Saturday, January 03, 2009

On Surrendering the Mind to its Source

Yesterday in a comment, I mentioned that our historical understanding and appreciation of liberty probably followed from actually living it in the form of free markets as opposed to thinking about it abstractly. In academia there is a huge bias toward the latter view, because the caste of the idle tenured can't help regarding itself as much less useless than it actually is.

You routinely read, for example, about how Descartes was responsible for our Western "body-mind dualism" because of his wisecrock, "I think, therefore I am" -- as if this abstract philosophical meme somehow trickled down to the masses, so that the farmers, artisans, and serfs all thought to themselves, "damn, the man may be French, but he's got a point. There's an extended substance. And a thinking substance. I guess the world is hopelessly fractured, since none of us are naive enough anymore to believe that God reconciles these two categories."

No, the reason the body-mind duality spread throughout the West is because that is what it feels like to have a mind! If you don't have much of a mind, then it's not going to be a problem, is it? Instead, you will likely resonate more to Popeye's ontology, i.e., "I am what I am."

As I've mentioned before, I've done psychiatric evaluations of people from all over the world, and there is no question that in certain cultures the individual barely emerges out of the collective -- even out of their own body, to be honest. They don't have the problem of the body-mind dualism because they don't possess the latter. They are shockingly free of what we would call insight, reflection, interiority, detachment, irony, etc. It's as if they do not live in their minds, but in their bodies. They are amazingly content to perform the most mindless and repetitive work -- in fact, in many ways, they are probably happier than the average American. They essentially don't think about things until something goes wrong with their body. Otherwise, "no brain, no problem" (like the old baseball adage, "don't think -- you'll hurt the ballclub").

[The other day, I had an interesting conversation about this very topic with an interpreter. She was from Buenos Aires, and quite sophisticated, but her job usually involved translating for the above type of "pre-mental" person. She enthusiastically agreed with my observations.]

I don't know about you, but I can think back to my own childhood, when this unified condition was the natural state. One just felt the conflict-free bliss of being alive, especially between, say, 7 and 12. By this time, your nervous system has completely come "on line." You can speak, you can play, you have an imagination, you have friends, and if you have good enough parenting, you have no problems except for the mindless drudgery of school. Existential problems don't really emerge again until puberty. Just when you get used to the world, you're plunged into a new one, with new thoughts, new relations, a new body.

[I read a beautiful passage by Balthasar yesterday: "At dawn, heaven and earth are still one. Earthly things are transfigured and become celestial, while the light of heaven has not yet appeared in all its particularity. Such is the dawn of youth, in which the spirit plays in the body unselfconsciously. When the sun climbs to the very zenith of midday, heaven and earth are fully separated." Of course, the goal of the Raccoon lifestyle is to reintegrate heaven and earth at a higher level.]

The latest research in developmental neurology explains why adolescence can be so difficult. As it so happens, it doesn't just feel like your brain is being disassembled. Rather, that's actually what happens. The brain literally disassembles and reassembles during the teen years. A particular problem for boys is that the part of the brain that you might label "impulsivity" or "risk-taking" is temporarily unplugged (or at least attenuated) from the higher part of the neocortex where the thing called "judgment" resides. Like the infant, the adolescent goes through life at the same time his brain is being rewired together. Throw in the surge of hormones -- which is especially powerful in girls -- and you have a potential recipe for disaster. In my case, I don't think "judgment" and "impulse" were fully reintegrated in my brain until I was about 26.

Now coincidentally, Will mentioned in a comment yesterday that "most people are not really ready for college until they're about 24 - 26 years old. That's the age when the 'I-relate-everything-to-myself-and-my-emotions' fixation starts to dwindle. A bit." As it so happens, that is exactly how it was for me. Although I started college at 17, I couldn't have been less prepared. I faked my way through five semesters of junior college, but when I transferred to the state university, the game was over. I struggled through one semester but just stopped going in the middle of the second.

Around the same time, I had begun working as a retail clerk, which I continued doing for the subsequent 12 years, until 1988, the same year I completed my Ph.D. In between, I returned to college when I was 23. Looking back on it, I can see that a certain intellectual "awakening" was beginning to dawn, much to my surprise. It became markedly stronger when I was 26, but was like a sudden explosion at 29. By that time I was in graduate school, but it is important to point out that this explosion had nothing to do with school.

Furthermore, it had nothing to do with me, and was something over which I had no control, any more than I controlled the rate of growth of my body. Rather, it was the emergence of an independent and relatively autonomous developmental line, a process unto itself, one that I imagine most people ignore, either because by that age they are already on a fixed career path, or because their life became derailed much earlier.

It was literally an "opening" in my soul, accompanied by a flood of ideas, insights and connections that went well beyond anything I had formally learned in school, or any capacities I had even remotely possessed up to that time. It was really a new way of life and of Being. To a certain extent, if you can picture it, it was like a descent of pure intelligence without form or content. Naturally, given my meager academic history, this was totally unexpected, but I see now that it was precisely the absence of content that contributed to my plasticity in assimilating this force. [Indeed, it reminds me of Future Leader's freakishly good memory, which I imagine is partly a result of the fact that his brain is so empty and uncluttered, like a brand new computer.] I began reading voraciously and widely in the effort to provide some "content" to this seeming "force." I needed my mind to catch up with my new-found intelligence. [Only then did I start importing a lot of nonsense along the way!]

Why am I bringing this up? Several reasons. First, I'm wondering if anyone else out there has had similar experiences of "descents" and "awakenings?" I'm guessing that many Raccoons have similar stories to share.

I think it is fair to say that by this time, I had reached the "summit of intelligence." Now please, don't get me wrong here, for I am hardly making any special claim for myself. I think most "intellectuals" reach the summit of intelligence by one path or another, meaning that there is essentially nothing in the realm of worldly ideas that they cannot understand. The world of profane "intelligence" is basically open to them. Much will depend upon the character of the person, the content with which they fill out their intelligence, and their motives in doing so. For intelligence, more often than not, is in the service of a bad end or a bad egg. Obviously, intelligence itself in no way correlates with truth. Look at Noam Chomsky, for example. He is obviously at the summit of intelligence. You can even say he's genius if you like. But what good is the intelligence, when it exists in a parallel looniverse of lies, hatred, and paranoia? The smarter the person, the more catastrophic will be their error!

Throughout history people have reached the summit of intelligence, just as countless artists have achieved the summit of beauty. This is why the ancient Greeks still intrigue us. Someone like Plato was already at the summit of intelligence over 2,000 years ago. As Whitehead said, Western philosophy since then is basically a footnote on Plato -- which is not so much a tribute to Plato as an ackowledgement that pure intelligence, like artistic perfection, cannot surpass itself. One person becomes a Hegelian, another becomes a logical positivist, another becomes a deconstructionist. It doesn't really matter. It's just pure intelligence imagining it can surpass itself and know the one truth on a plane where it is intrinsically impossible to do so.

Something similar to a descent of pure intelligence occurred to Sri Aurobindo. In his case, he didn't remain stuck there, but immediately saw through its limitations. He did not see it as an end, merely a realm that had to be infused with a higher spirit in order to attain its proper end.

The best introduction to Sri Aurobindo is The Adventure of Consciousness, by Satprem. In it, Satprem describes Aurobindo's recognition of the limits of the intellect: "The day came when Sri Aurobindo had had enough of these intellectual exercises. He had probably realized that one can go on amassing knowledge indefinitely, reading and learning languages, even learning all the languages in the world and reading all the books in the world, and yet not progressing an inch. For the mind does not seek truly to know, even though it appears to -- it seeks to grind. If by chance the machine were to come to a stop because knowledge had been obtained, it would soon rise up in revolt and find something new to grind, just for the sake of grinding and grinding."

Now, notice two things; first, Aurobindo had achieved the summit of intelligence, which essentially leaves one on a plane where the endless circles of deconstruction and synthesis are inevitable, with no nonlocal vector to guide them to their proper end in Truth as such. In other words, deconstruction is simply intelligence playing with the same facts to come up with radically disparate conclusions. Equally intelligent people can easily be on one side or the other of a particular dispute, or even arrive at opposite ideologies. For the "integralist," the task is to admit the truth of each and to "integrate" them. Thus, for example, we must integrate "left" and "right," since plenty of equally intelligent people adhere to each.

But this is not the path to truth. Unless intelligence is infused with the descent of a higher light, it will forever remain on its own partial plane. More on which tomorrow. In any event, I am curious to hear from others who have had this experience of a sudden opening, or "descent," of intelligence, followed by the descent of something surpassing it, and which begins to shape and reform intelligence for its own higher ends.

Here again, just yesterday I read a relevant passage by Balthasar, who speaks of "the moment when one's own inspiration mysteriously passes over into inspiration through the genius, the daimon, or the indwelling god, a moment when the 'spirit that contains the god' obeys a superior command which as such implies form and is able to impose form." This is impossible in the absence of true faith (o), through which the person divests himself "of any intent to give himself shape, who makes himself available as matter for the divine action."

28 Comments:

Blogger Van said...

"The smarter the person, the more catastrophic will be their error!"

Abundant proof or which is available on any college campus.

1/03/2009 09:55:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Lots of things I'd love to add right now, but they'll have to wait. Great post, though.

1/03/2009 10:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Sawdust said...

I've experienced something like that, more than once. In fact, I'm experiencing it as I write, and have been for the past couple of years. It may or may not have to do with this blog, but the time line fits that possibility.

I had my first experience in 1970 or 71. I had been to Vietnem and back, going to a junior college on the GI bill, working part-time running a pool hall, and enjoying all the vices of the sixties. My excuse was that I missed out on a lot of that during my Army days, and had some catching up to do.

I needed a summer job, and applied at a construction site, converting an old clothing store into a college bar. The job interview went as follows: Ever done any construction work? No. Ever been around any construction work? My dad built our house. Oh, you're a carperter, then.

And so I was, for well, until a few years ago. I discovered that I had just stumbled upon a line of work that made use of pretty much all of my different strengths-math, imagination, the ability to visualize something before I built it, I believe you referred to it as the "unthought known" or something like that.

Carpentry, like most other occupations, has some relatively simple tasks that anyone can master. Other tasks demand more--stairways, building doors or cabinets, that sort of thing. I was fortunate enough to do some of most of it, except the heavy commercial stuff, which didn't appeal to me. Nothing creative about reading a plan.

Anyway, I still find the knowlege pouring in. I have switched to making smaller things out of really nice wood, just a little to keep busy when the urge summons, and I don't have to do any Christmas shopping, which I dislike intensely.

I don't read the blog every day, as I tend to travel a lot, and usually find myself reading several posts in a setting, which can take up quite a bit of time. I prefer to do it that way, spending a lot of time thinking about OC as I travel. I often print out a few posts to take with me. So I can actually take two or more trips at the same time. Thanks, Bob, for making that possible.

1/03/2009 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"First, I'm wondering if anyone else out there has had similar experiences of "descents" and "awakenings?" I'm guessing that many Raccoons have similar stories to share."

Definitly. I'll have to see if my feeble google-fu skills can dig up what I answered the first time this post came around, but I wonder if I marked how much more forcefully the spiral was spun after each of our descents... into Ryan, Chad and Rachel.

Nothing else, it seems to me, makes more clear how the dualism which we physically see, feel and participate in, are themselves contained by the higher third... the shape and substance of each ring aren't fully grasped without the full spiral. Time, facts, slope, them, you... they are just isolated instances until you open up the higher perspective and step yourself into it. It's then, at least for me it was, that the pieces put together can be seen to describe a shape and form, and their fragmentary details become less interesting than the larger form revealed through their integration....

Argh. Words... too fragmentary. Clean up, I'll three!

wv:debat
d'clue bat

1/03/2009 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Reading the gospels at the "pneumatic" level, I was thinking last week about the significance of Jesus not starting his work until he was 30. Like Bob coming "online" at 29, perhaps that is the approximate age that people's systems develop to reach that stage.

1/03/2009 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It may actually have something to do with 4 x 7, seven being a complete cycle, and four being the number of regeneration, or the "second" one after the trinity....

1/03/2009 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Here's how Dane Rudhyar put it:

"At twenty-eight, [the ascendent] reaches its own natal position; and a second cycle begins, in the same way.

"Theoretically, it is the entire axial cross which rotates in 28 years," which represents "the very essence of the self, man's attitude and path toward himself. It represents a particular viewpoint on life, that particular quality of life of which the man, as an individual identity, is to be the representative.... As it is seen to revolve throughout the 28-year cycle, one gets a most valuable graph of the sequential unfoldment of man's original or central attitude toward life."

Rudhyar then goes into the characteristics of the "second birth" that occurs at 28, which is also a kind of "second chance" to become a real individual, emphasis on real.

One needn't believe in astrology per se to appreciate the perennial wisdom embodied in it.

1/03/2009 10:52:00 AM  
Anonymous C.T. Alias said...

This is great post (as usual), but I especially love the personal aspect of it.

It got me thinking about my own awakening. A year or two before turning 30, I was married, setting down, and beginning to spend more time alone away from friends thinking and reading. After we moved away and arrived in our new home city, I celebrated my 30th. Since then, I can only describe what I perceived at first as severe darkness descending on me. Though it felt like I was walking alone in a dark forest, and at times hurting so deeply, I had a suspicion that greater things were coming about because of it. I had read Kahlil Gibran early on, and took note of the carving out of wood to make a beautiful instrument.

I began reading a lot again. But this time expanding my horizons into areas that I wouldn't have normally gone. And the world could at times break apart all around me and in my mind I would be analyzing or deconstructing it like a scientist. Seeing and noticing how things worked and how they were put together.

My spiritual conversion that happened in my early twenties, which was almost instant, consoling and certain, gave way to darkness, struggle and uncertainty. I was wading in deep dark unknown waters. And but for my wife, had no one around me in this new city. Interestingly, I had a conversation with my older sister on the phone a couple of years into this, who said that the darkness I felt following me around, and that I perceived to "bad" could be in fact, God. Maybe I just didn't recognize Him or his vastness, so I became fearful, perceiving it as a threat. I had known about St. John of the Cross and The Dark Night of the Soul but didn't know if that's what was going on or not. I read that book shortly thereafter and even though I related to it in many ways and could grasp it, I cannot say that I believe myself to be quite there yet.

Fast forward to now, I"m 35. This past year has been the real kicker. More scales, larger ones now, falling from my eyes, poison relationships being put to rest, a constant awareness, things beaming in all the time with no notice. And my creativity is breathing healthier. Much more open to the process than trying to reign anything in or choke the life out of something.

That all being said, I'm still working through incredible disillusionment now, and what I think is the beginning of the mid life transition. Deciding whether to keep going on a particular path or not.

Which is why I'm curious about your own transition, Bob, from ( which I believe you once said) sort of drifting around for a while, to film school, to psychologist. You mentioned something about having a "don't give a f*%&" attitude. Could you elaborate? I think I could be standing on the precipice of that very thing. I feel I have two choices. I can either go with it, at whatever cost and whatever comes, or back away, and assimilate more into society and what people expect of me. Deep down I think I know, but it stills feels a bit crazy to do at my age. Other forces at work seem to be pulling me the other way.

By the way, thank you for your all work here at OC. I read it almost daily. I agree with a lot of it. Disagree with you on some things. But it's the dedication you have to swim those waters daily (even among sharks) that keep me coming back for more.

Forever slack,

---C.T. Alias

1/03/2009 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

I wonder how the numbers crunch when your first born is born when you are 28?

1/03/2009 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Aloysius said...

On freedom and belief

1/03/2009 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I wonder how the numbers crunch when your first born is born when you are 28?

Hmmm... the number of multiplication and blessing is 5. If you add 5 to 28 you get 33. That auspicious age of Jesus' ministry.

If kids don't put you through a death to self, and a seeking of the Source, nothing will.

:o)

1/03/2009 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

What I remember about my teen years and early twenties is how much smarter I felt each year, only to realize, a year later, how stupid I had really been. I resisted the Rudhyar idea at first, but then realized that it fits my life very well.

It was when I was 28 that it became clear to me that I was to become a psychologist. This is mostly significant because it was really the moment that I realized that I had wanted to do that for the prior 10 years. The writing had been so obviously on the wall that a good friend responded to my announcement that I planned to go to graduate school by saying, "Finally!" It took a lot of steps and detours getting to that point, but that was the moment in time that it happened.

Back to Rudhyar, though,I then started to think about what happened 28 years later and started to dismiss it until I realized that was the year that I almost killed myself by doing all of the stupid things that you're not supposed to do when you have chest pain. The funny thing is that I had started to ritualistically say the Lord's Prayer as I was drifting off to sleep for my afternoon nap, probably about six months before the event.

After I had a stent put in to clear up the 99% occlusion, I was stunned by how clear everything became -- my thinking, my vision, the sunlight on the winter snow.

After it all happened -- and I spent a month in denial, trying to jog farther than the 3 minutes that was comfortable -- I realized that the outcome had never felt in doubt to me, and that, as soon as I had accepted what was happening, the whole process was almost like taking a stroll, at least from the standpoint of anxiety and distress.

None of this would matter much if it hadn't been followed by my increasing spiritual obsessions. Fortunately, my wife seems to think it's a generally good thing, because my friends don't really know what to make of me anymore.

So, I hope that's the kind of thing that you wanted to hear about, Bob.

1/03/2009 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, that's what we like to hear: true coonfessions.

1/03/2009 04:25:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

I was totally aimless in my teens and twenties. I was always employed, and self supporting, but my life centered on what was fun: at first, the phony intellectual bullshit, where I drank sour wine, and read hard books about existentialism, and hard stuff like that because that's what -- I don't know what it was supposed to result in except a sneering contempt for the lesser beings who didn't read hard books.
But at the end of the summer of '73 I had a strange lucid dream that knocked me for such a loop that I suddenly dumped that whole Simon and Garfunkle lifestyle, threw away the stupid ass books, and took up surfing.
I stayed there and had very good fun until First True Love ruined it all. The last couple years of my twenties were awful, but out of the wreckage I got that phoenix burn that we were talking about. I had an epiphany that led me to go back to school and pursue a real career.
I started college just a couple weks after my thirtieth birthday. That was 1982. For that five year period I had a single goal, and a single approach to getting it. I wanted to be a high school teacher. That was goal. Burn through every class on my course list as if it were a matter of survival. Get all A's. That was method. But it wasn't just method and drive. It seemed that I couldn't take a class that wasn't fascinating. If I'd had the time and funds I could have pursued degrees in dozens of differetnt fields. But I had time for only one, and barely time for that. Sadly (now that I look back) I had also absorbed the University mindset, and all its attendant prejudices. Prejudices which would take years to overcome. I graduated with high honors, and went to work teaching in the inner city.
This is the big middle part of the story that I skip.
It wasn't until I lost the career, and pretty much all inspiration in all other areas that the Religious Question began taking up most all of my inner space. It looks like Mainman, and I had similar adventures with chest pain, and all that stenty stuff. It does change your perspective around.
After the epiphanies, the recovery, and the beginning of a lot of new stuff, comes the fading of the visions, the return to (almost) normal, and the loss of the newness on the new stuff.
One by one, all the old demons and mind parasites settle back in, just to remind you that all the upheaval didn't kill them, but rather chased them off center stage temporarily. They waited patiently in the wings, and used the time to find new and creative ways to stir up shit.
Truth to tell, this is a low spot in all areas. But it's a new year, as well, and after the weekend is over, you just resume the drill: Do your footwork; say your prayers; leave the results up to God.
wv: sable
Just to piss off peta

JWM

1/03/2009 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob, if I told you again it would be like the 29th time, so…

Van, I was 28 as well when my boy came.

My uncle was taken by Covey’s book around that time, as I recall. That changed him, it was obvious, and he shared it with me and many others in my family. I was the only one who read it. That led to Frankel’s book. It was “a” start. Became good friends with my wise landlord carpenter. Decided to build our first home.

I recall this jumping out at me on the first read last winter:
“Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Christ.” Matthew 1:17

And is interesting too that Sri Aurobindo mentions “it” happened to him at 42. I’m looking for the page in Satprem’s now…

I was 41-ish, give or take, and was sitting in this very same place, stopped in my tracks, rubbing my eyes, not believing what I was reading.

1/03/2009 06:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've summitted the intelligence heap, and now I admit I'm combative and contrary because there's nothing else to do. I'm eternally trying to stir up trouble.

I'm a trollbat, a moontard, a lizninny. Pity me.

1/03/2009 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

In other words, thanks for the conduit.

1/03/2009 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

“And so it was that Sri Aurobindo became a writer. He was forty-two…In six uninterrupted years…would publish nearly all of his written work…close to five thousand pages.”
Page 245-246 in Satprem’s book.

1/03/2009 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Rick:

Good catch. Starting at 42, he spent the subsequent 6.5 years producing nearly his entire corpus, routinely working on six or seven major projects at the same time, writing in an "automatic" fashion. Frankly, this is one of the things that originally freaked me out about him, because it didn't seem human. As the new biography states, during that time he merely wanted to:

"reinterpret the Indian tradition, develop a metaphysics based on the truths of spirit and nature, uncover the principles of yoga by which these truths could be experienced, show how the same truths could be applied to political and social life, and make them the basis of a spiritualized literature and art."

Other than that, not much.

1/03/2009 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Yes. And not to suggest that the point is about the “quantity” of it. It was as if a space opened up, a huge space, and the writing just tried to keep up with what came to fill it.
It's about the space that opened up.

1/03/2009 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

A catch-42 really. The more you write, the more space just comes right after it.

1/03/2009 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"Existential problems don't really emerge again until puberty. Just when you get used to the world, you're plunged into a new one, with new thoughts, new relations, a new body."

That's where one of our nephews is now. He just turned 13, and is deeply concerned (or rather, somewhat terrified) about becoming an adult. For him, it's going to be especially rocky since his dad died when he was two. DH tries to be a strong role model for him, but it's painfully clear the boy needs a father.

1/03/2009 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

I'd have to say, honestly, that the two have jogged along in tandem my whole life.
I was the kid reading the Golden Book Encyclopedia from cover to cover the day it came home from the grocery, just because there was so much fascinating stuff out there to learn about.
And I cannot remember a time, from the age of five up, that God was not a part of my life. Learning and growing in spirituality, sure, but never a big empty space there.
There was a fairly intense downloading of information in my early twenties, under the tutelage of a gifted clergyman, but that was just putting a little more meat on the bones of what I already knew.
And there was a shake-up similar to falling off the pillow-top onto the concrete floor when I entered the Church at 32, but again, nothing new, just more deeply realized.
Which is an example of nothing except that some of us are fools for luck.
What might be significant is that I hated being a teenager- hated it. Didn't want to smoke dope, didn't like rock music much, illicit fooling around made me feel guilty. I was not even sure that my generation was the answer to everything. I dabbled with feminism off and on for a year or so, until I realized that their description of reality had more to do with human nature than the awfulness of just one sex.
It all seemed completely pointless and a huge waste of time.
I wanted to be an adult, in the real world responsible sense. And of course I wasn't very good at it for a number of years, but I learned.
And once I shook the dust of feminism off my feet, I knew what I was supposed (and wanted) to do- get married and have a family. Which is what I've been doing for the last 30-odd years.
Again, a fool for luck. Or God just likes variety in experience.

1/04/2009 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Julie,
I had a similar thing happen with reading. After Covey’s book (7 Habits) as I said went next to Frankl’s book and then biographies of a number of the extraordinary people mention in Covey’s. Truman, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt… and other McCullough books and American history. I enjoyed McCullough’s grandfatherly way of telling a story and why. Found it hard to read anyone else’s “history” than his. Prior to this most of the reading that held my attention had been fiction, plain-speaking Hemingway a favorite and then a string of real-life accounts of extraordinary survival. But once I found this place, the thin entertainment frosting slipped off without notice, and the thread was found.

In school, no one told me why we were studying those old stories. Or maybe I didn’t hear it. I’m talking about myth now. The teachers it seemed just “liked them.” And so I thought, number one, these teachers are weird, and two, the purpose of the studying of the stories was to appreciate where our modern day story telling (entertainment) got its start. Big deal, when’s lunch. Myth and fiction are very different things now. Fiction kills time or worse. I mean, what is the author of the Da Vinci Code really trying to say beneath the Murder She Wrote entertainment value and car chases?

1/04/2009 06:37:00 AM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

I had an earlier “intellectual” period when I was about 21 and up to 24 when I got into classic liberalism, reading Hayek, Nozick, Friedman and of course Rand, who got me a little bit into philosophy.

Then I moved to Stockholm and started to earn some good money in the IT business. All the “temptations of the big city” kind of got more interesting than books, and sleep. Bars, clubs, a side career as a dj (house/techno/disco/soul mostly) are lot of fun for the moment, but not really leading anywhere.

Kind of lost… What to do about my life? Well, better just living it one day at a time and see what might pop up.

It was on the last days of my 31st year then I stumbled upon a blog comment from an atheist journalist that recommended some obscure blogger for “his Christian readers”. I was of course not one of those, but something drew me to click the link to that blog he mentioned. Turned out the blogger had quite the same political views as myself. Very good. But what about all this religious nonsense he’s writing? The world is not only in political crises, but more actually in a “spiritual” one? And this guy had written some kind of book too… “One Cosmos under God”. Ok, aha, so this is just another religious fanatic we got here. I ordered the book that same day. The rest is as you say - hist0ry.

/Johan

1/04/2009 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Ha ha! I can relate, Johan. :^)
That brings to mind what Bob wrote:

Gagdad Bob said...
Rick:

Good catch. Starting at 42, he spent the subsequent 6.5 years producing nearly his entire corpus, routinely working on six or seven major projects at the same time, writing in an "automatic" fashion. Frankly, this is one of the things that originally freaked me out about him, because it didn't seem human.

I felt the same way about Bob and the Mystics he quotes; Schuon, Eckhart, Bion, etc,,

Nevertheless, Bob was compelling and increasingly interesting to me.
After awhile, I realized that Bob was more human than I, which is why he didn't seem human at first.
Or perhaps I should say I recognized that Bob is more in touch with his humanity than I am.

This became more apparent when I saw how Bob dealt with trolls and extreme dogmaticists.
I mean true compassion is led by truth. Therefor, we really should treat others how we want to be honestly treated.

Of course, that's completely lost on most trolls and pacifists, but every once in awhile someone "gets" it, and that is cause to rejoice!

Yeah. Human. I wanna be more human. I wanna realize my humanity to the fullest extent. Because bein' human is realizing our potential and fullfilling it.
And what we cant do or be we leave to the Holy Spirit.
My O my, what would I do without grace?
I wouldn't have "found" this wonderful blog without it. :^)

Thanks, Bob, and thanks to you all for sharin'!

1/04/2009 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger TWP said...

Age 28-29, time of the Saturn return.

1/04/2009 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger robbwindow said...

I'm glad that I read this post, processing is difficult because I should be busy however the position of the sun is very good. Thanks.

1/05/2009 01:44:00 AM  

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