Monday, August 10, 2015

Midstammer Pause

Coming up on ten years of service, you know. Advice, feedback, criticism, recommendations, reflections, witness, testimony, ritual condemnations, etc.


Blogger Van Harvey said...

Spiral on, O Man, Spiral on...

8/10/2015 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Is it time for the airing of grievances? Very well - I think you should keep extra beer nuts on hand for beer o'clock.

As to witness and testimony, I'd be curious to see a show of hands for how many people formally became religiously affiliated as a result of reading this blog. And whether that influence extends to any family or friends.

Starting with myself, I think people know already that my immediate family and I are now all Catholic. We're even shifting our anniversary up one week, this coming Saturday (getting convalidated - they have you do the wedding all over again!). And to say that we've taken on a new direction in the past few months is an understatement of truly epic proportions. While I chalk that all up to God, I can honestly say that I wouldn't know how to listen to God, much less be patient, trusting, and fearless in the face of great change, had I not been a part of this little brotherhood. So thanks for that, and I hope whatever you're doing for reluxation you, Mrs. G and FL are having a truly marvelous time.

8/10/2015 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Just keep on keeping on.

But probably a good idea to change your timing belt. Don't want that sucker to break in mid post.

Just finishing "Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy" or "Schuon for Dummies" as I liked to call it. Excellent read.

Hope to finish your "I'd Start with These" wheel on your sidebar before I shuffle off this mortal coil. It's a fair race at the rate I read.

Oh, and always, many many many thanks. You, your family and as many Raccoons as I can remember are in my daily prayers.

To answer julie's question. After a flirtation with Catholicism, I'm considering going to an Orthodox church. Don't know. I like it on paper. May freak out in meatspace however. Not rushing it though, these things happen on their own time.

8/10/2015 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Pedro (vote for me) said...

We have a great F.F.A. schedule lined up-- and I'd like to see more of that.

8/10/2015 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I think you should increase the dues to zero dollars per year and bring back the evening edition.

Or just... Coontinue ...

To answer Julie's question, I'm as formal as I've every been. But I could stand to get formaler.

Haven't Missed a Post(TM) since 27 Jan 2007

8/10/2015 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger chandler said...

HUGE blog.....

8/10/2015 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Coongratulations for ten years of hit after hit, Bob.
Wait, it's been ten years? Seems like jest yesterday. Timelessness truly flies when you're having fun.

Thank you, Bob for keepin' it real. You have been a coonduit of metaphysical goodness and cosmic hijinks.
Of all the blogs I have gnown, yours is the most...human.

8/10/2015 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

I can't begin to tell you the influence this blog has had on me. It has been invaluable. If it was only valuable, I could at least pay you for it.

8/10/2015 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Kurt said...

I read this blog every day. Came for the politics back in 2007 - a link from Gerard at American Digest - and stayed for the revelation! Read 'One Cosmos' in 2007-8, followed by 'Meditations on the Tarot' and Schuon's 'Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism'. After The Bible, those three books are the foundation of my spiritual experience.

My wife and I attend an independent evangelical Christian Church. I was raised a Catholic, she was raised a heathen (just kidding, sweetheart!). Her folks were agnostic.

As always, a grateful thank you to Bob for all the work you put into this blog, for sharing your many insights and for your persistence and tenacity, chewing away at this bone called 'existence'! You have been a great help to me as I figure things out for myself.

Suggestions? Go where the Spirit blows you, amigo. You can't go wrong following the trail of Grace...

8/10/2015 02:00:00 PM  
Blogger katzxy said...

Thank you for the verticalisthenics. Your work is much appreciated.

8/10/2015 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

It would be hard to imagine where my life would be without One Cosmos. I had all this stuff rattling around, and the posts here as well as the interactions with my brother and sister Raccoons have helped me to understand how these pieces really do fit together and that even the oddest pieces have a place in what's being built. I'm not saying that I have put it all together by any means, but I know none of it is extraneous or without a purpose to which it can be put.

I understand faith a lot better than I used to.

Thank you.

8/10/2015 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger JWM said...

John 3:16 casts a pretty wide net. I kept swimming here until it caught me. I remember commenter Magnus Itland making a comment to the effect that any serious spiritual quest would eventually lead one to the cross. That comment stopped me in my tracks, because it lit up TRUTH in neon. And it caused me to confront the Jesus Willies head on. Was I going to continue? Final score, Jesus:1, Willies:0. A win for Gagdad Bob and his miraculous blog. I feel a magnetic pull toward the Catholic church, but I am still the feral cat- he gets just so close... for now.
No exaggerating for dramatic effect here, Bob, your writing on this blog changed my life.
Thank you.


8/10/2015 09:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Skully said...

How many religious blogs have a beer o'clock? I rest my case.

8/11/2015 01:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Skully said...

One Cosmos = Prime Rib for the soul.

8/11/2015 01:07:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"The quest, thus, has no external 'object,' but is reality itself becoming luminous for its movement from the ineffable, through the Cosmos, to the ineffable. --Eric Voegelin

Reality is such a trip.

8/11/2015 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Not only have I found the answers to many questions I had about God and His relationship with man, but I also now have better quality questions about God and I.

Thanks Bob and fellow Raccoons.

8/11/2015 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

I've been reading off and on for years, and offer my gratitude.
I have no clear path of reconciling Schuon with Godwin, but the tension between the two has created many openings.

8/11/2015 02:42:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

John, perhaps your focus is off. The objective should not be reconciling Schuon with Godwin, but rather with reconciling Schuon with God, and Godwin with God, and anybody else whose faith and depth you appreciate with God. So long as you keep your focus up where it belongs, the rest falls into its proper place, and then it becomes simple to appreciate how different minds and concepts illuminate each other so long as they approach Truth, even when it seems (from another perspective) that they oughtn't.

Skully - You know what the Temples of the Israelites smelled like? Barbecue. Every day.

8/11/2015 05:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We raccoons need another shiny, new book! A compilation of posts, perhaps?

8/11/2015 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

No offense Julie, but I'll go ahead and focus on the Divine as He directs. In any case, I already said the tension has proven useful. Nonetheless, I, and anyone that takes Schuon seriously, can hardly reconcile two pretty divergent approaches. Schuon could easily entertain an Orthodox priest, regardless of differences. He would have thrown Bob out of his house. That's the difference.

8/11/2015 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

If you say so.

8/11/2015 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger John said...

Well, Bob has said as much countless times.

8/11/2015 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

That Schuon would throw him out? Yes; you're both probably right.

I just don't find it to be problematic.

8/11/2015 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

... mmmMMMmmm... Barbecue... at Beer o'clock.
I recall first stumbling in here from VanDerleun's post on the 'whatever' boy, 2006? 2007? Six I think, and I think Gagdad's post went from stocking or swiping Lite beer, to the Greeks - not entirely complimentary as I recall, but thoughtful and somehow on point - and my Jesus Willies began to transform into something worthwhile.

And very much suitable to Barbecue at Beer o'clock. As it always has been:

Bk IX:1-62 Odysseus tells his tale: The Cicones

Resourceful Odysseus answered the king, saying: ‘Lord Alcinous, most illustrious of men, it is a fine thing, in truth, to hear a bard such as this, with a godlike voice. I say myself there is nothing more delightful than when all the people feel this joy, and the banqueters sit in their rows, listening to the minstrel in the hall, tables in front of them laden with meat and bread, while the steward pours wine from the bowl, and carries it round and fills the cups. It seems the loveliest thing of all to me.
But your heart prompts you to ask of my sad troubles, and make me weep and groan the more. How shall I start and end my tale? First let me give you my name, so you all know, and if I escape from pitiless fate later, I will play host to you, though I live far off..."

8/11/2015 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Difference between me and Schuon: I'm just a guy with a blog. The idea of being held up as a spiritual master would move me to despair.

Having said that, some of these comments are quite energizing. Gives a fellow something to live up to.

8/11/2015 07:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

The only Enlightened Spiritual Masters I know are the ones I haven't met.

8/11/2015 07:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

I do hope you remain inspired... because inspiration is sorely needed:

"...Robot-human marriage is not about robot rights; it is about the right of a human to choose to marry a robot..."

O my logos.

8/11/2015 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow. It's the ultimate in sterile relationships. Well, not relationships exactly, since that requires two persons.

It's as though, given the choice between the wire mother, the fluffy mother, and the actual mother, the baby monkey flees the real deal in favor of one of the first two.

I guess that doesn't speak too well of her mothering...

8/11/2015 08:07:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Also, does Slate just not keep an editor anymore? So many typos and such bad writing.

8/11/2015 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Julie said "Well, not relationships exactly, since that requires two persons."

Yes, but, you know, it involves 'choice', and that's all important, certainly more important than what's being chosen or why. No doubt it'll poll strong with Libertarians....


8/11/2015 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger SippicanCottage said...

You know the difference between Badfinger and the Raspberries. That alone is enough for me to like you.

8/11/2015 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Griffin said...

I know I've been in lurk mode lately (new job eats up a lot of time), but I couldn't remember if I had ever related this to folks around here.

Reading this blog helped me get my foot in the door with the woman who would become my wife eight years ago. In fact, the whole deal might not have happened were it not for the influence of Bob.

Michael Polanyi happens to be one of her favorite philosophers, and his semi-regular appearances around here meant that I could converse somewhat intelligently about his ideas when she and I happened to run into each other while she was visiting a mutual friend in my town. This lead to an arrangement to read "Personal Knowledge" together and discuss it over the phone weekly. We had our first official date not long thereafter, and knowing a good thing when I saw it, 7 weeks later I told her I was going to marry her.

I could get into why I didn't exactly ask her to marry me, and why her first engagement ring was a cigar band, but that's a much longer story...

8/11/2015 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

way to leave out the best part, Paul.

8/11/2015 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Bob, you had said something once, if I remember correctly (it was a long time ago) that to the effect, the is task of a man to spend the first forty years of his life becoming somebody, and then the next forty becoming nobody. If I didn't dream it, what is (or rather, who was) the reference?

8/11/2015 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, that's a Vedanta thingy. Establish yourself in the world and then transcend the world. Descend and ascend. Incarnate and excarnate. Death-in-life to life-in-death.

8/11/2015 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ah -- many thanks.

8/11/2015 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I hadn't heard that before but it sounds like the sort of thing that can't not be true, unless you're an adultolescent. Then all bets are off.

Paul - you can't set up a story like that and then not continue; that's just cruel!

8/11/2015 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

In through the out door.

8/11/2015 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh, I think I've related Paul's story in here before. He's probably the only second-generation raccoon around here.

I'm so grateful at what God wrought in Paul's life (and ours) when he brought his sweet wife into it. Now if you all could politely pray for a third generation Raccoon, I'd be the most grateful grand-coon in the room.

8/11/2015 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...


I will definitely pray for that. The world needs some more of Argghh!s.

8/11/2015 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I look forward to the day you have a grandbaby Joan (well, Paul's wife, actually but you know what I mean). Grandkids are a blessing. :)

8/11/2015 06:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Stu said...

I found one cosmos in October 2006, a recovering liberal, only a few years removed from my college indoctrination. I was looking up something about Israel, and Bob just happened to have posted a highly trafficked post on the subject. OC boot camp was a morning ritual for many years after that.

One wife, two kids, three employers, and four cities later, I still drop by when the batteries need recharging. Thanks Bob for shining a bright light on doors to intellectual and personal development I would not have otherwise found.

8/11/2015 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Thanks Bob, if I was half as smart as all the rest of the coons here I would comment but had to stop because I ain't. In any event I come here everyday, n have since LGF days, really helped me understand a lot of stuff, well, understand as as well as someone with my limited intellect can.

8/11/2015 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

I would have commented earlier, but I didn't have anything useful to say, so I would have just interfered with actual comments.

That being said, I have found this blog to be useful.

I find the political commentary to be distracting. Although an "Obama Clock" would be a nice feature. As in "Time until Obama is gone from office and we can stop talking about him."

Or a Hillary clock. Which actually has less time on it than the Obama Clock.

8/12/2015 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger John Lien said...

Rick sez,

"task of a man to spend the first forty years of his life becoming somebody, and then the next forty becoming nobody."

I like that. I got a head start on the "nobody" phase which will make the task a little easier.

8/12/2015 07:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, One Cosmos! I don't know how to thank the One Cosmos community enough. Such amazing ideas and inspiration for ten years. OMG! It's like what they say about Fiji Water, i.e., the "earth's finest water". Well, that's advertising, but I'm sure you know what I mean. Tugboat

8/12/2015 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

Bob, the only suggestion I have is "pictures, now and then." I can't begin to tell you how thought-provoking your book and your blog have been to me.

8/13/2015 05:45:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

John Lien, I believe Bob made the connection at the time that it was reflected also in John the Baptist's commenting on Christ's appearance on the scene that "He must increase, but I must decrease."

8/13/2015 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Eddie Marcia said...

If this blog resonates for you the way it has for me for the past half decade then you've also probably discovered that nothing else out there "works" as effectively.

Truly changed my life for the better (oriented me gradually toward Christ) and I believe that others around me have been influenced via osmosis.

I for one would be happy if Bob keeps writing like this until he's 95.

8/15/2015 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Correction: cosmosis.

8/15/2015 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous YoDingDongMan said...

Thanks for putting your thoughts on out there mr. Gagdad. I found this place while googling Schuon's name a year or two ago and has become one of my very few bookmarked pages. Many thanks.

Curious question for Catholics that read this blog - how does one reconcile the esoterist perspective on religion with the exoteric religion that is largely intolerant of any heresy? I mean Schuon is clearly a heretic (Bob likely is too) according church teaching. It seems to me that believing special revelation exists outside the church isn't compatible with being a legit Catholic. On the other hand buying the churches claim to exclusivity of the truth seems ostensibly difficult. Curious what others think on this. I myself was raised catholic then drifted towards freethinkery in college, briefly flirted with agnosticism before becoming a Ken Wilberesque new ager. I have since re-emerged closer to my Christian roots, but certainly not a legit catholic.

Sorry if this has been covered in discussions here in the past. Have not been riding (or tailgating perhaps) along the bus that long.

8/16/2015 08:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In his book The Parabolic Teaching of Christ, Alexander Balmain Bruce remarks upon the "felicity of expression" that characterizes Jesus' teaching. Bob edifies using his like gift of parabolic teaching, "casting beside" the metaphysical a felicitous, earthy metaphor to facilitate understanding. I look forward to my forty-minute, mid-day break from slinging code, when I can unwind and eat my lunch while enjoying the latest from James Taranto and One Cosmos.

8/17/2015 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't believe in special revelation unless it is in the context of everyday charisms that that the church both acknowledges and welcomes. There is a huge difference between this and the Gnosticism implied in your question. For example, MOTT, one of our touchstones, was written by a Catholic. Its perspective is esoterist and mystical, not Gnostic.

8/17/2015 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...


Considering that longtime readers of this blog tend to veer toward Catholicism or Orthodoxy (even though, as noted in various comments above, many don't go all the way), I'm not sure I even understand your question. If Bob ever claimed any kind of special revelation that gave him secret knowledge that the Church doesn't even know, he'd be Deepaking the Chopra and we'd be morally obligated to pull out the Cluebats™ and commence with the vicious mockery. For his own good.

Exploring the deep concepts should not bring one farther afield, but rather should draw one farther in and higher up. Acknowledging that people outside of Christianity sometimes had a lot to contribute in such endeavors does not invalidate either their knowledge or Christianity.

8/17/2015 07:29:00 AM  
Anonymous YoDingDongMan said...

GagdadBob, Julie

Special revelation may have been a poor word choice and probably did not convey what I meant. Allow me to restate - The Church tells a story about God, man and everything else including x, y and z. It teaches that one must believe x, y and z in order to be a member of the club. I suspect that is difficult for many modern thinking people to do at least in part because we are aware there are other religions and perspectives telling a different and contradictory story (say a, b and c) . And while you could argue that the Church is right and everyone else is wrong (which I take to be the Orthodox view), when you read the literature of other religions it doesn't exactly seem inspired by the devil (nor do their adherents seem demonic), in fact some of it seems quite profound. If I read Schuon correctly, he interprets the doctrinal contradictions between religions to be on the exoteric level and more or less states that claims to exclusivity of the truth are not true - From "Transcendent Unity..":

what cannot be proved, for want of absolute proof, is not intrinsic truth, hence the traditional legitimacy, of the form of the Universal religion, but solely the hypothetical fact that any particular form is the only true and legitimate one, and if this cannot be proved it is for the simple reason it is untrue

This and Schuon's other arguments surrounding this topic make sense to me, but I'm not sure the Church would be Ok with the idea that its claims to exclusivity of the truth is untrue.

I understand this isn't a Catholic blog and Bob and likely others here disagree with Schuon on key issues. So my prodding is motivated by my curiosity on how wise folks here see this question, particularly those who embrace what Schuon would call a "religious form".

And Julie - regarding deeper concepts, totally agree. In fact that is what made Christianity compelling again to me after being turned off by some of the more ostensibly pedestrian aspects of religion (I recall the term "Churchianity" being used on this blog once or twice....)

8/17/2015 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Yes, along with "the Jesus Willies." Thankfully, I have gotten past that, for the most part.

It teaches that one must believe x, y and z in order to be a member of the club.

For me, what it boils down to is that I am Catholic not because it was a club I wanted to be part of, and therefore decided to accept what they say is true in order to be part of the club. Rather, it is that after years of study, searching, and questioning, mostly thanks to my interactions with various raccoons and the things they read, I have discovered that there is Truth. The Church as a whole does its best to align itself with that Truth. It does not dictate what is true; rather, it tries its best to conform itself to Truth, and pass that on to as many people as possible.

It's a bit like the old formulation (which I think hasn't made an appearance here is a while): Nothing is true because it is logical; rather, it is logical because it is true.

8/17/2015 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Late to the party, but need to say my thanks as well. Stopping by here always gives me meat to chew. I find it all very interesting. When I hiked the Grand Canyon or walked through the redwoods, I realized how good it was to feel small. Wading into these discussions has the same affect.

8/18/2015 02:19:00 PM  

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