Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Past: An Interesting Place to Visit, But I Wouldn't Want to Live There

Let's race through the last 100 pages of Inventing the Individual in order to mine any final insights.

Insights into what? Into how something as utterly strange and unlikely as "you" or "I" came to exist. There are so many necessary conditions for I AM to appear in time that it bobbles the Bob.

Which raises the question: would different conditions have caused another "subjective entity" to emerge, something so different from our familiar selves that we can scarcely imagine it?

This is similar to asking if it is possible for a different form of life to exist, something not based on carbon. What would it be like? Who knows? Likewise, what would a universe with different laws be like? It is unimaginable, because for one thing, imagination is only a feature of this universe. It is very unlikely to exist in other universes.

It's the same with the desire to discover "intelligent life" elsewhere. The necessary conditions for life to emerge on this planet are so insanely specific, that I can't imagine they are found anyplace else. You may find one, or ten, or a hundred of these variables, but they all need to be proportioned to one another. For example, earth has a much larger planetary wingman, Jupiter, to attract all the cosmic debris, so it won't plow into us and destroy our little floating biology lab.

Even knowing as much as we know about antiquity, or about the Middle Ages, our ability to project ourselves into these periods hits a kind of wall that we cannot venture past, for the same reason we cannot imagine what it is like to be a bat or a cow. The reason why we can't break through the wall is that we have to jettison a part -- the central part -- of ourselves that wouldn't have existed at the time, or would have only existed in a weak or nascent form. This probably sounds more controversial than it is, but it strikes me as self-evident.

For example, we all know that it makes no scientific sense to ask what came "before" the Big Bang, because time is supposedly a function of the Big Bang. Therefore, there is no before, so ignore that man behind the curtain of tenure and stop asking childish questions.

What is actually going on is that the scientific model simply breaks down at that point. It is similar to what happens at the quantum level: anomalies and conundrums arise because our common sense models simply don't apply. Thus, with no model, there is no way to imagine what is going on down there. We can invent purely mathematical models to try to tie up the anomalies -- which is what string theory is all about -- but these are more like pre-Copernican speculation about planetary epicycles. In other words, the 26 (or whatever it is) dimensions of string theory "save the appearances," as did epicycles for geocentrism.

We're getting a little far afield, aren't we? The point is that naively projecting ourselves into the past is more problematic than we may realize. For me, reading history often provokes WTF?! moments of stark incomprehension.

I'll give you a little example. I'm reading in Berman what pre-Christian law was like. While I understand the words, I find it impossible to actually put myself in the mind of a person for whom the following form of justice would have made perfect sense:

In pagan Germanic society there were two types of ordeal to determine innocence or guilt, trial by water or trial by fire -- fire for elites and big shots, water for the rest of us. "Originally these were invocations of the gods of fire and water.... Those tried by fire were passed blindfolded or barefooted over hot glowing plowshares, or they carried burning irons in their hands."

Exactly what does this have to do with justice? What, it's not obvious? "If their burns healed properly they were exonerated."

The other type of ordeal involved either freezing or boiling water. "In cold water, the suspect was adjudged guilty if his body was borne up by the water contrary to the course of nature, showing the water did not accept him." Excuse me, but WTF? Accept him?

"In hot water he was adjudged innocent if after putting his bare arms and legs into scalding water he came out unhurt." Again I respectfully ask: WTF?

Yes, this form of justice is "one way of looking at things." But is there any part of you that can really look at it this way and agree that it makes perfect sense? Nevertheless, the folks were content with it. Even with the influence of Christianity, "there was considerable resistance to the abolition of ordeals in the thirteenth century." You know, why mess with a system that is perfectly adequate?

That is just one teeny tiny example of how the past is a very different country. I could easily find more extreme examples, but you get the point: we can only pretend to understand much of the past.

"It is difficult for us to re-enter a social world where so little was shared." In other words, not only are these people different from us, but they were all different from each other. There was no "universality," because "In the twelfth century each group -- whether of feudatories, serfs, or townspeople -- was a world unto itself. People did not locate themselves in a world of commonality."

This has direct contemporary relevance, because, for example, we do not live in the same world as the Islamists. Here again, we can only pretend to understand people who torture children, burn Christians alive, and decapitate journalists. Well, maybe we kind of get the last one, but the point is that they are "missing" something we take for granted. Liberals pretend the terrorists simply want what we have, or are angry at us for something we did 500 years ago, but they are actually motivated by an entirely different mentality. The terrorists too.

Speaking of the moral insanity of the left, look at how they equate Chris Kyle -- the Sniper -- with Nazis and terrorists, as if he shares the mentality of our enemies and is motivated by the same ends! For Michael Moore, the imaginary sniper who murdered his make believe uncle is no different from a real sniper who kills evil people who want to destroy civilization and every person in it.

It is no different than equating trial by fire to trial by jury. But if you are a multiculturalist, that's what you do. We are "invaders," "occupiers," and "torturers," just like ISIS.

So, that's about the size of it. We'll end this series with a quote by Siedentop:

[T]he defining characteristic of Christianity was its universalism. It aimed to create a single human society, a society composed, that is, of individuals rather than tribes, clans, or castes.... Hence the deep individualism of Christianity was simply the reverse side of its universalism. The Christian conception of God becomes the means of creating a brotherhood of man, of bringing to self-consciousness the human species, by leading each of its members to see him- or herself as having, at least potentially, a relationship with the deepest reality -- viz., God -- that both required and justified the equal moral standing of all humans.

You say you want a revolution? That is a revolution, the most consequential ever. And it is ongoing, because there are reactionaries everywhere.

137 Comments:

Blogger mushroom said...

You know, why mess with a system that is perfectly adequate?

In their defense, it meant they didn't have trial lawyers.

There are advantages and disadvantages to everything.

1/21/2015 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Michael Moore is so brave to call out snipers as cowards. Of course, the fact that .338 Lapua runs $4.00 or more a pop works in his favor.

And Moore's made all those brilliant mockumentaries satirizing Islam ... Oh, wait, those were about George Bush. But I'm sure he has one in the works.

1/21/2015 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

He is one sick f*ck. But he serves a useful purpose, because he says things that more circumspect liberals only think.

1/21/2015 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"In other words, the 26 (or whatever it is) dimensions of string theory "save the appearances," as did epicycles for geocentrism."

Yup.

1/21/2015 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Yes, this form of justice is "one way of looking at things." But is there any part of you that can really look at it this way and agree that it makes perfect sense?"

On the other hand, when you consider that This was chosen As A Way to make a good decision out of a confusing situation... That illustrates the extent of what they lacked. They, as our leftie friends today, had good intentions, but armed with such intense ignorance, that was the best they could do. And you KNOW their leaders constantly told them how wonderful it was, and lucky they were, that they had a system in place to make it all work.

1/21/2015 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"[T]he defining characteristic of Christianity was its universalism. It aimed to create a single human society, a society composed, that is, of individuals rather than tribes, clans, or castes.... Hence the deep individualism of Christianity was simply the reverse side of its universalism. The Christian conception of God becomes the means of creating a brotherhood of man, of bringing to self-consciousness the human species, by leading each of its members to see him- or herself as having, at least potentially, a relationship with the deepest reality -- viz., God -- that both required and justified the equal moral standing of all humans.

You say you want a revolution? That is a revolution, the most consequential ever. And it is ongoing, because there are reactionaries everywhere."

Boom. Won.

1/21/2015 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Nevertheless, the folks were content with it.

I read somewhere once that part of the deal with trial by ordeal was that it served the purpose of both a public spectacle and a sort of incentive for people to come clean before it came to that point. That is, people usually didn't get tried by fire or water unless the local judge/ magistrate/ whoever was already very sure of the person's guilt. In other words, it wasn't a first resort, and in weird ways it was actually fairly effective in sussing out guilt or innocence.

That said, I still really don't get it.

1/21/2015 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

In that case, proof that torture works!

1/21/2015 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

lol

It is no different than equating trial by fire to trial by jury.

Or with equating "throw that faggot off a building" with "sodomy is wrong and unhealthy."

1/21/2015 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Prager is just now discussing how Obama lives in another universe. He is not being polemical, but quite literal. He's also critiquing the State of the Union line by line...

1/21/2015 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The alternate universe of the left vis-a-vis Israel.

1/21/2015 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

"throw that faggot off a building"

Wasn't that a deep cut on a Village People album?

1/21/2015 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "He's also critiquing the State of the Union line by line..."

That takes some intestinal fortitude. I couldn't bring myself to even pretending that I thought that I was listening to anything other than purposeful lies, to justify further lies, told for the benefit of people who welcomed the lies as a means of holding off people who also knew they were lies, but couldn't figure out how to overcome them with their own lies. And of course to satisfy They The People who don't know how or why you should bother with telling lie from truth, or why someone should bother trying.

My gag reflex kicked in.

1/21/2015 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Julie, lol.

1/21/2015 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Prager just said he'd rather shovel dung for three hours -- admittedly a distinction without a difference.

1/21/2015 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. Prager, he just went to commercial noting that he'd literally rather spend four hours shoveling dung than reviewing the address.

1/21/2015 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

jinx!

1/21/2015 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Truly, the State of the Union makes no sense at all for someone who isn't low on information. It's come to this: government of, by, and for the LoFos.

1/21/2015 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The boy couldn't go to school today because of a traffic situation. So the wife is having him listen to Prager and write down his thoughts. She mentioned that many parents include him in their home-schooling curriculum....

1/21/2015 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Agreed on the dung factor.

1/21/2015 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Come to think of it, Prager was the biggest factor in my own post-post-graduate home-schooling, helping me undo the indoctrination...

1/21/2015 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

From Prager's post "...Outside of the natural sciences, truth is not pursued at the university -- indeed, the existence of objective truth is largely denied...."

And oh so sadly, unlike Vegas, what happens in the University, spreads everywhere the dunged headed graduate and go to.

1/21/2015 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger wild said...

"throw that faggot off a building"

Wasn't that a deep cut on a Village People album?

Yes Syria is hilarious isn't it.

1/21/2015 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

equating "throw that faggot off a building" with "sodomy is wrong and unhealthy."

Have you ever read the Bible?

1/21/2015 12:24:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

Which raises the question: would different conditions have caused another "subjective entity" to emerge, something so different from our familiar selves that we can scarcely imagine it?

For example is subjectivity different in Japan or Korea or China?

1/21/2015 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

No need to travel halfway around the world. You're a good enough example.

1/21/2015 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I have read the Bible, all the way through -- including the part where it says, "... and such were some of you ..." (1 Corinthians 6:11).

Things changed a bit about, I don't know, two thousand years ago. You might want to catch up.

1/21/2015 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

something so different from our familiar selves that we can scarcely imagine it?

No need to travel halfway around the world. You're a good enough example.

I recall De Tocqueville writing

"I do not know of any country where, in general, less independence of mind and freedom of discussion reign than in America"

I suppose he had somebody like you in mind.

1/21/2015 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Okay, I'll bite. Explain.

1/21/2015 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

mild said "I suppose he had somebody like you in mind."

Says the twit with the anonymous nom. Gotta appreciate good comedy.

1/21/2015 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

Things changed a bit about, I don't know, two thousand years ago. You might want to catch up.

Do you know anything about the Christian Middle Ages? Have you read the books being discussed?

1/21/2015 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Mushroom, a tangent:

Going back to Christ and the stoning of the adulteress, I've often wondered about the significance of his drawing in the dust with his finger. More recently, it occurred to me that it may have been a very pointed reference to how the stone tablets inscribed with the Decalog were "written by the finger of God."

First in stone, then in dust, where nobody saw what was written...

1/21/2015 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

I was talking about Cousin Dupree

who responded to

something so different from our familiar selves that we can scarcely imagine it?

with

No need to travel halfway around the world. You're (presumably meaning me) a good enough example.

I recall De Tocqueville writing

"I do not know of any country where, in general, less independence of mind and freedom of discussion reign than in America"

I replied that I suppose that he had somebody like Cousin Dupree in mind when he made that statement.

1/21/2015 01:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

That's funny. I was thinking of you, whose leftist thought process is so different from ours.

1/21/2015 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Yes, nothing says "independence of mind" and "freedom of discussion" like political correctness, liberal speech codes, and the Democratic congress' desire to revoke the first amendment.

1/21/2015 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous via Vanderleun said...

"The Movement favors the rights of the poor, the needy, and the oppressed except when and where a Church is running a free hospital or an orphanage. Then, if the hospital refuses to perform abortions or distribute condoms or the orphanage refuses to place orphans with two men living together practicing sodomy, the Movement urges the state to shut down those institutions, and poor and the orphan can be hanged. The Movement wants the state, and not the Church, to care for the poor, and greets the idea of “faith-based” charities with frantic scorn and hate."

More here.

1/21/2015 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

I have read most of Gagdad Bob (it took several weeks) and I have read his book (not quite as good as the best of his blog) and I have learnt a great deal from him. More than any contemporary commentator - which is saying a lot.

Indeed I would go so far as to say that I understand some of what he is going on about better than some of his supporters on here, if their comments are anything to go by. I have also read some (many) of the books he recommends.

But I am reluctant to pick at some weak points because some of the commentators in here do not strike me as being very tolerant.

Apparently I am something you "step over" and am a "twit" because I have opinions that some of the commentators on here do not share.

It jars with the free and tolerant society message contained in the blog, which (I happen to agree with Gagdad Bod Bob) I think is worth defending against its enemies.

1/21/2015 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This book on esoteric writing is fascinating so far.

1/21/2015 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I personally welcome intellectually honest and adequate criticism. I constantly do it to myself, so there's no reason others shouldn't join the fun.

1/21/2015 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Note to Wild: snark is not usually received well, here or anywhere. I believe your first volley was acuusational via snark. Perhaps the reason you received the unwelcomed responses? Or maybe they were the responses you welcomed?

1/21/2015 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

"Intellectually honest" being the key point, there.

Simply put, Wild, you started commenting today by essentially equating criticism of homosexuals and homosexuality with advocating the wholesale slaughter of homosexuals.

There is nothing honest about equating the one with the other, and you have yet to say anything that digs you out of that hole. Doubling down by equating Christianity, Judaism and Islam doesn't help.

1/21/2015 02:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

And it is very unlikely that someone who has purportedly spent weeks trying to read Bob's entire corapus would not discern the esoteric truth about Cousin Dupree -- unless he is one of the Unworthy from whom the Secret protects itself.

1/21/2015 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

mild, if any if your previous comments were attempts at intellectual engagement... you're doing it wrong.

1/21/2015 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Look at all this evidence the author has accumulated for the reality of esoteric writing, including Jesus' well known comments. It is definitely a Thing.

1/21/2015 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

"Intellectually honest" being the key point....you started commenting today by essentially equating criticism of homosexuals and homosexuality with advocating the wholesale slaughter of homosexuals."

Nope. I am drawing attention to the Biblical roots of the execution of homosexuals. That may or may not be uncomfortable for you but your comfort is not my primary concern.

I am not saying that you think that homosexuals should be executed, I have nowhere seen you say such a thing, but nor have I seen you address the fact that that killing homosexuals is a Biblical tradition, and that the Bible (in the opinion of most scholars) profoundly influenced Muhammad.

I also draw your attention to the fact that until relatively recently (the last few hundred years) homosexuals were indeed executed on a regular basis in the Christian West. This was not contrary to the Bible but rather in accordance with its claims.

So yes I do believe that how we arrived at a society that is tolerant of (for example) homosexuality, and the extent to which this tolerance was created by Christianity is (I suggest) relevant to the discussion about the origins of a free and tolerant society, because I am tempted to believe that tolerance of homosexuality has taken place despite not because of Christianity.

This however is only one of the topics I mentioned.

1/21/2015 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

And it is very unlikely that someone who has purportedly spent weeks trying to read Bob's entire corpus would not discern the esoteric truth about Cousin Dupree

I never said that his intolerance came as a surprise to me, although I admit I have paid less attention to the comments than I have to the blog.

1/21/2015 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Thank you for being so forthright about your kookery. Saves us all a lot of time and effort.

1/21/2015 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

"Thank you for being so forthright about your kookery. Saves us all a lot of time and effort."

That the Bible advocates the execution of homosexuals? Is your reply a denial of that claim?

1/21/2015 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

I never said that his intolerance [Cousin Dupree] came as a surprise to me, although I admit I have paid less attention to the comments than I have to the blog.

1/21/2015 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, that much is clear. Must be why your understanding is so much deeper than anyone else's.

1/21/2015 03:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Cousin Dupree said...

Wild, there is not a word about "homosexuals" in the Bible, because the word didn't exist until the late 19th century. You are projecting your own understanding of that term -- a term which is itself problematic for a number of reasons -- into a very different mentality, but at least you are unwittingly exemplifying the point of today's post.

We recommend you read Prager's lengthy essay on homosexuality for some desperately needed Biblical, historical, and anthropological context. Meanwhile, you'll just have to trust us that you are an anti-intellectual rube of the first rank.

1/21/2015 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/21/2015 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Stone versus dust -- that's a good point, Julie.

We are dust. In Ezekiel, God says He will remove the heart of stone (on which in type He had written the Law) and give them a heart of flesh (dust).

1/21/2015 03:32:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

The word "homosexual" did not exist until the late 19th century.

True, but homosexual behaviour predates the C19th, unless you are taking the view that it is socially constructed, which is not a view I find very persuasive.

"Prager's lengthy essay on homosexuality for some desperately needed Biblical, historical, and anthropological context."

I am familiar with the essay (a poor effort in my opinion) but what I was getting at is the extent to which Christianity did (or did not) contribute to the creation of a free society.

1/21/2015 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ah, you want to understand the extent to which Christianity did (or did not) contribute to the creation of a free society. As you know from reading the archive, we don't discuss that here.

1/21/2015 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"In pagan Germanic society there were two types of ordeal to determine innocence or guilt, trial by water or trial by fire -- fire for elites and big shots, water for the rest of us. "Originally these were invocations of the gods of fire and water.... Those tried by fire were passed blindfolded or barefooted over hot glowing plowshares, or they carried burning irons in their hands."

Exactly what does this have to do with justice? What, it's not obvious? "If their burns healed properly they were exonerated."

The other type of ordeal involved either freezing or boiling water. "In cold water, the suspect was adjudged guilty if his body was borne up by the water contrary to the course of nature, showing the water did not accept him." Excuse me, but WTF? Accept him?

"In hot water he was adjudged innocent if after putting his bare arms and legs into scalding water he came out unhurt." Again I respectfully ask: WTF?"

But on the plus side, the prosecuters had a 100% conviction rate.

Seriously though, that's all kinds of effed up.

1/21/2015 04:37:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

As Julie implies -- at least I think she did -- perhaps this had more to do with being a ritual for group solidarity, not justice as we understand it, in which case we're looking at it through the wrong lens. Call it the Wild Fallacy.

1/21/2015 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Like human sacrifice -- it didn't do much to influence God, but it was a heckuva way to bring about unanimity. Minus one.

1/21/2015 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"This has direct contemporary relevance, because, for example, we do not live in the same world as the Islamists. Here again, we can only pretend to understand people who torture children, burn Christians alive, and decapitate journalists. Well, maybe we kind of get the last one, but the point is that they are "missing" something we take for granted. Liberals pretend the terrorists simply want what we have, or are angry at us for something we did 500 years ago, but they are actually motivated by an entirely different mentality. The terrorists too."

Aye, they are motivated by the precise same mentality as the barbaric MoHamMad was. They have made virtually no progress since Islam was made up by prophet psycho.

1/21/2015 04:50:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

The question I am posing (or at least one of the questions I am posing in response to your reflections) is how much of the current freedom of say the USA is a consequence of religious commitments (let us avoid the word Christianity) and how much is the product of the explicitly anti-religious sentiments of the Enlightenment.

You seem to be grounding the emergence of a free society in a commitment to spiritual (vertical) realities, indeed tracing the emergence of these liberties back to the Middle Ages, but how many of the liberties that constitute a free society were achieved precisely by attacking religious commitments?

It seems to me quite a lot, for example "gay rights" (the non-persecution of homosexuals) seem in origin to be a direct rejection of various religious commitments - as found in (for example) the Bible.

I am not arguing about approval or disapproval of homosexuality (although I did mention Syria) my primary point is to what extent specific religious commitments conflict with the creation of a free society rather than laying its foundations.

1/21/2015 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

More or less 100%, since the so-called Enlightenment is unthinkable in the absence of Christianity.

1/21/2015 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Although the modern left is a true counter movement to the Christian/Western enlightenment, the homosexual movement being a quintessential example.

1/21/2015 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

"Like human sacrifice -- it didn't do much to influence God, but it was a heckuva way to bring about unanimity. Minus one."

You seem to want to have your cake and eat it. You want to separate the spiritual from the political (on the grounds that they address different needs) while at the same time connecting the spiritual and the political, (on the grounds that the first supplies the justification for the political arrangements of which you approve).

Either spiritual commitments are political or they are not political, you seem to pick and choose as it suits you depending upon what you want to attack or defend.

1/21/2015 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

You could call it the Gagdad ambiguity.

1/21/2015 05:06:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Although the modern left is a true counter movement to the Christian/Western enlightenment, the homosexual movement being a quintessential example."

Indeed. There are few that are as intolerant as the LGBTQWTF activists and the lefties that love them.
They hate free speech as much as they hate Christians.

1/21/2015 05:09:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Not to mention that male homosexual behavior is compulsive and therefore the opposite of freedom.

1/21/2015 05:18:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Bob,
Aye, and along with that they are bereft of happiness. In fact, the more they get their way the more rage-filled and hateful they become.

1/21/2015 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

"Not to mention that male homosexual behavior is compulsive and therefore the opposite of freedom."

You could say the same about all sexual attraction. It seems to me very bizarre for somebody to claim that sexual attraction is chosen.

1/21/2015 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I see. Normality is compulsive. Mr. Orwell, call your office.

1/21/2015 05:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Doc, you gotta help me. I can't stop bein' normal.

1/21/2015 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You know, I back when I wanted to be Scholar, I began writing an article on "pathological normality," which is definitely a Thing, but it has more to do with the need to conform than with any content per se. For example, our Wild is a very able transmission belt of the conventions and cliches of the day, so he would qualify for the diagnosis. If he ever says something unpredictable, I'll reconsider my opinion.

1/21/2015 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

If I craved originality I would not have enjoyed reading your blog.

1/21/2015 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Finally, a reader who enjoys my unoriginality, instead of all those traditionalists who hate my originality.

1/21/2015 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Nope. I am drawing attention to the Biblical roots of the execution of homosexuals.

Then you haven't read Bob's blog, the archives, his book, or any other thing here, or you would know that we would easily note your shibboleth and hoot at you for the poseur you are. And I'm being nice. Kind of. Not our first rodeo.

You have a choice: go back to lurking and learn with whom you are to deal-- for surely Petey drew you here-- or continue to lie to us and yourself and suffer the tender mercies of our derision. Tender, I say, in all hope of their sting being a schoolmaster to bring you to Truth.

1/21/2015 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Stu said...

Since when has tolerance of homosexuality become the chief proxy for evaluating the level of freedom in a society? Of all the relevant examples, why the the exclusive focus on homosex?

1/21/2015 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Because it is the perfect symbol of their nihilistic cosmic inversion.

1/21/2015 06:33:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Well said, Joan. In the interests of checking to be sure we aren't being too quick with the cluebats, I was about to do a cliffs notes version of Wild's comments for today. Then after reading the first few, I came to my senses. If anything, he comes across worse on rereading, it would almost be too embarrassing. Plus I'm too sick to pull that off from my iPad.

1/21/2015 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

"Finally, a reader who enjoys my unoriginality, instead of all those traditionalists who hate my originality."

Truly a man for all seasons.

1/21/2015 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Stu said...

All these posts about the Christian transformation of the world. What's a Jew to do?

"You shall know them by their fruits," and whatnot. Makes it tough to deny the Good News.

My rabbis are antagonisticly Jesus-phobic. Jews for Jesus bastardizes both religions. Hebrew Catholics is barely developed and the Church feels alien.

I'll settle for a one-man religion, which is, at least, internally consistent. But a reconcilliatory theology would be nice...

1/21/2015 06:40:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

First you'll have to convince me you're not crazy, i.e., Wild.

1/21/2015 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

"You have a choice: go back to lurking and learn with whom you are to deal...or continue to lie to us and yourself and suffer the tender mercies of our derision"

Are you trying to sound biblical or just comical?

1/21/2015 06:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Stu said...

I wonder how Prager does it. His Trinity of God, Torah and Israel doesn't quite hit the mark.

1/21/2015 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Gagdad, what we need here, is a nice, indexed, "Don'tKnowass archive", so that when these t-wits come about, we can refer them back to some of the 10's of threads where we previously fisked their highly original twaddle.

Maybe I'm just getting old, but where I used to enjoy going round and round with them, lately they just bore me.

Maybe if they had an actual Idea, rather than just a position. Of course then, they'd probably bore themselves.

1/21/2015 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Like the poor, the LoFos will always be with us.

1/21/2015 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

It is like being savaged by a herd of dead sheep.

1/21/2015 07:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Muhammad said...

I like savaging a herd of sheep.

1/21/2015 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

LoFos think they are wiser than everyone else which is astonishingly funny considering they use the same talking points devoid of any original thought.

1/21/2015 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

Some people like mutton.
Jihadists looooovvve live mutton.

1/21/2015 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Thought I'd check in again after the grandkids (and the grandson's trumpet practicing) left. Ahhhh.

I see the foil of the day hung around for a while. Some simply go away when they realize they're out of their depth whereas others, like this guy, gives some weak cheese parting shot like "Are you trying to sound biblical or just comical?" I prefer the ones that just slink away, at least with them you can give them the benefit of the doubt that they have enough introspection to realize they just got their ass kicked.

1/21/2015 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Wild,
You are encountering the fascinating phenomenon of anyone that attempts to point out the curious anomalies in Bob's process.
I, too, find his work incredibly thought provoking, but also with gaping holes. I have focused on his regular reference to Schuon's writings as a prime example of what I would call proof texting. And, while true, that Bob admits to taking what he likes from authors and rejecting the rest, I argue that with some authors, Schuon being chief (pun intended) among them, the smorgasbord method is a priori disqualified.
Even well intentioned criticism is defended with deep derision here, not so much by Bob, who is actually incredibly funny, but by long time readers. Try to point out the fact that Bob said nearly nothing negative about GWB during his reign, but has nothing positive to say about Obama, for example. It's so obvious to me, for one, that, in spite of all the talk, their actions are building blocks of the same set of values.
Anyway, you initial comments may have been a little snarky (so what?), but you won't get much traction here pointing out the holes in the system-or whatever Bob's process is.

1/22/2015 05:55:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Great! Glad to see you two have found each other!

Maybe now you can create a support group for Intellectuals who have been Disappointed by the lack of Interest in Opposing Thoughts.

Not sure if there would be room enough for both of you, though.

1/22/2015 06:11:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Wild,
I submit exhibit A.

1/22/2015 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I'll even make an introduction, so you two fellas can get to know each other a little better, maybe work on your discussion tactics.

Wild, this is John: he adores Schuon, and believes quite firmly that Islam is just as beautiful and deep a practice of faith as Christianity and Judaism, and that Muslims who commit terror don't have a true understanding of the faith, unlike Schuon.

John, this is Wild: he also considers Islam, Christianity and Judaism to be roughly equal in value, though he consider them all to be guilty of fostering murderous and intolerant behavior and generally making the world a worse place. He believes that the enlightenment and the development of individualism happened as a result of increasing secularism, in spite of Christianity, not because of it.

1/22/2015 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Can't say for Wild, but incorrect on all counts, Julie. But, thanks!

1/22/2015 07:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Schuon takes what he likes from the major religions and rejects the rest, so the smorgasbord method is a priori acceptable to him. QED.

1/22/2015 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

While I agree that he appears to do that, he actually accepts all the good and situates the so-called bad in he arena of the "human margin". As for heterodoxy, he rejects that, of course, since it emerges not from above, but below.
There are areas, where what modern westerners would call bad, that he merely accepts as being in accord with the religion's archetype. Islam, for example, was spread by the sword. He finds that perfectly acceptable.

1/22/2015 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Let's take Wild's example of killing homosexuals. Schuon would never say that we have advanced beyond that in the west, due to an evolutionary development stemming from the influence of Christianity. He would say that we have lost our way. What is the killing of 1% of a clearly diseased portion of the population in comparison to the rest of humanity.

1/22/2015 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

A quick point, suitable for discarding quickly.
jawn has been all over the map on Schuon, but his points have been on positions, not concepts. He has also stayed that some form of (I think it was) monarchy to be the political ideal, because... it brings more good things. Again, a position.

mild had stated many positions and noted how awful it us to have unfriendly positions towards homosexuals, because... otherwise bad things.

This blog, while it obviously expresses some likes for some positions, and much dislike for many others, the positions result from the development and expression of concepts developed from principles and Truth.

When you come in attacking positions, because of other positions... you are starting from a big empty. You have nothing of interest to offer or defend, and so we tend to use you for the only thing you've made available - amusement.

Which is fun and all... for a quip or two, but that's about it.

Come up work some worthwhile, or at least somewhat useful idea, or be Cuz fodder.

Carry on.

1/22/2015 07:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

auto correct is evil. That is all.

1/22/2015 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

John seems to be channeling Schuon's smorgasbord, which according to John is an a priori disqualification.

As for the West condoning the killing of homosexuals - really?

1/22/2015 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

BTW, Gagdad doesn't simply snatch taffy morsels from Schuon's table, he grabs onto, liberates, those items skeeter Schuon has eloquently expressed an idea, or its application, which not just fits in, but integrates organically with the ideas that are already central here.

1/22/2015 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Skeeter"?! Really? ! ARGHHHH!!!

1/22/2015 07:56:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Van, you're cracking me up. That *almost* made sense.

1/22/2015 07:57:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

What, you don't like taffy?

1/22/2015 08:05:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

John,
What, pray tell, is positive about Obama? His "smart" foreign policies? His victory over Al Qaida? The reset with Russia? Allowing Iran to develop nukes? Refusing to identify radical, fundamentalist Islam? His victory in Yemen where we have evacuated our embassy? Serial lying about Obamacare? Ignoring our Constitution? Refusing to enforce our laws? Fast and Furious? Benghazi? Using the IRS as a weapon against conservatives? Drawing red lines? All his green boondoggles? Crony capitalism?

Seriously, present your case of positive stuff Obama did. I'm sure you can find something.

1/22/2015 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

I thought I was the only one calling Schuon 'skeeter'.

1/22/2015 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Eloquent telepromter speeches ... so there's that.

1/22/2015 08:47:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

"p" ... there's the missing "p"

1/22/2015 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

This thing is so disorienting, it goes from micro small screen, to, as soon as you begin to 'type', a massive font, zoomed in to can't see either side of the line being typed... ugh.

1/22/2015 08:49:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Speaking of ordeals and the strangeness of the past, Piero Camporesi relishes the recounting in gruesome detail the execution of the murderer of the Prince of Orange in 1584. It lasted four days, ending with "his belly was slowly opened with fine razors, and his intestines extracted, and while he was still twitching, the minister stabbed him in the chest and ripped out his heart, hurling it in his face as the instigator of his [the murderer's] treachery. Then he took the ax to his face, chopped off his head from his breast," etc.

This is one of the tamer examples.

Camporesi places this execution in a selective but well-documented survey of how people in Europe before 1800 (say, roughly) had a profoundly different understanding of what human bodies were, in physical terms. This understanding was both pre- and proto-scientific, edged with magical thinking, still very much tied to the theories of Galen, i.e. in terms of humors, and also ichors, quintessences, and the like. Camporesi's survey makes for hair-raising reading, but I find it fascinating.

1/22/2015 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

"the point is that naively projecting ourselves into the past is more problematic than we may realize. For me, reading history often provokes WTF?! moments of stark incomprehension"

Another example: it was common in the sixteenth century to regard semen as the "cream" of human blood. Literally.

1/22/2015 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow. Re. the torture, I can't imagine treating an animal that way, let alone another human being.

Then again, I suppose that torture and medicine were pretty much on a continuum back then, since there was no real anesthetic.

As to the semen, oh dear. So "milking a bull" wasn't really a joke back then?

1/22/2015 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Black. I drink my coffee black. Period.

1/22/2015 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

:D

1/22/2015 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van,
I like my coffee perculated, not stirred. Black coffee matters,

1/22/2015 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie,
LOL! TrollCupid.com.

1/22/2015 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Before I wrote that I had no idea Trollcupid.com was an actual website. Of course it is, what was I thinking. Egads.

1/22/2015 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

That's awesome.

When it came through my email, of course there was a link so I looked. Yikes.

1/22/2015 09:36:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Ben,
I don't personally have much positive to say about Obama's policies either. But, I never took the position that W. was conservative. I could find all the same negatives or similar with W. But, including his more or less criminal negligence on 9-11. Say what you want, but it wasn't unexpected. He sat on his hands before and during. Repubs gave him a pass. Had Clinton or Obama been president they would not have, and rightly so.
As for Bob, he drones on and on about Obama, but sat on his keyboard, like Rush, for example, during the Bush reign.
It's just an example of the contradictions.

1/22/2015 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Magister: That's what I'm talkin' 'bout. The endless inventiveness of man's sadism always provokes the WTF?! in me. We see the same thing in contemporary Islam.

1/22/2015 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

To say that Rush never criticized Bush represents total ignorance. I did too, but the Bush Derangement Syndrome of the left was so florid, that they made it a challenge to anyone offering legitimate criticism, and often provoked a defense of him against the insane accusations.

1/22/2015 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

jawn, I didn't buy W as a conservative, or 'compassionate conservatism' as legit (is pro-regressive Right, Dad and brother too), but while I voted against him in the primaries, he won. I opposed the Medicare, No child left behind, the disastrous "violating the free market to save it" of Tarp etc, the civilian fool he put in charge of Iraq, his non-response to Putin invading Georgia which is bearing such sweet fruit as Crimea today, but with all that and more, I don't question his love of this country, or him as a decent person.

If you actually read through the old posts here, I know I was not the lone dissenter, among comments or Gagdad's posts. Your problem is you can't or won't distinguish between some praise, and blind endorsement... well... that's not The problem, only the visible symptom.

1/22/2015 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger wild said...

"John, this is Wild: he...considers Islam, Christianity and Judaism to be roughly equal in value"

Nope.

"though he consider them all to be guilty of fostering murderous and intolerant behavior"

Sometimes.

"generally making the world a worse place."

Nope.

"He believes that...the development of individualism happened as a result of increasing secularism, in spite of Christianity, not because of it."

Nope.



1/22/2015 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

I listened to Rush nearly every day during the Clinton and Bush years. The difference was extreme. His criticism of Clinton was no less severe than of Obama.
When Obama was elected, the first thing Rush said was he would no longer hold the water of pretend conservatives. As he had been.
Of course he made some criticisms of Bush, but mainly he defended him.

1/22/2015 10:42:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Van Harvey said of GWB "... I don't question his love of this country, or him as a decent person."

Me too. It makes a difference.

1/22/2015 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I detested the term compassionate conservatism, first, because it is a pleonasm (like "low information liberal"), and second, because it surrenders to the childish liberal narrative about conservatives.

1/22/2015 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "...and second, because it surrenders to the childish liberal narrative about conservatives."

Yep, as do most GOP politicos, sound byte politics... the destruction of the bass line.

1/22/2015 11:12:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Since it is literally impossible, unless I know him, to know if a president loves his country or is a decent person (in fact, the process of getting to be president almost guarantees the latter isn't true), I can only rely on his decisions and actions to make a judgment.
For example, Jimmy Carter. Religious man, family man, etc. Clearly a sociopath, though, based on his actions. Nonetheless, he paved the way for the microbrew boom in this country.
I could probably find similar minor positives about Obama and Bush.

1/22/2015 11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

jawn "...Since it is literally impossible, unless I know him, to know if a president loves his country or is a decent person..."

Really. And what mystical powers of infallibility would knowing him in person give you? And what powers of observation are you excluded from by not knowing him?

I do believe I detect the rot of a skeptic.

1/22/2015 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

...and ironically, a modernist.

1/22/2015 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

...what are those tools and gauges you're using and how do you calibrate those 'minor positives'?

1/22/2015 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Good point, Van. It is difficult to really know anyone.
Evaluating a president on his works is hardly skepticism. Obama says he loves his country, too. Yet, you doubt it.
I don't care if he does or doesn't. I know he doesn't because of his actions. As with Bush.

1/22/2015 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

mild said "Nope. Nope. Nope."

Can you formulate what you Do believe, and more importantly, Why?

1/22/2015 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

jawn said "... I know he doesn't because of his actions..."

I know because of his words (going way back), his chosen associations, the ideas he's espoused, and the incompatibility of his public words, with all of those, as well as his carriage when speaking and performing under them.

Ditto for Bush. He suffers from dire contradictions, but not outright antagonisms and antipathy.

1/22/2015 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

jawn said "Evaluating a president on his works is hardly skepticism."

No, but assuming you were prevented from doing so without personal knowledge, is the mark (whether faint or strong I don't know) if the Rousseauian naturalism, and skepticism is it's close companion (if not foundation).

1/22/2015 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

While insincerety can be masked for a while, it can't be hidden for 8 years of probing and trapping press coverage. I have no doubt that Bush was sincere in his love of country and his decency as a human being.

Conversely, Obama mask was easy to see through very early after he appeared on the national scene.

Anyone that can't see the difference in decency between the two men is lying or blinded by ideology.

1/22/2015 03:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Many folks like John are congenitally soulblind, and shouldn't be burdened with the same expectations as the Raccoon.

1/22/2015 03:55:00 PM  

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