own or others'.

I find it improbable that this should be unrelated to the changes described in today's entry.

8/16/2007 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Vital Mind = lower mind (in a way) I.E. thinking that pertains and involves sensation (five senses) pretty much exclusively. For instance, sexuality as understood by the vital mind might be ancient Greek sexuality; i.e. the two 'partners' are 'penetrator' and 'penetrated' - sex, gender, race, species - not explicitly factors.

Think of 'the flesh' as discussed by Paul. It's not the body, but sort of like the outward aligning itself inward, whereas the nous is like the inward oriented outward, or some such.

I'll let Bob elucidate in his p(n)oetic fashion tommorow...

8/16/2007 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

River, Dilys, et al:

Thanks!

Bob, I can't wait for tomorrow's entry. This is another rich vein I've been hoping we'd return to.

wv: lizbcag - Lizards, become agrarian!?!

8/16/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous joseph said...

magnus,
John Gatto traces this extended youth phenomenon you speak of to the arrival and continuation of forced compulsory schooling. Not surprisingly, these "ideas" were not accidental.

8/16/2007 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Jehu said...

I can offer my own observation about when something tipped in favor of the "vital man," in our society. You are right Bob that there was a major shift in the 90's and that corresponds to a population that voted for Clinton. To me it was obvious what this man was, and represented, and I think it was also obvious to the American people. His election was an affirmation of a majority of Americans the "we now embrace and seek this lower level of self-centered life.

Gone is the sense that you, or your country, has a unique destiny. Gone is the idea that perhaps this nation was given blessings, great men in its founding, great resources and the culmination of wisdom from thousands of years of human history, governance, economic systems etc.

Replaced with a mindless consumption and degraded popular culture. The hatred for Bush is simply the rebellion of the "Vital Man," who thought they had already won the day...how dare anyone interrupt their pursuit of pleasure and tedious living.

Clinton to me was a sign, a signal, that America was no longer flirting with rejection of God, or spirituality, it has for the most part done the deed. Even Iraq is at its basic level the cry of Cain; "(I am not my brother's keeper) to hell with all those brown Muslim people, how dare they have the misfortune to be born over there, instead of here like me and Britney Spears."

The fall is great from those that saw a manifest destiny for this country, to those that consider it no more than a secure container for their hedonism and vile political ideologies that exist only to support that hedonism.

And I also can no longer tolerate crowds, even to shop at Walmart is an ordeal, surrounded by tattooed and pierced pagans, babbling in barbarian tongue, most of the women look like whores, the men like thugs, and the spirits and mind parasites that attend them is too much. Nobody has to wait for Hell...Hell is here in our midst, we invited it.

8/16/2007 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Dear Bob,
Thank you for 20 years of holy matrimony. Meeting you has always felt to me like proof of God's existence. A real life miracle.

And thanks for venturing out into the vital world to take me to dinner tonight.

Love always,
Mrs. G

8/16/2007 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Do I LIKE crowds of "tattooed and pierced pagans, babbling in barbarian tongue, most of the women looking like whores, the men like thugs" (as Jehu puts it)? Ummm, no. However, I have to believe that the crowds through which Jesus moved were as filled with every aspect of evil and corruption as any crowd today. That he "mixed" with them in a personal way was how he was able to influence them. I long to be real in that way, to genuinely care about and mix with whomever, always in the prayerful hope that I might somehow influence even one of them towards the light. But to truly love them as Jesus did - hmmm, not so much.

8/16/2007 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Well, nothing I could comment will mean beans after Mrs. G's fine message. Congratulations, you guys! After 20 years, you know you're on a roll!

8/16/2007 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Mr. and Mrs. G!!
Two decades...that's impressive!
Have fun! Don't worry, we'll watch the blog while your gone. :^)

8/16/2007 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Just an anecdote about "vital man" - During the '90's I had four employees, all of whom were BIG fans of Billy Jeff Clinton. They also enjoyed sexual fantasies about Hillary (!) and later, Monica. That he lied meant only that he was clever enough to get away with it. That he had an affair with a young intern meant that he lived up to their "idea" of a real man. That he was tall, handsome, and charismatic made him more of a "Leader," in their eyes.

After Sept. 11, one of them said to me, in a very worried tone, "These things never happened when Clinton was President!"

Hmmmm.

Your further references to Rabbi Stensaltz continue to intrigue, so I ordered the book. His statements that you quoted speak to me:

"Man's question should not be how to escape the perpetual struggle but what form to give it, at what level to wage it.'" One must be obstinate and tenacious; in the spiritual life "you don't have any charmed gateways. But you are given some kind of path, and you have to work your way up."

8/16/2007 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

What Walt said (TM).
You don't get any lucky charms either.
Except maybe for Lucky Charms(TM), but remember, the vital man eats just the marshmellow treats, leaving the good stuff behind and makin' his dentists very happy.

Okay, maybe that's a lame example...I'm not a cerealologist so I can't speak about the possible benefits of
Lucky Charms(TM), but I'm pretty sure the marshmellows aren't good for you.
Besides, who likes to pour a bowl of Lucky Charms(TM) only to find that all the "charms" were nabbed by vital man (or woman) (or child)?

No what? Just forget I said anything...

8/16/2007 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Um, that was Skully usin' my nic again, irt the Lucky Charms banalogy.
Y'all know I wouldn't say somethin' that stupid...right?

8/16/2007 05:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Daffy Duck said...

yzucerA response to Juliec from yesterday.

You know absolutely nothing about me or my background and yet you presume to label me in the tone that is a common feature of this blog altogether. Just because I use an Eastern concept to make a point doesnt mean that I subscribe to an Eastern world view. Bob frequently refers to Sri Aurobindo to make a point, yet nobody describes or dismisses him as an "easterner".

This blog consistently demonises individuals, groups of people large and small, and even entire countries and cultures. It could even be said it demonises the approximately 50% of the USA population that votes Democrat. Or put in another way everyone that does not subscribe to the red side of the red/blue state cultural divide.

The politics of binary exclusions and scapegoat-ism. If only we can purge these pests from the body politic, particularly the USA body politic, then everything will be hunky-dory.

This blog called also be described as a cosy tribalistic cult. The cult of Bob.

So Daffy Duck, who may or may not be completely daffy, puts in a few posts which suggest other possibilities to the usual Bob-cult group-think. None of my posts have been personal attacks on anyone.

As a response you Juliec immediately go into a boo-hoo aint I/we the victim complaint mode.

Would you like a box of tissues for your tears?

8/16/2007 05:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Gloomy duck said:
"This blog consistently demonises individuals, groups of people large and small, and even entire countries and cultures."

More like Bobservations of those who demonize themselves, but hey, if the demon shoe fits...

8/16/2007 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isnt the "culture" produced by and reflected in TV all about indulgence of vitalism and nothing more. It also by its very nature caters to the lowest common denominator, or bums on seats delivered to the advertisers. The Ratings game. Pigs at the trough.

When was the last time you saw TV promote "fine, light and translucent emotions"? And even if it sometimes does, such fleeting moments get overwhelmed by the sheer banality of the rest of it.

I would say that TV altogether by its very nature is incapable of promoting and conveying anything fine, light, and translucent.

8/16/2007 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

D Duck-
No one here (that I know of) is against "Easterners", when they make sense.

I'm an equal opportunity commenter. If a "Christian" says somethin' as inane as what you wrote yesterday, or today for that matter, I'll gladly point it out.

Just a part of the cult of coziness. :^)

I could find you a link to a new agey "feel good" site where they might accept your ramblings hook, line and stinker, if you want.

8/16/2007 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"When was the last time you saw TV promote "fine, light and translucent emotions"? And even if it sometimes does, such fleeting moments get overwhelmed by the sheer banality of the rest of it."

Only if you choose to watch it.
I watch the good stuff and I'm not "overwhelmed" by MTV, NBC, or any of the other garbage out there.
The same could be said of the internet, or literally anything else.
If you hate TV, and I assume you do, since that's all you talk about, then here's a bit of Sailor Wisdom for ya: Don't watch it.

There, problem solved. Next!

8/16/2007 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Happy Anniversary! The big 2-0! Congrats.

"there is an aspect of southern Christianity that seems to almost express itself in a bipolar way, going from vital expression to vital guilt and manic reparation and then back again."

Having been brought up a Christian in the South, I have seen this.

Hmmm, this reminds me of the movie, The Apostle. Ever see that?

8/16/2007 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. G! Makes my puny 8 years seem very brief. I hope you both have a wonderful evening.

8/16/2007 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Jehu said:
"Gone is the sense that you, or your country, has a unique destiny. Gone is the idea that perhaps this nation was given blessings, great men in its founding, great resources and the culmination of wisdom from thousands of years of human history, governance, economic systems etc"

Not gone Jehu, just hidden from plain, everyday sight. Base idiots have existed in large numbers always.

What's different now is that modern society & technology give them a voice: losers & wannabes with megaphones & keyboards. Up until recently they were relegated to the farm or the slum. It's that we're prosperous enough for nobodys to act like somebodys, by virtue of having some of the same material things. Now they're journalists & tenured professors with diarrhea of the soul, mind & mouth.

Please do not confuse loudness, constant chatter & display for the core of this Nation. Like the adolescents they are, they desperately need the whole clique thing: look at us! we're loud, we make plenty of noise, we're rebels, look at us!

As Bob wrote recently, they're the most banal & predictable, individually and as groups. Making yourself tiresome does not make you interesting or important. They're busy with the group-grope, with whistling past the graveyard & trying to believe that by being loud, they're in charge.

Those of us who Know, Believe & Gno are just more quiet about it. Some adolescent actually become grownups & get a clue that what they once believed or did was misguided & not True at all. Regulars here can tell you all about it.

8/16/2007 06:20:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

The Apostle? Sure have. Good movie.

8/16/2007 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger juliec said...

Daffy, sans snark this time. These are your words:

"This blog called also be described as a cosy tribalistic cult. The cult of Bob."

Fair enough, that's your point of view and you're welcome to it. The fact that you feel that way came through loud and clear in your first two comments yesterday. In light of the fact that you believe us to be a cult, and perhaps not a harmless one (though I don't presume to know your mind, I only know the words you leave on this page) I simply, honestly, and with no sarcasm wonder why you come here? It seems there is nothing you will learn from us, and being a cult what's the likelihood we will learn from you?

8/16/2007 06:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Biker Lady said...

Clinton as Vital Man... just remember, he was put into office by many vital men and women.
Doesn't say too much for the country. But, thanks to the media we know who they are now!

I went to I Corinthians and yes, Paul was on their case.
A footnote in my bible referred to The Natural Man who sounds like our Vital Man.
"The natural man may be learned, gentle, eloquent, fascinating, but the spiritual content of Scripture is absolutely hidden from him; and the fleshly, or carnal, Christian is able to comprehend only its simplest truths, "milk".
(1 Cor. 3.2)
This vital man is a good subject because he is in our face all the time so I look forward to Bob's post tomorrow and how we can look at him through the lens of Bob's coonvision!
And God Bless you with many more years of wedded bliss Bob and Leslie. You're just getting into the groove now! FL is one lucky kid!

8/16/2007 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Join us Daffy. Join us. Come on join us. Chant together with us now...B'ob, B'ob, B'ob. What was that Bob? You want me to do what?

Gotta go!

8/16/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger dicentra63 said...

A reminder: Bill Clinton was never elected by a majority but by a plurality. Were it not for Ross Perot, the Repub. candidates might have prevailed.

I read a disturbing article in City Journal a few weeks ago, about the degradation of opera. Though this article might pertain less to the "vital" man and more to an even more degenerate phase.

8/16/2007 07:24:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Daffy said: "The politics of binary exclusions and scapegoat-ism. If only we can purge these pests from the body politic, particularly the USA body politic, then everything will be hunky-dory."

Is this intended to be subtle? Who, in real life, says things like Politics of Binary Exclusions? That sort of horses**t is an excretion from a whacademic, bent on impressing young minds full of mush. Seems it may have worked with you.

Daffy, you gave yourself away from the very first. You may work at trying to obfuscate your frame of reference, but you "came through loud and clear in your first two comments yesterday" as Julie said.

Not ready to play in this sandbox yet.

Might I recommend getting a copy of the movie Real Genius & paying close attention to the charactors & dialogue therein? Think you'll find it helpful. Special note should be made to the context of the line:
"Who talks like that?!"

8/16/2007 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Right about now Bob should be motioning the waiter to bring the second bottle of fine wine.

Coongratulations, you two; go for 20 more!

8/16/2007 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Dicentra - Disturbing indeed. “theatrical excitement”...more like theatrical excrement. The enemy is determined to hijack every form of artistic expression - even the highest and most noble. Not to worry, pure opera will endure.

8/16/2007 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Clink! Here's to you, Godwins! A hearty raccoooooooon cheer!

8/16/2007 09:09:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Congratulations Bob, and Leslie!
20 years. !


JWM

8/16/2007 09:59:00 PM  
Anonymous daffy duck said...

Quack quaaaack quack.
Sorry Julie I was off the meds for a short while.
Ohhhhm ohhhhhm ohhhhhm, There, that's better!

8/16/2007 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous pundit among it said...

Well, Daffy's got a point. Bob belabors the negative and exagerates it. I don't blame him, because his readership plummets unless he does this.

The thing is, he might be demoralizing readers in an unhealthy way. Why be such a pessimist?

Things are pretty good right now. They've been good for a long time. They were good when Clinton was president, and now during the Bush regime they are still good.

Good doesn't sell. Better come up with something negative, or you might as just well go about your business rather than blog, write, or what have you.

Daffy is a pessimist, and so is Bob. He demonises the left ad nauseum when the left does nothing but prosper and work. So what's the beef, really? Where is any measurable outcome, for better or for worse? 'Taint there.

Now, when Bob writes of pure spirit...that's the real stuff. Only, he doesn't get so many strokes for his real stuff so he goes back to the lynch-mob polemics.

It all boils down to attention-seeking. That's what makes the world turn.

8/16/2007 11:07:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Congratulations to you both!

Look mercifully upon these thy servants, that they may love, honour, and
cherish each other, and so live together in faithfulness and patience,
in wisdom and true godliness, that their home may be a haven of blessing
and of peace.


[Serenade.]

8/17/2007 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Pundit: "Well, Daffy's got a point. Bob belabors the negative and exagerates it."

Bob: "There are no conservative deconstructionists, because what is specifically being deconstructed -- that is, attacked -- is the truism that America is a good and decent nation, that western civilization is a uniquely precious gift, that America is not a racist-sexist-homophobic society, etc."

Daffy: "At the biological level on earth existence is a relentless eating or death machine."

Hmmm....

8/17/2007 05:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Van said...

"And the fans are much more loud, vulgar and animalistic. When I was a kid, no one cursed in public at a game, but now it’s constant. "

Reminds me of some historians who claim that there was no collapse of civilization, no fall of the Roman Empire; one Historian Walter Goffart, said that Rome’s experience with coexisting with the barbarians was “an imaginative experiment that got a little out of hand.” (no doubt he'd appreciate our border control).

One claims that Visigoths & Burgundians may have moved into the territory without visa's, but that they kept the same titles & political structure that the romans had, and so it was basically the same store under new management. Because things looked the same, they were the same. The fact that the previous management wore togas and could read, write, follow rules and think while the new management wore horned helmets, barked, did what they felt like and followed clans and the sword instead of the law was just a different cultural paradigm of no real importance - government and governing was continous, just evolving.

And we wonder why we have problems?

Whether the barbarians come from outside the gates or are grown on the inside (or in our case, both), is what is of no real difference - whether or not 'governing' continues is of note only to wackademics - if the governed no longer are self governing, then that civilization has fallen.

I think we're still at a point that it can be restored, but we'd better all be actively trying to restore it, or new management will be moving in sporting horned headgear - in more ways than one.

8/17/2007 05:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Van said...

joseph said "...John Gatto traces this extended youth phenomenon you speak of to the arrival and continuation of forced compulsory schooling. Not surprisingly, these "ideas" were not accidental."

So True. The progressives got their first hook into america with Senator Morril (a big time Republican, by the way) in 1861, primarily as a War Measure! In Morrills words: “The role of the national government is to mould the character of the American people."

And did they ever commence to moulding - and molding.

wv:ifperk - then?

8/17/2007 05:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Van said...

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. G!
[puts needle to turntable] "It was twenty years ago today! Sgt. Pepper taught..."[screetch - needle put back, turntable turned off]

eh... maybe not quite the right tune, then again you've obviously got your own music, let the band play on....

8/17/2007 05:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Van said...

daffy d,
I'm sure you think your revealing thoughts about this blog and its blogizens are new and exciting stuff, but as others noted already, you shone through loud and clear from the first, and obviously there's no match to be made here, sooo see ya, wouldn't want to beee ya....

[nibbles carrot]
What a maroon.

And to the aninnyTVmouse, turn it off, read a book, go hang with daffy. Sheesh.

8/17/2007 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Joseph, Gatto's writing is fascinating. I don't know if I line up with him philosophically on every point, but his network vs. community I have *seen* in action.

Pundit: The divide between Daffy and Bob on that point is exactly as wide as the divide between "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." and the Untouchable Caste. If someone can't see past Bob's spiritual analysis of their favoritest president--ever!, to that plain fact, then perhaps "positivity" is not the real criterion to which they are holding Bob.

8/17/2007 06:35:00 AM  
Anonymous pundit among it said...

Hmmmpff, I was hoping to get a bit more attention from my previous post.
Dupree? you there?

8/17/2007 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Van said...

pundit among it said...
"Hmmmpff, I was hoping to get a bit more attention from my previous post.
Dupree? you there? "

Sorry, jury duty (or defendant... could be both), just us Raccoons to deal with... dabt, dabt, dabt dabt's all folks!

wv:dlkicky - gotta love it

8/17/2007 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

re: wv:dlkicky - gotta love it

Vandude, when O when will you learn the WV is ALIVE!!! Starting to think he/she is part Asleep, part Petey, part Cuz Dup, part ??????

We gotta watch more closely.

8/17/2007 11:53:00 AM  

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