Monday, June 28, 2010

Religion is Spiritual. The Religion Business Isn't. Or, God is a Swingin' Cat

That was fun yesterday. I've always thought about devoting one post a week to music, maybe on Saturday or Sunday. Good topics would include how to go about collecting this or that artist, good starter CDs for exploring new genres, how to assemble a bitchin' hi fi system for little moolah, or the perennial debate over who was the cutest Monkee.

Our discussion of the theological virtue of hope is complete, and so we move on to faith. I hope it goes well!

We had begun discussing faith several weeks ago, but for some reason jumped ahead to hope. Actually, I just checked the arkive, and we began this discussion on June 11. But then on the next day I skipped ahead to hope. So if you want the prequel to today's post, here 'tis.

In rereading it, a few passages stand out. Example:

--"In speaking to men, God does not cause them to know objective facts, but he does throw open to them his own Being" (Pieper; emphasis mine). Do you see the profundity of this statement? When he communicates, God quintessentially communicates his own essence -- which, on our end, is subjectively accompanied by awareness of the sacred. And awareness of the sacred is nothing less than innate consciousness of the presence of God (Schuon).

--This revelation of being is only offered to us, never forced.

--The "content" of revelation is ultimately Revelation as such, which is to say, a loving invitation to "participate in the divine life." Which in turn is why faith is so critical, for faith is essentially the acceptance of God's offer -- or of his self-revelation, to be precise. "Divine revelation is not an announcement of a report on reality but the imparting of that reality itself" (emphasis mine).

--The statement I love you is a direct and intimate revelation of the deepest identity of the one who loves. Thus, there are three elements unified in the one utterance: the "self-witnessing" of the I who loves; the affirmation of the present reality of love; and the revelation that one is beloved.

--Which is why in God, one must not draw an artificial distinction between love and knowledge, for his revelation is a direct transmission of his loving nature, of love, and of our belovedness in God. Divine communication and comm-union are one and the same.

While I'm thinking about it, the psychoanalyst W.R. Bion, one of my most important influences, is reminding me that in order to properly conduct psychotherapy, -- or write a post -- one must approach the session with an attitude of faith, by which he means the suspension of memory, desire, and understanding.

The reason for this is that in order for new meaning to emerge, we must try to avoid superimposing our present understanding upon things. This is because it is quite common -- most especially among the tenured -- to unconsciously use knowledge as a defense against being. Being is "void" of knowledge, so to speak. It is simply the state of raw awareness.

Or, better yet, it is O. My use of the symbol O is borrowed from Bion, who applied it to the "ultimate unknowable reality" that exists between two people, in particular, the two people sitting there in the consulting room. Think of all the superficial mechanisms we use to avoid genuine contact during the day. This is not to criticize these mechanisms, for they are necessary. No one expects you to pour your heart out to the bank teller or dry cleaner. Rather, we have ritualized ways of interacting with others.

But in so doing, one must be aware that one is eclipsing O. Problems only arise when one's whole life involves the foreclosure of O, so that there is no genuine openness toward, and contact with, the other -- which is none other than at-one-ment with being, since being is communion (again, we'll be expanding on this idea later, so at this point you'll just have to, er, take it on faith).

I hope this doesn't sound too abstract. To the contrary, when I write, I hope always to keep everything very experience near, so that we never venture too far from O. When I write these posts, I am writing from O, in the sense that they are purely spontaneous -- an exercise in the suspension of memory, desire, and understanding. No technical terms, no evasions, no ulterior motives, no goal, just me here witnessing being.

And I hope this gives the writing an energy and a momentum in which it is possible to "participate." I want to induce the same experience in others, not of what I'm thinking, but of how I'm thinking it (or how it's thinking me, to be exact). If it doesn't work for you, hey, you get what you pay for. All I know for sure is that it works for me.

And as a matter of fact, this touches on some of the subjects discussed in yesterday's musical thread. I am quite sure that Jack will agree with me that there is an infinite difference between simply playing a song one knows, vs. radical improvisation, through which one hopes to have an encounter with music itself.

In order to do that, one must of course "suspend memory, desire, and understanding," something that is very difficult to do, especially when one is performing live in front of paying customers. What if it doesn't happen? Better to just stick with the script and give the people what they want, the same stupid song performed in the same way they heard it on the radio 40 years ago.

One reason why I hesitate to do any live speaking, is that it's one thing to abandon my self to the inanimate google machine, another thing to do so in front of strangers. Again: what if it doesn't happen? Better to stick with a script. Can you imagine being one of those people who go on the "lecture circuit" and deliver the same stupid speech over and over? It doesn't matter who it is. It's just dead language. Why not just get it in a book? I suppose seeing the actual person is a kind of faux-O.

Back to music. Imagine the degree of faith it requires to stand up in front of thousands of people and take a leap into the unknown. Again, it's one thing to do it in one's bedroom, another to do so in public. Of non-jazz artists, Van Morrison is one of the few performers who really does this. But because he does, it is possible that you can spend one or two hundred dollars to see a live performance in which it doesn't happen. Personally, I wouldn't be able to stand the guilt. I'd want to either give a refund or have a do-over.

I just so happen to be reading a new critical study of Morrison, Hymns to the Silence, which, when you think about it, is a marvelous title, since it goes to exactly what we're discussing here: the music, or thought, or God-awareness -- the encounter with Being -- that can only emerge from the silence of O. It must be O --> (n). Again, (k) --> O is just a defense against being.

Here are some passages I've highlighted from the book: "I don't want to just sing a song. Anyone can do that. Something else has got to happen." Elsewhere he says "it's a momentary release... the minute it stops, it's gone." Again, it's very much in the moment. Leave the moment, and you leave O.

Or how about this: "Blues isn't to do with black or white... blues is about the truth, and blues is the truth." Here again, it would be easy for the musical sophisticate to dismiss blues, based upon its simple structure and rudimentary instruments, but this would be to miss the point, precisely. Just as God "throws open his own being," it is possible for a gifted performer to "throw open the being-ness of music," so to speak. I mean, Aretha. James Brown. Ray Charles. C'mon.

Here's another good one: when Morrison was starting out, "I wanted to make my own blues, my own soul music, to do something of my own with it." Not necessarily a new form or style. To the contrary, he wanted to use the existing framework and infuse it with his own musical being in order to impart the present reality -- or real presence -- of music.

This is so far removed from the world of commercial music that it's two different realities. He is not creating a product to be "consumed" by others. In fact, the true artist generally must create his audience, not "find" it; or simultaneously create and find, shape and impart. (One thinks of Jesus, who had to do the same with the disciples, who often didn't get what he was on about, and still don't.)

As Morrison has said, "Music is spiritual. The music business isn't."

O, my little ringtailed ones, how tragic that the same can often be said of religion: "Religion is spiritual. The religion business isn't."

Where does one go to find swingin' jazz theology -- I mean le théologie hot!, not the cerebral and detached cool kind?

Jazz is not a kind of music, it is an approach, and it applies to how one goes about finding their voice, relating to a tradition, stepping into the unknown and swinging. --Ben Sidran

44 Comments:

Blogger Sal said...

Happy Birthday, MizzE!
ad multox annos!

6/28/2010 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

uh, multos

6/28/2010 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger f/zero said...

I just so happen to be reading a new critical study of Morrison, Hymns to the Silence...

Great. Yet another must-read book I have no time for. Thanks, Bob. ;-)

6/28/2010 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"In order to do that, one must of course "suspend memory, desire, and understanding," something that is very difficult to do, especially when one is performing live in front of paying customers. What if it doesn't happen?"

Ahhh... wasn't quite following along until that. Got it.

And what happens when it doesn't happen? Well, the Dream of course.

What dream?

The dream when you're playing on stage, it doesn't happen for you, and the whole band stops and looks at you, you try it again... and again... the the entire crowd stops, turns (transforms into Michael Jackson Thriller Zombie crowd mode) and begins advancing on the stage whissspering "Again..."

With luck you wake before they get there.

(one of those reasons I usually avoid getting back into the 80's mindsets)

6/28/2010 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

The mental image of God with his Being recklessly throw open, reminds me of the excitement and fear that the very idea of a naked singularity engenders in cosmology departments around the world. Some think such an event, should it occur, might instantaneously change the laws of the universe or create a new universe (the Big Bang being the only known NS so far). Others claim that it probably happens all the time.

I don't know enough about cosmology to have an opinion on that, but as for revelation, both of the above seem to be true.

6/28/2010 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Van - that was a dream?

;)

When I was in my first college, I was singing in a "concert" with just four other people, some goofy French tune. We did alright with it, but at one point I got so caught up listening to everyone else singing I completely forgot to come in. Then I completely forgot my part, for about a verse, so had to just stand there and smile. Luckily, it was between dinner and dessert (dessert being held hostage until the "concert" was over); the tables were clear, so nobody had food to throw in my general direction...

Alas, jazz-style musical improvisation is not my forte, or it could have been a whole nother concert.

6/28/2010 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Mikal said...

OT, but worth reading if only to get some insights on our trolls: Purifying the World

6/28/2010 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Sal, There are no accidents. Multox re-minded me of metaxy; strange but true and apropos to Bob's facile etude to awareness of the sacred.

Thank you for the well wishes. I'm imaging your little Bubs enjoying his Happy Day today too!

6/28/2010 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

"-- one must approach the session with an attitude of faith, by which he means the suspension of memory, desire, and understanding.


Faith -- is the Pierless Bridge
Supporting what We see
Unto the Scene that We do not --
Too slender for the eye

It bears the Soul as bold
As it were rocked in Steel
With Arms of Steel at either side --
It joins -- behind the Veil

To what, could We presume
The Bridge would cease to be
To Our far, vacillating Feet
A first Necessity.


~ Emily Dickinson

6/28/2010 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anunce said "green spirituality"

Ah. Humor.

"green spirituality" is to transcendence, as "perpetual motion machine" is to physics... and as trolls are to thoughtful.

"I sure wish the opposition to empire was as unified and dangerous as the author implies."

No doubt. But for something that described itself as a 'liberal' just the other day, ya might want to have a look at what the 'purifiers' have got in mind for Liberals, 'neo' or otherwise.

Oh. Never mind... that'd require reading. And thinking. About reality.

Three strikes, you're out.

6/28/2010 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Imagine the degree of faith it requires to stand up in front of thousands of people and take a leap into the unknown."

Learning a new instrument, even a simple one, and being at the "grammar" stage (the "rhetoric" stage being nowhere in sight) has given me a new appreciation for performers, particularly that ability to just "be" in the music. I hate being in a spotlight & tend to be self-conscious even out of it, so that's astounding to me.

Watching Janis Joplin videos last night (yep, that's where I wound up at 2 a.m.)... her performances are almost painful to view, knowing what a wounded person she was. It's like seeing inside the wound.

"This is so far removed from the world of commercial music that it's two different realities. He is not creating a product to be "consumed" by others. In fact, the true artist generally must create his audience, not "find" it; or simultaneously create and find, shape and impart."

This is what I love about traditional music. There's a market for it, no question, but people are drawn to it for the sheer joy of making it...and it is a shared, communal experience (viz. the pub session, etc.).

My one point of confusion would be that I wouldn't want an improvisational theology, mainly because "the heart is deceitful above all things." How do we keep course without some foundational k? (Look at the Jim Wallises of the world, for example. There but for some good systematic and biblical theology go I.)

Maybe it's that even written revelation is O; the written form, taken properly, is also "living and active"--sort of a Special K (snort); i.e., not the k of which you speak (memory, desire, human understanding?). "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." Then again, to rightly divide it we need some k. You just don't want to spend your whole life studying the menu and never tasting and seeing for yourself.

Thus, I get: "The 'content' of revelation is ultimately Revelation as such, which is to say, a loving invitation to 'participate in the divine life.'"

6/28/2010 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

And a big Happy Birthday from me too, MizzE!

6/28/2010 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger anon said...

Really? You censored my last comment -- which was directly relevant to issues discussed here, and respectful, but you let all the random noise and insults go by? What's the matter, afraid your acolytes might start to think for themselves? Did not realize your worldview was so fragile.

6/28/2010 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anon, I don't know what makes you think I can help you, but I can't. And I know that you can't help us, so there is no need to preserve your idiotic comments. They are always beside the point at best.

6/28/2010 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Susannah:

The way I approach it is to combine orthodoxy and improvisation. Improvisation without orthodoxy is chaos, while orthodoxy without improvisation is sclerotic. Really, it's just a new way of imparting a very old truth, that is, that the spirit gives life and the letter kills.

I look at it as exactly analogous to jazz, in that dogma -- or intrinsic orthodoxy -- provides the stable chords, over which we "improvise." If you look closely, I think you will see that this is what the greatest theologians have always done. The idea is to stay within the vertical and horizontal constraints of the chordal structure. Then it's like the wine that never runs out, the fish that feeds 5000, etc....

6/28/2010 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Well, since you asked...

I couldn't agree more. I play with a trio that does what I call, "ready, set go" improv. No planning, no forethought...just play. Now this may sound like a recipe for chaos (and admittedly that happens too) but rather than chaotic disorder it is often startling what kind of unexpected, unforeseeable order can emerge.

When it works--trust me, not always the case-- something gets created that no single one of us could do on our own. In those even rarer moments it truly feels like we have all entered the same musical space and are having a look around together.

Whereas most music allows a interaction, or a time delayed response to what another musician just did, (there is always a lag, even if only a small one)...but radical improvisation can start to get spooky when you do something you've never done before at the same *exact* time someone else does something they've never done before--and those two things are the same. It might lead one to believe that mind is not confined to the skull, even!

That is, when it works...which, again, isn't all the time. And it can be a musical disaster when it doesn't (been there, done that!) But the risk is part of the reason to do it.

I liken playing a set piece of music to performing a play. You know what's going to happen but you still need to bring it to life and invest it with the appropriate degree of drama as *if* it were unfolding without any foreknowledge. That is, of course, no easy task.

But improvisation is like life-- in all it's chaos and mystery...and with it perhaps the ability to find what you didn't even know you were looking for.

That's what I think.

6/28/2010 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

King Crimson in its various incarnations does they same thing. When things don't work out as unplanned, they call it a "trainwreck."

On one of my CDs, drummer Bull Buford says "An fortunate side-effect of most arrangements is ensure that accidents don't happen. The beauty of collective improvisation is that accidents will happen."

He also said that he liked playing with Crimson, because it's the only way he can play music in 17/15 time and still stay in a decent hotel.

6/28/2010 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Oh, and Susannah -- believe it or not, I was listening to Joplin last night too. When I went to bed at about 10:30, I put on Cheap Thrills on the headphones.

Wounded is the correct term. The even more painful thing is that the liner notes to the collection I was listening to had the usual garbage about how she is such a fine role model for the modern feminist movement! Pathetic.

6/28/2010 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I know the trainwrecks well. Always even more fun in front of an audience. But when it does work, there are always a segment of the audience that *refuses* to believe it was unplanned. That's when one knows it worked.

And the King Crimson incarnation with Adrian Belew, Bruford and Tony Levin--and what's his name, the english guy ;)--is pretty much the pinnacle for me...or close to it!

6/28/2010 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Jack --

I have this box set -- now sadly out of print -- that has all of the various three and four man iterations of Crimson. Fripp seems to regard each as a fractal, so they contain the "whole" of Crimson within the part.

6/28/2010 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Jack:

"improvisation is like life"

I truly believe that. When I first heard the Evans trio with LaFaro and Motian, I imagined an organism, in which each part is constantly adjusting to the others -- and with the whole, whatever that means! -- in an instantaneous and constantly shifting manner. It was like a big self-organizing amoeba floating in front of my speakers, shifting this way and that in the musical currents.

6/28/2010 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I intentionally toned down some of the experience of what happens when it starts to flow...didn't want to sound too woo woo!

Your description is spot on and it can be truly mind altering. As if the brain is not quite capable of adjusting to how and with what the mind is actually interacting with (not to be too much of a dualist, but that is how it feels). Like the brain is drawing a blank but the mind is crystal clear.

And one is not as distinct from the other musicians as one might have supposed before starting. Truly why else would I forgo so much to do this!

I was thinking yesterday-- with all the talk of music-- that music has always been proof to me of the Transcendent (of O) even long before I would possibly have put it that way. Syllogisms about the existence of God are all well and good but for me there is nothing like music to present the Oneness of Truth, Beauty and Goodness as the "obvious" realities they are.

Hopefully I haven't shaded too far into woo woo land!

6/28/2010 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"music has always been proof to me of the Transcendent (of O) even long before I would possibly have put it that way."

Yup. That is the thin thread that always kept me connected to O, even when I was at my lowdown downdest, as Sinatra would say. You can see -- or hear -- that Schuon is being quite literal when he writes that the purpose of music

"is not a priori to induce aesthetic emotions, but to transmit, together with these, a more or less direct spiritual message, and thus suggestions emanating from, and leading back to, the liberating truth."

6/28/2010 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Susannah said "How do we keep course without some foundational k? (Look at the Jim Wallises of the world, for example."

My answer would be Principles.

If your heart, mind and soul are rooted in principles of the One Truth, you won't stray. Even when in error, as with a musician when a riff goes too far from the key... it is obvious that it's gone too far from the source. In music, it'll produce a wince and a (usually) good natured laugh from your fellow musicians, and even form the audience - if it's a rare error that it, if not then you know you need more skill and practice in the basics before you attempt venturing so far gain.

If you are mindful of your principles, your experiments are self correcting. And a large part of that self correction involves keeping front and center in mind that you are not the ultimate arbiter of what is Truth, neither "I think therefore I am" nor "5For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.", your preferences aren't sources, Reality, Truth, are - keep that in mind and while you may tug at the anchor chain now and again, you won't set yourself adrift.

Creatures like wallis & anunce don't simply stray from principles, they are willfully and purposefully adrift, they've cast off their anchors and declared that they can declare any passing wave to be their justification.

They are purposefully lost and unlikely to recover.

6/28/2010 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Various ensembles involving Paul Motian have been exactly that...like organisms. From The Bill Evans trio, to his trios with Frisell (a personal face, if you haven't noticed) and Joe Lovano--and the Bill Frisell/Ron Carter/Paul Motian record as well. Definitely something to *aspire* to achieving (not that I ever will...but still).

6/28/2010 06:06:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

personal FAVE...not face. Yikes! :)

6/28/2010 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Jack said "That is, when it works...which, again, isn't all the time. And it can be a musical disaster when it doesn't (been there, done that!)

;- )

"But the risk is part of the reason to do it."

Yep.

"I liken playing a set piece of music to performing a play. You know what's going to happen but you still need to bring it to life and invest it with the appropriate degree of drama as *if* it were unfolding without any foreknowledge. That is, of course, no easy task.

But improvisation is like life-- in all it's chaos and mystery...and with it perhaps the ability to find what you didn't even know you were looking for."

Well said.

6/28/2010 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I like "face" better. I've always thought that Motian's was very personal.

6/28/2010 06:20:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"willfully and purposefully" I believe that's quite true re: the "red letter betters." It's a willful choice to be guided by "progressive values" first (amorphous as those are). I finally had to accept that it wasn't misguided-ness the minute the Rev. shifted into "you're a racist" mode. The lot of them are without excuse.

6/28/2010 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Jack said "And one is not as distinct from the other musicians as one might have supposed before starting. Truly why else would I forgo so much to do this!"

Oh definitely. Those moments when everything 'clicks', they made it all worthwhile, that absolute idiot next to you on stage, who you nearly threw through a wall before the gig... have mysteriously become inseparable parts of a larger whole you've taped into and you feel swept up together as you are guided... the 'parts' (what were moments before individual musicians) are blended into a communion of free choices united into the 'Invisible Hand'... or Hands, as the case may be... even members of the audience are sometimes part of it... and a sparked glance that passes between your eyes and blazing smiles tells the story....

That part I do miss.

From time to time.

6/28/2010 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "...is not a priori to induce aesthetic emotions, but to transmit, together with these, a more or less direct spiritual message, and thus suggestions emanating from, and leading back to, the liberating truth."

Yup.

6/28/2010 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger Mikal said...

"Wounded" is definitely the right word for Janis Joplin. Her saying, "“On stage, I make love to 25,000 different people, then I go home alone,” must be one of the saddest things ever uttered by a performer.

6/28/2010 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

"...even members of the audience are sometimes part of it."

Definitely! At its best--when an audience is completey with you--it's like a dialogue. No, wait...it *is* a dialogue--it is not metaphorical. There is a definite *exchange*, a communication, both sides giving something...not one set of people transmitting and another passively receiving but instead a very active interpersonal process.

Which of Schuon's books is this from? I can't imagine it being put any better!

"is not a priori to induce aesthetic emotions, but to transmit, together with these, a more or less direct spiritual message, and thus suggestions emanating from, and leading back to, the liberating truth."

6/28/2010 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The Schuon quote is from Logic and Transcendence, one of his most important books.

6/28/2010 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anon, we are very aware of Goodenough's musings, and we are not interested.

6/28/2010 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Coyote Joe said...

I was in about the thirtieth year of my university teaching career. Afternoon undergraduate class in communication theory. A couple days prior to the class I had been noodling on some ideas at the edge (and slightly beyond) my understanding of human communication. Fascinating stuff but in need of much more development before I'd be ready to share it with my students. One of my students asked a question that took me back to the noodling. I thought, "oh all right, let's go for it." I said, "Let's consider this for a few minutes. . ." I began talking and almost immediately the classroom and the students disappeared. I was walking and talking in the land of my noodling. The path seemed clear, but I had no idea where it was taking me. I simply had the faith to walk and talk. Awhile later my internal clock told me it was time to dismiss class. I paused and the students reappeared. I was a bit startled. I said, "Well, that's it for today. Take care." The students just sat there silently for a moment and then broke into spontaneous and hearty applause. It's the only applause I ever got after a lecture. I really wish I knew what I told them.

6/28/2010 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You had an experience of being pulled into the Great Attractor. The rest of your life should be devoted to deepening your rapport with it.

6/28/2010 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Anon: concur. I am quite sure you'd love Goodenough, although perhaps not as much as the "I am you/you are me" fellow.

6/28/2010 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

anunce said "didn't get further than the indexing terms of the paper I cited."

Heh, talk about projection.

For those who actually do read, there's a method to it, and it doesn't mean you have to gorge yourself on every crumb, even of the rancid platter set in front of you, to be able to say you 'read it'.

Rather than start at word one, and gorge till you puke, you read the opening, get the gist of the seeming purpose, skim through, look for development of key concepts - if any - (you might want to note how much development was given in your 'paper' to the concept of 'green', let alone 'green spirituality' - nearly zip. When a key topic, especially one without a long history of understanding, is hardly even addressed that's an indication of an anterior motive and/or it being a dishonest or poorly considered concept).

Are the conclusions of the paper supported by the development of the key topics? What seems clear? Write your questions in the margins (or open Notepad if online).

If what you've gathered on your first pass seems worthwhile, go back through again, see if a closer reading contributes more support, or erodes support, for the main topics. Again, note questions and impressions... what seems vague still, or what seems impressive.
Then if still promising, go back and read start to finish, and when done go back to your questions - are they answered? Were your initial misgivings borne out or were you won over? Why?

Practice that for a few decades, and you get pretty good at it, and you get pretty good at spotting pure crap as well, and sometimes even the pure crap can be mined for discovering the errors the author made and why... what led to such stupidity? What is it that they must believe in order to churn out such idiocy?

Strongly suggest you grab a copy of Mortimer Adler's "How to read a book"... but of course... that would require you to actually read books, and not just swell up at the titles and dust jackets.

As if.

BTW, has it ever occurred to you that people see your 'comments' and
'evaluations' here, and what with it being print and all, they just might consider scrolling back up to see what I, or another had to say, and then compare that with what you had to say?

If they're the least bit interested or concerned, they will, and I'll trust them to draw their own conclusions.

And your conclusions?

I appreciate good comedy.

wv:aredg
Yes, anunce is a dog, cynic, skeptic, probably mangy too - but amusing.

6/28/2010 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ah. Message received.

(Sorry, reading from email, not page)

wv:
reliar

wv's on a roll again.

6/28/2010 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"...or the perennial debate over who was the cutest Monkee."

I kinda thought Clyde (from Every Which Way But Loose)was the cutest.

Happy Birthday MizzE

Sal: Multox is like detox except more. Sort of like detox multitasking.

6/29/2010 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Back to music. Imagine the degree of faith it requires to stand up in front of thousands of people and take a leap into the unknown."

Excellent example! Especially when concined with:

"In order to do that, one must of course "suspend memory, desire, and understanding," something that is very difficult to do, especially when one is performing live in front of paying customers."

Of course, you don't wanna forget what key you're in (and I know that's not how you meant it but I couldn't resist). :^)

6/29/2010 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I liken playing a set piece of music to performing a play. You know what's going to happen but you still need to bring it to life and invest it with the appropriate degree of drama as *if* it were unfolding without any foreknowledge. That is, of course, no easy task."

Well said, Jack!

6/29/2010 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Hi ya Ben!

6/29/2010 06:57:00 AM  

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