Friday, October 03, 2008

Remystifying the World and Finding Your Center of Levity

Ah, remama when you was older than abraham and young as a babe’s I AM and the world was fresh anew, when heaven touched the earth and angels whispered their secrets through the wind, rivers, mountains and stars? I do. Who could forget?

But as we adapt to our baffling new conditions and lose our innocence, the world is increasingly demystified and we become subject to the brutal “reign of quantity” inside the prismhearse of the senses -- or the senses prolonged into mental space, i.e., materialism. Much of spiritual growth involves the reversal of this process, or what I call the remystification of the world. For if you're not amazed, you're just wrong.

As we dissipate outward, we gain a new "center of gravity" and lose the old center of levity. Returning to this eurhythmic center of groovity is the goal of life, or the final coonsummation. To put it another way -- Perry's way, to be precise -- God is always present. It is man who is absent. Which is why we say on our celestial birthday -- which is every day: Come in, open His presence, and report for karmic duty.

As we fall down & out, life at the center is exchanged for life at the periphery; or, we are booted from the spacious interior to the cramped and contracted exterior. Schuon compares it to being trapped below a sheet of ice: “Mistaking the ice that imprisons us for Reality, we do not acknowledge what it excludes and experience no desire for deliverance; we try to compel the ice to be happiness.”

As such, we inhabit an alien world built from the bottom up rather than the top down; or again, the outside in instead of inside out. But since this barren world contains no real or final Truth, it cannot satisfy the exiled soul, which begins its endless quest for greater thrills and excitement to fill the void. No wonder so many would-be humans Rage Against the Machine; the problem is they rage further down and out, where only one last barrier remains: blasphemy and destruction.

The Vital Beings are the ones who do not wish to recover their humanness and who are fully at home in this fallen world. Breaking up through the ice would involve surpassing themselves, the one thing the vital man is loath to do. For he loves -- or lusts after -- the world with all his heart, all his soul, and all his mind -- which is precisely to lack heart, soul and mind, or at least to deny their provenance. It is to be “born again from below," and therefore die to the Real.

Father Rose wrote his piece on nihilism in the late fifties, prior to the vast explosion in crime caused by lenient liberal social policies and a forgiving attitude toward evil. His words proved to be quite prescient: “Crime in most previous ages had been a localized phenomenon and had apparent and comprehensible causes in the human passions of greed, lust, envy, jealousy, and the like; never has there been anything more than a faint prefiguration of the crime that has become typical of our own century, crime for which the only name is one the avant-garde today is fond of using in another Nihilist context: ‘absurd.’”

That is an excellent point, for the absurd sadism of so many of our crimes mirrors the absurdity of an art that celebrates ugliness or “authenticity” and an educational system that promulgates the lie that ultimate truth and absolute morality do not exist. When your elites spend several generations creating an absurd world, don’t be surprised if you end up with absurd people and meaningless crimes, because existence itself becomes a sort of crime against Being.

I remember studying film noir back in film school. The professor divided it into several sub-genres that evolved -- or devolved -- over the years, and which seemed to reflect the societal degeneration of which Father Rose speaks. I won’t get into a whole dissertation here, but early film noir such as Double Indemnity depicts a man who is pulled down into circumstances beyond his control due either to bad luck or some identifiable motive such as greed or lust. But in late film noir, the entire world has become corrupt, both the criminals and law enforcement. In fact, every human institution has become corrupt. In such a world, the antihero or outlaw becomes the hero with whom we identify. The corruption extends even into the family, which becomes a breeding ground for psychopaths, as in White Heat (starring James Cagney) or The Godfather. In these films, evil merely fights evil, so we inevitably find ourselves identifying with evil. There is no “good.” There are only bad people and worse ones, i.e., hypocrites.

In the Real world, Spirit is substance, matter is accident. Spirit precedes matter, the latter of which is the final precipitate of God’s involution into time and space. A corresponding world of the senses arises, but this shifting and "centerless" realm is hardly the world of reality. Rather, the uncorrupted intellect-in-the-heart (which is our own true center) knows objective reality as the Spirit, which can only be here and now, where eternity descends into time. Thus, "To transcend time is to live in the moment and to transcend space is to dwell in the center" (Perry).

As mentioned in a previous post, a counter-religious movement gained steam in the 1950’s, led by the “Beats,” by confused psychoanalysts such as N.O. Brown, and by narcissists such as Timothy Leary and Alan Watts. Just as N.O. Brown wrote that repression was the essence of pathology and that we would live in a sort of eden if we would merely express our lower instincts in an unmediated way, the new age teachers created bastardized forms of Zen and Taoism to exalt “spontaneity” and “naturalism” so as to obscure the deeper desire to stay high and sleep with coeds under a veneer of spiritualism. (Rose was actually a student of Watts at the Academy of Asian Arts in San Francisco in 1955, but soon saw through him and moved on to more serious pursuits. I do give Watts credit for that, as he did at least serve as a pointer and pique an interest in the "real thing" in some of his readers.)

The human being has an animal nature which is not by definition beneath him. It only becomes so “when man renounces his humanity and fails to humanize what he shares with the animals” (Schuon). To humanize is to spiritualize, which is to “open the natural to the supernatural whence it proceeds ontologically.” In other words, this hardly represents repression, but a recovery and actualization of our true being. If anything, the uninhibited and shameless vital man represses and denies his humanness, for one can just as easily repress what is higher as what is lower. There is a "vital center" that is located vertically, and is subject to increased "subtilization."

The psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas writes of the "erotics of being," which refers to that blissful sensation of expressing oneself deeply -- or from the deepest part of oneself -- and being understood, center to center. Frankly, this is why I blog. You know, textual intercourse.

Just as sexuality, in order to be properly human, must be spiritualized, Schuon agrees that intellectual (i.e., spiritual) knowledge has an ecstatic dimension to it, if for no other reason than it is known with the heart (or mind in the heart, the “location” of the higher mind): “There is a spiritualization of sexuality just as there is, conversely, an animalization of intelligence [what we are calling the vital mind]; in the first case, what can be the occasion of a fall becomes a means of elevation; in the second case, intelligence is dehumanized and gives rise to materialism, even existentialism, hence to ‘thinking’ which is human only in its mode and of which the content is properly subhuman.”

But then, these subhuman philosophies become the justification to fall further into vital animality. Postmodern philosophies use the spirit to deny the spirit, leaving us with a wholly horizontal wasteland of matter and instinct. This intellectual operation is a complete success, even though the patient -- the human qua human -- does not survive it. A new kind of infrahuman is born, forgetful of his fall and “at ease in a world that presents itself as an end in itself, and which exempts man from the effort of transcending himself” -- which is to have shunned and bypassed our reason for being here.

The fall is nearly complete. But not before we drag this whole despiritualized existentialada down with us, which we will do tomorrow in discussing the final stage of the nihilist dialectic: destruction.

62 Comments:

Anonymous aquila said...

Gagster,

Aquila here, de-lurking.

Fr. Rose's commentary from the last few posts reminds me of a piece by a far better known contemporary of his who also sought answers in the monastic/ascetic life, Fr. Thomas Merton. Merton wrote this amazing poem in 1963. It's about the Beats, but seems even more evocative of a contemporary phenomenon like Burning Man:

Advice to a Young Prophet
BY THOMAS JAMES MERTON

Keep away, son, these lakes are salt. These flowers
Eat insects. Here private lunatics
Yell and skip in a very dry country.

Or where some haywire monument
Some badfaced daddy of fear
Commands an unintelligent rite.

To dance on the unlucky mountain,
To dance they go, and shake the sin
Out of their feet and hands,

Frenzied until the sudden night
Falls very quiet, and magic sin
Creeps, secret, back again.

Badlands echo with omens of ruin:
Seven are very satisfied, regaining possession:
(Bring a little mescaline, you’ll get along!)

There’s something in your bones,
There’s someone dirty in your critical skin,
There’s a tradition in your cruel misdirected finger
Which you must obey, and scribble in the hot sand:

“Let everybody come and attend
Where lights and airs are fixed
To teach and entertain. O watch the sandy people
Hopping in the naked bull’s-eye,

Shake the wildness out of their limbs,
Try to make peace like John in skins
Elijah in the timid air
or Anthony in tombs:

Pluck the imaginary trigger, brothers.
Shoot the devil: he’ll be back again!”

America needs these fatal friends
Of God and country, to grovel in mystical ashes,
Pretty big prophets whose words don’t burn,
Fighting the strenuous imago all day long.

Only these lunatics, (O happy chance)
Only these are sent. Only this anaemic thunder
Grumbles on the salt flats, in rainless night:

O go home, brother, go home!
The devil’s back again,
And magic Hell is swallowing flies.

10/03/2008 08:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Randy Watson said...

I think you mean "textual chocolate".

10/03/2008 08:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does "living in the moment" in your sense of the phrase coincide or overlap with philosopher Tolle's polemics on "living in the now?"

Tolle's idea is to utilize memory and anticipation only as needed (and they are needed less than commonly supposed) and not to dwell in these temporal modes; thereby achieving a partial release from bondage to the binary terrors of regret/nostalgia and fear/hope.

Living in the now means that the consciousness becomes less cluttered. Memories are not being played, scenarios hoped for in the future not being rehearsed, desires not being interrogated with the question "what do we want to happen next?"

Ideally, in the empty space created in the mind, God bliss enters and also spontaneous right action.

This is consistent with the teachings of Aurobindo, Sakyong Mipham, etc.

Now Godwin seems to be echoing the sentiment but I'm curious as to the extent or nature of his recommendations on living in the present.

Would you care to comment, Godwin or one of your variants? I would prefer Petey.

10/03/2008 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As far as I know, Tolle was the victim of a psychotic break that he then confused with "enlightenment," so I'm pretty sure we're not referring to the same thing.

For me, the best analogy is good jazz, which involves the spontaneous horizontalization of the vertical, so to speak, or musical O-->(n).

10/03/2008 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Tolle talks so much pure nonsense, that it's difficult for me to take him seriously. He undoubtedly hits upon an occasional truth, but that's not difficult to do, truth being what it is. I detect no spiritual or intellectual "heft" in him.

10/03/2008 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Reading the Hermit yesterday, I came across this:

"For he has joys, and these are intense. When, for example, he meets another itinerant hermit on the way, what joy and what happiness there is in this meeting of two solitary travellers!"

The weird thing about it was, it made me miss all of you Raccoons, people I've never met in person, but I know if it ever comes about it will be like that.

The internet is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it's a cold comfort, too.

10/03/2008 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

So Christ Bob, is it sort of like Swedenborg? Man, that's one weird dude.

Nice church or whatever up on the hill there at Portuguese Bend though.

10/03/2008 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't know about Swedenborg. I'm just speaking for myself while sort of hoping I'm not the only one.

10/03/2008 09:10:00 AM  
Anonymous Bulletproof Monk said...

Julie wrote:

"The weird thing about it was, it made me miss all of you Raccoons, people I've never met in person, but I know if it ever comes about it will be like that."

You've met one raccoon Julie, briefly last January. ;)

--Brian

10/03/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Godwin: your assessment of Tolle is curious; I found his material to be as focused, lucid and coherent as your own, or more so. And I mean that in a good way.

Bizarre. One of us has to be out to lunch; I hope it's me.

Julie: yes, I know what you mean about the internet being "cold comfort." It only gets you about half-way warm; you arrive at a forlorn lukewarm feeling of inadequate connection that is in some ways more discomfiting than if you had no connection at all.

Yet here we are.

10/03/2008 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As I said, my contact is quite limited, so my impressions could be all wrong. I have never checked him out thoroughly because that which I saw seemed basically devoid of intellect and barakah. For example, his blog had a Q & A, and his responses just seemed dopey to me. Plus he links to books of which I could never approve, such as Deepak's, which leads me to suspect that he's just another new age hustler. But as always, we'll let the folks decide.

10/03/2008 09:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I can happily send my copy of ONE COSMOS to the recycling center along with the rest of my trash.

10/03/2008 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

I suggest you burn it first, just to make sure you're really dead.

10/03/2008 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

The expansion of the NOW (and the HERE) to livable size is hardly a goal in itself. If you enter a state of timelessness to escape stress and feel good, it is in vain and little less than blasphemy. Or at best it is like a toddler playing eagerly with the gift wrap, forgetting the contents.

10/03/2008 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How do we spiritualize sex? The act seems hard to embellish.

I mean, its pretty straightforward at least the way I've done it.

I need some guidance.

10/03/2008 09:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? Why would you send it to? Is this the same guy? I borrowed it from a friend. My mother ended up picking it up and really liked it, me, eh, not so much but there isn't a need to be distasteful.

10/03/2008 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, rootedness in the here and now should be the fruit of something else, not the goal in itself. It takes years of preparation to play jazz.

10/03/2008 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

For if you're not amazed, you're just wrong.

Do things have to be mysterious to be amazing?

10/03/2008 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

No, for example, you.

10/03/2008 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Julie said "The internet is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it's a cold comfort, too."

Textual intercourse... always a bit of a tease... on the other hand... it does leave you satisfied and asking for more....

;-)

10/03/2008 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Bullet Proof Monk said "You've met one raccoon Julie, briefly last January. ;)"

Ahh! Like a child hearing NORAD tracking reports of Santa Claus being sighted... and then a grown up confirming it to be true... I do believe in Raccoons! I do! I do!

;-)

(sorry, home today, just finished reading a chapter of Harry Potter to the 9 yr old... the metaphysical decompression chamber takes a little time to step out of.)

10/03/2008 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Well... it has passed, Now, whichever your position, I suggest a moment of silence.

10/03/2008 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

I would say that any act performed in accordance with its True purpose IS spiritualized. Find the True purpose, find Spirit.

"Ah, remama when you was older than abraham and young as a babe’s I AM and the world was fresh anew, when heaven touched the earth and angels whispered their secrets through the wind, rivers, mountains and stars? I do. Who could forget?" I remember a little more daily, and hope to one day remember it all.

Paul said,
"For I am convinced that
neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." That is what even the tiniest seed of faith can become...convinced. Being CONVINCED may be faith spiritualized.

I'm home today too. Just put my 4-year old grandson down for nap. Read him a book. Life is sweet.

10/03/2008 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

The Eternitable consistently displays vertical tunage on the sidebar that punches through the ice, today being no exception (three Vans and a George).

Which got me to thinking about your film school experience, Bob - any raccoonmendations?

As with musical albums, the movies that do move me have individual scenes that transcend, but few hold together to the end. It's the nature of the film medium that leaves less to the imagination than music, I suppose, but after reading OC some days I think - this would make a killer movie premise.

Of course I do realize that's exactly what OC is - metaphysical film school, complete with the clickclack of the projector during daily rushes.

But still...does Petey and crew have occasion to slack back at the theater to throw toast and rice at the screen?

Meanwhile, for street-level levity, An American Carol opened yesterday.

10/03/2008 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Hey Bob, any recoonmendations for good Motown? I've got a bug in my head for it right now.

10/03/2008 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I envy someone who is just discovering Motown for the first time. I highly recommend the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, which gives you the back story of the great musicians that played behind all the individual artists.

One way to get started is with the 4 CD Singles Collection. That covers the glory years from 62-69, but will probably just whet your appetite for more. At that point you can explore the individual artists that you most connect with, as each of them have solid collections ranging from one to four discs each. For most of them, the two disc "anthology" series is your best bet.

Motown was a singles medium until the early 1970s, at which time they moved more into the album market. Marvin Gaye's What's Going On is probably the finest soul album of all time.

10/03/2008 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

I live in a family rife with Tollehouse crackers, and I've been gifted the occasional CD or book. The practice of his creed has to do, as far as I can tell, with attempting to achieve a decerebrate status in which thinking and words are denigrated as problems that intrude on being "in the now", which is promoted for reasons that escape me.

His main problem seems to be that he's a leftist -- at least that's where his theory of the world and man and universe originates. So he looks to be just another nihilist to me.

10/03/2008 12:12:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Looks good. I'll take a listen.

10/03/2008 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous A former reader said...

Dear Bob,

You know so much about other men's interiors.

I mean you're so good and they're so bad!

Who's narcissistic, really?
Who's full of hatred?

10/03/2008 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ray Ingles said...

...prior to the vast explosion in crime caused by lenient liberal social policies and a forgiving attitude toward evil.

Serious violent crime levels declined since 1993.

The criminologist Manuel Eisner has assembled hundreds of homicide estimates from Western European localities that kept records at some point between 1200 and the mid-1990s. In every country he analyzed, murder rates declined steeply—for example, from 24 homicides per 100,000 Englishmen in the fourteenth century to 0.6 per 100,000 by the early 1960s.

10/03/2008 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Dear 'A former reader', please live up to your name.

10/03/2008 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous A former reader said...

Dear Van,
I appreciate that you took the time to read my short comment.

Were you irked by it?

If you're so inclined, please say some more, other than running me off the premisses.

10/03/2008 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ray, I'm not a big fan of statistical studies purporting to show this or that... but... are you really that gullible? That eager to hear what you want to hear that you overlook what you see?

"...hard to find quantitative studies of deaths in warfare spanning medieval and modern times..."
"...Several historians have suggested that there has been an increase ..."
"...The criminologist Manuel Eisner has assembled hundreds of homicide estimates from Western European ..."

Wow. That's some hard core, highly referenced, sourced and substantiated... nonsense.

And what's the conclusion, that civilization is civilizing? Woo-hoo! Breaking news!

ass-tounding.

Here's one for you that that IS sourced, graphed and referenced with specifics, not suppositions and speculations. Seems to come to some different conclusions... and ones that are supported by some basis in fact.

"Britain has already banned just about every type of weapon that a criminal might want to use. Handguns were made illegal in 1997, and nearly every other firearm (even BB guns) is now subject to a complex regulatory regime.

Twice As Dangerous

The laws didn't do what was claimed. The British government recently reported that gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled in the four years from 1998-99 to 2002-03. The serious violent crime rate soared by 64%, and overall violent crime by 118%.[3] According to the International Crime Victimization Survey, the violent crime rate in England and Wales now stands at twice the rate of that in the U.S.[4] A figure published in the Economist Magazine last year (January 3, 2004) clearly illustrates how armed robberies were changing in Britain before and after their January 1997 handgun ban. Prior to the ban, armed robberies were falling dramatically. After the ban, armed robberies stopped falling and started rising. [Table 9]"

Click the tables, look at the graphs. Ooh ... informative. Are you going to believe this one? Even though it doesn't conclude what yours did? Why? Because yours had so much hard data supporting it?

ass-tounding.

10/03/2008 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous A former reader said...

Further clarification,

To Van,

The main reason why I'm about to become a former reader is because there hardly is any decent exchange of ideas in the comments section of this blog. Running up to the elections, Mr Godwin has turned his otherwise insightful and provoking posts into vitriolic ad hominem attacks on the personalities of those he disagrees with, all of this couched in metaphysical concern, while turning a blind eye to the innanities and outright dishonesty of the Right.

The comments section on this blog has amplified this trend tenfold.

It is my honest assertion that decent and forthright inquiry has left the building. You seem to be stuck in a loop.

Good luck.

PS: Re: your reply to Mr Ingles.

Are you really that gullible to believe you're not being gullible yourself? If you have no appreciation for statistics (my wild guess, you think they're all crunched by social sciences lefty types) why call out the AEI study. How can you validate one study and unvalidate the other, what are your criteria, other than knee-jerk vitriol?

10/03/2008 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

I don't understand how someone could suggest that Bob has recently turned his posts into wild vitriolic attacks on his ideological opponents, when in reality he has always done so.

10/03/2008 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Dear compulsive current reader who doesn't have enough self control to stop reading what he thinks isn't worth reading:

Apparently reading isn't your long suit. You whined "How can you validate one study and unvalidate the other, what are your criteria, other than knee-jerk vitriol?"

That was sort of the point of the last paragraph of my comment.

Looking forward to your becoming a former commenter.

10/03/2008 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Brian,
Indeed, I had not forgotten (and thanks again for de-lurking that day, by the way; it was truly a delight to make your acquaintance :D). But like Pokemon, once you've met one Raccoon, you want to meet them all.

It's a bit like this (the song, not the video ;)

10/03/2008 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous That compulsive reader said...

Dear Van,

You claim "That was sort of the point of the last paragraph of my comment."

"sort of" but "not quite"

Your words:
"Here's one for you that that IS sourced, graphed and referenced with specifics, not suppositions and speculations. Seems to come to some different conclusions... and ones that are supported by some basis in fact."

You made my point: you were intelectually dishonest.

10/03/2008 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous christopher said...

Textual Intercourse

I roll in the hay
Of your mind and my weeds spread
Fragrance far and wide.

Gracious words reach deep,transform
The waste into starry hope.

Then we come awake,
Shining starlit eyes display
Love, strength, deeper truth.

10/03/2008 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

text processor inputted "sort of" but "not quite"

ahh... ok, done laughing.

Here... let me help you... you got a few words into it all by yourself, that was good. When I wrote "IS sourced, gra..." it was merely pointing out that the one I linked to had what his didn't. Did that make one whit of difference to either you or Ray? I'm guessing no.

Had Ray's been of a similar caliber, it would have changed nothing.

Statistics gathered and compiled from studies can lend weight to an argument being developed, they don't substitute for one. Even though the AEI article does a much better jog of presenting its data in a way that lends credence to its argument, it won't make the argument all on its own. Just snipping a comment out and plopping a link into a comment to fly in the face of not just one post, but the entire history of this blog, as if that was in anyway going to invalidate the argument Gagdad was making, is just shallow, posturing arrogance.

Hence Ray's doing so on a regular basis.

It is the scientistic way.

10/03/2008 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Actually, I come for the metaphysics, but I stay for the wild vitriolic attacks.

10/03/2008 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

I guess some folks don't like it when their Gore is being axed....

10/03/2008 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Me too, Walt - that's why I love you guys. It nourishes my pH -8.0 soul ;)

10/03/2008 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The sleepless nights,
the daily fights
the quick toboggan when you reach the heights
I miss the kisses and I miss the bites
I wish I were in love again!
--Frank

10/03/2008 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Robin, speaking of movies, I finally saw Gilda last weekend on TCM (we've just been turning it there and leaving it on all day on Saturdays). You can't find dames like Rita anymore, at least not in Hollywood.

Also Run, Fatboy, Run (nothing like a bit of contrast), which was very funny. I hadn't realized it was a Simon Pegg movie; so far, the previews of his stuff always make them look uninteresting, but I've really enjoyed the three movies I've seen him in.

10/03/2008 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Robin:

I mainly watch film noir from the 1940s and early '50s that I record on TCM and then catch in fragments. Currently working on Kansas City Confidential, which is pretty good so far. I saw a lot of these great B movies back in film school, back before videos, when bootleg copies were passed from collector to collector, so it's fun to see them again.

Recent favorites include Night of the Hunter and The Asphalt Jungle, both all time classics. I'm quite sure the Coen Bros were influenced by both.

10/03/2008 04:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Replying to Van said...

Dear Van,

Let me help YOU this time around: I made no point about Ray's comment being relevant to the readers, much less the author, of this blog (please re-read my comments). I agree with you: it doesn't make a difference here. Don't conflate me with Ray. If you're replying to my comments, please stick to what I wrote.

You should really re-read my comments, slower this time around, instead of jumping the gun. That's if you're actually replying, not just venting.

One more time: if you're actually replying, not just venting.

You claim: "When I wrote "IS sourced, gra..." it was merely pointing out that the one I linked to had what his didn't."

My point: you can't tell a difference between the two without examining both thoroughly. You had already chosen before reading. After all, Ray posted it, thus it must be bs. You assume yours is better, that's all, you DIDN'T demonstrate the validity or lack thereof in either study, which leads us to: why pretend to rebut Ray's argument in the first place? You really don't know or care about knowing which study is better, you just sympathise with AEI's position.

You claim: "Statistics gathered and compiled from studies can lend weight to an argument being developed, they don't substitute for one."

Brilliant! You wrote it, now live up to it!

If the argument you were trying to make was: no such thing as a purely Quantitative approach, the Quality of perception precedes said approach, then why not simply write that down? Even 'the poor Rays' would get it. Hell, he might even start thinking about it, and God forbid, resonate with your position. You're having none of that. Crushing the infidel is way more fun. No conversions here! This is the last bastion! Fight until the very last man!

Here's a nugget for you: arguments spring from observation and if said observation is found to be flawed, maybe it's time to review the arguments. This includes but is definitely not limited to the observation of statistical data as well.

What happens if statistics lend overwhelming weight to an argument presented from a very different perspective than yours (or Bob's)?

My guess: nothing invalidates an inch of Bob's opinions in your eyes. Nothing. You'll find a way of justifying what you believe in, and if that doesn't work, an ad hominem attack will do just fine to cover up the lack of substance and integrity in your position.

Even if another opposing study is much better than the one you pointed out, it won't make a whit of a difference to you. Why make a half-assed point (as you have), when you could just vent (or even better, make an honest point).

PS: you were a little less bilious, but still a little condescending on your last comment. Keep it up, you'll be an upright gentleman in no time.

10/03/2008 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Replying to replying to me said
"My point: you can't tell a difference between the two without examining both thoroughly. You had already chosen before reading. After all, Ray posted it, thus it must be bs."

Dude... oh... ok, that wasn't a thoughtless reply you made, I'll drop the 'dude' type response.

However, you've got it backwards.

I read Pinkers edge article. I've read a fair amount of Pinkers articles in the past as well, watched his lectures as well. I actually read, and listen to the edge videos on a fairly regular basis... well not so much anymore... but once in a while still. Reading it, I noted what it didn't offer up in the form of information and sourcing, the views and assertions it put across as fact, but unsubstantiated, except by unref'd studies.

I then did a quick google, came upon a few articles, chucked those that didn't qualify, found the Lott article, saw it had sourcing and numbers (not completely blindly, I'd read chunks of his book when it came out, seen some of his talks), and linked that.

Not because I think all his arguments are spot on, and not because Ray's isn't, but because it contrasted in message, content and form.

Not because I was pushing a point of view, but because that was an inappropriate way to try to push a point of view... as I stated.

I said what I meant.

"Crushing the infidel is way more fun. No conversions here!"

Heh... I was responding to Ray, and Ray's tactics, in the manner they deserve. If someone else wishes to pursue the matter further, they, and you, are free to do so.

"What happens if statistics lend overwhelming weight to an argument presented from a very different perspective than yours (or Bob's)?"

Then that would be worth pursuing, but would not constitute an argument all on its own.

"My guess: nothing invalidates an inch of Bob's opinions in your eyes. Nothing. You'll find a way of justifying what you believe in, and if that doesn't work, an ad hominem attack will do just fine to cover up the lack of substance and integrity in your position."

Abdominal pain level laughter! Listen, I first came upon OC, an Objectivist, and incidental atheist. Bob's comments on the 10 commandments, opened up a hole in the Philosophical Ideas I'd be noodling with, was unsatisfied with, and through that hole a bridge through the 'talking snake stories' opened from the higher, vertical, poetics, into the Objectivist principles I still hold, though modified.

I don't follow, I explore, what is truthful takes precedence over what I'd prefer things to be.

A thoughtful response, I'll respond to. Insult - however dressed up - I'll swat. With pleasure. And a laugh.

"PS: you were a little less bilious, but still a little condescending on your last comment. Keep it up, you'll be an upright gentleman in no time."

Lol... I so look forwards to your having an opinion of me!

10/03/2008 06:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is truly amazing the lengths that some people will go to demonstrate how right they are to complete strangers.

Like it even fucking matters, you boob.

Get a life.

10/03/2008 06:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Like it even 'freaking' matters, you boob," is what I meant.

Sorry.

But I did mean the part about get a life...

10/03/2008 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Niggardly Phil said...

Wow Van, you were an Objectivist, like Ayn Rand etc? I didn't know that.

10/03/2008 06:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well fuck you!

10/03/2008 06:49:00 PM  
Anonymous austracoon said...

"Much of spiritual growth involves the reversal of this process, or what I call the remystification of the world."

Num 4:19 But thus do unto them, that they may live, and not die, when they approach unto the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in, and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden:

Num 4:20 But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.

10/03/2008 08:25:00 PM  
Anonymous The Stranger said...

Just one thing, Dude.
D'ya have to use s'many cuss words?

10/03/2008 09:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Dude said...

The fuck are you talking about?

10/03/2008 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Postmodern philosophies use the spirit to deny the spirit, leaving us with a wholly horizontal wasteland of matter and instinct. This intellectual operation is a complete success, even though the patient -- the human qua human -- does not survive it. A new kind of infrahuman is born, forgetful of his fall and “at ease in a world that presents itself as an end in itself, and which exempts man from the effort of transcending himself” -- which is to have shunned and bypassed our reason for being here."

You have a way of putting into words things I have only a vague sense of.

This attitude/state of nonbeing is infecting even the Church.

10/03/2008 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Ah, remama when you was older than abraham and young as a babe’s I AM and the world was fresh anew, when heaven touched the earth and angels whispered their secrets through the wind, rivers, mountains and stars? I do. Who could forget?"

Still having the flashbacks; today, for instance. :)

10/03/2008 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Hmm. Might have to reconsider pushing back my bed time.

10/03/2008 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Full-album concerts are all the rage these days, but none could be better than Astral Weeks. All in favor of Bob attending the Hollywood Bowl on our bee-halves raise their paws.

Thanks for the TCM ideas, too. Seems like a good time for noirishment.

10/04/2008 12:49:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I always look ahead a few days at their schedule, so I'll alert you if I see something particularly enticing coming up.

In fact, I just checked, and White Heat is on at the moment, another noir classic from 1949. Then Touch of Evil, a flawed gem by Orson Welles from 1958. Not a great film, but some unforgettable scenes. Another one with some of that warped Coen Brothers sensibility.

10/04/2008 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Phil said "Wow Van, you were an Objectivist, like Ayn Rand etc? I didn't know that. "

Heh... yep. Think of "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" as Philosophical Noir. Not too, much of a stretch, since she did do screen writing for B&W movies.

In fact if you see "Love Letters" with Joseph Cotton on TCM, catch it... sort of a film noir updating of Cyrano.

10/04/2008 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

TCM: The only reason I wish we still had cable.

10/04/2008 10:38:00 AM  

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