Guess Who's Coming to Slackfast?
The via negativa, or "slackfast," is mainly for seasoned Raccoons who are tough enough to withstand a complete submersion into anti-slack in order to gain a deeper appreciation of their everyday slack. In other religions it goes by the name of "renunciation," or "self-denial," or "penitence," etc.
I won't go into to all the details, but flying across the country with an extremely spirited and easily bored four year-old boy is the type of thing that qualifies for a solemn slackfast.
But then miss your flight. Then wait around in the airport for the next flight out. Then miss your connecting flight in Atlanta because the engine of the plane blew up and had to be rebuilt. Add the fact that Mrs. G. had some sort of viral infection and I was trying to manage my diabetes in unfamiliar and unpredictable circumstances, which is always an adventure (this morning my blood sugar was by far the highest it's been in five years).
Then go to visit your in-law's house in Sarasota, which is about as child-friendly as the Louvre, except with no security guards to stop your monkeyboy from doing a cartwheel into some priceless object or taking his "light saver" (saber) to an original painting hanging over the bed he's jumping on. And you don't want to go outside to tire him out, because it's like a freaking sauna out there. No, you really can't imagine, unless you've ever tried to guard Michael Jordan one-on-one while playing basketball in a china shop.
Of course I love my in-laws, but to enter their world is to enter the world of 100% Orthodox Jewish Atheist Manhattan New York Times FDR-saved-us liberal religiosity. The occasion was their 50th wedding anniversary, with half a century of friends gathered from all over the country. Nevertheless, no matter the number, I am always Marilyn Munster. Since my conversation partner is inevitably like one of those medieval Europeans who hated Jews despite (or because of!) never having actually encountered one, there is always a certain surprise that 1) I am there, but 2) that I don't have horns. It's like a meet-and-greet with all of our trolls.
So what did I learn over the weekend? Mainly all the things I already knew -- all of the axiomatic truths that are the basis of liberal thought, not arrived at through thought: that the Supreme Court stole the election of 2000, that Bush lied us into war, that the world now hates us because of Bush, that we are only in the middle east because we are jingoistic and/or want to steal the oil, that we are destroying the planet, that vaccinations cause untold harm to children, that affirmative action does not involve racial quotas, that only conservatives say nasty things about liberals but never vice versa, that the New York Times is an objective and credible source of information, that Obama is brilliant, that putting murderers to death is immoral, that Keynesian economics actually works (and is working right now -- didn't you see those guys working on the highway on the way from the airport?).
But those were only the main themes. I also learned some more nuanced things, for example, that our food supply is completely poisonous, that morality somehow transcends God (rendering him unnecessary), and that for the first half century AD there was a pitched battle between Christian and Greek religion, and that today we could all very easily be worshipping Zeus and Neptune. Just like Sponge Bob, come to think of it.
What else... the sacred right to kill your fetus is right there in the Constitution, plain as day (this from a lawyer, no less)... That all of the expertise in the world somehow ended up at the New York Times (or perhaps in the government) and cannot possibly be distributed among independent bloggers.
At any rate, the exercise worked. When I finally got home, I kissed the floor of the slackatoreum, and here I am, hoping that this coffee will dissipate the jet lag.
Oh yes. While on the plane, I did manage to read Thomas Sowell's indispensable Vision of the Anointed. Pure. Light. Period. (More Light in today's column.)
Can you imagine what a better world this would be if liberal racists had dubbed Sowell their King of Negroes instead of Al Sharpton? But that is obviously an impossibility, for doing so would make white liberals unnecessary for the compassionate care and feeding of their helpless mascots and political lawn jockeys. The purpose of liberal racism is not to help blacks, but to help white liberals feel morally superior.
By the way, the next time I'm in Sarasota, I'm thinking of inviting local readers over to the house. I would even waive the standard $1.50 fee for personal appearances ($1.75 for children under 60) if you could manage to lavish a bit of cult-like devotion upon me in the presence of my in-laws. No, you don't have to scrape and grovel. None of that. Just a little starry-eyed devotion. A breathless request to sign your copy. Could I make Petey appear? Etc. Oh, and please leave your guns at home, and don't dress like a Nazi. Just this once.
Under the present circumstances, is it possible to plunge back into the proofs of God? We shall see.
I did periodically check out some of my usual internet haunts in order to touch base with spiritual equilibrium and sanity. In the sidebar over at American Digest there was a link to a wistful observation by Sherlock Holmes, who is speaking to Watson:
“I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the duncoloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them?"
That's a little bit how I am left feeling when I am plunged into the slackfast of the purely secular world. Schuon says something similar: "Modern men want to conquer space, but the least of contemplative states, or the least of intellections bearing on metaphysical realities, carries us to the heights from which the nebula of Andromeda appears scarcely more than a terrestrial accident." You know the old Buddhist gag: "the more one travels, the less one really knows."
So very true. One is tempted to say, "no s*it, Sherlock," but that would be vulgar. Plus, it is by no means obvious to the rank-and-foul who compulsively travel precisely as an antidote to their slackless lives. But the effect is always temporary, and lasts only as long as the illusion of surface novelty. I am always reminded of the wise words of Beavis: you can't run away from your bunghole. But do they even teach Beavis & Butthead anymore in our postmodern schools?
It's amazing how disparate strands can be woven together in the intellect, and only in the intellect, for example Schuon and Sowell. For when Sowell talks about the "anointed," he's referring to the nihilocracy of the left, which simultaneously condemns us to, and then presumes to rescue us from, its own dreary and visionless vision of reality. For the secular left, there is no meaning except for the meaning they will impose upon you through the medium of the state. The "promethean minds" of the anointed
"believe themselves capable of 'self-creation,' all within the framework of an existence that is absurd, but no one notices -- and this is typical -- the absurdity of admitting the appearance within an absurd world of a being regarded as capable of noticing the absurdity" (Schuon).
No matter. Dear Leader will ride to the rescue and inject our children with the politics of meaning and the meaning of politics: study hard to stop the fiction of global warming. Cure AIDS so that sodomites may resume doing what they do. Help the president defeat the bitter clingers who bitterly cling to the primitive idea that the state is not our Massa' and that the cosmic center is in the individual, not the collective.