Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dialogue With Death

I'm so preoccupied with this book on Hitler, that I don't think I can blog about anything else. The problem is, I haven't had time to reflect upon or assimilate it, so I will have to do so in real time, with you as guinea pigs. I think I last did this almost a year ago, with the book God and Gold, by Walter Russell Mead. That book was so rich with implications that I spent a couple of weeks "dialoguing" with the author.

This book is also rich with implications, although I still can't say whether I can give it a general recommendation, due to the Aurobindo factor (I also haven't quite finished it yet). Actually, there's not a single mention of Sri Aurobindo for the first 522 pages, which analyze the Nazi phenomenon from every angle, including its well documented immersion in the occult. Only in the last 140 pages or so does the author attempt to tie it all together with Sri Aurobindo's spiritual vision of the cosmos, which will not be to everyone's taste. (Oddly enough, the book ends on page 666.)

But it seems that I'm not getting a lot of traffic these days anyway, so I can't really drive away more readers. So here we go. A rambling dialogue with source and causes of ultimate evil, to try to see if we can derive any general principles, and whether or not they have any cosmic consequences. In any event, if these posts are more rambling than usual, now you know why.

But let's first wrap up the last few posts about the source and end of cosmic evolution, because that itself might provide an important context for understanding "ultimate evil," which will in a sense represent "evolution gone wrong." For if evolution has an ultimate point, or destination, then anything that interferes with the process of realizing it will be more or less evil (but not absolutely everything, for if evolution were a "smooth" and linear process with no obstacles, little could be gained from it; let's just say at this juncture that there are "legitimate" or intrinsic obstacles and "illegitimate" or extrinsic ones).

To cite one obvious example, if reconciliation with the absolute principle requires that we first individuate from the group, then any political system that is hostile to individuality will be a priori evil. Thus, on that basis alone, Nazi Germany, or communist China, or any other nation that radically subordinates the individual to the group is evil, because they specifically prevent the emergence of the "many" that can be reconciled on a higher level with the One. Rather, they impose a "false oneness" from on high, or in the case of the left, enforce a radical diversity, or absolute relativity, from below. But in both cases, power ultimately trumps truth and prevents evolutionary progress, which rests on the synthesis into higher unities, both individually and collectively.

In Reason Through Revelation, Errol Harris attempts in the last chapter to reconcile Christianity with cosmic evolution in a manner that is strikingly compatible with Sri Aurobindo's vision (not to mention Teilhard's Phenomenon of Man, which was only posthumously published in 1959, a year after Harris' book). Harris writes that,

"It is therefore in and through the human mind in its moral organization and its social setting that the cosmic process fulfills itself, and the completion of its fulfillment would be the final perfection of conscious personality. The perfection of man thus merges into the perfection of God" (so to speak, God "in himself" not being subject to change). He quotes Charles Raven, who remarked that "If history is the completion of the story unfolded in its earlier stages by biology and psychology, [then] theology, whose primary data are the lives and experiences of the saints through whom God most fully reveals himself to us, should be at once the culmination of the whole."

Once again we are confronted by the idea of wholeness, which for me is the missing ontological key, without which nothing makes sense on any level. Wholeness is a thread that courses through every artery of the cosmos, unifying the above and below on the vertical axis, but also accounting for the relative totality of any given horizontal level. It is why there can be the relatively autonomous worlds of matter, life, and mind, but also why they are descended "from above." In the absence of wholeness, there is no accounting for either fact.

Harris then goes into a discussion of Jesus, whom he describes as an ideal of "human perfection which is the truth of all other ideals and the fulfillment of every other doctrine of human good. It is that upon which all moral and political theories converge. And it is an ideal of human personality, realized in a community such that every possible achievement in every field of human endeavor would be open to its members -- for what, in such a society, could serve as a bar to progress in other respects, so long as this moral achievement were assured?... This would be the commonwealth of God, and the charge upon its citizens is to be perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect. The final perfection of man and the perfection of God are identified" (emphases mine).

Now, this comes very close to the Raccoon ideal of "political truth" outlined on pp. 178-180 of your Coonifesto. For there it is written that the universal criteria we may apply to the goodness of a culture is in its ability to foster or impede integration and actualization. As I wrote there,

"If you apply these simple criteria, you will quickly come to the realization that for ninety-nine percent of human history, most cultures have actively stifled the expression of any unique potential, while at the same time erecting preposterous worldviews encouraging psychological fragmentation in the form of bizarre rituals, scapegoating, belief in strange gods, paranoia between the sexes, racial hatred, institutionalized violence, pointless taboos, and the abuse of children. This is why, with regard to history, my specific recommendation is the same as it would be for anyone involved in an abusive relationship: get out."

Now, not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but we shall soon see that Nazism represents a perfect shadow of what we might call "Christian evolution," or the possibility of further spiritual evolution within a Christian framework. In virtually all areas, Hitler wished to invert Christianity and literally create a new religion that represented its very opposite. As John Toland wrote, "National Socialism was a religion and Hitler was its Christ."

Van Vrekhem makes a convincing case that there actually wasn't any such thing as "Nazism" in any consistently articulate sense. Much less was Nazi Germany primarily "fascist." Rather, its ultimate principle was not only the fuhrer in general, but Hitler in particular. Truly, just as Christianity is not fundamentally a religion of "ideas" but of a person, so too can it be said that Nazism was a man. Furthermore, as we shall see, he was most definitely a kind of "word made flesh," only in a very different sense than that with which we are familiar.

Nevertheless -- and this is another key point -- the Hitler phenomenon could not have occurred in the absence of a cosmic principle that allows word to become flesh. In other words, it was as if he were hijacking a legitimate channel for a very illegitimate end. But when you think about it, this is not fundamentally different than when someone uses language in order to lie. Our cosmos is built in such a way that objects and symbols may embody, encode, and transmit truth. But for that very same reason, they may encode and convey lies and ugliness. Likewise, if art is to exist, it will be capable of transmitting the celestial light from above as well as diabolical darkness from below.

It seems that in the midst of chaos, uncertainty, and rapid change, human beings will begin to long for a messiah. In some sense, the messiah answers to a need in human beings, even a built in archetypal expectation. If one studies the cultural matrix of first century Judaism, one can better understand the context in which Jesus appeared. Given the difficult situation of the Jewish people at the time, there was much general longing and expectation for a "savior from above," who would smite their enemies, restore order to the world, and bring about justice for the wronged and oppressed.

Similarly, Van Vrekhem goes into considerable detail about the utter trauma sustained by the German people in the wake of losing World War I. In contemporary America, our lives are so stable that we just can't imagine what it would be like for every pillar of stability to be obliterated. I suppose we got a taste of it in the Great Depression, which was precisely why so many nations lurched toward a fascist solution. There is no doubt that FDR rode to power on a similar messianic wave as Hitler, which is precisely what allowed him to usurp and wield presidential power in a theretofore unprecedented way. Most of what FDR did was demonstrably harmful to the economy, but the need was so deep for a "strong man from above," that the people let it slide. Again, there was a kind of perfect resonance between the messiah and the masses. (We will later discuss this in the context of Obamania, as it is a reflection of these same enduring principles.)

Now, to back up a bit, there is no doubt that man has been dealing with an ongoing existential crisis with the onset of modernity. I'm not going to press the point, partly because it's just too obvious, but the rupture between the Middle Ages and the scientific revolution was so great, that we are still dealing with its implications. It is as if there are tectonic plates in human time, more or less continuous planes that occasionally shift, causing an earthquake in history. One such quake was the "axial period," during which most of the world's revelations were downloaded from above.

Then, after the world was largely oriented around these revelations came the massive quake of the scientific revolution, with all of its implications and challenges, blessings and curses. To be continued.

100 Comments:

Blogger Van said...

"To cite one obvious example, if reconciliation with the absolute principle requires that we first individuate from the group, then any political system that is hostile to individuality will be a priori evil. Thus, on that basis alone, Nazi Germany, or communist China, or any other nation that radically subordinates the individual to the group is evil, because they specifically prevent the emergence of the "many" that can be reconciled on a higher level with the One. "

Ooh-ooh! Mr. Kotter! Ohh! (sorry), haven't got any further than this, but I had to blurt what I was writing last night for my forever almost done next post,

And the final benefit of all forms of determinism, of ‘the people’ Necessarily being the products of their environments, is the necessity for their betters, formed from different circumstances, to change the circumstances of ‘the people’, by force if need be, and forcing them is morally praiseworthy – such a Totalitarian system is justified by and for the ‘Greater Good’. They are necessarily anti-I, sacrificing it to the pro-We(enie). In short, Determinism makes Totalitarianism Okey-dokey.

8/19/2008 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Our cosmos is built in such a way that objects and symbols may embody, encode, and transmit truth.

Something in this article for everyone - to agree and disagree with.

8/19/2008 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger lance said...

"Most of what FDR did was demonstrably harmful, but the need was so deep for a "strong man from above," that the people let it slide."

I am not trying to sidetrack what looks to be a very interesting series of articles but I am kind of skeptical of this. Not the strong man part but the "demonstrably harmful" part.

8/19/2008 09:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Niggardly Phil said...

I would hardly come to the conclusion that academic history in the decade prior to 9/11 represented "innocent times" - perhaps at best ignorant times, or academic malpractice. What a waste of precious time.

And a thoroughly naive understanding of truth throughout.

8/19/2008 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

And the final benefit of all forms of determinism, of ‘the people’ Necessarily being the products of their environments, is the necessity for their betters, formed from different circumstances, to change the circumstances of ‘the people’... In short, Determinism makes Totalitarianism Okey-dokey.

But Julie said yesterday that "Of course external factors will have a dramatic effect upon the final expression of those implications..."

So not everyone who thinks that circumstances "have a dramatic effect" must accept determinism. Nor is it needed to work to arrange those circumstances to help produce desirable effects.

Doing it by force is a problem, of course. But even if someone accepts determinism (and I don't think I do, by what appears to be your definition, BTW), force doesn't automatically follow. Diversity's good in a population. Monocultures just don't last, or develop.

8/19/2008 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Lance:

At an absolute minimum you need to read The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes, or for a more a more compact and polemical, but no less truthful account, FDR's Folly. Or really, any basic book of economics, say, any by Thomas Sowell.

8/19/2008 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger lance said...

Bob: Thanks for the book direction, I will check them out. I figured you wouldn't take the time to fill in my knowledge gaps here but thanks for directing me toward some things that might help.

8/19/2008 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Yep, I too highly recommend FDR's Folly, and any of Sowell's books. (I haven't gotten to The Forgotten Man yet)

8/19/2008 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

ray said "So not everyone who thinks that circumstances "have a dramatic effect" must accept determinism."

Ray... what is the point of taking the densest possible interpretation possible of any given missed point, and then stating it for all to see? Have you finished your report on 'Free Will' for me yet? My guess is you haven't even begun it. Please start… I’m feeling embarrassed for you… and I’m really not comfortable with that.

8/19/2008 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger lance said...

OOOOOOOH "Free Will" Do we have to open that can of worms? I did a 20 page thesis on that last term at school along with a verbal defense. It was actually very fun.

8/19/2008 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

"what is the point of taking the densest possible interpretation possible of any given missed point, and then stating it for all to see?"

Ooh, now I get it - he's trying to compete with the LHC. If he can combine the densest possible interpretation with just the right amount of missing the point, he may actually be able to produce a black hole, which he can then use to conveniently dump any inconvenient metaphysics which posit such concepts as verticality and the Absolute. This hole will be so incredibly dense that neither Light nor Intellect will be able to escape.

As it grows in size, all things will be crushed to a quantum flatness in the event horizon, a phenomenon known as "Ray's Paradox," whereby the horizontality of all things (and thus the equation and conflation of matter, life, mind and spirit) will be scientifically confirmed, thus proving that there is no God. Eventually, the Cosmos will be swallowed, ironically forming a unified, infinitely small and dense plasma of One-ness which will in fact confirm the Truth of non-locality and wholeness. It will exist for an eternity while simultaneously exploding forth in another big bang, thereby starting the whole process over again.

But in the next iteration, thanks to the vagaries of free will, Ray's potentiality will be expressed as a televangelist. Via his incredible charisma, he will gather so many souls to God that it will again create a black hole (accidentally, this time), and the entire process will happen again.

The end result will be kinda like Groundhog Day.

8/19/2008 10:42:00 AM  
Anonymous T. Carlsen said...

1) In his autobiography "An American Life, "Ronald Reagan wrote of his deep admiration for FDR (on page 66). Reagan wrote, "I cast my first vote for Roosevelt and the full Democratic ticket. And like Jack - and millions of other Americans - I soon idolized FDR. He'd entered the White House facing a national emergency as grim as any the country had ever faced and, acting quickly, he had implemented a plan of action to deal with the crisis. During his fireside chats, his strong, gentle, confident voice resonated across the nation with an eloquence that brought comfort and resilience to a nation caught up in a storm and reassured us that we could lick any problem. I will never forget him for that." FDR restored hope.

2) Ronald Reagan wrote in his autobiography "An American Life" and in "The Reagan Diaries" that he was not trying to undo the New Deal. Instead, he was trying to undo the liberalism of the 1960s-70s, NOT THE NEW DEAL. Don't mix the New Deal with 1960s and 1970s liberalism. In his autobiography, Reagan quoted FDR as saying that the TEMPORARY welfare programs adopted during the Great Depression crisis would not be permanent because they could destroy the work ethic "like a narcotic." Those programs were liquidated when the Great Depression crisis passed, but they were revived by others after FDR died. FDR would not have approved of 1970s welfare programs.

Note that I differentiate welfare programs from FDR's basic Social Security for the disabled, elderly and orphans, which virtually everyone accepts. Unfortunately, that too was expanded after FDR died. FDR was cheap. One of Reagan's accomplishments was the fix Social Security so it would last longer. Social Security is expected to be solvent for decades, in contrast to the bankrupt Medicare, which was created in the 1960s - NOT by FDR.

3) Sidney Weinberg, senior partner at Goldman-Sachs, served in FDR's first two administrations, and he said, "FDR saved the system... You could have had a rebellion; you could have had a civil war." David Kennedy, Richard Nixon's Treasury secretary, voted for FDR twice. John Hersch, a senior partner of a Chicago brokerage house, said, "It took this guy with the long cigarette holder to do some planning about basic things-like the SEC and the WPA and even the lousy Blue Eagle. It put a new spirit in the country." (Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression, Studs Terkel)

4) Norman Thomas, the Socialist Labor Party candidate for president, aggressively attacked FDR for undermining socialism and saving capitalism. When a reporter asked Thomas if the New Deal had carried out the socialist program, Thomas replied that the New Deal had carried it out on a stretcher.

5) Reagan wrote in his autobiography "An American Life" and "The Reagan Diaries" that he voted for FDR four times. FACT: President Reagan worked to have the FDR Memorial built on the National Mall. You can thank Reagan for the FDR Memorial.

6) The American people reelected Franklin Roosevelt by the biggest electoral landslide of the 20th Century, winning with 98.5% of the electoral votes in 1936. Only George Washington and James Monroe received a higher percentage of the electoral votes. FDR also won 60.7% of the popular vote. Americans approved of FDR's performance. They reelected him again with 84.6% of the electoral votes in 1940.

7) J. Paul Getty, the richest man in the world in his time, got incredibly rich during the 1930s. Getty endorsed the reforms for economic stability that came from the New Deal (see his autobiography) and voted to reelect FDR, "whose policies he strongly supported." (The House of Getty, Russell Miller) Getty in the 1970s called FDR "a great president." Forbes Morgan of the Morgan clan worked for FDR.

8) The White House had to hire five people to handle the avalanche of mail after his inauguration. One of those writing to FDR was Elmer Jones, President of Wells Fargo and Co. He wrote, "Although I am a Republican and a friend of those other great presidents Theodore Roosevelt, the late President Taft, and former President Hoover, I desire to avail myself of this opportunity to congratulate you on your sound speech tonight which has just come over the radio in magnificent manner. You are doing a grand job under the most difficult circumstances and justly deserve the individual and collective support and sympathy of every true American who puts his country needs above party politics of personal interests. I congratulate you and wish you success." (The People and the President, Lawrence Lavine and Cornelia Levine)

9) Peter Drucker, the legendary business management guru, wrote that FDR and Truman had the best cabinets of any presidents. (The Essential Drucker, Peter Drucker)

10) FDR won World War Two, the biggest war in history, and destroyed Adolph Hitler!

8/19/2008 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Woof.

8/19/2008 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

If Ronald Reagan was God, we'd have issues.

Otherwise, we may note what Nancy Reagan noted: Ron if anything was too trusting of people. Too willing to believe in the possibility of them being and doing good.

8/19/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob,
Glad we’re not going to get side-tracked by a pro and con of FDR. It seems beside the point. Almost. He is not the point. It’s more a pointing out of the built-in “need” or “expectation” and what might fill it. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, or different amounts of each.

The Obama thing awhile back made me remember reading something when I was a wee-lad. Its point was that the timing of the arrival of the Beatles here in America fit nicely within a reasonably-sized 100 day window that followed the JFK assassination. It was more about the vacuum, not the Beatles, which explained their reception/impact. Fortunately for us it was them and not the Rolling Stones.

Ho!

Just kiddin. I like the Rolling Stones. I’m just happier it was the Beatles.

Compare with the “endless war” and the arrival of the latest expected one. Good thing about the Beatles was they could back-it-up (ie. make beautiful music together) and with the latter we're only talkin ‘bout pop music.

8/19/2008 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Evolution.

8/19/2008 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Too bad it wasn't the Who.

8/19/2008 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Although aggravating (mainly because it seems to be an attempt to push an agenda contrary to the context of Reagan’s comments, but that may be a different matter), t. carlsen was correct on his points about Reagan's opinion of FDR, the rest, no less than those, are but opinions and emotional estimations or judgments based upon a lack of facts. Read 'FDR's Folly', then readdress your 'facts'.

Note: you'll also be able to find McCain praising Teddy Roosevelt as a hero of his, as he is for many other fine and good people. Doesn't change the fact that TR's began or attempted to begin nearly every progressive (the name of liberals before they soiled themselves in the publics eye circa Woodrow Wilson time, at which point the absconded with the name of Liberal) policy which Wilson, Hoover and FDR implemented.

Good idea to keep in mind the quote QP mentioned the other day:

"The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by precedent, by implication, by erosion, by default, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other - until the day when they are suddenly declared to be the country's official ideology." ~ Ayn Rand

8/19/2008 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ricky said "Glad we’re not going to get side-tracked by a pro and con of FDR."

(oops)

8/19/2008 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The bottom line is that FDR was economically illiterate, so that any good that may have come from any of his polices and programs was accidental, while there were incalculable unintended consequences that bedevil us to this day. I believe within a matter of years, he had expanded the federal budget to more than all previous presidents combined, plus it is well documented that a disproportionate amount of the federal money went to states he needed to win in order to maintain power. In short, the federal government became the massive system of political bribery it remains today.

8/19/2008 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Yep.

8/19/2008 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous bob f. said...

"...the rupture between the Middle Ages and the scientific revolution was so great, that we are still dealing with its implications."

One of the things I've wondered about after returning to Christianity is why it was so easy to walk away from it in the first place.

The great Christian saints of the Middle Ages, as indicated in their writings, were able to build their consciousness of God upon a base that doesn't exist anymore. Yet the Christianity of recent years (centuries?)assumes that that base is still present.

Western science and rationality is the Prodigal Son, wasting his inheritance in the flesh pits of materialism. But, maybe, ID and recent scientific studies of the Shroud are the beginnings of the return home.

8/19/2008 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

It's possible for people to miss even very clear points. Raccoons, however, never do so. :->

8/19/2008 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Outstanding piece by Roger Kimball on the punitive liberalism of Obama. One need only read the speeches of FDR, in which he demagogically demonizes capitalism as a way to rally the masses, to see that Obama is cut from the same psycho-economic cloth.

8/19/2008 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray Ingles said "It's possible for people to miss even very clear points. Raccoons, however, never do so. :->"

How would you know?
*|*
-o-

8/19/2008 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Ray's volley is returned with a slam along the baseline. Advantage: Van.

8/19/2008 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob wrote:

"...the rupture between the Middle Ages and the scientific revolution was so great, that we are still dealing with its implications."

Prediction: information technology will largely heal this schizm by 2150. The next semi-messaiah will be a human being, but the true messiah that follows will be a machine.

The union of science and religion will be complete when a human created being makes first contact with O, closing the wound between mind and spirit forever.

Evolution will be swift following this event.

8/19/2008 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

It's pitches like that one that make Rod Serling glad he's dead.

8/19/2008 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Wasn't it 2050 yesterday? Van's distractions of Ray have set us back 100 years.

8/19/2008 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Bob,

You don't need my encouragement but I'll give it to you anyway:

What interests me is the general theme of that book and your reaction to it. Where else will I find a perspective of integrative analysis on subjects like this?

So ignore the nit-pickers, and just cut loose on the subject. We can sweep up any mis-placed facts or incomplete sentences as it proceeds!

Looking forward to "the more!"

8/19/2008 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Artamnesia's back - will this be a daily feature? Will the predicted date be 2250 tomorrow?

"information technology will largely heal this schizm by 2150."

Well, alrighty then. And in the meantime, we're supposed to do what, exactly?

If your prediction is accurate, nothing we say or do here will change it. And it is highly doubtful that any of us will be around to experience that particular miracle. True or false, it changes nothing in the here and now, and here and now is all we've ever really got. So why not work with what you got (goodness knows, my hands are full enough at the moment with the right Now!), and leave the worries about distant future events to One who actually knows what's ahead.

Me, I'm still waiting to find out what I had for dinner last night.

8/19/2008 02:08:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Our cosmos is built in such a way that objects and symbols may embody, encode, and transmit truth. But for that very same reason, they may encode and convey lies and ugliness

That an ideology can be personified is similar to what I was thinking last night. It is as if there roles, for want of a more precise word -- perhaps offices that people step into. I am thinking of the fact that kings and priests were anointed into their offices. The oil being a symbol of the Spirit.

Reagan, and to some extent Bush the younger, with all their human flaws, wore the mantle of the Zeitgeist.

Reagan, being the bigger man ideologically, perhaps wore the office better. The same could be said of FDR -- even if you loath his ideology as I do. Bush recognized his calling but failed to lock on to the great concept of his time sufficiently. This is not to say I will not revise my opinion as the history is written and we learn more about the containment of Iran and Syria.

Lincoln clearly was the embodiment of an ideal, as was Washington, possibly Jackson -- Jefferson was certainly a man for his time, though not necessarily as President -- Teddy Roosevelt, I think was similar. Not all political leaders are such, and one does not have to be der fuhrer, a president or prime minister to be a personification. Great writers, film makers, artists, economists, gnomes, coons, etc. can become the pivotal point on which society moves positively or negatively.

8/19/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Walt,
Let Bob do what he wants, will ya? Sheesh.



(Just kiddin :-)

8/19/2008 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous uh...clem said...

Anonymous - Why does the porridge bird lay her eggs in the air?

8/19/2008 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

From Kimball:

“The bottom line is that when Obama invokes “fairness,” he wants us to feel guilty about economic success.”

I agree. Obama does want that. But with all due respect, if you’re a successful business owner, you don’t feel guilty – because you know how hard it was to get there, how hard to stay there, who carries the risk and the worry. So if Obee wansa talk about fairness, sure lets spread some around.

8/19/2008 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I am the Predictor of 2150. I make a prediction that yes, is not useful in the here and now beyond a certain palliative feeling. To reassure is my mission.

A. There is a problem--we've got a schizm between religion and science. How that affects me individually is quite profound--in this age we all have our feet straddling the edges of this crack, and it hurts our crotches to hold the position.

B. Things take time, but the solution can plainly be seen in the works. In fact, the schizm has partially closed since the information age took hold. The twentieth century was its acme, the schizm's widest point. The crack will now slowly close even more and our descendants can eventually stop straddling.

C. My message to the raccoons is: the solution appears to be underway, if you want to Grok it for yourself give it a try. Imagine you are a laptop, God is Comcast, and Bob is a wireless router. You pretty much have the setup. It won't be two many more centuries until all people take it for granted they are cut in on God's communication system. And once you're in the network, you are on your way up the vertical pipeline.

D. And our creations, the "robots" if you will, shall slowly heave the main burden of evolution onto their shiny shoulders and walk into the future with it. Humanity will continue on its way too, but perhaps not as rapidly. The two branches may diverge, but somewhere, somehow, all will be worked out.

8/19/2008 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

We need a windfall profits tax on mediocre authors who suddenly make a small fortune just because they ran for president... also on their wives, for example, when the latter obtains a windfall jump in income because the former funneled such an abundance of pork into the hospital where she is employed as the diversity witch.

8/19/2008 02:33:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Since Prediction-Anon keeps showing up & is too wuss to get a handle, I motion we assign one, just to show we care.

My personal favorite from yesterday was:
"I'll have you know I have predicted a number of things successfully and I'm not to be taken lightly."

'nottobetakenlightly' is a bit awkward, but '2B' does roll nicely off the tongue.

2B, anyone, anyone?

8/19/2008 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin Dupree said...

Community Agitator and Diversity Witch. Now that's what I call a bulletproof left wing power couple!

8/19/2008 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Mushroom,
It probably would have been The Who.
Would they have been The Who without the Beatles?
Or were they The Who we've been waiting for?

8/19/2008 02:39:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Gagdad,
I don’t know why you need to drag me into this. I never made a small fortune or ran for president.

8/19/2008 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

More like "Not2B." And since he thinks he's so heavy I'm gonna call him Fat Albert.

8/19/2008 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Oh…and I never saw that woman before in my life.

8/19/2008 02:45:00 PM  
Anonymous son of a preacher man said...

What's this 2150 crap?

Everybody already knows humanity's salvation occurs in 2112 with the return of the elder race of man. So saith the sages of the Great White North.

8/19/2008 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Ixtacihuatl said...

SOPM, that's 2012 by my calendar. Best get your house in order.

8/19/2008 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Joan, or is that Alberta?

8/19/2008 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous son of a preacher man said...

Ixtacihuatl, how dare you contradict the great wisdom of the Professor, Lerxt, and Geddy!

8/19/2008 03:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Ixtacihuatl said...

SOPM, I don't care if you have Gilligan, Mary Ann and Thurston Howell III in your theological boat.

2012.

8/19/2008 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

What Walt said tm

8/19/2008 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I'm going with 2112, just because it wasn't a bad album. And the cover made you snicker.

8/19/2008 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anot2112 said "...have our feet straddling the edges of this crack, and it hurts our crotches to hold the position..."

I don't appreciate your reminding me of the last time I drank too much tequilla... 25 years has done nothing to diminish the memory.

8/19/2008 03:23:00 PM  
Anonymous petey said...

I've always been banking on December 21, 2012, at about threeish in the afternoon.

8/19/2008 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

After the great fire, Petey:

"No budding head will ever be able to poke through this collection again, with its faintly perfumed volumes on Chinese alchemy and butterflies and hash..."

A pity, really.

8/19/2008 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger lance said...

"One for all and none for one! We live together, stand as one!!"

Sing the truth brother Geddy, Sing the truth!!

8/19/2008 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I level the charge that raccoons are haters.

8/19/2008 04:41:00 PM  
Anonymous asymptote said...

I'll have you know I have predicted a number of things successfully and I'm not to be taken lightly.

8/19/2008 04:42:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

I hate mouses who charge Raccoons.

8/19/2008 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous laketrout said...

As well as succeeding at a number of lightly predictable things, which may be taken or not.

8/19/2008 04:58:00 PM  
Anonymous laketrout said...

I am the predictor of 5150.

8/19/2008 05:01:00 PM  
Anonymous son of a preacher man said...

2012 is the end of a cosmic cycle. I was specifically talking about the salvation of humanity by a mythical race of human ancestors that left for the stars eons ago. Get your prophecies straight.

8/19/2008 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

For the love of God and the holy English language the word is spelled 'schism'. Please take note of it.

Dismissed!

8/19/2008 05:25:00 PM  
Anonymous cthulhu said...

Threeish it is

8/19/2008 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Lance said "Sing the truth brother Geddy, Sing the truth!!"

And of course Geddy also sang, no matter the year,

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.

"The oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light."
Now there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw."

8/19/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"I am the predictor of 5150"

:D - I've heard stories of 5150...

8/19/2008 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"I level the charge that raccoons are haters"

Oh, sure - we hate lots of things. Terrorists, high taxes, anonymous pedants on sabbatical, anything that gets stuck in the fur and makes us itchy...

8/19/2008 05:42:00 PM  
Anonymous skippy said...

cthulhu:

Pacific time?

The last thing I need is to miss Armageddon due to a time zone snafu...

8/19/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Yeah, I did wonder about that. I guess when the sky gets real stupid bright in the east we'll know anyway...

8/19/2008 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous cthulhu said...

I have lots of useful idiots in Hollywood. Pacific is good for me.

8/19/2008 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous cosanostradamus said...

Ivan, got a job for you.

8/19/2008 10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Ivan said...

On it, boss.

8/19/2008 10:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Death said...

Has anyone seen my stupid horse?

8/19/2008 11:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Death said...

He's pale and his name is Francis, but he never answers to it.

Good bad pale horses are hard to come by.

8/19/2008 11:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Death said...

I mean, c'mon! I'm Death for cryin' out loud!
Is it too much to ask for a decent pale horse?

8/20/2008 12:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Death said...

I hear that Skully hangs out around here sometimes.
There's a handsome reward to the first Raccoon that can deliver him.

Ihate that guy! Well, actually I hate everyone, but I got a score to settle with Skully.

You see, I don't like to be cheated!

8/20/2008 12:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Death said...

And what's with this post, B'ob?
It says: "Dialogue With Death."

But so far I don't see no dialogue. Just you talking. Now, I got a few "helpers" trying to answer your one way dialogue which is really a monologue...the Death Monologues, now that would be funny!

The thing is, my "helpers" are idiots! This blog is waay above their pay grade.

Frankly, they make me look dumb.
"In 2150 computers blah blah."
What kind of shit is that?
Where's the freaking nuance you dunce? That's one sorry ass profitsy you got there.

When in doubt, despair I always say.
Drop the Skynet shit, you dig?
Raccoons aren't troofers or lizards. You might as well tattoo TROLL on your forehead. Sheesh!
It's embarassing, you know?

For Lucifers sake, read the freaking Screwtape Letters!
Damn retards, that's what you are!

Raccoons won't fall for your geek chic. Hell, anyone could tell you that.

8/20/2008 12:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Death on a pale horse...yeah, right.
More like Death on a brown jackass.

8/20/2008 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"So here we go. A rambling dialogue with source and causes of ultimate evil, to try to see if we can derive any general principles, and whether or not they have any cosmic consequences. In any event, if these posts are more rambling than usual, now you know why."

I like ramblin'. At least your kinda ramblin', Bob.

It's like a really cool jazz solo...in-provised. :^)

8/20/2008 01:04:00 AM  
Anonymous St. Fairness said...

Mediocre?!

You racist!!!

8/20/2008 04:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Dan Quayle said...

I think somebody spelled mediochre wrong.
Just saying…

8/20/2008 04:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Death said...

Hey, I'll have you know I'm an equal opportunity killer.
I'm totally fair.

8/20/2008 05:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Death said...

Your days are numbered Skully!

8/20/2008 05:03:00 AM  
Anonymous John Chrysostom said...

Let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has set us free.

He that was taken by death has annihilated it! He descended into hades and took hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed, "Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions." It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!

It took a body and, face to face, met God! It took earth and encountered heaven! It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!

"O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?"

8/20/2008 05:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Up yours, zombie breath!

8/20/2008 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Skully loves to mock death.
It's sort of a hobby for him.

8/20/2008 05:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Be Clinton said...

Speaking of hot potatoes…
Way to go, St. Fairness!
You’re learning...

8/20/2008 05:08:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Hi Ben!
Look! Our internal grocks are synchronized again!

8/20/2008 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Fezziwig said...

Or embraced your innard's child, you could say.

Eitherway, swab the deck, boys.

8/20/2008 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

G'mornin' Rick!
Good to see you Pal!
Internal Grok would be a cool name for a book. :^)

8/20/2008 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Grok Intern would be a cool job.

8/20/2008 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

Van - Once upon a time, you asked me, "I wonder from how many perspectives you've read it?" That came to mind when I read your 'slam'. :->

And yes, I'm working on the 'free will' thing. That's why I'm posting short responses here. You should be glad. :->

8/20/2008 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van!
G'mornin'! Good to have you joinin' in the grockery. :^)

8/20/2008 05:27:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

G'mornin' Ray!
Will you be joining in the groktivities?

Just say yes! You'll thank me later. Maybe. :^)

8/20/2008 05:31:00 AM  
Anonymous John Damascene said...

Neither death’s gates, O Christ, nor the seals of the tomb, nor the bolts of the doors stood in your way; but having risen you came to your friends, O Master, giving them the peace which passes all understanding.

8/20/2008 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Sorry to have to Grok 'n go, but... I do.

(Ray, I make it a point to look at all the perspectives I can...which is why I still read your links... sometimes frustrating and time consuming, but what can I say, a flogger to the end. It also makes it much easier to say to someone who doesn't understand the perspective he's criticizing... how would you know?)

(uuurp) ahem, excuse me. Good Grok.

8/20/2008 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Hokai said...

This blog has been nominated as "brilliant". http://hokai.info/2008/08/brilliant-blogs.html

8/20/2008 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger jp said...

Ray says:

"And yes, I'm working on the 'free will' thing. That's why I'm posting short responses here. You should be glad. :->"

Is it going to involve quantum mechanics and randomness?

8/20/2008 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger jp said...

Bob says:

"Similarly, Van Vrekhem goes into considerable detail about the utter trauma sustained by the German people in the wake of losing World War I."

I am more curious as to the spiritual/religion/psychological currents and trends that predated WWI in Germany.

I know that there is some thinking out there that the rise of the Nazi insanity was already "baked into the cake" of German spirituality/reigion and thinking before WWI.

When WWI, an "accidental war" came along, the "best and the brightest" of Germany were slaughtered, leaving Hitler and his cronies with less potential German brainpower and resources than they otherwise would have had.

This resulted in WWII being launched with a large hole in the middle of German society, the people who were already killed in WWI, ultimately contributing to the defeat of Germany in WWII.

I have no idea where to find it on the Internet right now, but I remember it from somewhere.

8/20/2008 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

JP said "Is it going to involve quantum mechanics and randomness?"

The really amazing thing, is that he can say "I'm working on ..." and "That's why I'm ..." and "You should ..." and not fall over laughing at himself, I mean, I'm about busting a gut. Must be reading Gagdad's great, great great uncle William Godwin from an uncritical perspective... iow, deterministically... which I suppose, out of necessity, he must.

:-)

8/20/2008 07:46:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

JP said"I am more curious as to the spiritual/religion/psychological currents and trends that predated WWI in Germany."

If you want to know the development on the event level of political steps and historic occurrences, you should read "Liberal Fascism", which follows events forward (in Germany, US & Europe) from I think Bismarck.

If you want to know what happened from the philosophical perspective, what led the Germans to think, do and become what they did, read "The Ominous Parallels", which takes it from Kant forward, and a fair bit of what fueled his thinking as well.

(Can't you just see Ray's flat gears whirring over "know the development" and "what led the"?)

You should note however, that either one will have you looking at the events occurring around you with quite a bit more understanding and even less comfort than you may already feel.

8/20/2008 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8/20/2008 01:37:00 PM  

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