Thursday, January 06, 2011

There's One in Every Cloud

That might be the most star power I've ever had in one dream -- a cavalcade of marginal talent, including Jennifer Aniston, Robert Redford, and Sally Field. Why my Dreamer cast those three in particular is something of mystery, but at one point Redford mentioned that Joe Biden had suffered a disabling stroke. My kneejerk reaction was "how can they tell?"

Which I immediately regretted, because I'm not normally like that in mixed company. I live in a liberal state and in a liberal city, and work in a liberal if not completely gay profession. I'm used to stifling my thoughts and maintaining a discrete silence in such a hostile environment, since it is pointless to argue with a liberal. To do so is to not know what a liberal is. Liberalism can only be "awakened from," not argued out of.

Yes, on the blog I often have the needle out, but that's because it is addressed to like-minded people, so it's all in fun. I am not here to argue but to help, and I am not presumptuous enough to imagine that I could help you, of all people. If the blog doesn't benefit you, then there are no hard feelings. You may go your way and zen no more. But many people are attracted to what they hate, thus the trolls. If you search your past, perhaps you may have once been like this yourself -- looking for conflict as a way to externalize your own absence of tranquility.

I know I was. I used to enjoy the bracing sensation of verbal aggression along my keel. In this regard, it is important to examine the feelings one is experiencing amidst aggression, whether it is verbal or physical. You may notice a primitive sensation that is pleasurable even though it is being destructive. Our trolls generally drip this from every pore. Which is why I counsel readers to respond to them with good humor and to always leave a quip, otherwise there is the danger of being enlisted into their angry little drama.

Now, back to our transconscious journey through the hidden arteries of the cosmos to look for the meaning and purpose of free will, which otherwise hangs suspended from our official scientific paradigm like a loose shirttail with no footprints in the air.

Either human freedom is significant, or it is not significant. But if it is not significant, then it is difficult to account for how only the existence of freedom makes possible something as manifestly significant as science.

And how can one promulgate a Science that is unable to justify the necessary conditions for its own practice, i.e., minds that are free to discover truth? If you don't see that freedom and truth are necessary conditions of each other, then you just don't see, period. You are metaphysically blind. I'd say get lost, but you already are. So get found!

Actually, we prefer to employ the word liberty, since mere freedom is neither here nor there. Animals are free of constraint, but so what? We do not advocate a radical bewilderness oddventure in which every spud is free to live in his own private Idaho. Just as knowledge can only exist in a universe of unconditional truth, liberty must be oriented around the Good. Otherwise we merely have the tyrannical freedom discussed by bedwetting existentialists such as Sartre, i.e., a freedom indistinguishable from nothingness.

The whole purpose of traditional metaphysics is to show us what must necessarily be concretely true, despite appearances -- not only what is true in this particular cosmos, but in any hypothetical cosmic maninfestation. Traditional metaphysics deals with the very conditions of existence. Period.

On a deeper level, religion discloses this objective metaphysics through its symbolic forms. The fact that scripture does this in such a way that it transcends whatever its writers thought they were writing about, leads to the conclusion that it is at the very least "inspired," but "revealed" is probably more like it.

Interestingly, Dennis Prager was discussing this the other day, in his "ultimate issues" hour. For the remainder of 2011, he plans to use this hour to explain why the Bible is the wisest book ever written, irrespective of whether one is religious or atheist. Rather, he is going to discuss the book on its own merits, and subject it to the same critique one would any other work of philosophy. (In this regard, his approach is similar to Kass's The Beginning of Wisdom.)

But as we were saying yesterday, if you think about the barbarity of the Hebrew tribes that were handed the Jewish revelation, you know that it couldn't have sprung from the unaided mind of man as such. At best, they could have come up with transparently childlike and speculative myths and fairy tales, not any kind of transcendent wisdom that would fruitfully attract and occupy the sharpest human minds for the subsequent three or four thousand years.

It is difficult to imagine any of the new rabble of atheistic sods expressing a single thought that won't be forgotten just as soon as they're safely beneath the sod, let alone pored over thousands of years from now. In a way, these flatulent earthbounders are just the inevitable shadow given off by the light, parasightless Nietzschean leeches on the inner reaches of primordial speechings and celestial teachings.

Let's look at it -- or listen to it -- this way. Think of the thousands of musical sophisticates who have obtained Ph.D.s in music in the past half century. How many of them have written a single note of music that will be remurmured by thousands of lips hence?

Flatlanders do not see the secret because it is not at the bottom of the cosmos, where they are constrained to live, but at the top. And one cannot disclose its existence by pulverizing matter into smaller and smaller bits with bigger and bigger hammers.

Since existence is a hierarchical manifestation from above, it is as if each level is "stamped" by the level immediately above. As such, there is inevitably some information that is "lost" with each successive level. Thus, the higher can disclose the lower, but the lower can only partially disclose the higher. As we have said, life isn't the secret of DNA; rather, DNA is the secret of life. And sow on and sow on, if you seed what we meme. That's the harvest part.

Do letters cause words, or vice versa? Do words cause sentences? Don't be an idiot. Yes, letters are more "fundamental" than words, in the same way that physics is more fundamental than biology. But to employ Ken Wilber's nomenclature, fundamental does not mean significant. Significance is at the top, not the bottom; or, to be precise, significance is located along the vertical spectrum.

This is why, no matter what you say about the Creator, it is both too much and never enough, because it can't possibly "contain" him without distorting him. Human language can contain what is lower than language, but never what is higher. It can only symbolize or indicate the higher -- which, I might add, is completely adequate for the spiritually normal.

That is to say, the higher dimensions may be spoken of in a poetic, symbolic, elliptical, or suggestive manner, through which the symbol implicitly resonates with much more than we could explicitly say.

I suppose it's somewhat analogous to opera. In opera, the story line is usually rather lame and skeletal. It only hints at the real action, which is taking place on a purely musical level. If the libretto were less lame -- i.e., more saturated and detailed -- this would obscure the much deeper level of transverbal meaning which the music is disclosing.

This, of course, is why Jesus speaks in parables. For one thing, being who he is, he cannot speak in any other way (since his being vastly transcends the human container, which includes language). But even on a purely talktical level, this is the only way to ensure that his words will have a timeless and transcultural relevance. He only says enough so that you may participate in the transcendent reality he is talking about. Say too much, and the listener is stuck in religio-scientific fundamentalist flatland. Say too little and he is alone in a cloud, fruitlessly deepakin' the chopra.

56 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

You're right that argument is pointless. I read comments about the Bible by either my fundamentalist brothers and sisters or by atheists, and I realize, these days, there's really nothing I can say. It's worse -- far worse -- than the first time I tried to read L'Etranger in French. All I had to overcome was the vocabulary. Am I quoting you when I say that scripture can only reveal what we already know?

In opera, the story line is usually rather lame and skeletal.

This is Orson Scott Card's argument against Ulysses being the greatest novel of the 20th century -- i.e., the story is not epic, as opposed to, say, Lord of the Rings which is Card's pick.

1/06/2011 08:20:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Great post.

"I suppose it's somewhat analogous to opera. In opera, the story line is usually rather lame and skeletal. It only hints at the real action, which is taking place on a purely musical level. If the libretto were less lame -- i.e., more saturated and detailed -- this would obscure the much deeper level of transverbal meaning which the music is disclosing."

This is my problem with the movie Inception, if you've seen it. Once you "get it" there's really not much to it. If I were a cynic I might consider they intended to make it so complex as to get you to see it again. Which many did. But really, it is not even lame once you discover the whole thing requires this magical device.. (stopped by Spoiler AlertTM). But I did like the slo-mo scenes.
I suppose this is true of most movies these days - the lame line + epic poses and special effects x infinity.
(Not every movie of course)

1/06/2011 08:29:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"This, of course, is why Jesus speaks in parables. For one thing, being who he is, he cannot speak in any other way (since his being vastly transcends the human container, which includes language)."

This is another mystery/paradox because 1. there are at least two instances in the NT where He does not speak in parables. and 2. I get the feeling that if I looked at these deeper they would still qualify as parables :-)

Also, when you consider just how much He "vastly transcends the human container" is it not a blessed miracle that we can understand Him at all? This is truly a remarkable thing, isn't it? Show me an analogy where a creator can communicate with his creation. And vice versa. I want to say it shouldn't be possible.

1/06/2011 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, that's the beauty of it -- that the absolutely uncontainable manifests in the human container.

1/06/2011 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger jwm said...

I can remember the early days here at OC. Dang, but I loved to get into it, both here, and over at LGF. Not anymore.
We had a modest gathering of friends at Christmas, and during the conversations the inevitable political squabble broke out. I might add that most of my wife's friends and family are progs. The last time this happened (some years back) I jumped in, with both guns blazing. This time I said nothing, and for the exact reason Bob mentioned earlier. It would have done no good, and served only to reinforce the positions that the opposing parties already held.
Similarly, I'm finding that the ongoing culture war has become monumentally tedious. For the life of me I'm sick of the debate.
More, and more I find my idle thoughts wandering into prayer. It seems that every channel of thought runs into this sea of hunger to know God's will.
"Show me the way that you would have me follow. Teach me the path on which you wold have me walk."

word veri says:
crisma

I could use some.

1/06/2011 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

JWM,
Good to hear you.

And yeah, the get-togethers. Same here. Now I sort of just say things like: don't get too hooked on that politician.. it's no place to invest your heart and soul.. nothing to base your life on.. they wouldn't treat you so well..
Things like that. And mostly to the youngins.

1/06/2011 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I read this recently and you just reminded me of it, JWM. You may like it/find it useful:

The Way of a Pilgrim

1/06/2011 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger walt said...

The B'ob sez, "I'm used to stifling my thoughts and maintaining a discrete silence in such a hostile environment, since it is pointless to argue..."

And you are not the first to notice this. Around the year 800, the late Su Cheh, advisor to the Emperor, wrote:
"Though himself unable
to forget the world,
the Sage is able
to let the world forget him."

1/06/2011 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Schuon said something similar, to the effect that the sage doesn't leave the world, rather, the world leaves him. And he rids himself of his ego in order to make a space for God.

1/06/2011 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"If you don't see that freedom and truth are necessary conditions for each other, then you just don't see, period. You are metaphysically blind."

Just a guess, but I'm betting the trol "conflict as a way to externalize your own absence of tranquility" meter pretty much pegged on that line.

1/06/2011 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"Just as knowledge can only exist in a universe of unconditional truth, liberty must be oriented around the Good. Otherwise we merely have the tyrannical freedom discussed by bedwetting existentialists such as Sartre, i.e., a freedom indistinguishable from nothingness."

... or the need fear that freedom must have a cause, in order to escape from it.

Poor dears.

1/06/2011 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I was just thinking that if our rockheaded troll's thoughts are no less free than his beating heart or constricted bladder, why would he bother listening to himself, much less impose his ghastly thoughts on others!

1/06/2011 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"why would he bother listening to himself, much less impose his ghastly thoughts on others!"

WHY indeed? In other words, what CAUSES "him" to do this? ;-)

1/06/2011 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Fascinating...

1/06/2011 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Reminds one of Rainman and the repetitive bleating about underwear and K-mart.

1/06/2011 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And Wapner. Which is an excellent point - if Nagarjuna were ever to realize that he's more than the sum of his parts and therefore can no longer blame any phantom causes for his behavior, he might feel like poor old Raymond when the smoke alarm went off...

"Freedom! Horrible horrible freedom! Aiieee!!"

***

Which is why I counsel readers to respond to them with good humor and to always leave a quip, otherwise there is the danger of being enlisted into their angry little drama.

wv recommends writing with a dimpular expression.

1/06/2011 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Raymond said...

But WHY is he more than the sum of his parts?

1/06/2011 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

:D

Because it can't not be.

1/06/2011 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Holy moly - speaking of keeping one's cool, can you imagine a kosher Jew getting this het up over being asked for a slice of bacon? And what are they doing working at KFC anyway, it isn't halal!

1/06/2011 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"if Nagarjuna were ever to realize that he's more than the sum of his parts and therefore can no longer blame any phantom causes for his behavior, he might feel like poor old Raymond when the smoke alarm went off..."

Julie, I have never maintained that we are only the "sum" of disparate parts, and I don't "blame" anything outside "myself" for "my" behavior, since, ultimately, there is nothing outside "me." However, I DO say that my behavior (and yours) is the inevitable result of my nature (and yours) at the time I (and you) commit it. That is, this nature is the CAUSE of the behavior, and this cause is decidedly NOT "phantom."

1/06/2011 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Riiight.. so...
You are the CAUSE you've been waiting for!

1/06/2011 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"But WHY is he more than the sum of his parts?"

That's not the kind of WHY question I've been asking. That is, I've been asking WHY we will what we will and do what we do, not why a given statement is true.

1/06/2011 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"You are the CAUSE you've been waiting for!"

But my "CAUSE" and its effects are not "free" to be other than they are at the time they occur. And neither are yours or Gagdad's.

1/06/2011 12:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Solid rock.

1/06/2011 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

You mean Dylan's version?

And I won't let go and I can't let go
Won't let go and I can't let go
Won't let go and I can't let go no more

1/06/2011 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

*sigh*

I was going to give a thought out, reasoned response. Then I remembered it would be pointless.

Walt - perfect.

Nags (I hope you don't mind me calling you that; it's not an insult, it's just that your nick is rather long to type out), here's the thing. I, and I'm fairly sure everyone else here, do understand what you're saying. You argue that personal circumstances at any given moment, both internal and external, dictate (or rather, cause) behavior.

We hear you.

Reiterating the point ad nauseum isn't going to make it any more persuasive.

1/06/2011 01:10:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"You argue that personal circumstances at any given moment, both internal and external, dictate (or rather, cause) behavior."

Correct.

"Reiterating the point ad nauseum isn't going to make it any more persuasive."

Correct. But I'm not so much seeking to persuade you to accept what you don't already as to understand your reasoning for not accepting it already. That is, how is my argument incorrect? If it IS incorrect, I want to understand what makes it so.

1/06/2011 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

nags said "I don't "blame" anything outside "myself" for "my" behavior, since, ultimately, there is nothing outside "me.""

"Oh" "I" "see""," "yes" "that" "makes" "perfect" "sense".

sheesh.

1/06/2011 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It is incorrect because you are unable to define correctness -- i.e., truth -- in such manner that it is not determined by something lower. Therefore you have no claim whatsoever upon truth, and there is no reason whatsoever for you to open your piehole or for others to listen to your inanities.

I realize that you don't comprehend this elementary principle, but there it is. Now please go away.

1/06/2011 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - wv says "trying." Yes, just so.

Here's the thing, Nags: I don't think there is any way we can verbalize this so that you will understand. I'm not saying that to be snide, nor facetious, nor to suggest that we are somehow smarter than you. I doubt very much that is the case.

Free will is an essential condition for existence. I cannot put it more simply than that. If you can't see how that's true, nothing I say to expand the point will shed any light on the matter whatsoever.

1/06/2011 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

The proposition that there is no free will is logically consistent. There's no way to break out of the box from within.

But all it took was a little thought about what that would mean for moral accountability to see that that position is untenable.

How do you have free will in a mechanical universe? Answer: you don't. And that's why I enjoy this blog 'cause the insights are deeper than the one question above that set me free.

1/06/2011 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

One might think that these anal rationalists would welcome the liberation afforded them by Gödel, but they prefer their closed little circular world, into which no direct light can enter. Oh well. More room for us.

1/06/2011 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

for a couple opera libretti that read purty deep, [not to mention winning music] I commend the swan songs of Wagner -PARSIFAL- the wounded Grail King and the pure fool who redeems the situation- und Strauss's
CAPRICCIO- A poet and composer vie for a wise Countess's heart.

1/06/2011 02:44:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

jwm Said: "This time I said nothing, and for the exact reason Bob mentioned earlier. It would have done no good, and served only to reinforce the positions that the opposing parties already held."

I once mentioned to my lifelong friend here in my ridiculously lefty college town that I was reading "A Conservative History of the American Left". He looked at me like I had just shot his dog.

Now, he had no idea what the book said, nor did he ask me what I thought of it or whether I agreed or disagreed. No curiosity at all about what my thoughts might be on the subject. This is a man I've known since nursery school. The expectation seemed to be that all "right thinking" people wouldn't read a book from a conservative point of view. It just *isn't* done!

So, it doesn't bode well for discussing non-lefty propositions with anyone else around these parts. So I remain silent and frequently baffled at the inability of most lefties to even think coherently. They can ASSert! And do so with a vengence, but getting them to see the incoherency of their assumptions is nearly impossible.

The same friend once said to me, "it's not like you are going to change anyone's mind". Which I can only take to mean: "you can show me how illogical and irrational I am being, but I am still going to believe the same things, so you might as well stop trying"

What does one say to that!? His wife, far more "bleeding heart" than her husband, recently asked me to stop taking positions contrary to hers and instead just tell her "you're right, that is interesting" (no joke!!). Which I can't do, because--to put it kindly--she never learn to think even in the basic sense. So, I just remain silent.

Or my boss who in response to my bringing up the time square bomber (in relation to his comment how "crazy" things were this past Spring) said, "Well, we had that coming".

So, well...I just remained silent.

As a tactical response it is often a good one, though sometimes I wonder if it's the best strategy overall. Sometimes I am just not so sure.

Still..thank God for One Cosmos, or I'd hardly ever say much of anything about Reality!!

1/06/2011 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

jwm Said: "This time I said nothing, and for the exact reason Bob mentioned earlier. It would have done no good, and served only to reinforce the positions that the opposing parties already held."

I once mentioned to my lifelong friend here in my ridiculously lefty college town that I was reading "A Conservative History of the American Left". He looked at me like I had just shot his dog.

Now, he had no idea what the book said, nor did he ask me what I thought of it or whether I agreed or disagreed. No curiosity at all about what my thoughts might be on the subject. This is a man I've known since nursery school. The expectation seemed to be that all "right thinking" people wouldn't read a book from a conservative point of view. It just *isn't* done!

So, it doesn't bode well for discussing non-lefty propositions with anyone else around these parts. So I remain silent and frequently baffled at the inability of most lefties to even think coherently. They can ASSert! And do so with a vengence, but getting them to see the incoherency of their assumptions is nearly impossible.

The same friend once said to me, "it's not like you are going to change anyone's mind". Which I can only take to mean: "you can show me how illogical and irrational I am being, but I am still going to believe the same things, so you might as well stop trying"

1/06/2011 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

(continued)

What does one say to that!? His wife, far more "bleeding heart" than her husband, recently asked me to stop taking positions contrary to hers and instead just tell her "you're right, that is interesting" (no joke!!). Which I can't do, because--to put it kindly--she never learn to think even in the basic sense. So, I just remain silent.

Or my boss who in response to my bringing up the time square bomber (in relation to his comment how "crazy" things were this past Spring) said, "Well, we had that coming".

So, well...I just remained silent.

As a tactical response it is often a good one, though sometimes I wonder if it's the best strategy overall. Sometimes I am just not so sure.

Still..thank God for One Cosmos, or I'd hardly ever say much of anything about Reality!!

1/06/2011 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Nagarjuna said... "WHY indeed? In other words, what CAUSES "him" to do this?"

I think it has to do with the fact (or truth) that the universe is ultimately personal, meaning that the One who Created it is a Person. So, the reason we "will" something is inherent to personhood. Personhood being the category that answers that question. If you don't believe in God (I don't know your beliefs), then none of this will answer your questions, however.

So the cause of willing something doesn't reduce to a "what", it is traces back to a "who".

(As well, some are a slave to certain impulses/compulsions [for lack of a better term at the moment], which sort of do "cause" things because they [impulses/compulsions] are "in charge" rather than the person.)

1/06/2011 05:16:00 PM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"So the cause of willing something doesn't reduce to a "what", it is traces back to a "who"."

Thank you for your comment, Anna. If I understand you correctly, you're saying that neither conscious nor unconscious desires, motives, values, and so forth cause us to will and do what we do but that it's our transcendent personhood that does it.

But what I continue not to understand is how persons transcend these mental factors and their interconnected biological, social, and cultural contexts so that they are somehow "free" to choose independently of what this vast web of interrelated factors causes.

I'm not saying that human persons are forced by these factors to will and do what they will and do but that they ultimately ARE these factors and that the constellation of these factors at any given time causes a given volition and act that could not be otherwise at that time and with that constellation or web of interrelated factors.

Again, how is a human person MORE than this awesomely vast and complex web of interrelated factors? When a person wills, does she not will based on her desires, values, motives, and so forth? And if so, how is her will not the inevitable result of these interconnected desires, values, and motives (and interconnected biological, social, and cultural conditions giving rise to these desires, values, and motives?

I don't expect you to try to answer what you may well consider to be the nonsensical questions of a pathetically "dense" and foolish troll. I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from in terms of how you understand the nature of the human person and its alleged free will.

I really want to know if I'm as stupid or crazy as some here seem to suggest or else I'd understand what you all seem to understand, and, if so, there's anything I can do to overcome these limitations well enough to at least catch a glimpse of what you understand, or am I making valid points I think I am but they just aren't being acknowledged. And is it possible that we don't really disagree but that we're simply coming at this from such different angles that we can't see how we actually agree?

1/07/2011 12:41:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

It is thought by some that in the afterlife, some are going to praise the Light in song, while others will moan in pain. I have no memory of such a place, but I notice that this is largely how it is in this life, once you see through the words to the thoughts hidden inside them.

Using the same language can make it look as if we are talking about the same things, but that is often not the case.

1/07/2011 02:06:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Alas we are faced with what I call the [political] Abyss--the unbridgeable divide between correct/right Palintological views & left/wrong Obamaniacal ones, dividing communities & families almost like the Civil war.

From the dipshit knowitall humor of 'Sat. Night Live' writers to ugliest castmembers of the View, TV-addled-coddled America seems irretrievably brainwashed, painted into a kooky korner where their interests aren't so far from bombstrapping West-hating fanatics.
[and they consider FOX news, Limbaugh, Palin, TeaPartiers et al to be our real dangerous enemies...]
There do occasionally come surprising beacons of hope from unlikely sources, like finding out 50Cent was pro-GWB...

1/07/2011 02:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought you might find this interesting, it's the Metaphysical Significance of Pi:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/6973806/Metaphysical-Significance-of-Pi

1/07/2011 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Looks intriguing. Unfortunately, the book won't download at the moment, but I've always suspected that there is some cosmic significance to the fact that the most perfect form -- and one associated with God -- can only be described by a number that goes on forever, which means that it cannot actually be contained by number.

1/07/2011 07:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anujragan said...

Nagarjuna: your conclusion is absurd because your premises are childish. Simple as.

Tip: clearly articulate and defend your first principle instead of unconsciously assuming it. This is what it means to "think." If you manage to accomplish this, you will understand that you are just blathering on about your inane assumptions and pretending they're conclusions. This is called "not thinking," or "mental masturbation."

1/07/2011 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger Nagarjuna said...

"your conclusion is absurd because your premises are childish."

What "premises" are those?

"clearly articulate and defend your first principle instead of unconsciously assuming it."

What "first principle" am I "unconsciously assuming" instead of articulating and defending?

1/07/2011 07:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anujragan said...

Precisely.

1/07/2011 07:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anujragan said...

Now stop masturbating and get to work.

1/07/2011 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Jack said "So, well...I just remained silent. As a tactical response it is often a good one, though sometimes I wonder if it's the best strategy overall. Sometimes I am just not so sure."

I am. It's not. I fully understanding discretion being the better part of valor, especially with family and work, but I do not let gratuitiously leftist comments go unaddressed, and few others either.

Doesn't mean I get into arguments with family & co-workers (at least not unless they show a willingness (and some ability) to engage), and yes it has led to some awkward moments, especially at work, but I will not let them pass. I don't think we can afford to.

You never know who might be listening, who it might be repeated to, or even what drawing attention to an unexamined assumption might effect in that person themselves later on.

There's the saying that God spends most of his time and effort arranging meetings... do you accept them... or let them pass and wither away?

1/07/2011 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

wv: sonishen

I'll take it! ...Son is hen.

"...how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing." Luke 13:34


Just a small quip, separate as it may be (or, on second thought, may NOT be!) from the comments.

1/07/2011 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The Greek word for One is hen.

1/07/2011 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Nagarjuna,

Thank you for your reply.

"...but that they ultimately ARE these factors and that the constellation of these factors at any given time causes a given volition and act that could not be otherwise at that time and with that constellation or web of interrelated factors."

It may be that you are focusing on the means by which the Creator decided to allow (or make) the interconnection between spirit and matter. There is an "I" though, which comes from being made in the image of God. Each person is an individual point of identity; humans have souls. I don't know if this answers your question, however.

Nearby work chatter in the room (I haven't quite started my workday yet) hinders a better reply. But this is a direction that I see your questions pointing toward, at least.

It seems like you are at odds with limits, taking them to discount the existence of anything unlimited -- i.e. since there is something limited (such as circumstances), it means there is nothing unlimited. You could also ask, if there is something unlimited, is it possible for there to also be things that are limited? But the whole point of Christ (what he did) is that He has overcome the limited.

1/07/2011 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Nagarjuna,

(The quote again...)

"...but that they ultimately ARE these factors and that the constellation of these factors at any given time causes a given volition and act that could not be otherwise at that time and with that constellation or web of interrelated factors."

I could also say that it is exactly NOT as you describe, but that you describe how it is not, very well.

1/07/2011 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Uncle Buck to Maizy:

"If the object ofthe game were
to get the ball as close to the pins without knocking any ofthem over you would be champion of the world.

- Really?

- Really."

This is somewhat like the game of bowling you can find postmodernists/materialists playing. Kind of neat, but no crash, bang, jump, hurrah! No strike, no spare... Just a rolling ball that goes right up to the front pin and stops.

1/07/2011 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

Van-

You are right, there is just too much at stake to remain silent. Someone choosing to be deluded in their own private Idaho is one thing, but the lefty-postmodern delusion can and does find it's way into pretty much everything from the simplest assumptions of what life is (or isn't) to the most momentous decisions about what are civilization stands for (or fails to stand).

I would welcome any thoughts, suggestions on engaging leftism in others when one is pretty much SURROUNDED by nothing else (i.e. I live in a lefty college town). There are no reinforcements and I can't count on any allies. If I start down that road, I can't count on anyone to back me up. I may possibly even lose friends over it.

So I try to chip away, break down incoherent assumptions little by little. Skirmishes against a larger opposition. Socratic guerrilla tactics rather than full scale logical assault.

I am pretty sure I am hardly making a dent. I must admit that I hesitate to up the ante.

1/07/2011 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Jack, it's a good question. Seems to me, though, that as frustrating as it is quite often the slow and subtle approach is best. Also, as much as possible, living according to your ideals. That way, your life can be your testimony without you having to say much of anything. People notice, even if not always consciously. And if what they see about you is appealing, they might be more likely to listen to your occasional words of wisdom.

Re. not letting the madness go unaddressed, I got into that sort of conversation with the niece this Christmas. Somehow the general discussion turned to the problems of the 4-2-1 population model; she declared that it was a good thing. Fortunately, we have a good family dynamic and the debate went over without any malice whatsoever, and I hope that some of what I had to say stuck with her. But a part of that sticking, I think, is that even though my perspective is different we still respect each other and were both trying to understand the truth about some complex topics. Had we not known that about each other going into it, the discussion could have easily become an angry one.

1/07/2011 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Julie-

Thank you for your thoughtful response.

When at a friend's Christmas party a few weeks back there was the unavoidable contingent of more stridently deluded leftists there. After professing their HATE (their words) for Obama (which *isn't* racist, of course, when they oppose his views) they started in on how we live in a "totalitarian society".

I have to admit I almost started in with the lot of them. Here are some of the most privileged human beings the world has ever known, able to say what they want, "think" what they want, do what they want, live how they want to a degree unimaginable in any other society.

But because their own *minority* agenda (20% of the population is, supposedly, "progressive") is stymied by the the fact that most people, in a *democracy* mind you, do not agree with them is taken a proof of an "oppressive society". This was almost too much to bear.

Somehow not being able to force things down other people's throats is indicative of some kind of injustice in their eyes.

But I decided to ignore them and enjoy the people at the party.

GB is right, leftism is not something that can be argued out of but must be awoken from. Though I see little chance of that round these part.

1/07/2011 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

parts.

1/07/2011 06:56:00 PM  

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