Sunday, August 29, 2010

Open Threat

A reader has requested an open threat. Here it is: buy the book or you'll never see this blog again.

Oh, thread. Sorry.

Others have requested an explanation for my absence. Or at least an alibi. I do have the latter: I was on vacation when it all went down, so I don't know anything about it. After that, the death of the blog just took on a life of its own.

Which brings us to the future. I am sorely tempted to apply the kibosh to this blogging business of daily isness. The excuses are as multiple as the pretexts are laughty.

First, five years is long enough to determine whether the lack of interest in my ideas is genuine, which I believe it to be. It is not a fluke. Why, after thousands of years of apathy, would people crave the flabby paunchlines of an old-fashioned metaphysical humorist, or subscribe to a seer's catalogue of improvisational orthoparadoxical bohemian classical liberal neo-traditionalism?

Besides, if man were in need of an Ocult of freevangelical pundamentalism, it would have appeared long before me. And if few are interested, isn't pretending otherwise other than wise and even a bit soph-indulgent? Obviously I have no objection to mental masturbation. But I draw a line at spiritual masturbation, or ʘnanism. Perhaps I need to discover a better use for my timelessness, to say nothing of my spaciness.

Second, I've always wanted to take the time to assess and rewordgitate what I've already wordgitated, in order to organize it under a new and improved meta-narrative. Either way, the longer I go on with the blogging the more difficult that gets, because there is that much more Logorrhea to mop up.

Third, Future Leader starts kindergarten next week. He has to be there by 8:00, and the school is about 12 miles away, but through the Winding Canyon, which means we probably have to leave by no later than 7:40, which is right in the middle of blogging time. So there's that.

Anyway, the blog continues to be on the disabled list, its condition day-to-deity, meaning that only God knows. I could very well fall back into the rutine tomorrow. I genuinely have no idea. I've never really planned for anything except my retirement.

98 Comments:

Blogger greyniffler said...

Well, I'll miss you and I bought the book! For which I thank you.

You're not shaking the world, but you are improving the lives of some dozens or hundreds of people. Your book is marvellously intense, and having an exegesis and application examples In The World is a great help.

If you've reached the point where you need to rewordgitate things, that means you are at the stage of polishing and perfecting your work. For lots of projects, that would mean disappearing from sight. For this one? You began it in public view; it would be a shame if you had to change.

Would it help to put the timeless and the temporal on separate paths? Writing about the Tenured, as cathartic as it must be, cannot by itself be spiritual nutriment.

I hope you'll continue to show up in public, even if not daily. Or should I say that I hope you find the Spirit moving you to do so? Future Leader's adventure is of great importance, but you've done good for us, too.

Either way, thank you.

8/29/2010 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Kurt said...

Bob,
May I give a testimony, my friend? I came to your blog two years ago - I think Gerard V. linked to one of your more cutting political comments. I enjoyed the political commentary, but I stayed for the spiritual insight and reflection. After a few months of visiting OC, I bought your book. It blew the doors off my spiritual thinking. From your book I went on to Meditations on the Tarot - I have read it three times through and am still just scratching the surface of all that it contains! Now, I've just finished my first Schuon, and it's on to some Sri Auribindo! You may not be changing the world, but you helped change my world. You have helped to expand my Christianity, my view of God and my understanding of, well, everything.
Now, lest I be labeled as a 'fanboy', let me say I am not fond of Jazz, and that I don't 'get' your word-play most of the time. But I do 'get' the Source from which you have drawn so much of your insight and reflection. So, thank you, Bob, for sharing your heart with me. It has made a tremendous difference in my life. Do what you need to do, amigo, what you have in your heart to do...because up to this point it's worked out pretty well, if you ask me!

Kurt

8/29/2010 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger swiftone said...

Amen, amen, and amen. After working the election all day yesterday, I took a sec to pull up One Cosmos to see if the rss feed had somehow cut me loose.

I too will miss you and I STILL haven't bought the book. Money is tight...slack is a disappearing commodity, though I get to choose how it disappears.

Lo and behold Bob shows up at least once more, perhaps to say adieu.

WV:pylishe I think that's what's applied to wordgitation to make it outwardly pretty and somewhat indigestible. Go as you will, but know that your morning meditations have touched many lives.

8/29/2010 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

Testimony:

You are the only individual who has identified and written clearly about the problems with "wackedemia" that I know of.

I worried my lonely spirit war against the leftist/materialist/existentialist English Department at a prominent university meant I was a crack-pot.

But, you concisely outlined your brilliant complaint against the leftist mind-set of academia and its consequences and I felt like I'd hired an attorney. I felt vindicated. I felt like I'd been given my credential as a normal human being back.

I can't thank you enough for doing that. It means a lot to me.

From your loyal reader, Grant

8/29/2010 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger FO said...

Thanks for all of the great posts over the years - I have been reading this blog since 2006 I think, and I have learned more here than I have anywhere else on earth. I have always wanted to know how many daily readers you get? Must be in the thousands surely? Well, thanks, and I hope to read more of your work in future.

8/29/2010 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

What Kurt said.

And to state the obvious which obviously doesn't need to be stated, if you help one person to change their selves, you have changed the world. To help change five or ten? A friggin' revOlution.

All the rest... probably doesn't need to be said.

Enjoy, and we'll keep an eye out.

;- )

8/29/2010 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

dittos!

i say it's all blackie's fault

...and the [wv] heali has begun

8/29/2010 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Bob, as you know, your blog was quite instrumental in the life of my son. Had he not been reading Polanyi at your direction, he would have been at a loss for something to say to the girl of his dreams. When she found out he knew of Polanyi, she was a goner and the rest is wedded bliss.

(As it is, she is Polanyi's biggest fan and is changing Charleston one pomo college student at a time. If others here would like to continue that sort of conversation, she has started a viral reading blog called Marginal Conversations.)

Whatever you do, you can't help but be a blessing. Enjoy the time with Future Leader and the people he will bring into your life daily. They grow up quick and need all the puns and ponderings of their parental units. FL is your most important work.

8/29/2010 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Eh, bad link. <a href="marginalconversations.com/>Here.</a>

8/29/2010 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

One lucky kid, that FL.
Enjoy, Bob.

8/29/2010 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Thank you.

Late last night, into the early hours, my best friend and I considered your impact on our lives. Thank you, again.

God-speed and fair winds. I trust we will hear from you again.

John Moore

8/29/2010 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger friendsafire said...

Bob,

I've been reading One Cosmos since about May of 07. At least, that's where the titles start to look familiar. I bought your book in August that year.

You provided a new and intelligent underpinning to a faith that had nearly been knocked out of me by a church fail. Your writing provided a higher order way of seeing the big questions, like the nature of the Trinity, and encouraged me to return to membership in a faith community.

I am only now starting to internalize some of the concepts deeply enough to speak cogently about them to others.

So thanks for sharing your slack time with us. You've brought change to a number of lives. May we learn to do likewise.

Djadja—Rob Springer

8/29/2010 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

I found this website through reading the interview/profile of GB's work in "What is Enlightmentnext?". I knew I had to find out more. I ordered the book immediately and soon after found this blog. That was probably 2007.

I lurked for a good while, sometimes tentatively posted anonymously from time to time (but hopefully was never an "anon"). Slowly would try to offer my two cents, but found rarely I had much insight to offer.

But when the topic turned to music all my circuits lit up and I just couldn't help not only offering my two cents but often my whole dollar.

The discussions of music, Spirit, politics etc have been very meaningful to me. I can't even imagine having similar conversations with musician friends as our political differences are quite distinct.

So whatever else happens or doesn't I am thankful for everything I've learned. I have a considerably different outlook on life and MOST of that has to do with what I've read here. I still have a ways to go to get all of the poison out of my system but it's a good start.

Thanks also to all the regulars...your humor, passion and intelligence has been a daily boon.

May the conversation continue in many different ways!

8/29/2010 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Rod said...

I've never sent you a comment, though like a good Raccoon I've watched from the underbrush, eyes gleaming, waiting for your next installment. I'm sure there is other wildlife like me that observes you on a regular basis (you're on my home page) and never makes a sound. So lest you think your great outpouring of wit and truth has gone unappreciated, I'm here to tell you that you may be more popular than you know. And after all -- it's not the numbers that count. You have a very elite readership. Their comments prove that quite frequently. Don't go. Stay. Or if you go -- come back.

8/29/2010 09:17:00 PM  
Blogger f/zero said...

Door #3. You'll never go wrong choosing that one.

You're a permanent part of my life whether you're blogging or not. Carry the flame wherever it's dark.

8/30/2010 12:15:00 AM  
Blogger Verdiales said...

Hey Bob, I bought the book, which is a terrific little read.

What Kurt said.

For me, your blog is less valuable for its rewordgitations than it is for your serving as a congenial node around which interesting people can now congregate.

If it's too much work and time to produce lengthy posts, just post short ones.

Or, leave the blog up and pitch camp somewhere else. I'd say that I'd be happy to create a 2.0 blog so that you can kick back and comment.

The "Scattered Brotherhood of the Vertical Diaspora" doesn't have to hang at the same place, but there does seem to be a need to say where a next camp could be.

8/30/2010 06:55:00 AM  
Blogger chandler said...

Bob,

Don't stop counting the people you influence. Don't stop at who shows up here. Those of us who "read" you are influenced so deeply by you that everyone WE know is also influenced by you. So add those people, too. You will never know where it actuallys ends.

Keep writing AND do a book AND get him to school on time. As Thomas Jefferson said, "The more you do the more you can do."

8/30/2010 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

All he needs to do is periodically create open threads for now.

The book club aspect of this blog is of the best help to me.

I suppose I should read this Polanyi guy sometime.

I think the blog is just on periodic cycles at the moment. Bob will come back in a few weeks.

Actually, I recommend reworking the Meditations on the Tarot blog posts for another iteration when you get the chance, Bob.

Or you could just write a second book. Just do an iteration of the first one incorporating the best of this blog.

8/30/2010 08:53:00 AM  
OpenID kaffepaus said...

What so many already have said!

This is also the time to remember that this blog managed to reach all the way to the distant kingdom of Sweden, at the exact moment the recipient (that would be me) was ready to receive it. Also worth mentioning is that it got through by a former leftist journalist who turned right wing after the 9/11 attacks but still claims to be an atheist.

With that said, knowing that God does work in mysterious ways, I am confident that He will find a way to keep Bob online in some way or another. And sooner that we all think!

/Johan

8/30/2010 09:13:00 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

Bob, I've been away for a while now, but coming back has been excellent, like discovering a Christmas card full of money in May.

Maybe you should take some time to reboot, and maybe change things up to keep yourself focused and interested. How about a podcast, maybe with guests? Here's an idea I've been noodling around, something I'd love to engage with:

It would be fascinating to hear you have a conversation with a guest on a single topic, but letting the exchange lead whence it will. Wouldn't it be amazing to talk to, say, Michael Wyschogrod or Avery Cardinal Dulles about mysticism in their respective religions? Where would such a dialog go over the course of an hour? Maybe you could solicit reader questions as part of the show?

Connecting and interacting with other people might help cure your frustration and feelings of isolation, and bring a new audience to your site.

8/30/2010 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Mikal said...

What everyone above said, and more.

Bob, on this blog you have put into words many ideas and concepts that were floating around my head, but weren't articulated. As a (wannabe) writer myself, I envy your ability to take complex philosophical and political issues and express them in clear, succinct fashion. And of course your Joycean wordplay is always worthy of a chuckle.

Our differences? I don't like jazz -- I often think one has to be a musician to really "get" it. And I'm more of a social liberal than yourself (maybe it's a NoCal thing?)

8/30/2010 01:18:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Unfortunately I too have benefited from this blog. It should not have been necessary, given the thorough instruction I got in my youth. But it was. And I still need more Light, so I still intend to follow it wherever I find it, even in unlikely places. Of which this certainly was one, given the distance between us both geographically and culturally. (I still avoid jazz when I can, even after all these years.)

8/30/2010 01:54:00 PM  
Blogger Russell said...

Just to jump on the bandwagon: Ditto to the above.

The Raccoon Remnant have found you and will find you, so don't bother running.

Bought the book, just started section 4.2. It's slow going because I end up chewing on a section longer than I meant to!

Thank you, Bob.

8/30/2010 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Been there.

Thank you for opening yourself and allowing me and others a chance to peer in. You are very generous, even with the trolls. Your impact on me has been for the good. I came to your work at the right time and with the right mind. I will miss your insights and the breadth of your readings and study. I have been tracing your reading list as time allows and doing some reconnoitering on terrain I am sure you would not approve. I am a recent addition to the raccoon den and was just beginning to feel at home.

Fair winds and trailing seas. Whatever the horizon has in store for you I am sure you will be able to discover the goodness in it. Cherish your time with FL. My son is 9 and it was only yesterday he was learning to walk. Good luck and good tidings for you and yours. You are a Good Man, Bon Homme Gagdad.

8/30/2010 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

a couple Jazz sides for those who don't rike Jazz?
Miles' FILLES DE KILIMANJARO comes to mind...see my 2003 Amazon review!

the jazz-pop vocal duet JACKIE & ROY put out GRASS in '67 covering and jazzing-up a lot of the day's hip hits...see my Amazon revue!

it's interesting that Phil Spector a guitarist himself, liked using jazz players but had them play simple 8th notes, telling virtuosic players to 'play dumb'
and that's mas up these ears' alley!

8/31/2010 04:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Same with Atlantic and Motown -- they often used jazz players on their sessions. Van Morrison only uses guys with jazz chops. Not only do they know how to swing, but they can often take a mundane composition and throw in some substitute chords to make it into something more compelling.

8/31/2010 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Tigtog said:

"I have been tracing your reading list as time allows and doing some reconnoitering on terrain I am sure you would not approve."

Well don't just leave us in suspense.

Tell us about the unapproved terrain upon which you are reconnoitering.

And Bob isn't finished blogging. He really just does this periodically.

We should get a new Open Threat once we hit 100 comments or so.

8/31/2010 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger sehoy said...

One of the possums here ( a raccoon-wannabe, but too slow and too easily dazzled by the light to make it to raccoon-hood). I've had your book since the beginning and "Meditations on the Tarot," and a whole stack of others you've reccoonmended over the years that I haven't even begun to read yet. The beginning for me was a funny post you made at LGF about cargo cults and a link to your site. That seems like a long time ago. I followed the link and never looked back.

8/31/2010 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Brazentide said...

There was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a young man who was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "It made a difference for that one."

8/31/2010 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Brazentide said...

PS. I also bought the book, have read through it multiple times and I think I'll buy more copies for friends soon.

The starfish thank you~

8/31/2010 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Brazentide said "The starfish thank you~"

;-)

8/31/2010 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

I really didn't understand the entire LGF thingy, since I had never heard of LGF or the guy who runs it. Is it even still in operation?

I was just looking for something and found this blog.

I think I finally bought the book and MOT last year.

MOT was quite useful.

As above so below and all that jazz.

8/31/2010 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

I had never heard of LGF or the guy who runs it

Consider yourself lucky, and leave it at that.

8/31/2010 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Speaking (reluctantly) of LGF, I see that former LGF stalwart Zombie is now peddling his/her LGF lite tripe about how Christians are just as bad as leftists, how anyone who challenges hard-core Darwinism is a lunatic rube, etc etc.

What do we make of such people? Zombie claims to be conservative, sort of. S/he certainly takes the Left to task regularly. Yet there is a fundamental antipathy to the foundations of Western civilization lurking in the minds of these people (what Zombie claims are "normal people").

Atheistic Darwin-worshipping conservatives. Fish nor fowl...

9/01/2010 08:01:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

NB said "What do we make of such people?"

Shallow hippies of the right.

There's not much more to be said for them, because there isn't much more there. They've found various effects that they like, political freedoms, freedom from the man, and that’s enough for them, they have no interest in discovering - and understanding the implications and obligations of - the causes of those effects.

They probably enjoy the shock value of being "Atheistic Darwin-worshipping conservatives" every bit as much as traditional hippies enjoyed the shock value of long hair, tye dye shirts and having sex in the mud at Woodstock.

There's just not much there there.

9/01/2010 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

NB said "What do we make of such people?"

You get what you pay for.
And if you don't laugh, I'm still right.

:-)

9/01/2010 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

I dunno, JP- I think he really means it, this time.
Because life changes and some things just have a season.

Bob- you'll always be the Pepper Jack seasoning on the Dorito of Life.

9/01/2010 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Funny, I was just thinking that I'm never disappointed in my expectation of disappointment in your comments.

9/01/2010 10:07:00 AM  
OpenID Kv0nT said...

All I have to say is that I sincerely hope you resume your blog. One Cosmos has been a refuge of sanity and enlightenment for me and I am extremely distraught at the prospect of it being on permanent hiatus.

We need your insights Mr. Godwin.

If anything please keep the book recommendations coming. I've really enjoyed working my way through the raccoon store's stock.

-Kevin

9/01/2010 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Why, after thousands of years of apathy, would people crave the flabby paunchlines of an old-fashioned metaphysical humorist, or subscribe to a seer's catalogue of improvisational orthoparadoxical bohemian classical liberal neo-traditionalism?"

Why? 'Cause we wanna cross that bridge over the river why, that's why.
When I saw that you were building one, I figured this is so crazy it just. Might. Work.

Lord knows I've searched far n' wide for other bridges, but none that actually make it to the othr side with enough clarity (while still respectin' the Mystery) to fully satisfy my raccoonish mind and still leave me hungry for more.

Plus! Bob's bridge gets me to think, ponder, coontemplate, meditate medicate and poontificate like never before.
did I say medicate? I meant it medicates (but in a good way).
Like the ROCKy mountain high, ezcept higher.

And not just a bridge, but also a maneuverable bridge...or a ship, if you will, 'cause on the other side is a vast see to cross, with ayelands full O mountains to traverse n' valleys to drive through.

The verizon here is full O promise n' hope, and it's not limited to the mundane horrorizon that so many guides like to help us get lost in. Been there, done that. Don't wanna do that again.

Thanks Bob for helpin' me to see the Truth of O, and to keep seeing Him as He reveals Himself.

Slack n' awe leaves a deep and very real impact in my life and thankfully, I can never go back to that flatlandish illusion built on slave labor.

I hope One Cosmos continues...as it conntinues in my own heart. Actually, it does continue, but there's still more morsels of doritO goodness to be had here at the OC in a hand up (and not a handout)fashion...as Bob feels led.

I got the munchies Bob. :^)

9/01/2010 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

What Ben said™.

Er, but ... you know: "different."

9/01/2010 01:06:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Whoa.

This is mind bending.

We'll miss you if you go, Bob. But we'll never forget how you helped us out.

9/01/2010 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

HI!

one of THE songs of its century...

9/01/2010 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Apropos of nothing whatsoever, this is just too funny not to share...

9/01/2010 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger jwm said...

Uh, yeah- What Walt said, me too.
#1 most influential thinker:
"Gagdad" Bob Godwin.
#2: Dennis Prager.

You two changed my life.
Especially you, Bob.
wv: torly
as in torly bitchen, man!

JWM

9/01/2010 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

Black hole is doing his best to reveal that blog trolls are, in fact, parisitic to blogs.

9/02/2010 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Here's a question:

I've read quite a few of the tomes on the reading list here, but sooner or later one seeks a little respite from the density and often difficulty of these works, superb as they are.

So, who would you raccoonmend as a modern, highly-talented novelist who doesn't cause a raccoon to cringe every second page (i.e., 90% of the NYT fiction list)?

For now I'm looking for currently active writers in English. Could be explicitly Christian, but not really looking for "Christian lit", if you know what I mean.

Thoughts?

9/02/2010 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

What Walt Said About What Ben Said!

9/02/2010 06:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

NB,

After months, or perhaps years, of hearing about the Southern writer Flannery O'Connor I bought Everything That Rises Must Converge, ( the title grabbed me right away). Anyway the book is a collection of short stories which are very well written, quick, down and dirty morality plays.

9/02/2010 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Mizz E:

I too have heard a lot about O'Connor but not read anything yet. Adding to my new list now. Thanks!

9/02/2010 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

NB,
Anything by Robertson Davies, Canadian novelist, essayist and playwright. He died in '92, though, so he might be borderline to your request.
Most Racoon-ish of his novels, imo, is The Cunning Man .

Some are grouped in trilogies, and reading them in order is a richer experience, but not strictly necessary.

Mark Salzman. Lying Awake has a Christian setting- it's about a nun- but is not 'Christian fiction'. The Soloist is also good. Should you ever be in the mood for yet another memoir, I liked his.

9/02/2010 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

NB-
I second MizzE, but think you should start with A Good Man is Hard to Find, just cause it's the earlier work. But either will leave you speechless.

9/02/2010 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Sal:

Thanks. I'm familiar with Davies (and other Canuck writers) since my family (and, coincidentally, that of my wife) is split almost exactly 50% between New England and Canada (giving me an unusual vantage point on many things). I haven't read The Cunning Man nor anything by Salzman, so both go right on my list.

9/02/2010 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

NB--

I haven't really read any fiction in a long time, but I used to like Herman Hesse. Especially in books such as Narcissus and Goldmund, Damien, and Steppenwolf, he touches on some of our perennial themes. Narcissus and Goldmund is nothing less than a meditation on the vertical and horizontal, as embodied in the two main characters.

BTW, I'd like to thank everyone for the kind comments. As I've mentioned before, for a variety of reasons, the blogging would literally be impossible without readers. Since the writing is "experimental," I would never know if it was having the intended effect without feedback. And since the writing is spontaneous, I need readers who are patient and prepared to go wherever it leads.

I suppose my three blogging principles are adventure, spontaneity, and communication. Each one brings a certain joy, but the joy of soul-to-soul contact is a very special one. Frankly, if God is communion, and we are in the image of the Creator, then this kind of deep commun-ication would be the closest we can get to that particular aspect of God. Think of the joy he must feel when someone finally understands!

9/02/2010 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

I think I've read way too much Stephen King over the years. I finally stopped reading his work when he finished The Dark Tower series.

9/02/2010 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Finally, a good use for deepak.

9/02/2010 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ah well, it was great while it lasted… they’re on to us, boys and girls:

Stephen Hawking: God was not needed to create the Universe

The punchline:

"The question is: is the way the universe began chosen by God for reasons we can't understand, or was it determined by a law of science? I believe the second. If you like, you can call the laws of science 'God', but it wouldn't be a personal God that you could meet, and ask questions."

Because that would be impossible.
And because I say so.
Well, I’m convinced. Mr. Hawking has decided. And that. Is that.
And all this time I thought "determined" meant what I thought it meant. Anyways..

Or maybe this is the punchline…his new book is called, “The Grand Design”.

9/02/2010 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

i am [also] one for whom fiction WAS a lot more important/read some years back---but a couple that come to mind as meaty and real-enough to be useful fun are THE TRANSMIGRATION OF TIMOTHY ARCHER by PK Dick [my 1st-only of his]...also BREAKING THROUGH by A. VandenBroeck, a very philosophical challenging Castaneda-on-smart pills read, relating to alchemy and geology and anthropology

9/02/2010 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

NB said "who would you raccoonmend as a modern, highly-talented novelist who doesn't cause a raccoon to cringe every second page (i.e., 90% of the NYT fiction list)?"

Fiction? Modern?

Heh, afraid I won't be much help there, outside of some Sci-Fi & Fantasy writers, I threw in the towel on modern fiction long ago. The last, and most modern, fiction I read, finished last week in fact, was Checkov's "The Duel".

It's a good, and short, tale of Darweenieista's vs. those we know today as Berkeleyites. And though he doesn't spell it out, pretty much everything you need to know about today's left is present in the two main characters - as well as everything you need to know about why the typical default conservatives are so ineffective against them.

Hesse's "Siddhartha" I remember enjoying... seemed like his vertical compass might have been pretty good, but his horizontal one seemed guaranteed to prevent you from discovering which way was up... but it's been awhile, I could be misunderestimating him.

I'll reserve judgment & keep an eye out for Sal & MizzE's mentions... But as for the rest... wish I could find something modern in modernity, but it all looks pretty pre-historic to me.

9/02/2010 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. fiction, it's not modern but I've been quite enjoying Edgar Rice Burroughs lately. Barnes & Noble has a really nice hardbound version of the first three books in the Mars series for under $20. And I finally read the original Tarzan, which ends with a bit of a cliffhanger (of course nobody has the second book in stock; I'll have to get around to ordering it from Amazon).

Stephen King has had a couple of decent ones recently, as well - Duma Key and Lisey's Story both had some interesting resonances, I thought. How he can be such an atheistic prat and yet write about things mystical with such depth is a mystery for the ages; must be all the drugs...

9/02/2010 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

"Frankly, if God is communion, and we are in the image of the Creator, then this kind of deep commun-ication would be the closest we can get to that particular aspect of God."

In fact there exists a notably more intimate communion, simultaneously vertical and horizontal. Moreover, you appear to assume the categorical validity of reason.

Which leads to a final question:

Why are you not Catholic?

9/02/2010 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

"Assume the categorical validity of reason?"

You've got the wrong Coon!

9/02/2010 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Assume the categorical validity of reason?"

Just in case the assumption is assumed, under that moniker, not this 'coon either!

wv:quambs
Yep, lots of qualms over that one.

9/02/2010 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

If I may jump in uninvited. Bob is in fact Catholic. However, the way Bob is designed, constructed, and maintained, the Catholic faith only occupies one small corner of his spiritual storeroom. The general categories of religion are legion in this cavernous transdimensional warehouse.

To identify Bob as Catholic would be like calling a supermarket a fish market. Sure there are fish there, but that's not all there is. Honey, I'm going to the fishmarket to pick up some milk. Just makes no sense.

And, shockingly, getting baptised, recieving first communion, RICA, confession, and all other sacrements, are requirements only to people. The Presiding Spirit Master does not require these for the hyper-Catholic, uber-ziest soul, such as the one occupying the carbon-based organism we call Bob.

Still and all, best not to take the wafer or sip the grape juice, Mr. Bob, just to be polite and respectful to other people (feelings, always feelings!)-but does O grudge the wafer? The wine? The holy water? Me thinkest not.

What thinkest you all?

9/02/2010 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

I thought Stephen King had a problem with Christiantiy and Jesus, rather than embracing athiesim, per se.

His books certainly contain nods to God and the Logos, even if he doesn't use those words. At least that's what I noticed after reading way too many King books over way too many years.

9/02/2010 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

Huh?

What's the "categorical validity of reason"?

9/02/2010 02:16:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

You might be right, JP, though I could swear I've seen statements by him that weren't merely anti-Christian, but explicitly atheist.

But yeah, I started reading his books as a teenager and devoured most anything he wrote for years. He lost me for a while after The Dark Tower, though - maybe it's just me, but putting himself in the last book kind of made it jump the shark for me. The two I mentioned above are the only ones I've read since then, but I thought they were quite good.

9/02/2010 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Thanks for the feedback, GB et al.

I started thinking about this due to the fuss being made over Jonathan Franzen's new novel "Freedom". He's being portrayed by the press as "the new Philip Roth", etc. I know very little about him, but I get the sense that he is a) a talented and entertaining writer, and b) a spiritual retard, if not actively anti-God. I could be wrong though.

So much of our cultural output is explicitly anti-theistic, often overtly anti-Christian. We need to keep track of the stuff that isn't, and promote it.

9/02/2010 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

Since we are discussing fun books for adults (i.e. King and Borroughs), may I suggest some really light reading like the Travis McGee novels by John D. MacDonald. The story never changes just the circumstances. Don Quixote and his faithful sidekick seek to save a damsel in distress and slay an evil dragon. Can't get better than that. It is the basic outline for every detective story ever written. By all means add Dashiel Hammet and Raymond Chandler. Love the genre. Comic books for adults with grit.

To JP regarding forbidden fruit: I have been tracing the Zoroastrian portion of the Bible (its huge BTW) through its other permutations. Most notably those recognized as heretics (i.e. Cathars, Bogomils, Paulicans, Manichaeism, etc). Funny how a single source can develop multiple forms when embraced by people.

9/02/2010 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In terms of lighter reading, I can only assume that all Coons have already read the complete Jeeves stories and novels of PG Wodehouse. I read them aloud to Future Leader while he was on the other side of the womb, in order to help the boy develop a healthy sense of humor. So far it seems to have worked.

9/02/2010 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

The TV series was excellent, too.

9/02/2010 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And of course, for scifi you can't beat classic Heinlein. I also liked Larry Niven when I was younger, though it's been so long I don't know how well his stories hold up from a raccoonish perspective.

He did appear to be on to something with the setting of The Integral Trees, though: apparently, a star has been found encircled in hot water.

9/02/2010 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I'd recommend my book but I wouldn't recommend it.

9/02/2010 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A cereal killer? What's that, someone who chokes you with corn flakes?

9/02/2010 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Or is it someone who stalks grain?

9/02/2010 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Never thought I'd say this, but he's right...

9/02/2010 05:57:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

My two favorite sci-fi guys were Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert. Dune was a great read. The movie was horrible. Herbert reminded me of Clavel in how he constructed his chapters. You could never find a place to stop reading.

9/02/2010 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad said "...all Coons have already read the complete Jeeves stories and novels of PG Wodehouse"

Yes indeed ol' bean! Where else would you get such excellent summations of troll's, such as,

"He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more."

And for you racoons who'd like to listen to something when stuck in the car that didn't make you want to scream at your radio, or tap your toes to distraction & rear endings... most of the stories are available on CD's, probably at your local library, and they are an absolute riot.

Of course that may lead to a number of fender bender's too... but at least you'll be in a good mood at the time.

9/02/2010 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ok... to toss some more names int the fire... modern or not, O. Henry's tales gotta be on any list. Much lower on the totem pole, A. Conan Doyle too.

I suppose there were some modern authors I enjoyed, but they fell more into modernity chronologically, than stylistically... James Clavell, James Michener, the 'World according to Garp' fellow sucked me in briefly before quickly spitting me back out... sorta the same with Faulkner, he was good enough to grab my interest and be interesting... but disintegrated enough that I didn't want to follow through to where he was leading... also F. Scott Fitzgerald, I could get close enough to enjoy and get a lot out of him, especially "Gatsby", but had to keep him at arms length... and I think that about did it for me for the 'legit' writers.

Chief among the non-legit's would be Ayn Rand.

Then Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror...Shirley Jackson... I think Cujo was about the cutting off point between me & Stephen King... Frank Herbert, Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card (esp "Ender's Game"), Isaac Asimov's Foundation & Robot books... Morgan Llywelyn's Irish historical fiction & mythological tales, Patricia A. McKillip especially "Riddle-Master of Hed" & "Forgotten Beasts of Eld"... Robert Jordon's "Wheel of Time"... of course C.S. Lewis & Tolkein.. and numerous random odd's & ends tossed in.

9/02/2010 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

<"Assume the categorical validity of reason?"

You've got the wrong Coon!>

This means just that you never knowingly espouse contradictory premises, a Catholic commitment, in principle, not that all that can and should be known are subject to reason, or even the important things.
See Pope Benedict's Regensburg address (9/2006).
I'm a very occasional visitor and didn't know that you had been received into the Church. If so, then wouldn't you say that your Catholicism is not the fish counter of your "spiritual marketplace." Rather it is your spiritual marketplace. And this is perhaps not irrelevant to your 'retirement.'

9/02/2010 09:59:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I'm a very occasional visitor and didn't know that you had been received into the Church.

That's pretty funny, since I don't think Bob knew, either...

As to the "Spiritual marketplace" bit, that belongs not to Bob but to Black Hole, who is not a 'coon but a troll.

While your question about why Bob isn't Catholic is a legitimate one, it's also rather presumptuous and clearly based on a lack of key bits of information.

The Church is a wonderful institution. However, there are sheep not of its fold, and in so long as they follow their Master's voice I think somehow they'll make it hOme. Also, for all you know he may some day be called to Catholicism, but unless I miss my guess he is very unlikely to be scolded into it by a virtual stranger, no matter how well-intentioned.

Not, of course, that I presume to speak for Bob but since he obviously saw your question and chose not to answer it, I figured it was fair game...

9/02/2010 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Joseph said "...is not the fish counter of your "spiritual marketplace."..."

Joseph, if you're new here you may be laboring under a bi-loona dilemma... the nic 'blackhole' is a troll's sockpuppet - any fish you accidentally buy at that market is gonna stink even worse than it tastes.

9/03/2010 05:18:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

I also read too much Issac Asimov back in the day. Nightfall was interesting to me.

I think I like some of the ideas of Philip K. Dick better. Such as Paycheck and Minority Report.

9/03/2010 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Julie says:

"Not, of course, that I presume to speak for Bob but since he obviously saw your question and chose not to answer it, I figured it was fair game..."

Plus, it's an open threat. Anyone can respond with reasonable force.

9/03/2010 05:34:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

NB says:

"So much of our cultural output is explicitly anti-theistic, often overtly anti-Christian."

So much of our cultural output is garbage, period. It's mostly anti-useful.

9/03/2010 05:37:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

i-- these decades later-- recall 'maturely' getting a word joke from a PLAYBOY Wodehouse story :

Butler interjecting to boss's listing of various characters A, B, etc in a scenario:
"Shall we call him C, sir?" "Caesar's as good a name as any, I suppose. Well, as I was saying, until quite recently B ....."

9/03/2010 05:38:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

This is kindofa stretch, but not to me. RE the "modern book" threat, I have to raccoomend this movie I saw last weekend called, "Get Low".

It takes place in the 20s, or there abouts, but the point of it is not to be a sentimental look back on the period. Although it portrays the time period and place so well (of course I wasn't born yet) as to be reverent to it or... the acting is so good the actors don't seem to notice the time period. Because you wouldn't if you were in it. The story transcends the period with a sort of mythic quality (not epic in your face, not preachy, or even a molecule of political to it -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- I'm just saying it does what ever it does without any of that). The myth runs just below the surface.
And by "myth" I mean: true, just made up.

I claim, anyway. It makes me forget any movies if I ever saw one I felt this way about. I can go another ten years until I see another one like this. By that, I mean I can last that long. I can wait. Probably longer. One of these every ten years and I can say there will be some good writers every so often. Be patient.

Get Low is the perfect name for this story. It might even be a commandment. Or the hearing of one.

Now forget everything I just said, especially the hype, and go enjoy this little tune. Short story. Etc.

Get Low theaters and times near you.

9/03/2010 05:50:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

"Antonius heartily agreed with him that the budget should be balanced, that the Treasury should be refilled, that the public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of the generals should be tempered and controlled, that assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt, that the mobs should be forced to work and not depend on government for subsistence, and that prudence and frugality should be put into practice as soon as possible." - From A Pillar of Iron; this sentence is regularly attributed to Cicero, but it's Taylor Caldwell's own, not in Cicero's actual work.

Cowboy discovered the novels of Taylor Caldwell some months ago and relished her fictional accounts of St. Luke, St. Paul and Cicero. He's currently engrossed with Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

---
Rick: Goin' to get low and go to Waco manana.

9/03/2010 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

adventures in
CLUELESSNESS
A single tear trickles down the Times-worshiper's progressive cheek

9/03/2010 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Joseph:

I prefer not to advertise what I am, because I want all sincere believers to feel welcome here, because I don't want the focus to be on me, and because it's too easy to dismiss someone as a "Catholic writer" or just some typical orthodox Judeo-Vedantin esoteric Christian neo-traditional hermeticist.

9/03/2010 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

"orthodox Judeo-Vedantin esoteric Christian neo-traditional hermeticist"

Does the local OJVECNT hall sponsor pancake breakfasts? Mmmmmm pancakes...

Cereal killer... So that's why Death carries a scythe!

9/03/2010 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

As an aside:

American Spectator contains an article concerning America's new ruling class which is as insightful and seemingly accurate as anything I've ever read on the topic. I especially liked the explanation as to why not only virtually all Democrat, but also most Republican politicians are repellent to the majority of Americans.

I also learned something about France: they too have a massive bureaucracy which runs everything, however in order to get into it you must write highly competitive, blindly graded exams. Here you just have to have done an ethically questionable favor for someone while at Harvard (see Kagan & Laurence Tribe).

9/03/2010 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

I didn't have scolding in mind, Julie, though an abrupt appeal for candor could easily seem it. I can afford regrettably little time for this

"there are sheep not of its fold, and in so long as they follow their Master's voice I think somehow they'll make it hOme."

I only suggest bearing in mind a caveat of Kierkegaard, what he called the temptingly "beautiful principle," most especially in vertical affairs - that everything is basically the same, which probably would not openly gain a foothold here.

Only the universal can be all things to all people, is fully humanizing. And only the full collaboration of faith and reason affords universality. (do take note of the Regensburg address if you haven't. 9/12/09).

I hope I don't tread an worn path by recommending “The Intellectual Life,” by Sertillanges, which is apropos for a few reasons. It is to say the very least a charming little guide to sustaining a vital life of the mind among other commitments, though its vision and style are kindred to those of Meditations on the Tarot.

Dominus vobiscum.

9/03/2010 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I only suggest bearing in mind a caveat of Kierkegaard, what he called the temptingly "beautiful principle," most especially in vertical affairs - that everything is basically the same, which probably would not openly gain a foothold here.

No, of course not. Actually, I think Bob has addressed that quite clearly in the past.

Re. The Sertillanges, I've not read it, though the excerpt from the preface is certainly sound advice. It's probably a good resource. Just going by the reviews, I don't know that I personally would read it, only because it seems to contain a great deal of information I already understand, but that's just me.

The Regensberg address is here.

9/03/2010 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9/03/2010 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Julie,

The book is more than a study plan for the religious. It is a profound and scholarly, and often lyrical discourse on the intrinsic unity of the spiritual and the intellectual, for the benefit of the intellectual practitioner.

If you are familiar with its themes, my hat is off to you.

I note that the preface is written by James Schall, whom I respect but whose prose style does not approach the sublimity of Sertillanges'.

9/03/2010 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(Oops... Joseph, please see replies at end of next post)

(Did I hit 100?)

9/03/2010 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

re modern novelists:
Novels require many words; short stories, well-positioned words.

O´Connor wrote great short stories, as did Wallace Stegner and Peter Taylor.

9/03/2010 05:00:00 PM  

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