Sunday, July 24, 2011

Being Liberal Means Always Having to Say You're Sordid

For this morning's repast of a repost, we have chosen an easy-to-digest morsel from three years back. It will be pure rewordgitation for longtimeless readers, but may be of some assistance to new readers as well as long-time obsessives who, no matter how many posts they read, don't understand where we are coming from. (Some light editing, including use of the royal We, because we think it's somehow funnier that way.)

Alright, let's resolve this thing once and for all. 200,000 years is long enough for anyone to have to live in darkness about his origins. How do we reconcile God and Darwin, Maher and Godwin, Adam and evolution, kings and apes, Elvis and Scatter?

Let us preface this by emphasizing that we are perfectly willing to adopt what science determines to be "true" -- within unbreachable metaphysical limits, of course -- for the same reason we are willing to accept the advice of our doctor that if we do not take insulin, we will surely cash in our chimp.

Put it thisaway. As it so happens, our mother was a Christian Scientist, and we attended Christian Science Sunday school until the age of 10 or so. In fact, one might say that our mother was a devout Christian Scientist, with the exception of the Christian Science part.

That is, when we left the plane of theological abstraction for the world of concrete reality, we took medicine and went to the doctor just like anyone else -- in fact, more so; our mother was a bit of a hypochondriac by proxy. Frankly, there was no attempt whatsoever to reconcile what we heard in Sunday school with what went on the rest of the week, especially if, say, we had a fever of 98.7, in which case it was off to the doctor.

Which undoubtedly played a role in sowing the seeds of religious doubt in our mind, being that we became a vocal atheist by the age of complete ensoulment, or somewhere between the ages of nine or ten.

In our case, the "Christian" indoctrination completely backfired, as it was one of the primary reasons for our rejection of it. Obviously, we are not alone in this regard. The absence of elementary consistency was abundantly evident even to this nine year-old, and a healthy mind seeks unity above all else. It is what the mind does and what it is for. It can also, of course, analyze into parts, but always for the purpose of synthesizing things into a higher and more complex unity. Only a psychotic person prefers to live in a hopelessly sundered world of bizarre and irreconcilable fragments.

The other day, a fellow named Rush Limbaugh made an astute observation, suggesting that the reason Obama is reduced to such a stuttering prick (to quote Tommy DeVito) when off the teleprompter, is that he is a deeply divided person, either consciously or unconsciously (and undoubtedly both, in our opinion). He is the polar opposite of, say, Ronald Reagan, who always knew what he thought and could answer any question, for it was simply a matter of returning to well thought-out first principles and applying them to the problem in question. Very scientific, if you will. (What he could do about these principles was, of course, constrained by certain realities such as a liberal congress dedicated to expansion of the state.)

But one of the intrinsic problems in being a liberal -- as we well remember -- is that one can never reveal one's first principles (at least politicians cannot; those protected by tenure are free to remove the mask), because if one explicitly articulates them, people will be repelled at what a contemptuous, condescending, supercilious, and authoritarian asshat of a control freak one is.

Therefore, one must always couch these principles in terms of "compassion," or "helping the little guy," or "healing the planet," or "unity," or some other such blather. So in this regard, Obama is dealing with a more general problem that is intrinsic to liberalism, which is How to Fool the Idiots. One must be very cautious, because even the idiots are only so stupid. Thus Obama's constant verbal ticks: "uh, uh, uh, let me, uh, say this, uh, uh, I've been completely, uh, consistent about this, aaaaaaaaaand blah blah blah."

Being that liberalism is the political embodiment of multiplicity (or of an oppressive "bad unity" to try to heal it), it should not be surprising that its adherents are so intrinsically inconsistent. It's not so much that they are dishonest, but that the whole ideology is dishonest -- it is a lie from the ground up. Which is also why, the worse one's character (e.g., Ted Kennedy, Anthony Wiener, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd) or the less one's intelligence (Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Joe Biden), the better one will fare as a liberal politician, because one will be able to lie with such great ease as to even fool oneself.

Anyway, in Mr. Limbaugh's analysis, he was pointing out that Obama is running several campaigns simultaneously, and that it is obviously a struggle for him to keep them all straight in his head, thus the great difficulty in being consistent and giving straight answers. Because of this, he is always one gaffe away from an accidental revelation of truth. For example, he's running one campaign for blacks, but an entirely different one for whites. (Here is a partial list of the various irreconcilable positions which Obama must hopelessly try to keep straight in his crooked mind.)

Our point is that in the ultimate sense, science is the reduction of exterior multiplicity to interior or subjective unity. But the only reason this is possible is because the human intellect mirrors the unity of creation. Our mind operates the way it does because we live in a cosmos, which is to say, an ordered totality.

And the cosmos can only be an ordered totality because it exhibits nonlocal internal relations. Because of this, every part of the cosmos embodies and participates in the whole, just as every gene contains the blueprint for the whole body, and everyman is potentially allmen. Again, the cosmos is thoroughly entangled with itself, which is why we may know anything and also why we may know anything knowable. It is how and why Man may be the microcosmos he is to the macrocosmos.

Now, metaphysics is obviously about first principles. Our intention is to have a completely consistent metaphysic, so that, in order to answer any question, we need only return to first principles, and take it from there. In this sense, Darwinism (unleavened with any verticality) is a lie, because it cannot furnish any consistent first principles. In fact, whenever a committed Darwinist tries, he ends up making self-refuting statements right out of the box, just like a liberal politician; one cannot be a champion of human dignity and materialism any more than one can be a partisan of statism and liberty.

"Young earth" creationism makes the same sort of error, in that it contradicts so much evidence that in order to maintain it, one will essentially have to split one's mind in two. One will live in a scientific world with all of its blessings, and yet, a part of oneself will have to reject it, or at least not be able to fully integrate it into one's belief system. We do not believe the Creator wishes us to live this way, with the left brain not knowing what the right brain is up to.

The other day we half-jokingly mentioned that our right brain agrees with Schuon about evolution, while our left brain agrees with Aurobindo (or Teilhard, if you like). One of Bion's adages (which he borrowed from someone else) is that the answer is the disease that kills curiosity. In the case of our bʘʘk, we have posted in the past about how it was essentially the fruit of years spent in the state of higher bewilderness, essentially trying to beat this coonundrum of Adam and evolution. In a sense, it would be easy to just come down on one side or the other, and make it go away.

But for us to do this, we would feel as if we were back to the di-polar life of a doctor-shopping Christian Science hypochondriac. For better or worse and 'til death do us whole, the way our minds are built, they seek an integrated unity, which is a very different thing from "unicity," or bland, flatland uniformity.

In other words, to simply accept an ideology -- whether scientific or religious -- and superimpose it upon the world would be an example of unicity. Such a worldview will be "consistent" but it will not be complete, as it will necessarily have to omit and underlook a lot of details and anomalies, to put it mildly.

Or, we may accept both science and religion, and not worry about the lack of reconciliation. Such a world view will be more complete, but it will then lack consistency.

The Raccoon, however, wishes to have a maximum of completeness and consistency -- at least as much as Gödel will allow. Which is a lot, once one accepts the implications of his theorems, one of which is that truth is prior to our fragmentary logical "proofs" of it.

The point is, there must be a deeper way to harmonize revelation and science. But the only way to arrive at this is to dwell in the bewilderness and actually ratchet up the tension, as opposed to prematurely resolving it. The same thing applies to psychotherapy, at least as Bion envisioned it.

For example, a therapist might have a pretty good idea of what is going on with a patient after the very first session. But it won't do the patient any good to simply provide him the answer, which would essentially foreclose the evolution of O by superimposing mere (k) upon it.

Rather, what one wants to happen is for O to evolve into genuine (k) in the patient; it is the difference between (k)-->Ø and O-->(k). In order to accomplish the latter, one must exercise Yeats, I mean Keats, "negative capability," which is to dwell in "uncertainties, mysteries, and doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."

If one does this long enough, one will eventually "snap." Now, being that a Raccoon is an extreme seeker and off-road spiritual aspirant, one might say that he wants the ultimate spiritual adventure. Therefore, he will constantly feed his head with inconsistencies and contradictions until it basically implodes in an inverted but even Bigger Bang than the one at the other end.


Blogger julie said...

Therefore, he will constantly feed his head with inconsistencies and contradictions until it basically implodes in an inverted but even Bigger Bang than the one at the other end.

Would that be the Big Foop?

7/24/2011 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Maybe the gnaB giB.

7/24/2011 09:38:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Now I'm reminded of this timeless scene...

7/24/2011 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Hoosiernorm said...

I'm curious Gbob where to you put Julian Jaynes in this equation?

7/24/2011 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Not sure. He may have had a piece of the truth, but I think he over-interpreted his data.

7/24/2011 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Speaking of Obama's contradictory positions and matters medical, inhalers are being thrown under the bus. Because all those kids trying to breathe are totally destroying the ozone layer.

7/24/2011 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

The other day, a fellow named Rush Limbaugh made an astute observation

Yea, Limbaugh made an observation the other day that the government had invented "heat index" measurements as a conspiracy to make people believe in global warming.

I'm really glad you've got people like Limbaugh and Beck on your side: uneducated, drug addicts, college drop outs, bigots, paranoid conspiracy theorists. Limbaugh once said, "Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country" - before he was arrested for drugs and doctor shopping, even after receiving treatment for drug addiction. Beck, a one semester college drop out, said he smoked pot every day of his life for 15 years.

(Compare with Rachel Maddow: 3 sport HS athlete, Rhodes Scholar, PhD from Oxford).

Limbaugh - definitely your speed, Bob.

7/24/2011 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Darn, I was hoping you really meant it when you said you didn't give a shit anymore.

7/24/2011 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I just can't bring myself to fully trust a man who has never partaken of mind-altering substances. Child of the '60s, I suppose....

7/24/2011 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Does alcohol count?

7/24/2011 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, in a slackramental context of time dilation.

7/24/2011 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

A few years ago a UCLA professor wrote a book suggesting that human beings have an innate drive to alter their consciousness, which I believe to be the case. The key is to recognize it and deal with it in a sensible way, just as in the case of any other drive. (For example, I believe all the research shows that teetotalers are less healthy than moderate drinkers.)

7/24/2011 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger William said...

I just can't bring myself to fully trust a man who has never partaken of mind-altering substances.

I'm with you there Bob, but in Limbaugh's case, Oxycotin aka "hillbilly heroin" .... doesn't quite make it into my book of 'mind expanding' drugs.

7/24/2011 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

So what drugs do you and Rachel Maddow do to stay so in touch with reality?

7/24/2011 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

You were born before the drug war.

"Drugs are evil".

Got it.

"People who use drugs need to be severely puinished because they are inherently evil."

Makes sense to me.

7/24/2011 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

I wouldn't be setting state sprint records at my age if I used any drugs.

All in the spirit of adolescent discovery, (Huxley's "Doors..." and all that). However, some people never grew up.

7/24/2011 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You've obviously never met a professional athlete.

7/24/2011 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Reminds me of what Pat Boone might have told John Lennon: "I wouldn't be making such great music if I used drugs, like you."

7/24/2011 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Sorry dude, I'm off to the Nationals ths week. They drug test.... as they do in all major track and field competitions.

BTW... the average life span for an NFL player is 55. 52 for a lineman. Not an example to follow.

7/24/2011 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Major? Major is open to all humans, not just geezers.

7/24/2011 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I mean, I'm a sports fan, but I don't want to watch old men play basketball or baseball, either.

7/24/2011 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Readers, help me out here. I'm trying to understand the mentality of someone who brags about running faster than the other old coots in Tennessee.

7/24/2011 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Never mind, I think I figured it out. Tennessee is the fourth fattest state in the nation, down from #2 last year.

7/24/2011 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

He can run faster that I could ever run.

I think my fastest 100m was still over 15 seconds.

And I never ran the 400m in under a miunute.

And than was back when I was 18 and in good shape.

7/24/2011 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Indeed. A modest thing, but thine own.

7/24/2011 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

Readers, help me out here. I'm trying to understand the mentality of someone who brags about running faster than the other old coots in Tennessee.

Yea, you're right no biggie, I won the state finals by only about 50 meters over the second place guy. Next time you go to a local high school track meet and watch their best 400m sprinters, check out their times. Then imagine a 51 yr old running a 400m race in under 55 sec. That's called nationally elite.

You get what you pay for, some would prefer to ride the couch and get fat.... thats why TN is a FAT Red State... like most conservative states.... obesity rules.

7/24/2011 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

I move that we formally acknolwedge William as a nationally elite OneCosmos troll.

Anyone second?

7/24/2011 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Maddow...Maher...Matthews---MAMA! what beauty, what brains, what bod's! what lily-liver lefty loozers to lead the lost libs of Looneytuneville...
Whereas your MahaRushie is a proven hero, one of the greatest white drug takers ever [along w/ fellow east Missouri boy/genius, Wm. Burroughs] Limbaugh was flying high and doing his history-making R-A-D-I-O show stone deaf before letting listeners know [it was not detectable]---what a man, what a feat!! -a Force of Nature [Maddow et al but a source of Manure]

7/24/2011 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Back when I was in high school there was a peculiar type of boy who wasn't good at real sports, but devoted himself to running in an obsessive way -- very much unlike, say, a running back who also happened to be a great sprinter. I knew several of them. I always wonder the same thing about anyone who engages in a "sport" that signifies nothing but a kind of disciplined drudgery, like cross country running or long distance swimming. It strikes me as a kind of autistic ritual, since it is otherwise so meaningless.

7/24/2011 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Drudgery - yes, that's about right if memory serves. In high school, I did track and swim team - badly, I might add, since I desperately needed one of those aforementioned inhalers, but didn't know it. Coaches liked me because I would do the long races the other kids wouldn't.

There was a certain meditative quality to the whole thing, but overall it really wasn't very fun. It was a way to get moving, since I was neither enough of a team player nor enough of an athlete in general to be any good at the real team sports.

7/24/2011 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

If you only have endurance and no other athletic skills, then at least running track gives you some sort of exercies.

I suppose I could have played baseball, but suffering through six years of that basically being incompentent, I wasn't really endeard to that sport.

I stopped running after high school because it was really, really boring.

Track does signify nothing.

Although team sports in general signify unpleasantness and pain to me. It's going to be hard to deal with the entire sports thing with my son, given that I dislike them and, if I am forced to attend them, I just look at my watch waiting for the game to be over.

7/24/2011 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't think sports is the problem. You always sound clinically depressed.

7/24/2011 02:13:00 PM  
Blogger William said...

I agree about long distance running. I busted my butt back in '08 to get my 5k time down into the mid 19s. Despite winning a few minor races, it wasn't worth it. The 30+ miles a week of training was drudgery and my knee started breaking down. Sprinting is a whole body sport. It involves power and low impact running (on the balls of the feet). I recommend it if you've got the gift, fitness, and athletic foundation. You can compete at any age. Masters athletes can participate for life. Note: 100% flat out sprinting is about the most risky and violent physical act one can do with the body, training has to be very careful and intelligent.

Take the path less traveled. As I tell beginning guitarists, endeavor to progress beyond simple strumming. You only go around once.

7/24/2011 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

If I know my audience, they're just dying for some straight talk about geriatric running.

7/24/2011 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

As opposed to non-clinical depression? Possibly permanent dysthymia, I suppose.

This is probably one of those days I just should jsut keep my fingers shut and read the PTSD notes that are in front of me.

But yeah, I need to fix my mood.

7/24/2011 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's not rocket science.

7/24/2011 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

By which I mean that in the 21st century it is completely unnecessary to live with depression.

7/24/2011 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Think ACORN is de-clawed/de-funded/de-balled? think

7/24/2011 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

"a "sport" that signifies nothing but a kind of disciplined drudgery, like cross country running or long distance swimming. It strikes me as a kind of autistic ritual, since it is otherwise so meaningless."

This is my oldest brother. Ultramarathoner. 100 milers. 24-hour events even. Countless of these he's been in and 100 time an hundred that in "training". Huge ego. What people will do to themselves for pride. You wouldn't believe what he's discarded over this pride. Or rather, who.

7/24/2011 04:05:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

Chronic anger, too. It's really annoying when you wake up in the middle of the night yelling in anger. Wakes up the whole house.

I've always been an intense competitive ball of stress.

Last week, I screamed out "the only opinion that matters to me is mine!" I definitely remember that dream.

I was then accused of having narcissitic dreams.

7/24/2011 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


I hear ya'. Very few athletes aren't damaged by the process of becoming one, since they have to exclude so much of themselves to focus on what amounts to a stupid human trick. Then again, maybe they had no other powers to develop anyway. Some people are warriors, which is fine. After I read Ball Four, I would have given anything to be a professional baseball player. But since then I've adopted the Bo Diddley philosophy: "I don't need to do it 'cause I got you doin' it."

7/24/2011 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And that might imply that I am demeaning warriors, but at least warriors use their gift for a higher good, whereas athletics has mostly devolved to self-glorification.

7/24/2011 04:36:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

Bob says:

"Very few athletes aren't damaged by the process of becoming one, since they have to exclude so much of themselves to focus on what amounts to a stupid human trick."

I wonder if this applies to doctors, lawyers, and accountants.

7/24/2011 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, to a certain extent. All fallen men feel a need to prove themselves to others, whether through money, power, athletic prowess, looks, etc.

7/24/2011 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Better to say "vital men," or men on the vital plane, since we're all fallen...

7/24/2011 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Very few athletes aren't damaged by the process of becoming one, since they have to exclude so much of themselves to focus on what amounts to a stupid human trick.

Reminds me of a photo Vanderleun had up on his Tumblr page a week or so back, it was a close-up of the leg of one of the Tour de France riders: the veins were so over-developed, it looked like he had nest of worms living under his skin. Grotesque, and made me wonder if it was worth it.

7/24/2011 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

some of the best exercise available is maracas-playing!


7/24/2011 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

Plus, there's always that old saw...

"Specialization is for insects."

7/24/2011 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

If it was just the running it would be one thing. The ego I think is not really the cause.
Anyway, you say athlete, but in his case he's just willing to punish himself more than most people. That's his talent. He may do well "for his age".
You think the training is boring. You should go watch a marathon.
I don't get the "prove to myself stuff" all that much. To be honest. Maybe since seeing him do it in exchange for what he's given up. I wish he cared one tenth as much about the latter. You may be on to something with the autistic ritual, Bob. I see it in his other ways.

7/24/2011 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Reminds me of that crack by Schuon about the motives of the base man, in comparison to the more elevated man who does things first so as to avoid displeasing God, and eventually to glorify him. I vividly remember when the former came on line quite unexpectedly and with great force. J'accuse! The latter has been more gradual.

7/24/2011 05:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I also remember reading somewhere that in order to be a man, one must do something, know something, or be something (or someOne, to be precise). It's similar to the caste system, with the saints at the high end, as their accomplishment pertains to pure (and proper) being. And we all benefit from their attainment much more than the profane man can ever realize.

7/24/2011 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To say nothing of their spiritual athleticism....

7/24/2011 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

"I vividly remember when the former came on line quite unexpectedly and with great force."

I'd like to hear more about it. These are my favorite.

7/24/2011 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I'm sure I posted about it. Can't remember when.

7/24/2011 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Quite the chuckle fest in the comments today.

I've always been kinda repulsed by the people who are so obsessive about one particular skill or ability... 'I can do x in 7n's! Can you? Can you?! I Can!', whether it be sport or fat index... it's just really weird.

Which I suppose explains willian's compulsion.

I did actually make one record though, kind of accidentally, in high school: the standing broad jump. I had to do it for whatever reason in P.E. & it blew the coach away... he had me do it officially and it set the record which I think still stood through graduation.

He tried to get me to join track, but discipline... not to mention showing up daily early in the morning, or afternoon, to be bored and physically tormented... didn't fit my M.O.

I was a pretty quick sprinter... I don't know what my times were, but I always caught the guy I was chasing, so....

No wv, that never caught my interest either, again, going out of my way to experience pain for some supposed benefit after... thanks, but no thanks.

7/24/2011 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"Now, metaphysics is obviously about first principles. Our intention is to have a completely consistent metaphysic, so that, in order to answer any question, we need only return to first principles, and take it from there"

Bingo. It's amazing the lengths people will go to deny the need for identifying their metaphysics and first principles. It is always pretty amusing though, if you can get them to engage in it, as they watch all their 'smart' positions crumble beneath the answers they can't avoid giving.

I did engage in a bit of that from the Left vs Right point of view yesterday, seemed necessary after the Norway 'Right Winger!' mess.

Look (and look out) for amazing political theater over the next two weeks.

7/24/2011 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

". All fallen men feel a need to prove themselves to others, whether through money, power, athletic prowess, looks, etc."

Compeition has a touch of murder to it, Bob.

There comes a time for all mature people that they realize it and understand it is really only for children and young adults - until they 'come of age' and realize it for what it is.

When I do 'compete', it is a social thing (as it was for the 'gentleman' of bygone eras) where I am in it more for fun, comraderie, and a few laughs.

Playing for 'Blood' when you are older is... unseemly... and embarrassing to watch.

7/25/2011 03:03:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Norway madness

7/25/2011 04:59:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

My former law partner played for "blood".

He particulary liked going after judges and attorneys, preferably stripping them of their juducial position and/or law license.

It was competition combined with punishment.

Not sure what I think about that one. It did have the net result of helping people.

My personal problem was always acadameic/intellectual competition as bloodsport.

Now there's a strange combination.

7/25/2011 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, once you see through the game, it's impossible to take it seriously, whether one is an atheist or a believer. I did by the time I was 18 or so, which is precisely why I plunged into existentialism with both feet. Then, only after seeing existentialism through to its end, was I able to come full circle, back to reality. But in any case, I didn't go in for half measures, but always sought consistency.

7/25/2011 06:45:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In short, I find it impossible to take seriously the silly things most other people take seriously, and I take seriously things that are of no importance to most people (or to which they pay lip service). Thus, in a way, existentialism was a kind of helpful training for spiritual athleticism, i,e., verticalisthenics and gymnostics. Haven't read much Kierkegaard, but I've heard him referred to as a "Christian existentialist."

7/25/2011 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"I find it impossible to take seriously the silly things most other people take seriously, and I take seriously"


7/25/2011 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

My brother suffers from Uncle Rico's Disease.
Maybe we all do to varying degrees.

7/25/2011 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And the pressure to be like the Others is intense, which, I think, is one of the benefits of our anti-cult of individuals. One of the things I work on with the Boy is the ability to resist this ubiquitous Pressure to conform. If one doesn't master it, one ends up either a conformist or an annoying, knee-jerk non-conformist, or rebel, but not oneself.

7/25/2011 07:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Uncle Rico's Disease. Excellent.

7/25/2011 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think I just found a way to tie this into today's post. Must bear down!

7/25/2011 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Uncle Rico would make a poor existentialist. Regret for the life one has lived and the choices one has made is perhaps its one grave sin. Rather, we must burn off the present, with no remainder.

7/25/2011 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

We Interrupt These Comments for a OneCosmos Breaking News Update...

...reports are coming in that the Norwegian Mass-Killer incorporated writings from Little Green Footballs into his manifesto....

...more later...

7/25/2011 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

We knew that already. Charles is frantically trying to distance himself, which is unnecessary, since the man was obviously crazy.

7/25/2011 07:19:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Saw a good movie this weekend, which relates in a way with Uncle Rico's Disease. Movie is Midnight in Paris. I think you would like it Bob. Reminds of an issue you have with Schuon.

7/25/2011 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger nightfly said...

I don't know about running, except that I enjoyed the exercise when I biked everywhere and would like to bike again now that I'm older and more sloped around the middle than is my wont.

But I have considerably mellowed as far as my atheltics are concerned... I no longer berate myself ferociously for errors, though I'm still nettled some. I hate disappointing teammates. Ironically, playing on lower-level teams (and out of position, since I'm a goalie by custom) has done more than anything else to treat the condition. For one thing, I'm clearly not going to set the world on fire out of the nets; for another, the goalie we do have seems to have mastered this lesson that I needed so dearly. Most of the team is further along than I am, in fact, but the goalie has peace that surpasseth all understanding. I think I'm finally learning not to try to understand it.

7/25/2011 12:49:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

A little friendly competition can be a good and healthy thing, and of course sports have all sorts of great benefits. It's when one's entire identity is wrapped up in winning or clobbering the competition (especially beyond a certain age) that it becomes problematic.

I'm reminded of an uncle of mine who had a talent for ruining almost any competitive family activity because he was always too wrapped up in winning. When he lost a game, he almost invariably lost his temper, and his "wins" were often at the expense of someone else's well-being - as often one of the kids in the family as not.

7/25/2011 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0010 said...

"My personal problem was always acadameic/intellectual competition as bloodsport." (JP)

" Thus, in a way, existentialism was a kind of helpful training for spiritual athleticism, i,e., verticalisthenics and gymnostics." (Bob)

Yea. I guess when it comes to the 'Truth' I take no prisoners either. But for me it is ruthless yet double-edged where _I_ am not out to win as an individual, but to find out the 'Truth' (If someone brings forth to me an unrefutable truth that I have overlooked and undermines my position on a given subject, it becomes part of me and my world view).

But the TRUTH is real and transcendental, whereas a silly game is local and provincial given only for the gratification of the individual and perhaps my ego (if I am a small enough man).

What is important, I think, is to figure out what IS real and transcendent and focus your energies on those ideas and things and ...people in your life. After all, life is short.

Very short.


The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled."

7/26/2011 01:50:00 AM  

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