Friday, January 18, 2013

At Play in the Fields of the Real

Again, realism begins with the world and with the object. Conversely, all forms of idealism begin with the subject, but we can never "extract an ontology from an epistemology" (Gilson), only more thoughts. Hence the adage "publish or perish," since idealist thought perishes if it fails to keep one step ahead of reality by making new forays into absurdity.

There is no middle ground between these two positions. It is reminiscent of Jesus' statements about swords, goats, and sheep. As Gilson puts it, the Cogito -- I think therefore I am -- "is manifestly disastrous as a foundation for philosophy," as it leads -- and ends -- precisely nowhere (or nowhere real, which amounts to the same thing).

Gilson quotes Whitehead, who properly observed that "When you find your theory of knowledge won't work, it's because there is something wrong with your metaphysics." And in the case of idealism, writes Gilson, "nothing works." It "can only be overcome by dispensing with its very existence." Perish, then publish.

Here are some florid but typical examples of idealist pneumapathology, via some imbecilic tweets by Deepak. They are all completely jassackwords: "Your senses send electrical information to your brain. Your consciousness converts it into a material universe." "Your world reflects your brain, which reflects your mind, which reflects your soul." "You create your past & future now."

None of these silly poses can be sustained in any consistent way, as they will eventually reveal insurmountable contradictions. Again, as Gilson says, "The first step on the realist path is to recognize that one has always been a realist," the second "to recognize that, however hard one tries to think differently, one will never manage to."

In short, get over your infantile omniscience and realize that there is a real world beyond the control of your thoughts. But no one ever went broke selling infantile omniscience to new age dupes and religious illiterates.

I might add that -- Deepak's nauseating self-righteousness to the contrary -- no ethic is possible in the absence of a prior reality. That is to say, all ethical behavior is founded upon accurate perception of reality. We can only do the right thing if we first see rightly. But if reality is just a function of our perceptions, then so too is morality.

For example, if I insist in the teeth of all evidence to the contrary that there is no fundamental distinction between animals and human beings, this has ethical implications that are devastating in their consequences.

Naturally there are different levels of reality disclosed by the mind, but this hardly means they are a function of mind. At first glance, writes Gilson, reality "is immediately given to us in a kind of block form." But perhaps the most astonishing thing about this "block" is its endless intelligibility, no matter how deeply we dig into it.

One critical point to bear in mind -- and one which prevents all manner of metaphysical mischief -- is that we are clearly contingent, and yet, we participate in absoluteness. How is this possible? It is only possible because we are created in the image of God. Absent that creative nexus, then metaphysics falls apart, because there is no way for the contingent to know the necessary.

Here is a clear example of the left and right brain differences we've been discussing. For Thomas, writes, Gilson, the singular is apprehended while things are being sensed, while "the universal is grasped while things are being understood."

Only the singular is concretely real, and it is precisely this concrete reality that is experienced by the right brain -- say, a particular tree. But the left brain seems to specialize in extracting the essence from the experience, and coming up with the abstract category of "treeness."

Gilson suggests that "in a sense, all of modern thought goes back to that winter's night in 1619, when, shut up inside a stove in Germany, Descartes conceived the idea of a universal mathematics." While some believe it was just a mild case of carbon monoxide poisoning, Descartes' method nevertheless spread like a kitchen fire, soon enough resulting in "the substitution of a limited number of clear ideas, conceived as the true reality, for the concrete complexity of things." In short, the left brain had muscled aside the right.

Whitehead is all over this fallacy in his Science and the Modern World. The fallacy results in a world drained of qualities -- or of qualities being reduced to the secondary phenomena of a purely quantitative world.

No such simplification is possible with a realist view. Again, since we start with the object as it is, it clearly manifests all sorts of features and levels that cannot be reduced to mere quantity, such that "several concepts are are required to express the essence of a single thing, according to the the number of points of view it studies it from."

And even then, the simplest thing we will ever encounter can never be known in its totality, as if we are God.

Rather, everything is inexhaustible in its richness and depth. There is an important orthoparadox at work here, in that the same factor that makes things intelligible at all -- God -- makes them not intelligible in their totality. Remove our Divine Sponsor from the equation and we literally end in a kind of omniscient stupidity, a la Deepak, for if we create reality with our mind, there is no such thing as reality.

In short, for the realist "every substance as such is unknown, because it is something other than the sum of the concepts we extract from it." You could call it the potent ignorance which grounds the fertile egghead.

All of this, of course, has deadly political consequences, so it is certainly no coincidence that Deepak is such a hate-drenched leftist. Specifically, once we detach ourselves from reality, it follows that we no longer know what the individual is or what he is for.

The result is a monadic individual who exists only for himself -- this is the selfish and amoral side of leftism -- and the need for a leviathan state to control all these selfish and amoral monads. This ends in a combustible mixture of moral anarchy and tyrannical collectivism, each reflecting and aggravating the other.

119 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

Your senses send electrical information to your brain. Your consciousness converts it into a material universe.

I don't need to duck,
It's really not a truck,
Only the echoes of my mind.

1/18/2013 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It's not a metaphysic, it's an infraphysic.

1/18/2013 10:10:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Again, so much BS could be avoided if people just observed how they live instead of what they imagine.

1/18/2013 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

If I had any artistic ability, I would create a graphic novel of "Cheepfrok Dopra, Super Guru". One frame would be Our Hero boldly setting out to stop a runaway locomotive or leap from a skyscraper. The next frame would be a Marvel-esque SPLAT!

1/18/2013 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The lack of humility is again astounding. The infantile mind just doesn't want to acknowledge its dependence upon something other than itself.

1/18/2013 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

But the left brain seems to specialize in extracting the essence from the experience, and coming up with the abstract category of "treeness."

When you think about it just a little bit, the implications can be terrifying -- because the essence extracted depends on what we've trained ourselves to look for. Hence, one might conclude, the more messed up I am, the less likely I am to know it.

Explains a lot.

1/18/2013 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I have two infantile questions:

Are we just referring to function almost metaphorically or is the left hemisphere of the brain always physically located on the left side of the body?

The second question is a lot like this first one.

1/18/2013 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I mean, there are left-handed people. Or so I've heard.

1/18/2013 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, it's almost always on the left side of the head, but controls the right side of the body.

1/18/2013 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, in some lefties it's inverted. McGilchrist gets into this, and as it so happens, there is much more "genius" among lefties, perhaps because of the modified wiring.

1/18/2013 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ah. So "almost always" then.
Thank you on behalf of all the other infants who were afraid to ask.

1/18/2013 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

More pathology, too. I heard a statistic yesterday that 30% of pedophiles are lefthanded, when only 9% of the general population is southpaw.

1/18/2013 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I think I already admitted I'm right-handed, but for some time I've felt that my eyesight seems to come through mostly my left eye and the right just sort of adds adjustment.

1/18/2013 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Hey, I thought I said I only had two questions. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else felt this way about their eye-pipes? I mean, there's nothing wrong with my right eye.
Do the eyes, for lack of a better word, service the right hemisphere? Both? The other way around? Depends on the task?

1/18/2013 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Rick, that's interesting. Eye dominance is an issue that sometimes comes up in shooting. My husband has that problem. He's right handed, but left-eye dominant, so he finds it very difficult to aim and fire a rifle, since you just can't hold one up to your right shoulder and sight down it with your left eye.

Anyway, it's unusual but it happens. I couldn't begin to say what it means, though.

1/18/2013 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ah, thanks, Julie. I hadn't thought of shooting. Yes, I would find that difficult for that reason. Same with a camera.
I prefer to use a phone with my left ear. And it's not because of sound. It's like I can't understand as well.

1/18/2013 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

For example, if I insist in the teeth of all evidence to the contrary that there is no fundamental distinction between animals and human beings, this has ethical implications that are devastating in their consequences.

I was just thinking along those lines yesterday: if man is truly nothing more than an animal, then literally nothing that man does can be called unnatural. So for all those who love to tout the animality of being human, living "in nature" is truly no more nor less natural than living in a high-rise apartment. And modifying the environment any way we like to suit our needs or wants is likewise perfectly natural, even to the extent that, for instance, we kill off all the mosquitos or genetically modify crops.

There can be no argument for the good if we ain't nothin' but mammals (and everything we do is like they do on the Discovery Channel. Especially these days...).

1/18/2013 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Rick: I believe each hemisphere works in different parts of the eye. I forget how it breaks down, but I think each hemisphere controls one side of one eye and the opposite side of the other eye. Which is why right-brained languages such as Hebrew are read right to left.

1/18/2013 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I remember learning in a class that if you journal with your left hand, you could access a lot of unconscious feelings and thoughts buried in the right brain. Not sure if there's anything to it, but I do know that doing anything with the the non-dominant hand -- even brushing one's teeth -- stimulates brain development.

1/18/2013 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Thta's interesting. I've often thought it would be useful to learn to be ambidextrous, but never really thought about why. I suppose in some ways it's like learning another language...

1/18/2013 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Or ambidyslextrous...

1/18/2013 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

lol

Speaking of languages, it occurs to me that Japanese is also read from right to left. But first from top to bottom. Although these days, it can also be read and written any which way people please, thanks to the Western (particularly American) influence.

1/18/2013 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

McGilchrist says that almost all writing began from the top down, because of a right brain preference for that direction (and since languages begin in a visual, ideographic, contextual form).

1/18/2013 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Is that the same as being a switch-hitter?

I'm the same way as Rick with the left ear thing. I can hear fine out of the right, but I can't carry on a conversation.

I have some trouble shooting without optical sights or glasses since having mono-vision installed via two cataract surgeries. My dominant right is my computer screen eye, and the left is my distance eye. I'm adjusting.

1/18/2013 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

GB:
"languages begin in a visual...form"
??
Don't they begin as spoken sounds/words? after all the word 'Language' stems from 'Tongue'.

Meanwhile, some may enjoy to 'chew' on these notions of Mentalism, as expressed by Paul Brunton

a taste:

The materialist's mistake primarily consists in this, that his mind considers its impressions and sensations--entirely dependent as they are on its own presence--as external realities, whilst dismissing its own independent reality as a fiction.

Mentalism, the teaching that this is a mental universe, is too hard to believe for the ordinary man yet too hard to disbelieve for the illumined man. This is because to the first it is only a theory, but to the second it is a personal experience. The ordinary man's consciousness is kept captive by his senses, each of which reports a world of matter outside him. The illumined man's consciousness is free to be itself, to report its own reality and to reveal the senses and their world to be mere ideation.

1/18/2013 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

"In short, get over your infantile omniscience and realize that there is a real world beyond the control of your thoughts."

Oh, man. If only somebody told me that thirty years ago and I had understood it. Would have saved me a lot of wandering in the bewilderness.

But the attraction to this omniscience, is it not a manifestation of original sin?

1/18/2013 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Very much so. Omniscience is a false way to heal the psyche. It's one of the most primitive defense mechanisms to deny dependence.

1/18/2013 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Also makes mature love impossible.

1/18/2013 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

"Very much so. Omniscience is a false way to heal the psyche. It's one of the most primitive defense mechanisms to deny dependence."

I always get annoyed with myself when I'm in a megalomaniacal mood.

(No, self, it is *not* a good idea to assume that you are the only thing real out there and that the entire world is yours to do with as you please. No, self, you can't play with other people's lives and manipulate them for your entertainment because you are bored.)

Absolute waste of time. I just generally end up angry for a few days.

1/18/2013 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

It's even more fun when you are an attorney.

(No, self, you cannot punish the judge for his insolence. No, self, you are not the state.)

1/18/2013 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

As a remedy for this...

(Must engage in pro-social behavior...must engage in pro-social behavior.)

(Must be respectful to authority...must be respectful to authority.)

1/18/2013 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger John Lien said...

You may not have intended it, but that was a fine bit of tele-shrinking.

Thanks!

1/18/2013 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Yet
2 thinkers, in 5 words, state pesky truth:

"No object without a subject"

"'The world' is my idea"

Omniscience is not meant/mentioned...

{Berkeley, Schopenhauer]

1/19/2013 03:43:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Thanks, Bob. I had a feeling it might be something like you describe: that each hemisphere has its own property rights within each eye in terms of at least the wiring. But perhaps in the sub-sub-sub-quantum level these leases can be renegotiated. The wilderness between ones third eye and his telos.

1/19/2013 05:33:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

@John Lein:

"You may not have intended it, but that was a fine bit of tele-shrinking.

Thanks!"

When your ego is being hypertrophic, you can't just let it try to take over the world.

You have to do something!

1/19/2013 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

This may be the time and place to ask a very pressing question:
'Can you petition the Lord with prayer??'

1/19/2013 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

"This may be the time and place to ask a very pressing question:
'Can you petition the Lord with prayer??'"

Eh? Bwah? Huh?

1/19/2013 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

OT observation, public service announcement

WARNING: These are vulgar words that you cannot say in newsprint, on television or on Facebook today and until further notice. WARNING: They have been known to induce fainting and blindness in half the population:
- Gun
- Impeach
- Oil
- Benghazi
- Christ
- Gulag
- Orwell

1/19/2013 11:28:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

Put simply in Buddhist terminology, I believe Gilson is saying form is emptiness and emptiness is form. Idealists are not cogitating from emptiness, but samsara. Hence, all the confusion around philosophical concepts that are not coming from a place of clarity before thought, and therefore lack seeing reality for what it is. Emptiness and form must co-arise together.

1/19/2013 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Gilson would definitely not agree that form is emptiness. Rather, form is the very principle of the intelligibility of any object and of all reality. Forms are full of intelligence, not emptiness.

1/19/2013 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

But the belief that form is emptiness would explain the stagnancy of cultures which believe that to be the case.

1/19/2013 12:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Also, idealists are not cogitating from samsara -- i.e., the world of appearances -- but from their own bungholes.

1/19/2013 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Bottom line: the world is a gift to be unpacked, not a pointless illusion from which to flee.

1/19/2013 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

After all, the key principle of Christianity is Incarnation, i.e., the ultimate formless principle taking on form. Thus, form cannot be empty, except in the apophatic sense of being beyond our ability to contain it within our concepts.

1/19/2013 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

"Also, idealists are not cogitating from samsara -- i.e., the world of appearances -- but from their own bungholes."

Love this quote.

1/19/2013 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Christina M said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/19/2013 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I've never tried drawing left-handed. I should sometime...

1/19/2013 03:22:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Ok Julie better choice than shooting!


1/19/2013 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

I like fleshing this out, because this is so important - although it hurts my bunghole.

form cannot be empty, except in the apophatic sense of being beyond our ability to contain it within our concepts.

I think Nargajuna would concur, and yes, Buddhist cultures don't have the orientation that Incarnation has offered us in the West. But I also think seeing the intelligibility in form requires us to come from emptiness (being) which I believe is what Gilson is saying too.

1/19/2013 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Being is not emptiness. Quite the opposite.

1/19/2013 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

ge - lol

1/19/2013 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The Cosmos proceeds from the plenitude of Beyond Being (i.e., the, ground, godhead, nirguna brahman) to Being, and from Being to existence, the latter being composed of form and substance. There is a kind of "emptiness" at the top, but only because it is beyond human conception. I don't see where literal emptiness is possible except as a human "possibility of the impossible," e.g., nihilism and relativism. I suppose if I commit ego death a la Buddhism, I've achieved some kind of "emptiness." But I have no desire whatsoever to do that.

1/19/2013 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

For a good laugh, read this:

bottom line-
You don't need no church in Buddhism, you just gotta sit in isolation for as long as it takes to get to know Mind in its pristine perfect r-r-r-r-adiant Simplicity, o yasss; Now is everyone ready willing able to do that? I didn't think so...

Ahem, some pretty shallow juvenile nyah-nyah critiques of el Buddhismo above! -For which the Lord God may not forgive you even if you petition Him with prayer [by the way 'you CANNOT petition the Lord with prayer!!' -saith desert father Mr Mojo Risin]

Does the Father Author of Jesus & all curse or deny or demean Buddhists because they don't attend choich?

Ask Jesus oozing life on the cross if this world is a gift to be unpacked... I agree with myself
the more he was perfectly identified with Mind then the perfecter-off He'd be...

There's but one miraculous worthwhile game in town and its name is Mind and it creates, contains and transcends any 'world' [or religion] you got in mind-- like a world where the innocent & good can oft die insanely young in sunnydale Newtowns and the Baracks & Napolitanos & Holders & Holmeses and Lanzas may rise to the top of their chosen fields and rule us good guys unfairly with stupid stink-fists of evil...but all this is ok in fact perfect because such world was never there anyway ultimately, only ungraspable empty perfect unsulliable [Gnostic] Mind is..was...ever shall be.... Yes I praise the Lord of Mind the Lord that is Mind and yours, truly, and know that Buddha is the King-realizer of Mind... enlightened Buddha-Mind is One, the exactsame gift that is ours for the effortless knowing, the sunny radiance of total enlightenment the Buddha knew, praise the Lord of such a gifty! Allah's forgiven after all.

The only thing 'good' about this world or any is....envelope please: the goodness truth & beauty of "Mens" baby as they said in Latin..."Consciousness" dears, like they said in India, "BuddhaMind" ..."Rigpa" [the good Gnosis]..."Samantabhadra*" darlins
of which they sang in old Tibet
Love and compassion bloom & flourish in one who so knows

*In the Dzogchen teachings, our true nature, that state of the Ground, is given the name the 'Primordial Buddha'; "Samantabhadra represents the absolute, naked, sky-like primordial purity of the nature of our mind".

1/19/2013 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

I don't mean to conflate Buddhist phenomenology with Christian metaphysics. Difficult to do, and I am probably making errors in the effort. I was more pointing to the idea that we can always have access to the part of ourselves that beyond the self, while still engaging with form. That in turns allow for more clarity with ideas that may arise. Gilson is inferring something else.

ge, you appear to be well versed on the dharma. Having reconciliation issues out here, or is it all just ornaments of compassion to you?

1/19/2013 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

GB-

How does kenosis of phil 2 fit into realism and the philosophy of Being? Would the phrase "die and come into being" point in the right direction?

1/19/2013 05:29:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

The notes in the 2nd RSV-Catholic define the word kenoo, used in phil 2:7 to "empty out" or "render void". It then goes on to quote Gregory of Nyssa, who says:

Christ emptied himself by compressing the glory of his Godhead within our smallness. What he always was remained perfect and incomprehensible, but what he assumed was in proportion to the measure of our nature.

If one tended to interpret kenosis in terms of the buddhist "no-self" would you think that would be an erroneous comparison?

1/19/2013 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, to say -- with the early fathers -- that God becomes man so that man might become God is susceptible to any number of variations, such as: the full became empty so that the empty may become full; being becomes existence so that existence might become being; reality becomes illusion so that illusion may become reality; life becomes death so that death might become life; Brahman becomes maya so that maya might become Brahman; etc.

But the Buddhist "no-self" elevates a human experience to absolute reality, which is totally incoherent in the absence of a Divine Sponsor.

1/19/2013 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And importantly, never just listen to me. Always consult Common nonSense.

1/19/2013 06:05:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

This might be relevant.





1/19/2013 06:51:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Gagdad,

There is a work by Frithjof Schuon that I have started several times, but I just can't get into it (to be honest, many of Schuon's books have been like that for me). Have you read "In the Tracks of Buddhism"?

I understand the Rene Guenon had regarded Buddhism as something of a Hindu heresy until Coomaraswamy and Schuon "set him straight". Do you think Buddhism is, indeed, a manifestation of the Primordial Tradition and represents one of the fully salvific great religions?

1/19/2013 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Meh. I don't really think in those terms.

1/19/2013 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

More specifically this passage. Starting at the heading, "Consciousness, Self, Morality and Others".

1/19/2013 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I have read Tracks of Buddhism, however, and like all of Schuon's books, it's full of insights. But I think most Buddhists would have problems with it, just as most Christians would have problems with his interpretation of Christianity.

1/19/2013 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Jack: exactly. It's a an extreme method for realizing the implications of the doctrine of idealism.

1/19/2013 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"I might add that -- Deepak's nauseating self-righteousness to the contrary -- no ethic is possible in the absence of a prior reality. That is to say, all ethical behavior is founded upon accurate perception of reality. We can only do the right thing if we first see rightly. But if reality is just a function of our perceptions, then so too is morality."

Yum, I'm late to the party, but the food's still piping hot!

1/19/2013 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

GB- Yes. I couldn't agree more. I have probably said this before but American Buddhism has been easily co-opted into being the "spiritual" practice of leftism.

1/19/2013 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Specifically, once we detach ourselves from reality, it follows that we no longer know what the individual is or what he is for."

Yep. Detach from reality and identity vanishes, ethics becomes as meaningless as meaning, and the individual... the individualll... wait, what?

1/19/2013 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

I had a book in my late teens Called "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain", which had you drawing pictures with your opposite hand, and for good measure, drawing the image upside down.

Hard to describe, but I always felt a very physical sensation, that wasn't in the body, but of something like a cylinder stretching from the top of my head, down through the chest, and as I drew, I could feel as if this was twisting, turning. I can feel it right now, just thinking of it.

well, going on the more is better theory, I began keeping a journal, and every night I'd write & draw one page worth on the left page with the left hand, and one on the right with the right (this was also when I was doing the lucid dreaming).

what is Curious, is that several times over the years, I've had people give me the test to figure out the dominant eye and I always come out straight through the center.

1/20/2013 12:24:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

... late teens through early twenties ...

1/20/2013 12:26:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

From a position of strength in one's faith or choices, I say old bean one should endeavor to respect/fathom others', not sneeringly 'put them in their place' [Leftoidism is another matter por supuesto! --This just in: 'Gaga to perform at inhoguration'].

MOTT may be a hell of a groovy Bible but UF is a bit guilty of short-shrifting/poopooing-before-deeply-immersing-in Buddhism in favor of his faith it is disappointingly clear [['Buddhists want to escape, do not love like us Christians'....well well well how petty not pretty]] & aqui @OC ditto.

I recall Merton near the end of his life going to Tibet, and meeting this guy [no not Mr Natural]

Father Thomas Merton had written in his "Asian Journal" about his meeting with Kyabje Chadral Rinpoche, on November 16, 1968, as follows : "... and there was Chatral, the greatest rimpoche I have met so far and a very impressive person. Chatral looked like a vigorous old peasant in a Bhutanese jacket tied at the neck with thongs and a red woolen cap on his head. He had a week's growth of beard, bright eyes, a strong voice, and was very articulate, ... We started talking about dzogchen and Nyingmapa meditation and 'direct realization' and soon saw that we agreed very well....The unspoken or half-spoken message of the talk was our complete understanding of each other as people who were somehow on the edge of great realization and knew it and were trying, somehow or other, to go out and get lost in it - and that it was a grace for us to meet one another. I wish I could see more of Chatral.... I was profoundly moved, because he is so obviously a great man, the true practitioner of dzogchen, the best of the
Nyingmapa lamas, marked by complete simplicity and freedom.... If I were going to settle down with a Tibetan guru, I think Chatral would be the one I'd choose...." Mr. Harold Talbott, who was present at their meeting, recalls Merton remarking to him after their meeting : "That is the greatest man I ever met. He is my teacher."
Here's to Open Mind-Open Heart!

-da free ge

1/20/2013 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

surprisingly cool hero against the present regime!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jan/18/kim-dotcom-fight-internet-freedom

1/20/2013 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

From one perspective, Gilson's embracing common sense/methodical realism as the answer to the problem of truth merely perpetuates the waking trance of ordinary experience. But from another perspective, it's a step in the right direction. Most of us mortal beings probably will never achieve (and in some cases, as Gagdad declares, will never want) full enlightenment.

1/20/2013 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Realism does not perpetuate "the waking trance of ordinary experience." To the extent this fate befalls someone, it is surely not to be blamed on reality.

Realism is the cure for complacency, not its cause.

Bear in mind, however, that in the absence of continuous vigilance, nothing prevents Realism from devolving to just another form of idealism, as probably happened with late scholasticism (and pretty much happens with all human endeavors, i.e., they become saturated).

But genuine Realism requires continuous openness to all levels of reality -- horizontal and vertical -- in all their richness and depth. Conversely, idealism is always in some way a closed system that reduces the scope of reality, and then ceases asking the simple question: why?

1/20/2013 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I'm reminded of a recent video Vanderleun posted (since bumped off the page), of a man walking a tightrope stretched between two towers of rock. It struck me, watching his progress, that it is impossible to maintain one's balance on so precarious a path without flinging one's arms wide and occasionally flailing them a bit, as though embracing all of existence...

1/20/2013 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

But genuine Realism requires continuous openness to all levels of reality -- horizontal and vertical -- in all their richness and depth. Conversely, idealism is always in some way a closed system that reduces the scope of reality, and then ceases asking the simple question: why?

That's beautiful Bob. And that why? question, does not get inquired in the traditional enlightenment paths (beyond the existential suffering issue for the individual). That is why while I appreciate the phenomenological discoveries of Buddhism, I would never declare myself a Buddhist.

1/20/2013 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Gilson concurs with Bob:

"The realist is just as much exposed" to the temptation of premature yielding to the passion to understand, and even yields to such temptations "just as frequently." "The difference," however, "is that [the realist] yields to to them against his principles, whereas the idealist makes it a principle that he can lawfully yield to them."

The takeaway:

Realism "starts with an acknowledgement by the intellect that it will remain dependent on a reality which causes its knowledge" (emphasis mine).

Conversely, idealism impatiently reduces "reality to knowledge so as to be sure that its knowledge lets none of reality escape."

Personally, I was lucky enough to be unknowculated against the latter form if thinking via my chance encounter with the writings of Bion, who begins with a critique of psychoanalytic theories that presume to "contain" the mind. Polanyi accomplished the same thing for me vis-a-vis science, Joyce with language, and (the real) Bob with slack.

1/20/2013 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Julie:

Also, as in certain yoga poses, the only way to maintain one's balance is by focusing ahead on an imaginary "third point" that creates a kind of stable tripod. It's the same with mountain biking. Never look down at what you want to avoid, always look ahead at where you want to go.

1/20/2013 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think Buddhism is fine, so long as we -- against Buddhist ideology -- look at it from the perspective of being another "divine language," whereby the Creator discloses transdimensional stuff about himself and about immaterial planes of being. It's like language: one language neither precludes nor exhausts the others.

There is a saying in Catholicism that they never through anything out. The Raccoon path is the same way. We love truth in any form and from any source, so long as it helps propel the adventure of consciousness.

1/20/2013 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I mean never THROW

1/20/2013 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

BTW, seen in this context, Vatican II was absolutely essential for the intellectual rebirth of the Church.

1/20/2013 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I mean, it's shocking when you read about how closed and sclerotic they had become, but again, the tendency is built into the psyche, the same way entropy is built into the cosmos.

1/20/2013 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

One last point. Recall Gilson's statement that Realism "starts with an acknowledgement by the intellect that it will remain dependent on a reality which causes its knowledge."

The same must be doubly true of spiritual knowhow and bewho, because in the absence of full faith and credit of the Divine Mind, such mental activity is so much shadows & dust.

1/20/2013 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "Bear in mind, however, that in the absence of continuous vigilance, nothing prevents Realism from devolving to just another form of idealism, as probably happened with late scholasticism (and pretty much happens with all human endeavors, i.e., they become saturated)."

I think you're right there. There is a tendency to accept an answer to a Why, especially one given by respected predecessors, as being The answer, and complete, is an ever present danger.

It's difficult to remember that, what with all of the principles which you can see in play, and which rightly must be respected, still, to presume that they are ALL of the principles in play, or that your appraisal of the context, contains the entire context, is the means of transforming your grasp of reality into your determination that what you grasp Is reality.

There is always something more, a deeper understanding which reveals something which had seemed to be insignificant, turns out to be of extreme import. What can be seen as a (though not The) argument for a Free Market, that there is no way to comprehend, contain or control the vast integrations and requirements of an economy, also apply to every other pursuit as well.

Neglecting the neverending depths, threatens to turn Realism into unRealism, at every turn.

1/20/2013 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In our terrestrial state of existence we are forever situated between knowledge and truth. Understanding is the ongoing assimilation of knowledge-toward-truth, but there can be no end to the process short of the beatific vision. IMO.

1/20/2013 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, if Hayek's knowledge problem applies to the economy, how much more so must it apply to the divine economy. Which is a blessing. Omniscience would be a crashing bore.

1/20/2013 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Maybe that's why Wilber has become so tedious, to bring this deuscussion full circle.

1/20/2013 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

I must admit that I gave up on Wilber years ago. After I kind of got what he was saying it has difficult to keep buying the same book of his over and over again. For what claimed to be an "evolutionary paradigm" little seemed to change over time.

Also, once he went into empire building mode he started to sound more like a used car salesman than anything else.

Though on one level I still very much admire the integral aspiration. Which I became aware of through reading him. It just has led me to very different places than the Wilber (and Cohen) crowd seems to have gone.

1/20/2013 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It doesn't help that he's such a godawful writer, completely devoid of wit, elegance, rhythm, melody, suggestiveness, etc. His prose is as felicitous as the sound of a tool box crashing to the garage floor.

1/20/2013 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And Andrew Cohen is about as deep and mature as an adolescent outcast with a severe identity disturbance.

1/20/2013 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I tried reading one of his books, and it made L. Ron Hubbard look like Aquinas.

1/20/2013 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I mean, I have nothing against the guy. But c'mon. Ultimately reality can't be converted to a racket.

1/20/2013 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

"Ultimately reality can't be converted to a racket."

Or it shouldn't be. Unfortunately, it is probably a very, very lucrative racket at this point.

Though, perhaps since what they are selling isn't Ultimate Reality, they've simply pulled a bait and switch. The ultimate grift.

Like selling sand to someone dying of thirst while standing in the middle of a vast desert...and then calling it water.

1/20/2013 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

The spiritually stupid/evil are *ALWAYS* trying to convert ultimate reality into a racket.

Because that's where closed spiritual systems always go.

Because they are closed.

See entropy for details.

1/20/2013 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

"There is a saying in Catholicism that they never through anything out. The Raccoon path is the same way. We love truth in any form and from any source, so long as it helps propel the adventure of consciousness."

The Church of Whatever Works Now.

Granted, it's always Now.

Hmmmmm.

1/20/2013 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

With all due respects Bob, I personally know some individuals from AC's community, and they come across as mature, deep and inquisitive people (much more so than many of the Wilberians). That should be mean something, JMHO.

1/20/2013 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ted:

Don't know what to make of that. I'd have to speak with them personally to form an opinion.

1/20/2013 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

But in general, God knows and looks after his own, often in spite of themselves.

1/20/2013 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

"But in general, God knows and looks after his own, often in spite of themselves."

I suppose that you can say that you know that you're doing something right when it feels like the universe is conspiring to help you.

1/20/2013 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That and the fact that genuine paths are sanctity-producing machines (or organisms). To witness the effect, count the saints.

1/20/2013 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

Sister, let me tell you
About a vision that I saw
You were drawing water for your husband
You were suffering under the law
You were telling him about Buddha You were telling him 'bout Mohamed in one breath
You never mentioned one time the man who came
And died a criminals death

BOB DYLAN - PRECIOUS ANGEL

i think I know to whom Bob is referring in the last line...
Kim Dotcom

1/20/2013 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Something in the noos-water-blogo-sphere, you hit 100+ comments. When was the last time that happened? :).

1/20/2013 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

ted
Very possibly the dawning of the age of Aquarius

1/20/2013 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I thought that was back in 1969...

1/20/2013 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The last time I had 100 comments was the undoubtedly the last time I contributed 50 comments.

1/20/2013 01:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

It beats talking to yourself.

Now to change topics completely, cloning Neanderthals. What could possibly go wrong?

1/20/2013 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Money quotes:

"...you would certainly have to create a cohort, so they would have some sense of identity. They could maybe even create a new neo-Neanderthal culture and become a political force."

"The main goal is to increase diversity. The one thing that is bad for society is low diversity. This is true for culture or evolution, for species and also for whole societies."

Riiiight. Diversity for the sake of diversity could never be problematic or bring about the end of a culture...

1/20/2013 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

The open threads usually get to 100 comments if they sit there long enough.

Are you cross-tweeting these comments, Bob?

1/20/2013 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

"The main goal is to increase diversity. The one thing that is bad for society is low diversity. This is true for culture or evolution, for species and also for whole societies."

What they essentially recognize is that the system has to be open to function.

Which is true, as long as you know which window you are opening.

Which they don't.

1/20/2013 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Christina M said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/20/2013 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger Christina M said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/20/2013 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow, that's really well done!

1/20/2013 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Christina M said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/20/2013 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Haven't they been cloning neanderthals for decades in the looneyversities?

Then again, I doubt neanderthals were ever THAT idiotic.

Funny how diversity in leftistspeak means the opposite of what it actually means.

Lefties are as diverse as the Borg.

1/20/2013 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Diversity is a completely unexamined, insight-free, and un-ironic "god word" for the left. Eventually they'll have to call it something else when everyone realizes what a joke it is. I recommend "socially conscious melanin distribution."

1/20/2013 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speaking of saturated words, that's a feature of leftism.
Many seem downright giddy with joy when murdering language and are quick to pat themselves and each other on the back for building the Tower of Babble.

The only thing that would make them happier is to burn all books that ain't "diverse" and compliant with their ideaolatry.

1/20/2013 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/20/2013 03:50:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Gagdad Bob said...
Again, so much BS could be avoided if people just observed how they live instead of what they imagine


Aye! One of my wife's childhood friends (voted for Obama twice) is finally waking up. It took the current attack on the Second Ammendment to finally open his eyes.

It's like the damn broke, and all of a sudden he's seeing that democrats are attacking all of our rights, not just the First and Second Ammendments.

If Obama hadn't gone after guns who knows how long or even IF he ever would've woken up?

Welcome to the party pal. Better late than never I reckon.

1/20/2013 04:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Some musical offerings to help induce transcendent slack:

First is Orlande de Lassus with his piece Alma Redemptoris Mater.

Second, is the group "Stars of the Lid" with I Will Surround You.



1/20/2013 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Cond0011 said...

"But genuine Realism requires continuous openness to all levels of reality -- horizontal and vertical -- in all their richness and depth." (via Bob)

IOW, stay 'young' my friends. Don't be afraid to tinker all the way down to your foundations of 'reality'!

1/21/2013 11:42:00 AM  

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