Thursday, January 08, 2009

Baby I'm For Real

First, let's get some business out of the way. At the lodge meeting last night, Dupree proposed a change in membership requirements that the High Exalted Mystic Ruler accepted as canonical. Regarding Raccoon membership, bylaws, sec. 2 now reads:

-- US citizen for the last six months
-- have a public school diploma
-- pay a $1.50 initiation fee
-- vote for One Cosmos for best religious blog

Also, the indulgence situation was getting out of hand, so in the future, it will be one indulgence for seven votes, one for each day of the competition.

Otherwise, we pretty much talked about the nature of the self, the ontology of free will, the aesthetics of neo-doo wop, and the playoff picture this weekend. I think I'm pulling for San Diego, since they have the worst record and their best player is injured. Plus, I like that little dude, Sproles. Who couldn't pull for a professional football player who's only 5'6"? He's as rare as a Jewish rodeo rider.

Here's the deal. Freedom must in some sense -- every sense, actually -- be synonymous with "real." I touched on this idea on p. 72 of my book, where I mentioned Kierkegaard's pre-bobservation that the necessary cannot come into existence, because coming into existence is a transition from not existing to existing. The purely necessary doesn't really (or essentially) change at all, because it is always itself in a deterministic manner. Ice may look different, but it's really just frozen water. Furthermore, it doesn't have any choice in the matter so long as the temperature dips below 32˚.

But there are degrees of freedom and therefore reality. Looked at this way -- and I'm pretty sure Aquinas said the same thing -- God would be the only completely real reality, as only God is not caused or conditioned by something else. But when he breathed a living spirit into Man, darn it, he sophishly exwholed a bit of his own unnarcissary being into us. Which is why we both partake of God's reality and can know about it. In turn, I'm pretty sure this is what Eckhart had in mind when he cracked about the "uncreated" ground of the soul.

You see, if God were actually the direct cause of everything, that would again be just another way of saying that nothing really exists except for God. And predestination doesn't work for me, unless it is understood as our final, not efficient cause. In this sense we can understand the paradox that our purpose in life is to become what we "already" are; and how it is that in all of creation, humans, and only humans, can fail to accomplish this task (at least in this life).

Bolton points out that if God were the actual cause of our illusionary acts of free will, "this would mean that God did not delegate any causal power to created beings. In this case, God would be the only real agent in existence, such that when wood, for instance, appeared to be burned by fire, it would really be burned by God, under the guise or veil of visible fire." Isn't this the position of the Mohammedans? Among other things, it completely obliterates the space of moral freedom and responsibility, does it not? For whatever happens, you can just plead that it was "God's will." Kill a Jew? "Wasn't me. The rock did it."

But the whole freaking paradoxical point is that the very possibility of creation -- it's first act, so to speak -- is God's "withdrawal" in order to create a potential space for existence to exist. Otherwise, you're essentially a pantheist, whether you admit it or not. This potential space is critical, for it is not just the space of free will, but also the space of morality, of truth, and of "evolution," understood in its metacosmic sense as the journey back to God.

In this regard, one formula that we must always bear in mind is that God is transcendent in his immanence, and immanent in his transcendence. This is sort of a byway, so.... well, just a little more. Eckhart would agree that the more "out" of the world God is, the more in, and the more in, the more out. In other words, his radical transcendence is the very condition of his immanence, since transcendence spills over into everything -- which is why every existent testifies to the transcendent God shining through it. This is why Blakey could see eternity in a grain of sand, which suddenly becomes transcendent when you realize God's immanence in it. Transcendence and immanence are just two necessary sides of the same coin, like absolute and infinite: because the Absolute is, it is necessarly infinite.

We'll have to come back to that topic later. The point is, if we oversimplify God and see him as only transcendent or only immanent, various absurdities, or "intrinsic heresies," follow. Now, an intrinsic heresy is anything that I don't agree with.

Here's what I mean. If God is the direct proximate cause of everything, then "there would be only one real substance, that of God, and the resulting reality would be conceptually that of Non-Dualism or 'substantial monism'" (Bolton). In turn, it would mean that the Vedantins and Buddhists were correct, in that we would be intrinsically unreal, so the only point of life would be to realize that fact on a deep level, by eliminating that impediment to the one reality: us. If such is the case, why even bother? Which, when you think about it, is precisely the entrenched attitude that prevented economic and scientific development in most of the Eastern world.

Nope. Doesn't work for me. If human existence is to mean anything at all, "it must involve some sharing in the divine attributes, these including causality." If this isn't the case, then one must either turn man into god, or else "maintain an absolute and final barrier between God and man, which would subvert orthodox teachings about participation in the divine nature...." In reality, the closer man is to God, "the greater must be his degree of being or substance" (Bolton).


Van said...

(Sorry, today from the end of yesterday)
Well... I checked out the competition in the webblog awards, and I think I've figured out why OC isn't in first place. You know that curvy part near the beginning of the race track? had a wall by it? Turns out, where OC just lept over the obstruction, and cOntinues On through the landscape, all those other blogs just keep going around and around... so while OC is actually covering distance, they are busy counting laps.

I like the scenery better here.

(turns out someone else actually judges how well the race was run, anyway)

Van said...

Ummm... do Johan and Magnus get an exemption on the first bylaw?

Van said...

"The point is, if we oversimplify God and see him as only transcendent or only immanent, various absurdities, or "intrinsic heresies," follow. Now, an intrinsic heresy is anything that I don't agree with."

Works the same in philosophy as theology... all subjective or all objective, still comes out as a leftist, or its mirror image (which is not Right).


Van said...

ok, ok, I think that's eight in a row now, come on, batter up.

(maybe that designated hitter isn't such a bad thing?



really liking the wv poetic upgrade

Joan of Argghh! said...

A'ight, this post is just... whoa...

When I'm lying awake at night, I'm gonna hafta start thinking about asolute infinity. If it doesn't scare me into self-medicating sleep, it just might save my soul.

Joan of Argghh! said...

wv: tringl

WV is seeking out the Trinity.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Point of order: can a home-school diploma be accepted?

Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh great, Van. I'm fanning out here at home plate and you disappear.

wv: soggings! heh.

Gagdad Bob said...


Good question. We'll have to take it up next meeting, but I don't think we want the "letter to kill the spirit," especially considering the fact that no one has ever located Toots' (SBUH) high school diploma.

Gagdad Bob said...

.... and there have always been rumors that Herman dropped out of bartending college.

Joan of Argghh! said...

You'd think home-schooled Raccoons would almost be uber-accetable as iconoclasts against tenured culture, at any rate.

Gagdad Bob said...

True, but we are touching on sacramental mysteries that transcend our meager understanding.

Van said...

(I'll bet Omschooled get let right in)

I don't know what it is, but such a fantastic word shouldn't perish unseen.

River Cocytus said...

1 / 0 = Infinity -- indicating the closeness between oneness, nothingness and infinity.

Or to be more precise, 1 / 0 is something like infinity. It's not something a computer can grasp.. it returns "NaN" -> NOT A NUMBER.

Yes, I am not a number... I am a free man!

Joan of Argghh! said...

Our God is nothing,if not nuanced.

mushroom said...

nothing, but nuanced

wv: sionst -- Incoming!

Robin Starfish said...

holy communion
have this cake and eat it too

Warren said...

"the necessary cannot come into existence"

This is the answer to the atheist's favorite stumper, "Well, who created God then?" (A child's question, really.) Of course, then you have to go on to show why God is necessary, etc....

"I'm pretty sure this is what Eckhart had in mind when he cracked about the "uncreated" ground of the soul."

I'm pretty sure you're right about that. Der Meister always saw himself as a paragon of orthodoxy - and I think he was, actually - but it's easy to see why some of his statements would be misunderstood.

"whatever happens, you can just plead that it was "God's will." Kill a Jew?"

Wonder why they never conclude that the Jews killing them is also God's will?

Warren said...

"it would mean that the Vedantins and Buddhists were correct, in that we would be intrinsically unreal, so the only point of life would be to realize that fact on a deep level"

Actually, if the Vedantins and/or Buddhists are correct, there's no point to anything at all, including realization or "enlightenment". And some of the more advanced ones - those who have had the courage to follow their line of thought all the way to its necessary conclusion - have been happy to admit this.

NoMo said...

Ahhh, my favorite subject - the sovereignty of God and the effect of the Fall on free will.

wv: dectr (huh? I never touched her)

River Cocytus said...

Regarding the fighting in Gaza... here's an odd tidbit. Those who are sympathetic focus on the towns in the west bank, where it appears that settler groups are doing illegal activities (there was an issue with a standoff at a house recently.) Now, these settlers may be considered Zionists, which is what some of them may call themselves. Also to note, West Bank contains less violent radicals, and more Christians. But Gaza doesn't seem to come in the picture at all. I'm overall unhappy with how Israel handles the West Bank, but that's little of my business. What is interesting is how different the groups appear to act between Gaza and the West Bank and how both (including the Christians in the West Bank) called 'Palestinians' - which is what, anyway? An ex-province of Jordan? A former province of Rome? And so on. This same side also buys into propaganda produced by these groups - since they are convinced that there is a great deal of inequitable activity in the West Bank. These same groups lead us to believe that there is no threat from any Palestinians unless Israel provokes it, evidenced usually by the fact that most people, including people in West Bank, don't want to blow anyone up. But that doesn't prove anything. Like any democracy, Israel's government has to painfully answer for each and every life killed by an Islamist homicidal maniac. So what do they do? They build big walls. The same that buy the propaganda in full also believe that we just don't 'want to get it' and that the solution is 'simple'. How? Just get Israel to stop. I guess- tear down the walls, and, um, arrest the settler groups that are engaged in criminal activities? Sounds simple, but if it was simple, then it would have been done, I think. It's like someone telling you getting to the moon is simple; just get a big air tank and suit and jump really, really high. Simple, yes - until you try to do it. It's simple in that it doesn't actually work.

But it appears to be easier to promote 'simple' solutions that you know will never be followed through with so you can take the moral high ground. Some pro-life groups are also guilty of this; promoting an agenda that is impossible to fulfill.

Yes, it would be nice if Abortion was illegal like it would be nice if there was no killing in the middle east. The question that remains, that always remains, is what solutions really work? The propaganda eaters, who on some level recognize some things are being fabricated, hope that their cause is just enough that if things go through everyone will ignore the lying that they used to get there. Global warming is, (if you watch the latest Lomberg) big on this tactic; lie only partly, so that you can focus on the true parts when attacked. Never mind that crucial details are either fabricated or omitted.

For the people in Gaza and the West Bank, it does not help that they were under the Muslim boot for five centuries; if you want to know why the Christians didn't do something, it's very simple.

Under the Ottoman, if you, a Christian, did anything publicly Christian, that is, defend your faith or its concepts or ideas, or try to spread the gospel (or do basically anything Christian outside of a Church building) they would kill your Bishop.

Blackmailed out of action.

Lebanon is different, I hear, but not so much 'better' as 'stranger'. Different Muslims, but different system. Hezbolla helps out many different groups in Lebanon, so few are willing to turn on them. They're quite powerful. It is such a pluralistic place (even more now that so many Christians have left) that it is all about posturing and alliances.

To summarize, the middle east is actually bleepin' crazy.

River Cocytus said...

It's important to note that the pro-life groups - excepting of course the anti-death penalty crowd - are usually pretty clean on their statistics. Abortions are preventable murders that we pay for ourselves. The quantity of people may be greater dying in, say, Africa, but, plank, mote, eye, etc.

River Cocytus said...

Good formula:

Accuracy of information is inversely proportional to the number of leftists involved in the movement/organization.

bob f. said...

So Catholic school graduates are, what, chopped liver?

And how can you mention Neo-Doo Wop without mentioning The Lion Sleeps Tonight by the Tokens?

Jeez! Whatsamatta? You not from around here?

Anonymous said...

looking in the window at the pecan pie
lot things they want they will never buy

wv: marywak - corn and I don't care?

ximeze said...

"Accuracy of information is inversely proportional to the number of leftists involved in the movement/organization."

Strike the media.

Good thing Joe the Plumber left for Israel today & the drive-by's heads are fix'n to explode over it. Just too rich.


Joan of Argghh! said...

Talk about running away with the vote. Check it out.

I think Julie is the one that linked that blog recently. ho!

Joan of Argghh! said...

The Cosmos is roaring.

julie said...

In the interest of accuracy, I didn't link to the penguin blog, only to the adorable raccoon pictures they provided. I get why people like it, but it just didn't tickle my funnybone.

From the roaring cosmos article, I like this line:

"The universe really threw us a curve."

No kidding? If that doesn't happen on a daily basis, you probably aren't paying attention.

NoMo said...

Who says He doesn't have a sense of humor?

Joan of Argghh! said...

Julie: No kidding? If that doesn't happen on a daily basis, you probably aren't paying attention.

My thoughts exactly.

I liked the phrase, "primordial stars," on so many levels of irony...

julie said...

Whittle has another good essay up at Big Hollywood, touching on matters of culture, apocalypse, cycles, inevitability and mind parasites:

Cut those cords of love of and pride in country – as the elites have cut them in every civilization before us – and from your seat on the moon you will see the brightest light in history wink out. The rest of the world will soon follow.

You think I exaggerate? When has this not happened in the heartbeat of civilization? We once stood among a family of nations dedicated to fighting oppression in the form of fascism and communism. Now, we and one or two others, but for all intents and purposes we – America alone – stands against the tide of 7th Century repression and submission. Civilizations rise and fall. Barbarism is eternal. If you think the threat is not an existential one you have some reading to catch up on.

How long will the next darkness last? A few centuries? All of the readily available tools to build a new civilization – the ores, the coal and oil – all these are gone. Monks in stone cloisters cannot build photovoltaic cells. If this civilization falls, as have all others – from a lack of belief in itself – then civilization and medicine and science may very well never return.

Those are the stakes.

Sobering thoughts.

jwm said...

My wife didn't care for FU Penguin either. I think it's like the Three Stooges. You have to be a guy to get it.

(a real word. I win!)


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hurray! The water is now receding, in our area. Actually, it never got close than 40 feet to our place but we were surrounded for awhile by standing (or is that floating?) water.

Unfortunately, the dike (snicker!) broke by I-5 again, which shut it down so probably no mail for awhile. We need better dike makers.
Since it always breaks anyway why not contract it out to private businesses? Clearly, the state can't build a decent one.

I mean, there's not like there ain't a high demand for good dikes. :^)
Sure, good dikes are expensive, but it seems to me, and I'm no mathmetician, that we spend far more in damages and lost revenue when dikes go bad.

Anyways, thanks all for the prayers and well wishes n' stuff.
You guys are the coolest coons west (and east) of the Pecos.

Skully said...

Hell, screw the dyke and build a watertight barrier.
For cripes sake, we built Hoover dam didn't we? How hard can it be?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Here's an excellent piece by the actor Gary Graham (You know, det. Sikes on Alien Nation, among other characters).

One Pissed Off Dude

Wow. He really hit a nerve (a good one for conservatives. For the rabid Lefties, as he calls them, not so much). :^)

Joan of Argghh! said...


Go Gators!

wv: undisms: possibly a setup for scatalogical humor

Joan of Argghh! said...

Ben! You're alive! Skully, too!

O, Frabjous day!

Alan said...

RE: Raccoon membership rules... is there such a thing as resident alien 'coon status? Do I have to get paw-printed at the border?

Julie: I think Big Hollywood is putting out quality content at a rate that is seriously cutting into my slack. OC should be a contributor! I would vote for that (too).

jwm said...

It would just figure, Ben. If there was one other fan of Alien Nation on the internet he'd be here at One Cosmos. I used to love that show.

wv:zoode (when yer too vuzzed to shay dooood)


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Joan! :^)

Alan- That's a great idea. Bob did get a degree in film stuff, so he knows good flicks. :^)

If he has the time, that is. I know I would read Bob's Hollywood Cosmos bits.

ximeze said...

Big Hollywood


Gagdad's Cafe

Do you suppose a reworking of that Dark Knight discussion here at OC would, um, be too much, er, blow them away?

Skully said...

Hey JWM,
I'm a fan too. It turned me on to raw beaver! Goes well with grog.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi John,
I loved the characters in the show. Also how patriotic most of the aliens like George became of their adoptive country and their love of liberty. :^)

Van said...

From a couple science links off of the Cosmos Roaring article... Powerful Solar Storm Could Shut Down U.S. for Months
The prediction is based in part on major solar storm in 1859 caused telegraph wires to short out in the United States and Europe, igniting widespread fires...."

"...Modern power grids are so interconnected that a big space storm — the type expected to occur about once a century — could cause a cascade of failures that would sweep across the United States, cutting power to 130 million people or more in this country alone, the new report concludes...Impacts would be felt on interdependent infrastructures with, for example, potable water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in 12-24 hours; immediate or eventual loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, transportation, fuel resupply ...Outages could take months to fix, the researchers say. Banks might close, and trade with other countries might halt...Emergency services would be strained, and command and control might be lost..."

and of course the due date is... "...The race is on for better forecasting abilities, as the next peak in solar activity is expected to come around 2012...."

2012. Mayans, asteroids, Nostradamus, MTV hosts, magnetic storms... What the heck is it about that damn date?! (don't answer that)

Anonymous said...

One question is how the topic of today's post is reflected in experience?

What exactly are we talking about?

We start from the position that God is both transcendant and immanant; that has been well established here in previous posts. The racoon does her verticalisthenics from that position.

So I'm wondering what Bob is angling at by going over obvious realities as if they were under some kind of doubt.

There is a lesson here but I'm not getting it.

The lone stranger.

Van said...

JWM said "... If there was one other fan of Alien Nation on the internet he'd be here at One Cosmos...."

(Psst! Yeah, over here. Yeah, me too)


Not sure, but I think that was the sound that saltwater made.

kaffepaus said...

"There is a lesson here but I'm not getting it."

That some things are worth mentioning over and over again?

And what about this US citizen crap? I thought we were going for nothing less than world domination... I'm truly diappointed.

wv: persons (ho!)


kaffepaus said...

diappointed = disapointed

vw: entor (yes, it was fun to do this again)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Johan!
I think you and Magnus are spiritually US citizens, and the perfect undercover agents to carry liberty in Sweden and Norway.

See? No one suspects anything because you were born there. :^)

phil g said...

I voted

kaffepaus said...

Ben, you are a genius.

Btw, glad to hear that you're feet are still dry :)


Petey said...

Johan makes a good point. Those original bylaws applied only to the Bensonhurst lodge, but since we are the transdimensional lodge, it follows that members would merely have to provide documentation of residency in at least two cosmic dimensions.

ge said...

Say, did you know that Baby I'm for Real was written and produced by Marvin Gaye...
Al Aronowitz swears the Dylan typed out the 1st version of Mr Tambourine Man on his/Al's typewriter at his/Al's home...and that all night Bob played the Marvin Gaye song 'Can I Get A Witness?' over and over while writing...! in his BOB DYLAN AND THE BEATLES book, or here