Thursday, July 08, 2010

On Making Oneself Useful to a Useless Mankind

This one is probably a bit rambling. Apologies.

One final thought about Hitchens, since that's where we left off yesterday. I only mention it because it happens to have relevance to the subject of faith, and how only the rigorously self-consistent nihilist can live without it. In Hitchens' case (and he is hardly the only one), he lacks both the intellectual consistency and personal insight to embrace the true nothingness he commends to everyone else.

Horowitz concludes his lengthy piece with the observation that "One of the oddities of Hitchens’s compartmentalized life is that the author of God Is Not Great and of its brazen anathema of a subtitle -- How Religion Poisons Everything -- should be so passionately attached to this political version of an earthly redemption" (referring to his avowed Marxism).

Actually, I don't find this "odd," or even "ironic," but entirely predictable, for how can someone hate as passionately as Hitchens does without some basis in love, however perverse or disappointed? In fancying himself to be such an ironist, he takes evident delight in attacking religion, but without ever realizing that in so doing, he is demolishing his own, for no one places more hope and faith in an impossible fantasy than the Marxist.

The problem with a mere polemicist and a "stylist" is that one cannot really learn anything from them. Everything Hitchens has spent his life writing will perish with him, because even if you judge it on its own plane as "stylistic," it is not nearly enough so to compete with any of the true literary masters.

Rather, it falls more into the category of "angry pamphleteer," except with elegant grammar and sometimes clever put-downs. But in the end, it was all a waste of his obvious (God-given!) intelligence.

And again, please bear in mind that this is not about Hitchens, but about anyone who insists on the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth, for to believe such nonsense is to make one's own ego a God. I might add that from a psychoanalytic standpoint, one might say that such a person most likely has unconscious issues around omniscience, which is simply inflected through the ego. In other words, they still implicitly believe in their own unconscious, infantile godhood. In this reverse version of Genesis, the omnipotent baby-god exiles mommy-Eve and daddy-Adam from infantile paradise for the sin of reminding him of his helplessness and dependency on them. How dare they!

As Schuon expresses it, such an approach "exalts fallen man and not man as such," which results in making oneself "as useful as possible to a humanity as useless as possible."

Do you see the necessity of this equation? If Hitchens -- or anyone else -- is correct in his crude materialism, then humanity is quite literally useless. But he nevertheless bent all of his talent toward making himself useful by helping people realize their cosmic uselessness. Why then can't he just laugh at himself and at his own absurdity? Why all the anger? I don't even know what to compare it to -- perhaps like an AIDS patient who tries to infect as many people as possible so they too can understand that all is futile and that they will soon be dead.

Being a stylist is fine, but if one is going to devote oneself to writing, wouldn't one first want to be a "substantist?" But because he wasn't the latter, his writing will again soon be forgotten. In contrast, -- and I hope you'll understand that this is not a statement about me, but about the subject matter -- I am one hundred percent certain that someone, somewhere, will always be reading this blog, long after I'm gone. In fact, I wouldn't spend all this time on it if that weren't the case.

Again, please understand where I am coming from. A hundred years from now, no one is going to care about Hitchens and his Marxist heroes, his homosexual affairs, his hates, and his socialist fantasies of sugar candy mountain. But human beings -- so long as they remain human beings, which is admittedly a fifty-fifty proposition -- will always be interested in God, faith, hope, love, wisdom, courage, justice, temperance, beauty, transcendental truth, ultimate meaning, etc. So it's not about me, except insofar as I am a live wire between O and my readers.

My model is someone like Schuon, who spent his life simply doing his best to remind Man what he truly wants and needs to know, but in a dispassionate manner, free of any investment in how he was regarded by others. But I cannot imagine a world so completely off its axis that some small minority, however tiny, will not eagerly imbibe his works like water in the desert. And the same goes for other fully O-therized Spiritual Doctors from throughout history. I'm sure that no regular readers fail to realize that I am both standing on the shoulders of giants and in the shadow of their common source.

Damn, sometimes it's difficult to confess one's humility without sounding grandiose, isn't it? But I fully relate to something Unknown Friend wrote, and I hope you do too. The point is that in standing on those shoulders and in that shadow, we take our place in line as a living link between them.

So ultimately it's not about the writing, but about the ability to consciously stand in and be a witness to this transcendent stream of perennial and therefore indispensable truth. This truth courses through -- can only course through -- the human heart, but in the form of "potentialities" or "pre-conceptions" that need to be filled out by experience, or being.

Absent the re-cognition and assimilation of this truth, man literally has no reason for being (or just a made up one). I can perhaps help one to identify and awaken these potentialities, but the rest is up to you (and God, of course). Once you establish this flow, then you yourself are "in the stream," and qualified to "baptize" (so to speak) others in its waters. But only if they sincerely and selflessly seek it, and only if they are qualified to receive it. If they're not, then you're both wasting your time.

Again: we recommend our writing to no one, especially you, fathead, so you needn't remind us that it isn't helpful. We know that already. Can't we just agree to agree?

I'm looking for the exact quote from UF, but I don't think I'll find it. But I'd recommend re-reading the whole of Letter IX, The Hermit, to get a sense of where I'm coming from. Come to think of it, I'm probably past due for my annual re-read of MOTT.

I suppose this one will do: "The initiate is not someone who knows everything. He is a person who bears the truth within a deeper level of his consciousness, not as an intellectual system, but rather as a level in his being.... This truth-imprint manifests as unshakeable certainty, i.e., as faith in the sense of the voice of the presence of truth."

This is why for the Raccoon there can be double-entry bookkeeping, no rupture between being and knowing, as in the case of Hitchens. Rather, one must not only know what one is, but be what one knows. Nothing I write is worthwhile if I am a hypocrite, which is to say, if there is a gulf between who I am and what I write, for that is self-deception or charlatanism or worse.

I'm still not saying it right. Here is another angle, presented by Schuon, who again had no interest in putting forth novel ideas but only in transmitting perennial truth, which, rather than exalting the ego, extinguishes it: "Objectivity is the essence of intelligence," which is why "in many instances to be objective is to die a little."

Know also that "Everything has already been said, and well said; but one must always recall it anew, and in recalling it one must do what has already been done: to actualize in thought certitudes contained not in the thinking ego, but in the transpersonal substance of human intelligence."

It sounds like a paradox, but it is true: it is precisely because we cannot know everything that we can know anything. Conversely, in claiming to know it all, the materialist actually knows nothing, because there is no truth to know.

In reality, truth is what exists, and what exists is true. Knowledge is an effect of Truth, which is to say Reality, so that the inexhaustible knowability of things rests upon their absolute unknowability -- or, the Absolute's knowledge of them, which is none other than their "createdness." Only because you are created can you be so stupid. Or wise, depending on the case.

Along these lines, Pieper quotes Pascal, who wrote that "If you do not take the trouble to know the truth, there is enough truth at hand so that you can live in peace. But if you crave it with all your heart, then it is not enough to know it." Rather, one knows that there can be no end to it, and that "those who truly throw their souls open to the whole of truth expect... that there will always be an additional new light beyond what they already know" (Pieper).

Bottom line: to live in faith is to throw open one's being to O, and to realize that O has already thrown itself open to oneself. Then just go with the flow.

62 Comments:

Blogger anon said...

Hitchens is no longer much of a Marxist and hasn't been for ten years or more. If you are such a great believer in objectivity, maybe you could bother to get your basic facts straight, especially ones that you can find out in five seconds with Google.

Also: Hitchens is primarily a journalist, and journalism by its nature is not designed to be read hundreds of years from when it was written. (OTOH, Hitchens' role model is Orwell, also a journalist, who will certainly be read for a long time). Not to diminish the timeless nature of your own work, but surely the world has some need for writing that lives in and is about the present moment as well. And see this:

Commenting acidly on a writer whom I perhaps too naively admired, my old classics teacher put on his best sneer to ask: "Wouldn't you say, Hitchens, that his writing was somewhat journalistic?" This lofty schoolmaster employed my name sarcastically, and stressed the last term as if he meant it to sting, and it rankled even more than he had intended. Later on in life, I found that I still used to mutter and improve my long-meditated reply. Émile Zola - a journalist. Charles Dickens - a journalist. Thomas Paine - another journalist. Mark Twain. Rudyard Kipling. George Orwell - a journalist par excellence. Somewhere in my cortex was the idea to which Orwell himself once gave explicit shape: the idea that "mere" writing of this sort could aspire to become an art, and that the word "journalist" - like the ironic modern English usage of the word "hack" - could lose its association with the trivial and the evanescent.

7/08/2010 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Here is another angle, presented by Schuon, who again had no interest in putting forth novel ideas but only in transmitting perennial truth

The opposite of that is not a bad formula for a first pass in discerning false teachers. Anyone who seems primarily interested in saying something new (or perhaps historic and unprecedented) is at best a simplistic maroon if not a malicious deepak.

7/08/2010 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

We talk about scripture being holographic, which it is. But language in general must be to a greater or lesser extent as well. Revelation can come in on the same old spoon that feeds you a Laverne and Shirley joke.

We need to hear the "old" true word again and again because the truth in it cannot be grasped in a single pass. Not because it is not there or because it is too big, but because we have to grow in order to grasp it.

7/08/2010 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For the benefit of readers who, like anon, did not read the article to which I refer:

"But Hitchens will still attempt to have it both ways. In a recent conversation with Martin Amis, he said, 'For most of my life I thought the only principle worth upholding, worth defending, worth advocating, worth witnessing for, was socialist internationalism,' and added, 'I am no longer a socialist, but I am still a Marxist.' These statements would seem to mean he no longer believes that socialism is a future that can actually work. In an interview with Reason magazine conducted just prior to 9/11, he virtually conceded as much: 'There is no longer a general socialist critique of capitalism — certainly not the sort of critique that proposes an alternative or a replacement.'

"But why persist, then, in describing oneself as a Marxist, since Marx’s entire worldview and critique of capitalism were based on the assumption that socialism was a real alternative to the current social order? Why would Hitchens fail to understand that in seeking to achieve an impossible future, revolutionaries become a destructive force? If there can be no socialist future, then the effort to achieve one by tearing down existing societies and institutions is simply nihilism.

"Unfortunately, and despite his disavowals, Hitchens’s book is rich — embarrassingly so — in testaments to an unrepentant utopianism (although he eloquently hedges this bet, too, in his final chapter)."

7/08/2010 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And I'm pretty sure that this is the only place you will ever see the name "Hitchens" in the same sentence as Twain, Dickens, and Kipling.

7/08/2010 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger black hole said...

Bob, while I commend your certainty your blog will be read in the future, I must point out there are some problems with that idea. Which could be corrected, mind you.

Nonfiction doesn't really "travel" well in time; the vast bulk of it is disregarded. You can verify this by going to your local library and viewing shelves groaning with good non-fiction books; records will reveal most are never checked out and these books are eventually discarded.

This is not a problem with the quality of the writing but reflects how people seek out information and entertainment.

They like non-fiction fresh, du Jour. Like soup. Last week's soup, no matter how tasty it was, will not do this week.

Blogs are even more ephemeral than books.

However, good drama, fiction, and poetry tend to persist for an incredibly long time. That is because people never tire of stories and will re-do, retread, and revisit them for decades, centuries, or even millenium.

Like the Bible, for instance. Very dramatic stuff.

Why don't you try to fold some Truth and Beauty into a work of fiction, a play, or some poetry?

I will gladly peruse samples for you here on the blog and render my expert opinion.

7/08/2010 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Granthole: Since you know the future, I urge you to heed its judgment and stop wasting your time by reading my ephemeral bloggerilia. Rather, immerse yourself in the permanent things.

7/08/2010 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You know, like Hitchens or Dickens or Twain.

7/08/2010 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

B-hole may be correct when it comes to non-fiction books on geology written in 1968 (the type which clog up the shelves as s/he observes), however it is also true that there are numerous examples of authors who had little or no following during their lifetime, yet grew in importance exponentially over time.

Here's the thing about One Cosmos which makes it utterly unlike the crusty old geology books: this particular blog is unique. Not in the trivial sense that all writing is unique -- but rather in the sense that nowhere else can one find the same (in my opinion brilliant) constellation of facets reflecting Truth. And before you get all full of mouth-foam, I'm not claiming OC is a "religion" or anything silly like that -- it doesn't compete with Catholicism for me even in the slightest.

In any case that might be why anon, b-hole et al keep coming back: they too realize that there are no other blogs or books quite like One Cosmos. (If there are I for one would really like a link! -- the more the merrier).

Now that I've dispensed with the lawyers for today, on to the main business: a hike through the meadows with my dog along the perimeter of my place up here in Nova Scotia, where the weather is quite literally perfect today.

7/08/2010 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think the whole point is that scientific truths indeed come and go, but perennial truth is by definition forever.

7/08/2010 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And if there are other places that discuss it in a manner more to one's liking, by all means do not hang around here but go there at once!

7/08/2010 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"And again, please bear in mind that this is not about Hitchens, but about anyone who insists on the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth, for to believe such nonsense is to make one's own ego a God."

"I think, therefore I AM"
(couldn't resist)

"Nothing I write is worthwhile if I am a hypocrite, which is to say, if there is a gulf between who I am and what I write, for that is self-deception or charlatanism or worse.
I'm still not saying it right. "

I disagree, I think that's saying it just right. As well as,

"So ultimately it's not about the writing, but about the ability to consciously stand in and be a witness to this transcendent stream of perennial and therefore indispensable truth. This truth courses through -- can only course through -- the human heart, but in the form of "potentialities" or "pre-conceptions" that need to be filled out by experience, or being.

Absent the re-cognition and assimilation of this truth, man literally has no reason for being (or just a made up one)."

Wo. A real bell ringer today.

7/08/2010 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"It sounds like a paradox, but it is true: it is precisely because we cannot know everything that we can know anything. Conversely, in claiming to know it all, the materialist actually knows nothing, because there is no truth to know."

Well put, I was reading a new book on induction this morning, which made a similar similar point, that all knowledge is held on the basis of a given context, and that far from indicating a deficiency in our knowledge and our ability to know anything for certain, it is what makes any knowledge possible, and without which we would be unable be certain of anything or even to know anything at all.

"In reality, truth is what exists, and what exists is true. Knowledge is an effect of Truth, which is to say Reality, so that the inexhaustible knowability of things rests upon their absolute unknowability -- or, the Absolute's knowledge of them, which is none other than their "createdness."

Nothing to add, just wanted to see it again.

7/08/2010 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"It sounds like a paradox, but it is true: it is precisely because we cannot know everything that we can know anything."

I was pondering this just the other week after an exchange with a postmodern-leaning friend of mine. She regards the various -isms as interesting interchangeable lenses through which to view the world, yet she seems to hold them completely separate from her faith. Thus, the areas in which feminism, for example, conflicts with the Christian faith don't trouble her in the least.

She doesn't seem all that concerned with how well victim ideology lines up with reality, or truth. Whereas I'm a classical liberal is precisely because this viewpoint corresponds most closely with reality. For me it all adds up to one seamless worldview. Indeed, what's the point in having faith in something that has nothing to say about what's real or true?

Her return quip was that conservatism has "no special purchase on reality," which is fine from her perspective, but if none of her -isms does either, what's the point at all of bothering to peer through them at the world? I honestly do not get that way of "thinking," if you can call it that.

Anyway, it got me to thinking that not being able to know the truth exhaustively (i.e., not being omniscient) doesn't have to translate into not being able to know truth at all. Indeed, to be able to say, "this holds no special purchase on reality" betrays a belief that there IS a reality that she can know.

I wonder at people who take the nonsensical perspective that the inability to know all means we can know nothing at all. Nobody really lives that way. It's impossible.

7/08/2010 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

buthole said "Nonfiction doesn't really "travel" well in time; the vast bulk of it is disregarded"

Uh-huh. Thucydides must be feeling really crushed about now.

Montaigne too.

7/08/2010 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Anon needs to get black hole back on-message. Journalism is non-fiction, is it not?

Furthermore, the shelves housing our selection of great books of the western world are groaning with non-fiction works: Euclid, Aquinas, Augustine, Plutarch, etc. In fact, the works of literature maybe make up 1/3 of all of them.

Those have lasted a little while.

7/08/2010 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"And again, please bear in mind that this is not about Hitchens, but about anyone who insists on the absolute truth that there is no absolute truth, for to believe such nonsense is to make one's own ego a God."

That's really the point of the whole exercise, too. There's an old-fashioned word for what drives this: sin. Self on the throne, calling the shots, never mind the consequences for others. From the Garden onward...

7/08/2010 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

So ultimately it's not about the writing, but about the ability to consciously stand in and be a witness to this transcendent stream of perennial and therefore indispensable truth. This truth courses through -- can only course through -- the human heart, but in the form of "potentialities" or "pre-conceptions" that need to be filled out by experience, or being.

This is why, so often when one encounters Truth, it can be experienced more like remembering than like learning something wholly new.

7/08/2010 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger black hole said...

Even influential writers like Chopra, Dwyer, Tolle, etc, will be dust-covered historical footnotes in 50 yr.

I'm curious as to what makes you think your output will be more durable?

Even the venerable B. Franklin, a monster of non-fiction, is mostly remembered for flying his kite in a thunderstorm. A dramatic story persists where all of his essays, although studied by scholars, are fading.

Bob, you write well but it isn't to the level of memorable for the ages. And you know it. Unless you change to a format designed to last, and/or come up with something that reaches a mass audience, you're toast in 50.

And also Marxism is not a fantasy. It is based on means of production. It's people that are a fantasy, because they can't take advantage of a good thing when it is discovered.

We don't deserve Marx because we aren't good enough.

7/08/2010 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

"So ultimately it's not about the writing, but about the ability to consciously stand in and be a witness to this transcendent stream of perennial and therefore indispensable truth. This truth courses through -- can only course through -- the human heart, but in the form of "potentialities" or "pre-conceptions" that need to be filled out by experience, or being. "

Which is why I like B'ob and his b'log. Bob's connecting to Something greater and we get a peek for free (well, minus the membership dues, and the pledge drives, fund raisers, etc etc).

Hitchens is connecting to what? Himself? Nothing? (Is there a difference?)

Yeah, real staying power there.

7/08/2010 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Russel - just so.

***

Unrelated, I really think moron is too generous. Is there an intermediate stage between moron and imbecile? If not, then I stand by my previous assessment.

7/08/2010 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

If chsnging the toilet paper didn't help, maybe they should try this? Or maybe this? Lord knows, there's definitely a filter problem...

7/08/2010 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Russell said...

"Is there an intermediate stage between moron and imbecile?"

Socialist?

7/08/2010 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Actually, so long as there are knuckleheaded college students, Hitchens' socialist rants for the Nation may hold some potential future interest. But in my case, I am only referring to the fact that there will always be weary and isolated Raccoons looking for the lost tribe, and for whom this blog can serve as a coonduit to the Primary Sources.

7/08/2010 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger anon said...

they too realize that there are no other blogs or books quite like One Cosmos.

Well, I absolutely agree with that.

One reason I keep coming back is because issues are discussed here that I can't find elsewhere. I wish they were discussed in a more open-minded fashion, but you can't have everything.


wv: cosher (meaning to be hit over the head with a brisket?)

7/08/2010 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Susannah said "...shelves housing our selection of great books of the western world are groaning with non-fiction works..."

;-) Mine too, but anunce says,

"Books?! I don't read no stinkin' books! I just offer my analLieAsscyst of 'em!"

7/08/2010 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

buthole said " black hole said "Even influential writers like Chopra, Dwyer, Tolle, etc..."

LOL... ROFLOL... ETC!!!

"...Marxism is not a fantasy. It is based on means of production..."

Speaking of fantasy. Here, have a look at this book I linked to online here, by W.H. Mallack, he marvels over how even the original marxists admitted his 'economic theories' were pure sophistic B.S., well before the 19th century was even out. Didn't stop them from continuing to stir up 'the masses' with it's stench though, which shouldn't be surprising, not like they were after truth or anything, just spreading the fantasy,

"...The reader will remember how, having first elucidated the part which exceptional mental faculties, concentrated on the direction of labour, and here called ability, play in modern production, I proceeded to the question of the means by which this direction is accomplished, and showed that these were supplied by the possession of wage-capital—capitalism thus representing no mere passive monopoly, but a system of reins which are attached to innumerable horses, and are useless except as vehicles of the skill with which the coachmen handle them. We shall find that by implication, if not always by direct admission, the intellectual socialists of to-day are in virtual but unacknowledged agreement with this further portion of the present argument also.

In order to demonstrate that such is the case,[Pg 56] let me briefly call attention to a point on which we shall have to dwell at much greater length presently—namely, that these socialists, though they reject the theory of production on which morally and intellectually the earlier socialism based itself, persist in making promises to the labourers precisely of the same kind as those with which the earlier socialism first whetted their appetites. In especial besides promising them indefinitely augmented wealth, they continue to promise them also some sort of economic emancipation; and many of these socialists, in explicit accord with their predecessors, declare that what they mean by emancipation is the entire abolition of the wage-system.

Prominent among this number are Mr. Sidney Webb and his colleagues, who are certainly the best educated group of socialistic thinkers in England
..."

Same as it ever was....

7/08/2010 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

...there will always be weary and isolated Raccoons looking for the lost tribe, and for whom this blog can serve as a coonduit to the Primary Sources.

In ether words, to the extent that the blog or book conveys any aspect of Truth, which is timeless, it will be available for anyone anywhen they need to stumble across that particular aspect, no matter how B'obscurely they may be hidden.

7/08/2010 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Looks like Gutenberg shifted the link, I can't get in to update my site from here, but here it is "Examination of Socialism, by William Hurrell Mallock".

7/08/2010 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

What I really mean is that I'll be happy if I can always turn a few people on to the real thing -- like Alan Watts, but minus the alcoholism and spanking fetish. Okay, minus the alcoholism.

7/08/2010 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

cosher (meaning to be hit over the head with a brisket?)

Anon, dude, do not despair. This indicates there is hope for you.

Not that you should push your luck ...

7/08/2010 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

b-hole said:

We don't deserve Marx because we aren't good enough.

It's not as far as you'd think from b-hole's little aphorism to the killing fields.

Think I'm being bombastic and ridiculous? My first wife's grandfather was in the SS, and he told me that most of the dedicated Nazis were perfectly ordinary, unremarkable people beforehand. They just had very specific views on the way reality ought to be.

I used to think there was some hope for granthole. When s/he starts making statements like the above, that thought begins to fade.

7/08/2010 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

NB: clever, clever. You picked up my Hitlerism. You know that SOB stated if Germans couldn't beat the Russians they didn't deserve to exist.

BTW I'm a fan of your extended metaphors regarding the M-1 Abrams tank vs. the insurgent Toyota pick-up, among others. Very entertaining stuff.

And I recant my former position on the longevity Bob's blog. I had an intuition during my lunchtime snooze that it would be read for 50+. Go figure.

And Marxism. Nah. Not really.

7/08/2010 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

And Marxism. Nah. Not really.

Sounds like you and Hitchens would get along well. Hitch has two "sets of books". It would be tough to count how many sets grant/b-hole/anon and the rest of the people's sock puppet dunce collective maintain.

7/08/2010 01:36:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Susannah said "Journalism is non-fiction, is it not?"

I'm finding these days that it mostly is fiction. And for people who don't have the capacity or desire to KNOW the truth - today's brand of journalism perpetuates ignorance and is not only useless, but dangerous to civilization.

7/08/2010 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Liberal journalism is the first draft of rewritten history.

7/08/2010 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Granthole:

You are a moron, and you have no idea what you're talking about. Please go away.

7/08/2010 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

There's a part 2 to Horowitz's piece on Hitchens.

"As a convinced atheist, I ought to agree with Voltaire that Judaism is not just one more religion, but in its way the root of religious evil,” Hitchens writes in one of his extravagant tropes. And elaborates: “Without the stern, joyless rabbis and their 613 dour prohibitions, we might have avoided the whole nightmare of the Old Testament, and the brutal, crude wrenching of that into prophecy-derived Christianity, and the later plagiarism of Judaism and Christianity into the various forms of Islam.”

Nuance!

7/08/2010 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

"and the later plagiarism of Judaism and Christianity into the various forms of Islam.”

Well, at least he got that part right.

Except I think he's blaming Judaism and Christianity for islam, instead of blaming the plagiarist and criminal mohammed.

And I'd just like to take a little opportunity to remind everyone that "allah" is a stone idol. Just sayin'.

OK - nevermind. Hitchens doesn't have anything figured out.

7/08/2010 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It's amazing the gaping blind spots he maintains.

Hitchens recalls how his progressive friends now attacked him as a “McCarthyite” and did so in the pages of The Nation, a reaction that in his words “showed the amazing persistence of antediluvian categories and thoughts on the Left . . . [which were] applied to me in a very mendacious and I thought thuggish way.” This led Hitchens to conclude that “there is no such thing as a radical Left anymore. The world of Gloria Steinem and Jesse Jackson, let’s say, has all been, though it does not realize it, hopelessly compromised by selling out to Clintonism. It became, under no pressure at all, and with no excuse and in no danger, a voluntary apologist for abuse of power.”

Became? How did he not see that they were that way all along?

His hatred for the Jews and Judaism is pretty telling, too, given his family history. But of course, his family history couldn't possibly have influenced his nuanced viewpoint. Nope.

I simply can't imagine living with so many cognitive dissonances; the clangor in the brain would be awful. I guess that's where the drinking helps.

7/08/2010 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Julie:

That's actually a very critical point. As a clinician, one of the ways one can tell that one is dealing with a borderline personality -- which, in basic terms, means someone with structural deficits in their psyche -- is their ability to be untroubled by dissonances that would drive a normal person nuts.

There are three main types of patients: neurotic, borderline, and psychotic. The main difference between the first two is that the neurotic is aware of his conflicts, whereas in the case of the borderline, his conflicts are actually "sub-personalities." That being the case, they are not necessarily troubled by conscious conflict, because instead of two competing ideas in one head, it's more like two different people with no lines of communication between them.

With a normal/neurotic patient, when you point out a conflict or inconsistency, they will be troubled and/or curious about it. But not a borderline. More often than not, when you point it out, they'll just go on the offense.

It's hard for a normal person to understand how this works, unless you've had such a person in your life, and can see how it plays out. Such people have a hard time learning and profiting from experience, because it isn't any kind of "information" they are lacking, but instead, the integration of various parts of the psyche.

7/08/2010 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Which is why one of the watchwords for the Raccoon is integration, both within and between the horizontal and the vertical, and between body, soul and spirit.

7/08/2010 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or, as one of those stern and joyless rabbis said, If thine eye be single...

7/08/2010 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Whew! Thank God I was only neurotic.

7/08/2010 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

When Hitchens talks about his "double entry books," that's really a confession of serious damage, in my opinion. It's also why he has no shame.

7/08/2010 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Yes, the Gloria/Jesse thing made me laugh. Imagine thinking that a race-baiting poverty pimp and a woman best described by the late, great Dean Martin as a "cunning stunt" could have their principles compromised -- as if they had principles.

My cousin used to say when we'd been out drinking, "The last thing I can do is drive." (I have no idea why he thought that would reassure me.) Apparently when Hitchens has been drinking, he says, "The last thing I can do is type."

7/08/2010 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I wonder if Hitchens will live long enough to discover the truth about Sharpton?

7/08/2010 04:26:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Probably not. Not that his life will be short, mind you.

7/08/2010 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Will Hitchens ever overcome his personal diversity?

7/08/2010 05:00:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I guess now that Heath Ledger is gone, someone's gotta play the Joker.

7/08/2010 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

OK - I can't wait for the weekend music thread. I just came across this song and the memories flooded back and this is one KICK ASS song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sp3JOzcpBds

I was about 5 years old and my father had just bought me these fabulous little red shoes (he took me shoe shopping and those are what I picked), and took me out to one of those deep south booze hall secrets you had in dry counties. It was unoffically called the "concrete slab." I remember there were woods all around - but I danced my little red shoes off to this song.

BTW - it was a fabulous night and nothing bad happened.

7/08/2010 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I already have what I think is a very interesting topic chosen for this week, one that I don't believe anyone else has ever written about....

7/08/2010 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Dianne said...

OK - tell us so we can prepare and think of our relevant examples.

Of course, curiosity has nothing to do with it.

7/08/2010 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Question:

Who has the bigger ego - BO or LeBron James?

7/08/2010 06:24:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

I'm going with Obama, b/c James can actually, you know, do stuff.
So he has a reason.
Obama, otoh, does not. So his is more inflated. Ergo, bigger.

7/08/2010 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

This from David Brooks column on Hitchens:

"His mother, Yvonne, hid her Jewish heritage from him but taught him to read for pleasure. She was trapped in a dull and lifeless marriage with an admirable but staid naval officer whom Hitchens refers to as The Commander. Finally, in midlife, she escaped to Athens with a lover, only to discover she had chosen poorly. They committed suicide in adjoining hotel rooms."

I think this might point out not only why Hitchens is "split" but also that David Brooks is an idiot. She "escaped" to Athens as if her husband had held her hostage. It wasn't her choice, by any means. Than she "discovered" that she had "chosen poorly" and so of course you commit suicide in adjoining hotel rooms!! Naturally!!

Maybe his dad *was* a cold fish, but it seems like his mother was a bit "off" regardless, which is completely avoided by Brooks. Anyway...

7/08/2010 07:20:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

David Brooks on Hitchens

7/08/2010 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, it seems like the height of naivete to take such things at face value. More likely, -- but far less romantic -- is that his parents were simply depressed and that he inherited it.

7/08/2010 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Now, here's a nihilist who takes it all the way:

"The author argues for the 'anti-natal' view -- that it is always wrong to have children -- and he shows that combining the anti-natal view with common pro-choice views about foetal moral status yield a "pro-death" view about abortion. Anti-natalism also implies that it would be better if humanity became extinct."

7/08/2010 07:48:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Rather, one must not only know what one is, but be what one knows.

Why is it that people who believe such things as "coming into existence is always a serious harm" never quite seem willing to be what they know?

7/08/2010 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Kissell said...

A "rigorously self-consistent nihilist" has faith in rigorously self-consistent nihilism. cf. Greek Skeptics/Cynics. "Skeptic" derives from Greek kunikos = dogs, from the way they appeared when they left their retreats and mingled with the ordinary. They were consistent, matching manner of living with philosophical principle, and great men of great faith in their radical rejection of any assertion of knowing something. They were right, you know.

7/08/2010 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

May we join Dianne w/ a weekend musical appetizer
?

[morgan= dylan, this is richard's song done by his widow]

...were conley's & rod stewart's voices separated at birth??

7/09/2010 04:32:00 AM  

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