Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Absolute Science of the Center and the Darwinist Religion of the Periphery

Science deals with the periphery of the world, while religion deals with the center. Being that both the periphery and center necessarily exist and co-arise, science and religion are obviously both necessary to each other -- at least if one wishes to have an account of reality that is both consistent and complete, AKA, if one wishes to live in the Real world. However, one would think that it would be self-evident that the center could never be derived from the periphery, any more than the Absolute could be derived from the relative, the whole from the part, the inside from the outside, eternity from time, or intelligence from matter.

And all of these categories are reflections of each other: center, interior, whole, intelligence, eternity, absolute. They can be combined in various ways to disclose other categories; for example, interior wholeness is none other than psycho-spiritual health. Eternal intelligence is Truth. The Absolute center is God, or at the very least, where God is known, i.e., the non-difference of atman and brahman. The absolute whole would be the cosmos (albeit in its relative sense), while the interior whole would be the microcosmos, Man (again, in a relative sense, being that only the Absolute is truly absolute).

In turn, God is the center of centrality and the interior of interiority, while man is the interior of exteriority and the subjective center of the material periphery. This probably sounds abstract, but it is meant to be as concrete as can be, in such a way that even the bonehead Darwinist must acknowledge its a priori truth.

For example, Darwinism is a theory that addresses constant change of outward form, but the theory unifies exterior phenomena on a noumenal interior plane known only to man. This subjective horizon where we live, love, and know truth, beauty and virtue is beyond the reach of Darwinsim -- at least in any deep or consistent manner. Shakespeare will always have more to tell us about love than Darwinism, just as Joyce will always have more to tell us about language.

In other words, like all science, Darwinism attempts to unify multiplicity on a "deeper" or more interior plane, even while it can never account for such things as interiority, depth, and unity -- let alone interior depth or absolute unity. This is why whatever truth Darwinism is able to disclose fits easily into the paradigm of perennial religion (one could not say a particular religion, for that is a matter of faith, not intellection per se), whereas Darwinism could never account for those religious truths that "cannot not be," since they abide on on eternal, interior and archetypal plane that obviously transcends Darwinism. Darwinism cannot address this plane without maiming and ultimately destroying Man: again, reductionistic Darwinism is a form of nonviolent resistance to transcendence, or intellectual fascism.

I don't want to gloss over an important caveat in the above paragraph. When I say that the existence of God can be easily proven through intellection and metaphysics, I do not mean this or that God, but God per se. It is like proving the existence of love or Beethoven. One can easily do that, but it is hardly the same as falling in love or deeply understanding Beethoven's music.

In fact, even hearing Beethoven is (apparently) a rather trivial thing compared to truly comprehending him. I'm not saying that I do, but I know that others do, for example, J.W.N. Sullivan in his little classic, Beethoven: His Spiritual Development. This book had a profound influence on me at the time I read it some 25 years ago, as I was easily able to transpose its perennial insights to the keys of psychology and spirituality. After all, anyone can practice a religion, whether it is Christianity, Darwinism, Atheism, or Materialism, but that doesn't mean they understand their religion in any deep way. For an atheist to reject religion means only that he has failed to understand it, precisely. A confession of atheism is simply an honest confession of ignorance of any realities that transcend the human ego, nothing more, nothing less. And why argue with a man who not only clings to ignorance, but is proud of the fact?

When we talk about metaphysics, we are talking about very basic truths that are adequations to divine/human realities that cannot not be, such as "Absolute," "being," "truth," etc. But just as one cannot generate a cosmos using only the equations of math, one cannot "generate a religion" using only the abstract symbols of metaphysics. As I was at pains to point out in chapter four of The Coonifesto, metaphysics is a way to "know" these truths, whereas religion is a means to realize them. This is where faith comes in, for one must leap into a revelation, just as one must eventually "fall in love." In both cases, we are putting flesh and bones on the skeleton.

Of course, some people forget about the skeleton altogether; actually, it seems an unfortunate fact that few non-Raccoons even know of its existence, which is quite sad and disturbing. Among other problems, it causes people to confuse the truth of their religion with the eternal truths it is there to disclose and deepen.

In short, many people essentially reduce (n) to a kind of religious (k), which immediately places religion on the same empirical plane as science. This then causes silly disputes between, say, young earth creationists and Darwinists. But the Darwinists are obviously correct on the plane addressed by Darwinism. Darwinism only becomes incorrect when it attempts to apply itself to domains that far transcend it. When this happens, again, it necessarily misunderstands and ultimately destroys what it would attempt to explain.

Likewise, when religion inappropriately impinges upon the prerogatives of science, silliness or mayhem result. Look at it this way; Darwinism looks silly when it attempts a reductionistic explanation of a quintessentially human reality, say, love, or truth, or beauty. But the religionist would essentially be engaging in the opposite fallacy if he were to insist, for example, that the earth is attracted to the sun because it is in love with it. When Dante spoke of "the love that moves the sun and other stars," he was obviously talking about something much deeper than mere empirical reality. Otherwise Dante would be an ass instead of the singular spiritual genius that he was.

Being that humans are "in the image of the creator" we possess powers that are potentially godlike and divine. But if we attempt to utilize these powers divorced from their sacred and the holy source, then again, mayhem results. To say that truth is divine is not to "mix church and state," much less to try to impose religion on science. Rather, it is a simple fact, regardless of whether or not the person realizes it. Science deals with a world of quantities, while religion deals with the higher world of archetypal qualities, such as truth. To reduce truth to a quantity is again to do untold damage to man, for it is to reduce the subject to an object and to confuse method with ontology.

The axis around which the mind turns is freedom, an intrinsically spiritual freedom that can never be explained on any materialistic basis. In a sense, the intellect is freedom, the freedom to know truth, to love beauty, and to be conscious of virtue. In this regard, I was very much influenced by the philosopher of biology, Hans Jonas, whose The Phenomenon of Life was very helpful to me back when I was lost and coonfused in the bewilderness of my "higher" education. His essay at the start of the book was like an insoluble but fruitful koan that kept me occupied for years, and wasn't really resolved until I encountered the works of Robert Rosen (both authors are difficult, so I can't say I would recommend them to a general audience).

Let me go back to that essay and see if it even still resonates....

"The organic even in its lowest forms prefigures mind, and the mind even on its highest reaches remains part of the organic. The latter half of [this] contention, but not the former, is in tune with modern belief; the former, but not the latter, was in tune with ancient belief; that both are valid and inseparable is the hypothesis of a philosophy which tries for a stand beyond the quarrels of the ancients and the moderns" [or one could say to stand beyond the quarrels of science and religion, which is the Raccoon position].

"Both scales culminate in the thinking of man and there come under the question: which is for the sake of which? Contemplation for action, or action for contemplation? With this challenge to choice, biology turns into ethics."

"If mind is prefigured in the organic from the beginning, then freedom is. And indeed our contention is that even metabolism, the basic level of all organic existence, exhibits it: that it is itself the first form of freedom.... it is in the dark stirrings of primeval organic substance that a principle of freedom shines forth for the first time within the vast necessity of the physical universe -- a principle foreign to suns, planets, and atoms.... the first appearance of this principle in its bare, elementary object-form signifies the break-through of being to the indefinite range of possibilities which hence stretches to the farthest reaches of subjective life, and as a whole stands under the sign of 'freedom'.... even the transition from inanimate to animate substance, the first feat of matter's organizing itself for life, was actuated by a tendency in the depth of being toward the very modes of freedom to which this transition opened the gate" [this is very similar to Aurobindo's conception of involution followed by evolution].

Interesting. If metabolism is the "process" of freedom, then the metabolism of Truth would be the way to God. And to practice a religion is again the effort to metabolize truth in order to deepen one's relationship to the Absolute. It is along this vector that the real cosmic evolution is taking place, which is to say, in and up.

The cosmos is whole and intelligible, and man is deeply free, because God is One.

95 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

I think Van's frontal lobe spin cycle is contagious.

Metabolism is controlled fire. Heat is related to freedom even in the inorganic. Believers see a relationship between fire and the Divine: burnt offerings, "pillar of fire", "our God is a consuming fire."

1001 -- an auspicious beginning to the next millennium.

6/25/2008 08:38:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This was 1002.

6/25/2008 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

But who's counting?

6/25/2008 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Except materialists...

6/25/2008 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

You wrote:
It is along this vector that the real cosmic evolution is taking place . . ."

A distinction with a difference! Yea, though you explain yourself abundantly (1,001...1,002...) I'll bet the Darwinian mindset assumes you mean the same thing by evolution as does he, but that he "knows better."

I imagined Dear Leader staking the Raccoon Flag at a sharp angle into the vertical dimension, saying with confidence, "Here! And now!"

6/25/2008 08:53:00 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

GBob, You are like the cartoonists of the dailies...Lots of practice gives you the material and its command, and so you can put out pages a day quickly enough to not encroach on the rest of your life.

I honor your quickness. Wish I had it, and also the larger block of time you seem to have too. As a wordsmith in my own right, I understand what goes into this.

6/25/2008 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It doesn't really take time or effort, but timelessness and lack thereof, or a bewilderness adventure of higher non-doodling. That is my life.

6/25/2008 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Of course, for your readers on some days it takes time, effort, timelessness and lack thereof to fully digest. Which may take a while.

Also, some days, what can we possibly add?

Happy 1002nd post, Bob.

6/25/2008 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Christopher said "I honor your quickness. Wish I had it..."

Not to mention his having captured and tamed my ever ellusive quary, brevity. Short, sweet and to the pOint.
I suppose it takes time to make timelessness... ah well... to the hunt!....

6/25/2008 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Mushroom said "I think Van's frontal lobe spin cycle is contagious."

What really gets you is when you think it's done... and then realize it's on a double rinse cycle....

6/25/2008 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Van said, "Brevity"!!

I was taught in a hard school and brevity is not a problem, but my bottleneck is literally my neck...

that is, my thinker don't think so quick...

What I fell in love with in computerland is the edit function. I am grateful that I understand that these words are in some sense not mine. I can change them on the instant.

6/25/2008 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Christopher said "What I fell in love with in computerland is the edit function."

My problem is, I think, similar to people who try to schedule too much to do... who try to cram in seeing all of the sites available in a scenic stop into a single afternoon (or who grab five books to read when you only have an hour to read? ahem... not that I'd know about that too...), instead of picking what can be fully and comfortably taken in, in the time available.

I want to bring in this, and that principle... and this one is important too! And I have to show the effect this has too...!

And viola... 12 pages.

But like you, I give thanks for editable pixels, that lets me cut down the 25 pages to 12 (You should have seen what I used to do with notebooks).

My own little rebellion against reality issue (and in essence, that is what it is)... but I'm working on it.

6/25/2008 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

"...and then realize it's on a double rinse cycle...."

with Max Extract for that truly wrung-out feeling

6/25/2008 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"As I was at pains to point out in chapter four of The Coonifesto, metaphysics is a way to "know" these truths, whereas religion is a means to realize them. This is where faith comes in, for one must leap into a revelation, just as one must eventually "fall in love." In both cases, we are putting flesh and bones on the skeleton. "

Yes. Which, unless I mis-take mysoph, brings us back to yesterday's,

""the word became flesh," what we are ultimately saying is that transcendent reality, or the ultimate principle, is present in what we call the material realm (which is actually a realm of pure dynamic or energic activity)."

and the metabolism of Truth,

"In fact, this Ultimate Principle is the "stasis" amidst the otherwise "total activity" that would be incomprehensible in the absence of the Principle which both "penetrates" and "contains" it. It is why the world is intelligible to man's intelligence."

(uh-oh... rinse soak cycles done... here it goes again...

6/25/2008 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

A day late and a counter short. Ah, well. It is auspicious progression, then, and powerful stuff.

6/25/2008 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Science is primarily a method and a practice. That's the truth, and "good" scientists never forget that. The way GBob writes of religion, it too is a method and a practice. In both cases, from this point of view, the end state is not yet seen. That would presumably be the presentation of the "Theory of Everything", which as Bob accurately states, must include the subjective and intersubjective as well as the objective experiences of the planet and beyond. Such a theory simply doesn't exist in anything close to a finished form, for something is always left undone so far, or as it is commonly manifested, that something left undone is also dismissed as unimportant.

A matter of my own faith, from God's perspective there is no unimportant something. All things are infinitely valued.

Believers in the religion of science, like believers in any religion will tend to make their own favored viewpoint a kind of revelation butressed by some kind of authority. This may risk going against the method and practice, and forcing answers to meet preconceptions. That would be bad science and may well be "bad" religion, though it is by far the most common (and horizontal) manifestation of religion on the planet.

I have chosen in both realms to live according to following a practice and using a method as I am able. I feel supported in this activity in many ways. This site is a recent example. I don't even remember how I "stumbled" on it - some Google search completely unrelated and then a mouse click.

I don't have to agree with everything to spend time with it. I find you quite civilized so long as I color inside the lines.

6/25/2008 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Darwinism cannot address this plane without maiming and ultimately destroying Man: again, reductionistic Darwinism is a form of nonviolent resistance to transcendence, or intellectual fascism."

Intellectual fascism reminds me of the "professional historian" that commented on yesterday's post earlier today.
He was tryin' to convince us that fascism and communism could work if the right people were in charge, then he mentioned Obama.
Needless to say, that was an ISS moment.

Unfortunately, he left before I woke up, but Van, Bob, Ximeze, and Scatter (I'm beginning to like that damn dirty ape!) made short work of him.

I just wanted to say: "Dude! Who pays you for this crap?"

A rhetorical question to be sure, but still, I wonder such things, or, more properly, I wonder how someone could be so retarded that they pay for professional historian services of this nature (which is to say dead wrong).

You know, kind of like readin' about stupid criminals. Every cop I know has plenty of stupid criminal stories, and It's not really a stretch to say that professional historians of today's variety are at least retarded and criminal, since they expect to be paid for their propaganda.

Intellectial fascism. Yep.

6/25/2008 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous scatter said...

Get your filthy hands off me, you damn dirty human!

6/25/2008 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Pretty soon, there'll be someone from PETA in here . . .

6/25/2008 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I don't know what PETA's beef is.
Personally, I love beef, much more than they do.

6/25/2008 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Any ape that can channel Charlton Heston is okay in my books (yes, I do have more than one).

6/25/2008 01:46:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Christopher, much of what you say rings true. But there is a theory of everything, which is very well explicated in, say, John, and which requires no revision and presumably never will -- except as our understanding of it is revised.

Meanwhile, science is much more subject to square pegs in round holes -- i.e. "normal science" than I think you imply here.

To me, a religious fundamentalist is adhering to some version of the theory of everything but rendering it concrete and thereby antithetical to the notion that change and freedom are somehow implicit in each other. Unlike a scientific theory, which at best is always drawing closer to truth but will always need revision, the religious version of the truth is not itself trapped by such immanence, even though its practitioners may be -- perhaps out of necessity, being imperfect humans.

That's if I understand you and what Bob's been saying correctly.

6/25/2008 01:49:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Meanwhile:

"The axis around which the mind turns is freedom, an intrinsically spiritual freedom that can never be explained on any materialistic basis."

Matthew, if you're still lurking, this is why we know you've gotten lost in the forest for the trees, why communism cannot possibly ever "work", and why your Obamanation will never come to pass, except possibly as another version of the hell that has always cohered to leftist fantasies.

6/25/2008 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"For an atheist to reject religion means only that he has failed to understand it, precisely. A confession of atheism is simply an honest confession of ignorance of any realities that transcend the human ego, nothing more, nothing less. And why argue with a man who not only clings to ignorance, but is proud of the fact?"

Ho! That deserves a permanent home on my sidebar! Plus, it's funny as hell! :^)

6/25/2008 01:57:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

People Eating Tasty Animals

Yup, all for it

Meat tastes wonderful, that's why God made cows out of it

6/25/2008 01:58:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

maineman,

A buddhist might argue that John hasn't got it right because in Buddhism there are a different set of first principles, the primary being that it is not a matter of sin but of ignorance. The primary solution to ignorance is some form of education.

A Christian might say it must be sin for otherwise the salvation through Christ is irrelevant.

Yet both paths can lead to people living fulfilled lives by every visible measure. Buddhists claim their saints too.

I make no point in this observation except the one I already made - that each religious system cannot close the gap in the other worldview.

A theory of everything would have to succeed in that in some compelling way across the divide. Ecumenical attempts live with these disagreements. As yet there is no solution.

6/25/2008 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Elephant said...

ximeze said...

"Meat tastes wonderful, that's why God made cows out of it"

This caused a head-rupture of laughter. It won my Funniest Thing I've Read in Six Plus Months award. I think it was partly because I was stewing on the serious words and then bam. There it was and it didn't strike a clarity chord (was only glancing by) for about 3 - 5 seconds; then I got it.

6/25/2008 02:12:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

maineman,
I tend to think of scientists much like engineers...

There is a technical focus, then there is family life and all the other stuff which may well include membership in churches.

The troubles and politics of daily life in the workplace for the most part fill the whole working life and if anxiety is high enough, goes home too. Then the troubles and politics of home does the same sometimes, making work a refuge.

I believe the rank and file of the scientific community is much too busy to care about these matters very much, at least in any well thought out way. I have heard more than once that the lab rats leave the theoretical stuff to those strange guys who care.

Most scientists in my opinion think all this talk like we do a time waster. Certainly most engineers (the guys I have spent over 30 years not fitting in with) do.

6/25/2008 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Christopher,

"I find you quite civilized so long as I color inside the lines."

Hm.

It shouldn't be a matter of coloring inside lines. It's really more a question of aligning oneself with Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. When that happens, one is more likely to stick close to the lines, like flesh on bone perhaps or architecture over a supportive framework. Ideally, there is both outer and inner development. If your structure appears wobbly, or your outer development threatens to become unmoored, we're liable to say something (and speaking for myself, I like a bit of warning when I'm ambling into the undertow or my walls are about to cave in), but it's not a matter of being rigidly doctrinaire.

The thing is, when aligning yourself with Truth, Beauty and Goodness, you are engaging in a form of self-limitation, in that by adhering to Truth you must reject the lie, by adhering to Beauty you must reject ugliness (and no, I'm not talking about outward appearances), and in embracing Goodness you can't help but loathe that which is not good. Trying to align yourself with these things is the only way to achieve true freedom. If we are sometimes vociferous, it is because we are passionate about seeking these Absolutes (and the One which is all of these), and sometimes have little patience for anything that would draw us away from them.

"I make no point in this observation except the one I already made - that each religious system cannot close the gap in the other worldview."

A Raccoon's goal is to follow them to their Source, and find that sweet spot between inner and outer, horizontal and vertical, esoteric and exoteric, time and eternity. It's both easier and harder than you can imagine.

6/25/2008 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie, you never cease to amaze me! :^)

6/25/2008 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ximeze-
Bwahahaha! Your bringin' the funny today! Max Extraction of meat jokes! :^)

6/25/2008 02:51:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Elephant,
I’ll see those six months and raise you six.

Same here! Ximeze – top shelf! Oh man, I can’t wait to borrow that…

6/25/2008 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Christopher said-
"A theory of everything would have to succeed in that in some compelling way across the divide."

Rather than "theory of everything" I see it as "vision of completeness." No theory where it involves Truth.
That may not be what you meant, but I wanted to clarify.

There really is no way to use scientific words to describe fully what One Cosmos Under God is all about.

6/25/2008 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Has anycoon had a chance to peruse

"The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization"
by Anthony Esolen?

Regnery Pub 6/17/08

Esolen has done translations of Dante, Lucretius & Tasso,
published articles on Spenser & Shakespeare, and is a contributing editor of the theological journal Touchstone.

There's a pissy lib whining about it in the comments on Amazon, so I'm thinking it's likely pretty good.

6/25/2008 03:05:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

The experience is one thing and speaking coherently of it another. The primary duty of a finder of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in whatever garb is to speak in language another can accept or else remain silent as did Wittgenstein.

It is both easy and very difficult to find these things, as Julie said. It takes more patience than most of us really have to learn to relate these matters with the required diplomacy, especially across the "why should I care" divide.

Pungency of comment rarely actually works as communication for more than a brief while, for it breeds rebellion and resistance most commonly.

However, it is self satisfying. I too use high energy at times but I remember it's for me more than the other guy that I do so. Many times that's the point anyway. Not communication but self expression.

6/25/2008 03:16:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Christopher has already said he puts Compassion at the head of the table.

6/25/2008 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Placing compassion over truth is the very essence of the soul pathology of liberalism. It pretty much explains all its failures (at least when we aren't just dealing with pure subversive malevolence and rebellion).

6/25/2008 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Compassion over truth is particularly catastrophic in the macro realm. Obviously there are times that it is appropriate in the micro arena, but even there, for example, a psychotherapist who has nothing to offer you but compassion is basically robbing you.

6/25/2008 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To put it another way, I know of countless psychologists who are compassionate imbeciles, as they pretty much dominate the profession.

6/25/2008 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

USS Ben USN (Ret) said"Ximeze-
Bwahahaha! Your bringin' the funny today! Max Extraction of meat jokes! :^)"

... one is tempted to say OCHA Prime Grade 'A'

6/25/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Christopher said "The primary duty of a finder of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness in whatever garb is to speak in language another can accept or else remain silent as did Wittgenstein."

Sadly, not before he wrote Tome's worth of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness obscuring verbiage.

6/25/2008 03:57:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Feel free to swipe the quote: I did

Followed multiple cyber wormholes til I suddenly found mysoph at

"The sun is out so let us set fire to lots of dead animals".

Clearly a must-read. Commenter llamas gets the credit.

It hit me as a snorter & was sure Raccoons, being natural-born troublemakers, would enjoy too.

6/25/2008 04:01:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Truth and compassion are not exclusive. Ultimately perfect truth is also perfect justice and perfect compassion.

Buddhism is what informs me in this matter of compassion, but it is not that I would deny truth to keep compassion. Instead I assert that of the 3017 (# chosen arbitrarily) ways to say a thing, as poets and diplomats well know, 28 (another arbitrary #) of them will lead to compassionate results. The truth uttered with compassion (read consciousness of where to meet the other's need as the relevant part of compassion here) will communicate where a more angular and uncomfortable self expression remains mainly self serving.

But then in this matter I guess I don't color in between the lines. Truth is what it is. Question: how do you get the horse to drink?
Truth talkers lead horses to the water. Horses balk. Truth talkers using compassion succeed.

GBob, you claim psych as a profession. Perhaps you can browbeat the ill or drug them into compliance, but leading them back to sanity takes great patience and an ability to enter into the illness to lead them out from the inside. Busting an erroneous worldview successfully is what it is, whether that worldview is driven by illness or by error.

6/25/2008 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I prefer to give no quarter and to bust the parasites in the chops. I'm not saying it's for everyone, but it is certainly what I wanted from my therapist, not just mush from a wimp.

I'm not sure what you mean, because it is very much possible to be compassionate in the absence of truth, unless you define compassion out of existence. For example, I have no doubt that Obama is a compassionate man. But he is also an idiot, which is my primary concern as a citizen.

6/25/2008 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Christopher said "The truth uttered with compassion (read consciousness of where to meet the other's need as the relevant part of compassion here) will communicate where a more angular and uncomfortable self expression remains mainly self serving."

Disturbingly often, the compassionate thing to do does not look like the compassionate thing to do, from the point of view of the receiver of said compassion.

Also, quite often insisting that compassion be dressed in the clothes of niceness, shows more of the self serving nature of the deliverer's desire to appear 'nice' and to be 'liked' over and above the requirements of the situation.

Parenting 101

There’s a Zen Buddhist tale I heard from D.T. Suzuki… no ref for it now, where the master chops off the finger of the student seeking to imitate having achieved Satori – and then the student did achieve Satori. The falsely compassionate Master would have said soothing words of encouragement, and the student would have remained self deluded.

Not that I’d recommend it as a teaching method, but I’d say that the finger chopping Master was the truly compassionate One.

6/25/2008 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Christopher, sometimes the most compassionate thing you can do for someone is give them a swift, hard boot in the ass.

6/25/2008 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Dennis Prager was making that very point the other day, that so-called compassion is almost always an ego driven need to be liked and a fear of rejection. It's weakness masquerading as compassion. Give me the truth of Ronald Reagan any day over the "compassion" of a Jimmy Carter. The former helped liberate millions, while the latter cozies up to any tyrant with his self-righteous compassion.

Male compassion generally comes down to identifying what is of value and kicking the ass of those who threaten it. Female compassion is another mater.

6/25/2008 04:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This is why I dreaded the term "compassionate conservatism," being that conservatism is intrinsically compassionate. It is liberal policies that end in cruelty -- uneducated children, the destruction of the black family, mismanaged cities, increased crime, etc., etc.

6/25/2008 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

OMpassion.
Or, as Bob has said repeatedly, dispassionate compassion grounded in Truth.

6/25/2008 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

And um, what everyone else already said.
Give me a kick in the ass compassion anyday over the milquetoast enabling compassion of idiots.

6/25/2008 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger QP said...

......"the finger chopping Master ". . . . . illustrated

6/25/2008 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Elephant said...

Ricky Raccoon said...

"Elephant,
I’ll see those six months and raise you six."

What is very funny is I remember the last time I completely lost it. AND IT WAS HERE AT THIS BLOG!!! It was Hoarhey's comment about someone's statement regarding H. Clinton.

6/25/2008 05:12:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"The cosmos is whole and intelligible, and man is deeply free, because God is One."

My eyes keep resting on that, and each time they do I feel that low gong ringing in the depths.

6/25/2008 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Elephant said...

Not to dredge up potentially against Hoarhey's will, but here it is, museum style. :)


First is an example of a mind riddled with holes...to the point where this individual is living in a reality I can't even conceive.

"Hillary will win the nomination. First, she is the most trusted candidate. When she speaks people know she speaks the truth. Rarely has she ever switched her stances to gain political favor. Second, her laugh is infectious and because of this people are drawn to her warm personality. And last, people remember the glorious nineties and would do anything to go back when terrorists didn't want to kill us.
Go Hillary!"

6/25/2008 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That is an outstanding Coon! More than a passing resemblance to LaFayette, I might add.

6/25/2008 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Elephant said...

Oops, I copied that from a message sharing the quote, which I don't normally do - ever - and I edited Hoarhey's comment for 'coon appropriateness (ie. my friend wouldn't have "gotten it" so for his sake trimmed it a little with the ...) In full it was even funnier.

6/25/2008 05:32:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

LaFayette once bit off a guy's finger in a fight in Napoleonville. I know this is true, because Dupree has the stump to prove it.

6/25/2008 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Julie -

Qi gong, Chin-fu Doh, and now Low gong: Raccoons can take care of themselves!

6/25/2008 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The sad thing about Dupree's missing finger is that it's on his "pimp hand."

6/25/2008 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I'm always glad to add to the lexicon of Raccoon Martial Arts :)

6/25/2008 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hunh. It is interesting that one who thinks of ignorance as the chief problem and not sin finds compassion of the highest importance. One would think he would find -truth- of the greatest importance, since that's the cure for ignorance.

I prefer Truth-seeking perhaps in part because of my disposition, but sin, which is 'to miss the mark' is certainly man's problem. And according to the old stories, it's man's desire to get stuff that he ain't ready for yet that messes him up.

Sometimes we've gotta go blind, get a limp or lose a finger before we're ready, yaknow, yaknow.

Besides, if the Truth is a person - what could be more important than him? Mercy comes from truth, and thus compassion from truth.

6/25/2008 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous walmart shopper said...

Have you guys seen this?

Garfield Minus Garfield

It turns out that when you remove Garfield the cat from the comic strip Garfield, you get something much darker and very funny.

6/25/2008 07:00:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

LaFayette!
We have you surrounded!
Put down your Cuz and come out with your hands up!

6/25/2008 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I had seen it before, but lost the link ages ago. Thanks, Walmart Shopper! Now I have to explain why I'm laughing :)

6/25/2008 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“…it is a simple fact, regardless of whether or not the person realizes it. Science deals with a world of quantities, while religion deals with the higher world of archetypal qualities…”

Read this last night in Pieper’s “Leisure…”:

“There has long been a restless anxiousness to leave nothing unexplained, and now in every sphere and to every age explanations are ever forthcoming glibly. They have one defect: nothing is thereby made intelligible. Explanation turns out to be a game of synonyms.”

6/25/2008 08:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Indeed. People no longer know what consciousness is, much less what it is for!

6/25/2008 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Dear Petey,
Allow me to run this bayou:

Bob said,
“Being that humans are "in the image of the creator" we possess powers that are potentially godlike and divine. But if we attempt to utilize these powers divorced from their sacred and the holy source, then again, mayhem results.”

I know what Bob is saying, and because it is true there may be further meaning aligned with it that transcends Bob’s context here – which I think is what’s truly great about striking skydirt: infinite application to all Men.

Been thinking RE the subject of “balance” discussed here a few days ago, could it be also that the vertical depends on the horizontal no less (perhaps) than the latter on the former, as does, “horizontal man” require the vertical to become Man. And while he is “in the image of the creator” and cannot be otherwise, may be reason enough to not be exclusively “of” the horizontal nor exclusively “of” the vertical, but instead balanced across them, or equally with-in each realm. If not, then mayhem on the individual level ensues: Poof goes the horizontal and the vertical right along with it, just as vice versa.

6/25/2008 08:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

I'm afraid I'm a bit too tired to handle that one at the moment, so let me just answer it with a preliminary but unqualified yes and no.

6/25/2008 08:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

However, I am happy to report that Bob's caption today was instantly promoted to the top.

6/25/2008 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Ximeze…about that award…

6/25/2008 09:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

He's too modest to say so, but he's also proud of this one.

6/25/2008 09:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob wrote:

"Shakespeare will always have more to tell us about love than Darwinism, just as Joyce will always have more to tell us about language."

I would say that Darwinism is a larger philosophy than the philosopy of art or language, because it explains and delineates art and language as synaptic activity developed in response to the needs of communal survival.

Yes, all of the marvelous quanta of the human subjective experience are biochemic/electric phenomenon. Face it. It hurts to face it, but its a good hurt. From there one can move forward in humility, knowing how transient everything of this world is, even love and language.

The spirit realm is Silence beyond the reach of Shakespeare's love or Joyce's language. Even these sublime things are of the temporal world and not of the noumenal.

Be the meat-puppet that you are; be ashamed to exist. It's OK. You'll be going back into the Silence soon enough. The real mystery is why we come out in the first place. I'd give alot to know that.

6/25/2008 09:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

I can answer that. You came out because God was sick of you.

6/25/2008 09:10:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Anymouse - Ohhh how you despise the joyful singing and dancing of the raccoons. Why is that, I wonder? Lost your way, have you?You'd best tippy-toe away now that you've squeeked your little bit...the coons will be coons and you...well, you will be that tiny little mouse to whom God graciously gifted those few fleeting breaths before the dust.

Party crasher.

6/25/2008 09:52:00 PM  
Anonymous lucifer said...

Anon,

You came out because I spawned you.
Tool.

6/25/2008 09:55:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Ricky,
Must bow before the Master: his were O riginal, mine was just snarfed from llamas.

However, really like'n that 'Caution Cat Vomit'jpg on that linked site & might have to swipe it too, as a fitting avatar for mysoph.

6/25/2008 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

-Didja know that JWN Sullivan was for a time an intimate & follower of Aleister Crowley? He also wrote on military histoire!

6/25/2008 11:36:00 PM  
Anonymous (the real) matthew said...

"The axis around which the mind turns is freedom, an intrinsically spiritual freedom that can never be explained on any materialistic basis."

I've seen this in brief moments in AmerIndian ceremonies, in Seattle WTO 1999, in a few Earth First! action camp/tree sits, and in history in a few radical moments-- pirate utopias, TAZ's, the first few moments of several revolutions... something that can't be reduced to explanation.

A good example, perhaps, is the 20,000 Paris 1870 communards who even after they KNEW the situation was lost, who COULD have blended back into society, chose to stay on the barricades to the end, even tho it meant certain death, because once they'd tasted true freedom, there was no going back.

6/26/2008 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"I've seen this in brief moments in AmerIndian ceremonies, in Seattle WTO 1999, in a few Earth First! action camp/tree sits, and in history in a few radical moments-- pirate utopias, TAZ's, the first few moments of several revolutions... something that can't be reduced to explanation."

I can explain it: they were retarded idiots embracing the "freedom" of lawlessness, not realizing they are in fact slaves to it.
That and they are simply punks taking advantage of chaos, not caring who they hurt.

6/26/2008 05:25:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Ximeze,
RE your joke, think how I feel…the tattoo ink was still wet on my meat hooks!

6/26/2008 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Morinin’, Ben!

6/26/2008 05:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

matthew said "in Seattle WTO 1999, in a few Earth First! action camp/tree sits, and in history in a few radical moments-"

Yeah. Here are some examples of your idea offfreedom, but merely being unrestrained by even a lick of sense, doesn't make you free, it's more like ringing the fascist food bell "Fresh Meat! Come and get it!".

Tell us mister histoire professor, are you aware of the romantic hippie movement which preceded and provided fuel for ol' adolph's rise to power?

6/26/2008 06:01:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Double Top 'o da mornin' to you Ben!

6/26/2008 06:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Robinson said...

Anonymous, can you say,
"Meat puppets taste wonderful, that's why God made trolls out of it" five times in a row real fast?

6/26/2008 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

G'mornin' Rick n' Van!
What a beautiful mornin' not to be under tyranny or mob rule! Ha ha!

Only a fool, like a professional histrionic teacher, prefers a Lord of the Flies anarchy, Matthew.
I can't imagine why anyone would want that. Blech.

"If metabolism is the "process" of freedom, then the metabolism of Truth would be the way to God. And to practice a religion is again the effort to metabolize truth in order to deepen one's relationship to the Absolute. It is along this vector that the real cosmic evolution is taking place, which is to say, in and up."

Matthew wants to go down n' out.
Do you even realize the value of a history teacher in that environment, Matthew?
Nada. Zilch. Nuttin'.

6/26/2008 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

bloody 'ell.

More of this liberal ironism nonconbobulence.

A skydiver feels free for a short period of time because he experiences something that he has not experienced in his normal life. It is not that he is actually more free (he is less, in truth) but the rush of the moment may make it seem like he isn't irreversibly plummeting towards the Earth.

This is not freedom but an imitation of the feeling that Freedom proper gives. This is the error of he who seeks the experience containing the revelation rather than seeking the revelation itself and thus possibly having the experience.

6/26/2008 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Marxism is a form of communism. The latter has always existed, since man's "socialism" is ontologically and developmentally prior to his individualism.

6/26/2008 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Right. Socialism, or that is, communism, is a solution to a simple problem: 'How do you share shit?'

Capitalism is the unfolding solution to the more complex problem: 'What do you do when you CAN'T share shit?'

If you look at the history of the Christian church at the very beginning they were able to share everything. As time went forward and the church became more prominent and large this became infeasible.

The question is, "How do you give everything to God?" The solution to this question differs depending on the circumstances.

Thankfully, having everything pilfered by the state is not an answer to that question.

6/26/2008 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

As an addendum, to get the idea of what communal living means, one need only look at The Acts. The level of trust among members (who the leaders are is only about as important as who the members are) needs to be so absolutely high that it will fall apart where communication is slow, contact is sparse, and overall connectedness is minimal. Somewhere in The Acts, a man drops dead because he withheld something from the Church after having committed everything he owned to the service of God. (His wife proceeds to lie about it too, and also kicks it.) That is to say, the level of trust required to maintain 'And they shared all they owned' is infathomable to all Marxists, who think they can declare communal living on high with the right formulae and BAM! Utopia.

It doesn't work. The notion that there is somehow just these 'choices' - like a buffet - of different governments is just nonsense. Firstly Communism is a economic system, monarchy is a a type of leadership, etc. Plus, not all of these systems work at the same populations and political circumstances. The monarch was in some cases a strengthening element but also in other cases became a point of weakness (especially if he was assassinated.)

Part of Matthew's problem is that he is looking for the feelings of freedom instead of searching for the truth of what makes man free.

It doesn't take a brilliant and erudite scholar of history to recognize this. Someone who knows a bit about human nature (or at least believes in it) given a basic description of what each means can probably tell you more than an 'expert' whose job it is to sell government solutions for a living.

6/26/2008 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

River said "Part of Matthew's problem is that he is looking for the feelings of freedom instead of searching for the truth of what makes man free."

Bingo!

6/26/2008 07:23:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

For the record, Christopher, what I meant by a theory of everything was, for example, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

6/26/2008 08:01:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Meanwhile,

"Darwinism is a larger philosophy than the philosopy of art or language, because it explains and delineates art and language as synaptic activity developed in response to the needs of communal survival."

Well, at least that explains the productive and prosocial nature of rap music.

6/26/2008 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Liberalism is government by those who cannot govern themselves.

6/26/2008 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Matthew,

Ever put a rock through a Starbucks window?
Try not to conflate adolescent acting out with a trancendent revolution which actually leads in the direction of liberty.
The snot-noses don't have much of anything to teach.

6/26/2008 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Storm-Rider said...

Two of the most intellegent men in history said essentially the same thing, but one was a believer in God, and the other was agnostic.

“Where revelation comes into its own is where reason cannot reach. Where we have few or no ideas for reason to contradict or confirm, this is the proper matters for faith…that Part of the Angels rebelled against GOD, and thereby lost their first happy state: and that the dead shall rise, and live again: These and the like, being Beyond the Discovery of Reason, are purely matters of Faith; with which Reason has nothing to do.“ John Locke

"the doctrine of a personal G-d interfering with natural events could never be refuted… by science, for [it] can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot." Albert Einstein

Here's how I put the whole thing together:

• Science is the process of determining how matter behaves using observation, testing and inductive reason.

• Faith is any belief undiscoverable by science, which is to say any belief which is unobservable and untestable.

• Religion contains faith that eternal God created matter.

• Atheism contains faith that matter is either eternal or created it's self.

• By definition there can be no conflict between Science and either Atheistic Faith or Religious Faith since all faith is outside the domain of science, and science is likewise outside the domain of any faith. True faith and true science are, and always have been, mutually exclusive and never in conflict.

6/26/2008 11:42:00 AM  

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