Friday, March 04, 2016

B'atman vs. Strawman

With 158 comments, I'd say it's about time to open a fresh thread, such that scattered members of the Cosmic Remnant may issue their impotent murmurs of protest against the tide of neobarbarism.

I still don't have any great compulsion to blog. Frankly, the mystery is what possessed me to march forth with it for ten years -- including every day for much of that span. For starters, how did I find the time? Oh, right. Didn't have to drive my son to school in the morning.

For the past three or four months, I've felt a bit like a shaken snow globe. I keep waiting for the particles to settle into a harmonious new metapattern, but maybe this is the new pattern. Or, perhaps writing is what helped settle the globe. After all, writing is one way to reduce chaos to order: to forge a little microcosmos ex nihilo.

But lately I've felt that the order is something of a sham. Whistling past the graveyard. Just-so stories for cosmic drifters. Verbal campfires that last for a night. Then again, that's what the blog was always about: wrestling with O in order to extract a warm little Nugget of Joy for the day.

Eh. Brainier birds than I have concluded that our most exalted scribbling is so much straw. As Aquinas might say, "get in line."


Blogger ted said...

But if that straw is a doorway to not-straw, then it is so worth picking at.

We all need different boats to get across the ocean, and this blog has always been inspirational ride for me.

3/04/2016 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Straw makes a good place to bed down and rest.

3/04/2016 10:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what perplexes me more, the inherent duality of important things, or the simple fact that mentally touching them appears to contaminate them. Rumi was into silence too.

3/04/2016 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

We have to make our daily bread out of something; the straw here has been pretty nutritious over the years.

It occurs to me, sometimes the season of Lent for the spiritually-minded is a lot more, well, involuntarily penitential than we expect. At least, on my little island for a couple of years that's been when we've received the worst news of the year. It all worked out for the best in unexpected ways. Don't know that that's the case for you, of course, but maybe contemplating Easter would help things make sense in a new way.

Of course, it's hard to feel settled when the whole world is going crazy, so there's that.

fwiw, you all are still in our prayers.

3/04/2016 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Carmel Caruana said...

Yes but the straw left by an Aquinas is still nourishing a donkey like me. Behind all this is the mystery of the Incarnation, of the Infinite condescending to the straw of the finite. Only a divine intellection can silence our efforts to eff the ineffable.this is the silence of St Thomas.

3/04/2016 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie Godwin said...

Julie, I agree with you about Lent ... very astute! I'm trying to use my situation as a Lent sacrifice and to more deeply understand the mystery of Christ's and our suffering. Just starting book by Pope St. John Paul 2 about that. Lent has been for me a time when spiritual growth and challenges are speeded up and condensed, ever since my baptism at Easter Vigil 2009.

3/04/2016 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

A lot of my pain comes from the resistance. I see all I want to do, that needs doing, that ought to be done, how I am not meeting the expectations of those I love, and I want it to stop. I imagine some of what Christ suffered when He agonized in the Garden was sensing the disappointment of those who trusted in Him were about to experience. He knew what He had to do, but He resisted, if only for a moment, for the sake of His friends, and sweat blood for it.

3/05/2016 06:12:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

I can't type worth a hoot on this tablet.

3/05/2016 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

"But lately I've felt that the order is something of a sham. Whistling past the graveyard. Just-so stories for cosmic drifters. Verbal campfires that last for a night. Then again, that's what the blog was always about: wrestling with O in order to extract a warm little Nugget of Joy for the day."

Thankfully, there's still a vast amount of joy nuggets in your arkives, Bob. :)

As Julie mentioned, you are all in our prayers.

3/05/2016 06:30:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Leslie, Lent has been for me a time when spiritual growth and challenges are speeded up and condensed, ever since my baptism at Easter Vigil 2009.

Yes - last year was the year for us, and it was certainly a doozy! This year has been far more merciful, although I can relate to Bob's feeling of being scattered. This time around, it seems I am being called to embrace bitterness (food-wise, not life-wise!) as a form of healing. I started Lent by drinking my coffee black & unsweetened, then spent the past week or so learning about using vinegar and other acidic things to heal reflux (I've been taking Pepcid for years; it doesn't help much). Funny, actually, because I feel I've been terribly negligent re. Lent thus far; it only occurs to me just this morning what the deeper symbolism is. Especially the vinegar - every time I drink it, I'm reminded of Easter Eggs.

3/05/2016 07:38:00 AM  
Blogger JWM said...

I haven't dropped in for a comment here in quite some time, and, I'll admit, while I stop by here every day, I've fallen away from the pith of the discussion. I understand the break in creative energy, and the loss that such a break brings about. For over a decade I had the burn for doing artwork. It was who I was- then. The burn left me so suddenly it was breath taking. I was literally mid stroke on a stone sculpture when I just watched myself put down the tool and say, "It's over."
Your blog influenced me more than any other thing I ever read. Your writing carried me from a vague belief in a 'higher power' to this rather feral acceptance of Christ. But the spiritual burn that brought Julie and Mrs. G to the Church never really caught. It's like the tinder was just too soggy. Or something. It still smolders, but there has been no flame. For the last four years I've been involved in the outlaw bicycle club scene- watching and helping it grow into a new chapter in American Pop Culture. I started a group ride that has become a regular monthly event, and founded RatRod Riders Bicycle Club of Southern California. This has been the biggest thing I ever did. And the club has been successful enough that this week I'm stepping down as club president. I've grown enough that I can put my pride aside for the sake of seeing the larger project flourish. So that's something. (Love to have you come out and cruise with us, Bob)
I guess I could make the tired analogy of your blog being a rock thrown into a pond, and all the ripples proceeding therefrom... but it has been that way. You've splashed a lot of lives, Bob. All for the better. Thank you.


3/05/2016 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Apropos of nothing, the Mystery of Melody. The final paragraph sums it up nicely:

"What can one say? There is an element of the miraculous about melody, and like a miracle it cannot be explained, only marvelled at. It has one wanting to sing Creation. It has one believing in the reality of the numinous."

3/05/2016 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"Verbal campfires that last for a night."

Aren't campfires supposed to only last for a night? And what are you supposed to do the next night, say "Campfire? Build ANOTHER one? We did that last night, been there, done that. Let's try freezing in darkness and see how that goes."

I should have thought to check in when I saw no comments come in yesterday on the previous thread, but Mach Forth was celebrated last night.

Love me my campfires for the night. They aren't lessened for lasting Only a night.

3/05/2016 12:14:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

The thing about straw is that it blows away in the wind, or burns up easily. I always figured that Aquinas had gotten a glimpse of modernity somehow, and of the fact that it was really all going to be downhill from the high Middle Ages when it comes to the City of Man.

3/05/2016 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

Hi JWM! So nice to see you. :)

3/05/2016 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Maineman, that's an interesting way to see it. I just figured that Aquinas had spent most of his years trying to eff the ineffable by ruthless (and brilliant) application of reason in service to God, but possibly without having had a (tangible) spiritual encounter. In so doing, all the straw he he tossed out there has provided deep nourishment for the faithful for centuries. But then once he was really plunged into that Wholly abyss, everything he had been thinking about O for all those years just couldn't even begin to touch the mystery. Thus, speechless. Perhaps had he possessed more of an Eckhart-like mind, the experience would have had a different effect on him.

Or perhaps that's just the booze talking...

3/05/2016 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous maineman said...

Julie, I'd thought about that but decided that he would always have known that his faculties as a mere man (and sinner) could not in anyway approach God. So I don't think a vision of how far short he'd fallen would have thrown him. I'm remembering something from Chesterton's biography of him about debates with another thinker at the time, who may have been a early deconstructionist. I'll have to go back and look when I have a little time, which will probably be never.

3/06/2016 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

You may well be right. I must admit that I find Aquinas to be too dense for me to get into, so it's not as though I speak from any genuine knowledge about him. Just half-baked ass-umptions :)

3/06/2016 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think of it as reward for a job well done. Like being granted tenure by God.

Regarding melody, I've been rereading Heart of the World by Balthasar, and he has a little riff about it on p. 24, to the effect that "Time is music, and the space out of which it resounds is the future." I'm only up to p. 25, and the whole thing is even more mystico-poetically beautiful -- and incisive -- than I remember. Seems somehow to be speaking to my present circumstance. Well, something directed me to pull it down from the shelf. Then told me to order a few more books by von B.

He goes on: "Measure by measure, the symphony is created in a dimension that invents itself, and which at each moment makes itself available from an unfathomable store of Time.... You cannot interrupt music in order to catch and hoard it. Let it flow and flee, otherwise you cannot grasp it. You cannot condense it into one beautiful chord and thus possess it once and for all.... And so the eternal is above time and is its harvest, and yet it comes to be and is realized only through the change of time."

Makes me want to buy some pot from him.

I would like to write something as great as these first 25 pages, only in plainer unglish. He really captures our existential situation. The first sentence is

"Prisons of finitude!" Which is where we live.

I think I know where he's going with this. There's only one way out, and we're not it.

Off to ski for a few days. Maybe I'll return with a new, or at least renewed, perspective.

I'm also bringing along his Cosmic Liturgy for company. I'm not even that crazy about skiing, so maybe I can opt out for at least one day, and climb Mount Balthasar instead.

3/06/2016 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

That sounds like a brilliant idea. I've been hungry for something good to read lately, maybe HvB is just the ticket.

Have fun in the mountains! Maybe some rarefied air will rattle the ol' snow globe the right way 'round. Or if nothing else, provide a respite from feeling scattered for a bit.

3/06/2016 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I think it seems somehow wonderfilled and perfectly appropriate that St Thomas leaves us with a sort of parable at the end. "straw" is a simultaneously ordinary and not ordinary word. He leaves us (like UF does at the end of MotT) in the place or mode where only wonder and mystery can live. I think it tends more towards a satisfied expression than a frustrated dissatisfaction.

3/06/2016 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

He goes on: "Measure by measure, the symphony is created in a dimension that invents itself, and which at each moment makes itself available from an unfathomable store of Time.... You cannot interrupt music in order to catch and hoard it. Let it flow and flee, otherwise you cannot grasp it. You cannot condense it into one beautiful chord and thus possess it once and for all.... And so the eternal is above time and is its harvest, and yet it comes to be and is realized only through the change of time."

Wow. The symphony is like a river. One can't possess it once and for all, catch or hoard it either. And you can't condense it to one drop. Nor should we try. There's more than enough water, or music for everyone. Everyone can slack their thirst for it, as long as they let it flow freely.

I have met a few people in the past who claim that music does nothing for them, and others who can seem to do without it, or maybe they are fooling themselves, I don't know.
I can't imagine music in that way, which I am thankful for. I need it as much as I need water, knowledge, wisdom, love, beauty and goodness.

3/06/2016 10:58:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Waters of life...

3/06/2016 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

I find it interesting that the Orthodox Christians always stayed away from music that was melodious, because they believed harmony to be emotionally manipulative. Instead, they went for ascetical and modal chants to tap in to the deeper reaches of the soul. So much for CSNY.

3/06/2016 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger C Mondovi said...

we live in the middle of loud, artificial, omnipresent chatter.

it's good to get out into the countryside and hear the natural world. here is Manfred Honeck, a fine orchestral conductor, talking about music and nature at 2:56:

I have also felt this winter to be in a kind of suspension, but whether to call it unsettled, I don't know.

it could also be a settling, like fragments falling slowly into place.

3/07/2016 06:17:00 AM  
Blogger C Mondovi said...

by the way, C Mondovi is me, Magister. I changed something in one google account, and naturally it changed everything. sigh.

3/07/2016 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger BZ said...

Hey, even if you never write again, thanks. I find once a way of seeing or perceiving is communicated successfully, that's the main thing. I am appreciative. But even if you give up blogging, please keep the archives available somehow, I'm always running a few years behind on your current writings.

Best wishes...

3/07/2016 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Continent and Content said...

Years ago I read One Cosmos Under God and found this blog. It has been very enlightening. It would take a step ladder for me to reach Bob's toes so I humbly offer my blog which is an exploration of the ccoperation of mind and body in the work of creation. Not so many posts yet but perhaps it may be worth a look. Because I deal with delicate subjects I am moderating all comments but anonymous comments are welcome.

3/07/2016 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


"I need it as much as I need water, knowledge, wisdom, love, beauty and goodness."

Concur. How could this be?

In the past, I have speculated that it must be because music somehow reflects and conveys the essential structure of reality, especially temporal reality.

At the same time, I sometimes worry that I expect too much of it -- like I'm turning it into an idol or totem. In fact, I'm sure I did this when I was younger, basically redirecting the religious impulse toward various musical icons. Back then, it was pretty much the norm.

I love this passage from Heart of the World:

"The wise among man seek to fathom the foundations of existence, but all they can do is describe one wave of the current."

(Or, one linear melody in a polyphonic cosmic symphony with harmonies, counter-melodies, modal changes, etc.)

"In their portrayal, the flowing has congealed and can become true only if they repeatedly release the picture they have painted back into change."

(All ideologues try to freeze the melody.)

"The greedy among them have launched many projects; they have thrown rocks into the water in order to dam up the stream: in their systems, they contrived to invent an Isle of Eternity, and then they puffed up their hearts like balloons, all of it so as to catch eternity in the trap of one blissful Now....

"No, the law is in the river and only by running can you seize it....

"What strange beings we are! We grow only by being thrust into transiency..."

3/07/2016 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Or, one linear melody in a polyphonic cosmic symphony with harmonies, counter-melodies, modal changes, etc.

I was listening to some Dead Can Dance this weekend, and having that experience. How funny that the ear can only follow one particular line of music at a time, even as all are woven together at once so that none makes sense without the others.

Heart of the World is wonderful; reading it at the right point in one's life is like catching an unexpected glimpse of Yosemite's firefall.

3/07/2016 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

If I'm not mistaken, Lisa Gerrard sings in her own language. It sounds like an actual language, but it's just spontaneous glossolalia.


"she has said, 'I sing in the language of the Heart. It's an invented language that I've had for a very long time. I believe I started singing in it when I was about 12. Roughly that time. And I believed that I was speaking to God when I sang in that language.'"

3/07/2016 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow - I had no idea. I always just figured they were inspired by folk music from various parts of the world; you can sing along with it, and it makes verbal and musical sense, unlike gibberish or even scat.

3/07/2016 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

She sings certain passages with such authority, too. It's like how you can have a whole wordless conversation with a baby, with ebbs and flows, dramatic pauses, shifts of emphasis, etc.

3/07/2016 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

The secret about staying in the flow of the waters is to make sure you're in over your head. Otherwise, your toes, so far away from your head, will keep trying to scrabble for traction.

3/07/2016 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

If I'm understanding Herr von B correctly, that would be because we aren't in the water, but rather of it, so to secure yourself to the bank or the bottom is the quickest way to lose yourself.

3/07/2016 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Not to mention that on being plunged in, the inclination is of course to hold one's breath, but it's only when you get a lungful that you realize you've been breathing the wrong stuff all along...

3/07/2016 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

So like tasting chocolate rather than being chocolate.

3/07/2016 06:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We must start where all the ladders the foul rag and bone shop of the heart...or something.

3/07/2016 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Here is the cosmic template, according to Thomas Aquinas (written by Peter Kreeft). See if you agree:

"The structural outline of Summa Theologica is a mirror of the structured outline of reality. It begins in
God, Who is 'in the beginning.' It then proceeds to the act of creation and a consideration of creatures, centering on man, who alone is created in the image of God. Then it moves to man's return to God through his life of moral and religious choice, and culminates in the way or means to that end: Christ and his Church. Thus the overall scheme of the Summa, like that of the universe, is an exit from and a return to God, Who is both Alpha and Omega. God is the ontological heart that pumps the blood of being through the arteries of creation into the body of the universe, which wears a human face, and receives it back through the veins of man's love and will. The structure of the Summa, and of the universe, is dynamic. It is not like information in a library, but like blood in a body."

It's not unlike the One Cosmos Under God structure, which makes me realize in hindsight that I was being pulled in Thomas' attractor, or into an attractor he had long since explored and explicated.

3/08/2016 09:27:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

I'm wanting to call B.S.on this, but have never considered it before, or have the ability to do so at the moment, but one question that comes to mind here, is when did Mary begin to be associated with the color blue?

"...Until relatively recently in human history, "blue" didn't exist, not in the way we think of it.

As the delightful Radiolab episode "Colors" describes, ancient languages didn't have a word for blue — not Greek, not Chinese, not Japanese, not Hebrew. And without a word for the color, there is evidence that they may not have seen it at all...."

(Sorry, no blue linky with this phone)

3/08/2016 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Bob, yes, that's a lovely description. It's always good to have confirmation that we are not simply Deepaking the Chopra, but rather following in the footsteps of Aquinas. Also, as brilliant and wonderful and influential as Aquinas has been, he still isn't very accessible to the vast majority of people, and even those who love him usually must study and wrestle with the Summa for years to really understand.

Van, re. blue and green, that's actually true. At least, in Japan they have blue traffic lights and still describe some things - leaves, grass, and apples, for instance - as blue instead of green. They do make the distinction today, but I understand it's a fairly recent linguistic development.

As to whether people could actually see the difference, it's an interesting question. Maybe some of it has to do with the prevalence of colorblindness within a particular population? Otherwise, I don't no how anyone can look at a clear sky and a summer tree and not see that the two are very different colors, no matter the name.

3/08/2016 10:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Red China, current economic superpower (GDP) is less than 4% Christian.

3/08/2016 10:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Soviet Union had it’s own greatest generation. In fact, they had been even more impoverished, starved, and war torn than our own. Yet the character and integrity cultivated by the extreme personal adversity there, couldn’t influence the powers that be in anywhere near the quantity or quality as happened in America. Good case against communism. But the greatest generation is dead. And we and our children have been living lives of comfort and ease. You think that (outside of the tiny minority for whom character and integrity is natural born), that these things can be taught? Bwahahaha...

Look around you. We’re getting the leadership we deserve, and there’s little we can do about it.

3/08/2016 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

A search for the word blue in the Bible produced 50 hits.

3/08/2016 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Good point; according to Numbers, the Israelites were to include a blue thread (which may border on turquoise, but never goes to green) in their prayer shawls.

3/08/2016 04:01:00 PM  
Blogger Christina M said...

This Lent has been particularly Lenty. But I say that every year. I don't know why I am always so surprised?

3/09/2016 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

@Bob: I watched a doc, called The Wrecking Crew, on Netflix last night that may appeal to your musical sensibilities. Very entertaining, and covered a lot of ground on these session musicians.

3/10/2016 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I keep meaning to see that. Those guys were amazing. Another one I want to see is Twenty Feet from Stardom.

3/10/2016 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

That's a good film too!

3/10/2016 01:34:00 PM  
Blogger joseph said...

Studies have been done with found hunter gatherer tribes on the color thing. They don't necessary have words for them, but they can see them.

3/11/2016 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Things making me happy these days: Enjoying M. Ward's new song Confession (guitar player for She & Him). Also enjoying the new read from Robert Spitzer, The Soul's Upward Yearning. Got introduced to his writing on this blog!

3/12/2016 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger tater said...

Glad you are back

3/13/2016 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

"In the past, I have speculated that it must be because music somehow reflects and conveys the essential structure of reality, especially temporal reality."

I'm still trying to figure out whether universes are sung into existence.

3/14/2016 06:26:00 AM  
Anonymous maineman said...

I'm working my way through the Spitzer book, too, Ted. He's much more of a heavyweight than I expected after first hearing him in a radio interview. The summary of Lonergan's proofs is particularly useful.

3/15/2016 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Interesting Journey Home with a former atheist goth girl.

3/16/2016 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Thanks! This could be helpful, the main character in my current project could almost be described as an atheist goth girl.

3/16/2016 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I would be curious to know how other Raccoons come out on this test. I first took it in grad school and have always been an INFP, AKA oddball.

3/17/2016 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Back in probably '96 or '97, my husband (then boyfriend) and I both took the extensive written version; his sister's husband is a psychiatrist, and she thought it would be fun to test everyone.

We didn't do ours at the same time or compare notes, but both came up as INXP.

Presumably, that can change over the years, but in a way it's amusing to be odder than the average oddball.

3/17/2016 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

On this version today, I come out as INFP-A. Not sure what the "A" stands for.

3/17/2016 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Persistent, compulsive bloggers and their fans are almost always INxx. In corporate America INFJs are the type most likely to be workplace mobbed because they usually possess that unusual combination of ability and integrity, which power players (usually ExTx) despise. Unfortunately, if the mobbed doesn’t have ‘wisdom resources’ readily available after being ruined they can take on behaviors which appear ‘malingering’ (PTSD, not wimpy laziness). Wise counselors will advise them to avoid the corporate world, to go into business for themselves (since they’re usually pretty good at most everything they do), to gather loyal customers who know that business actually cares about them. It’d sure be nice if this knowledge was made commonly available early in American life.

3/17/2016 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...


3/17/2016 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

Mine is INFP-T
Okay, that's pretty funny, actually. LOL!

3/17/2016 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I would guess that more than four percent (which is how many show up in the general population) of readers are INFPs. My wife is an INFJ. Much more decisive -- or at least methodically so -- than I am. I just allow things to happen, or else make rash intuitive decisions without much forethought.

3/17/2016 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I plan for as little structure as necessary.

3/17/2016 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Hmm... I got INTP-A.

I suppose it's typical of these tests, but anyone else annoyed by the phrasing of the questions? Like "It's more important that your child be kind, than smart." Well, how do you mean that? That they be Good? Yes, definitive, but if it means that they should be nice and ingraciating? No, definitely not.

Or that "It is more important that YOU be right than get along with the team." That I be right? No. Not at all. That what the team is Doing is Right? Definitely.

A couple arghs like that, but. .. oh well.

3/17/2016 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I like structure for the purpose of no structure. As in how boundary conditions allow the emergence of something higher, or how you must internalize rules of music in order to improvise. So on one level my life looks very ordered and predictable, but the order is just a stairway to slack.

3/17/2016 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Van -- just read some of the descriptions and see if the shoe fits. It's never completely accurate, but it does seem to capture a lot of themes.

3/17/2016 02:25:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

I was just doing that, and pleased to see it wasn't going towards what I was expecting. As you say, not completely accurate, but definitely interesting.

3/17/2016 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Allena said...

"I like structure for the purpose of no structure. As in how boundary conditions allow the emergence of something higher, or how you must internalize rules of music in order to improvise. So on one level my life looks very ordered and predictable, but the order is just a stairway to slack."

This sounds so much better than being called a procrastinator lol! You sum it up well, Bob and that makes Sense!

3/17/2016 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Van - I thought the same about some of the same questions. The description really does help, though - going by that, I still have INTP tendencies (for instance, getting annoyed by non-binary and overly generalized questions) but overall the INFP description is pretty accurate, I think.

Bob, re. structure, exactly.

3/17/2016 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you know that T/F actually relates more to person’s “wildness” than it does the homogenized “thinking/feeling”? Coyotes vs. bichon frise. Okay, agreeableness. Both can be equally intelligent, but it's a matter of perspective. Survivalists may admire the intelligence of coyotes, but circus trainers not so much.

3/17/2016 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Van -- yes -- annoyed also, by most of them.

The same kind/smart question comes to mind. And what does smart mean? -- what I think it means? What the questioner does? Or what the questioner thinks the general population thinks it means to them? I don't know what I think it means, but my initial "feeling" was a little repelled that kind/smart were assumed at opposite ends of the spectrum.

But somehow to be annoyed by most of the questions probably indicates a personality type and would be indicated by the answers one would select. Except I rarely felt satisfied with my selections.

There was one about being comfortable at social events. I tend to not want to go to them. But once I'm there I almost always have some fun and feel better afterward. So how do I score that? (no,really) Do I go with the tendency, or how I pretend to be (which ends up feeling more "like myself")? I went with the tendency.
But you see, I already knew that about me. Does that matter?

So when it's accurate, does this only mean: of course, I selected what I already knew.

Similarly, I scored high on structure/planning. But this is something my occupation requires. I find that part to be work and not satisfying. But I see the great value in it. I like planning things to do on vacation (not overly so), but then like doing whatever. I actually think it's not planning but pretending to be on vacation already -- I can't wait to be "plan-free!" Not entirely unlike pretending to do my day job as I think it should be done because it puts food on the table.

Btw, Jesus took the test and scored:

3/18/2016 05:46:00 AM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

One of the things that the test brought to mind, is that I am much much more sociable (or less introverted) than I used to be. Your blog, Bob, and all the raccoons were very instrumental in drawing me out of my shell, which I am grateful for. :)

Of course, I'm still 53% introverted according to the test, but before I started reading OC, and OCUG, MOTT, etc., I was probably about 90% introverted. Not that being introverted is necessarily a "bad" thing, but I am much more balanced now in that regard which I think, is a good thing.

Another thing the test has shown me is that I am more emotional than I used to be, or perhaps I am simply not as scared to simply feel emotions than I used to be. One can argue that I am too emotional now, but I do know I am also much happier than I imagined I ever could be.
In any sense I have definitely changed...a lot, and I actually like myself now.

3/18/2016 06:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus is routinely categorized as INFJ. As said before, power players, some materialistic to the point of moral insanity, usually despise integrity and will turn the “counselor type” into the martyr type if they feel their power is threatened enough. Or as a demonstration of power - as in, be like this and we'll do that.

3/18/2016 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

It seems to me that Jesus would have to be an IESNTFPJ.

3/18/2016 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger ted said...

If you ever want to get a sense of the breadth of Jesus' personality, Richard Rohr does a nice on this in his book on the Enneagram. I also like the Enneagram's system in regards to personality structure, as it is given in a spiritual context (but be warned it has been co-opted by many new age types).

3/18/2016 09:53:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

I want to change my answer. Jesus would be:

3/18/2016 10:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It seems to me that Jesus would have to be an IESNTFPJ."

You bring up an excellent point, Bob. When I went into the DMV to get my license, I didn't see shapes and sizes of people that could be neatly categorized into 16 groups. I saw a mix of every shape and size. But most of them fell into a "normal" spectrum. You know, 80% of men between 5-8 and 6-1, somewhat overweight, etc...

I wish the good people at these testing sites would refine the results a bit, you know, to reflect that most people fall within the hump of bell curves, though some are 'extreme'. So your result may have come back I2-N10-F4-P3 or whatever it'd be. 1-3 is hump of the bell curve normal, 7-10 is extreme, you know...

BTW, Jesus lived as a man, so had a definite MBTI. I think you're talking about God, the spiritual part?

3/18/2016 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"I went into the DMV to get my license... most of them fell into a "normal" spectrum."

You sure it was the DMV?

3/18/2016 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Joke borrowed from Dr. Seinfeld

3/18/2016 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Reading (slowly, as usual) through HvB's book on Maximus, this passage stands out in the context of personality types:

"If his first Dionysian trademark is an ability to play weightlessly before God, and his second an Aristotelian ability to contemplate the world, the third trademark of Maximus must be identified as a calm freedom from all the passions that cloud or weigh down or tear apart the mind, in order to rob it of its freedom and self-possession. This calm is also his mode of entry into the mystery of God, which stands beyond the world. Only the spirit that has become pure and simple can encounter the transcendent One; the soul that has fully emptied itself, that 'has no song to sing', becomes the place of revelation, the abode of the infinite God. Right through the middle, then, of the Dionysian, Aristotelian picture of a self-contained, hierarchically ordered universe cuts - straight as an arrow - the Alexandrian way of ascending from the sensible to the intellectual and ultimately to the divine world; it brings to Maximus' conception of reality the axis that holds it together and that makes its movement possible."

I'm reminded of UF's description of the Hermit as being one who synthesizes a higher third between two seemingly opposing binary points.

3/19/2016 01:59:00 AM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Evidence that people didn't begin to become people at Lascaux alone, 40,000 years ago Asians were getting in on the act too.

Gotta wonder why Art suddenly became a thing? And how did we know it?

For a looney leaning fringe explanation, but nevertheless interesting one, there's the changing Schumann resonance frequency of the earth is turning the notes up to 11.

3/19/2016 08:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My yard is wooded with paths going all over, in an exurban area visited by wildlife. I saw my cat crapping on a path then just walking off leaving it exposed. My other cat ran up from out of nowhere and with some urgency, scratched chips and leaves over that crap.

Both had been feral barn cats I’d brought home to take care of the rodent problem. But while the second cat was doing his job as expected, the first cat seemed to decide early on she had a good thing going with warm home, being fed, comfy couches... and mostly gave up on the hunting thing. Did she think her crap act had been “art”?

3/19/2016 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I guess in the sense that the first joke was a fart.

3/19/2016 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I don't know if the first cat is an artist, but the second is certainly a critic.

No doubt he said cattily, "if I can do it, it isn't art."

3/19/2016 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

ENFP-A [Assertive] I've come full circle back to this 25 years later. This is how I tested after 5 years on the mission field all those years ago. I don't I would have had the "assertive" part back then. The joy of getting older!

3/19/2016 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Although the first two were almost 50/50. An extrovert with introvert tendencies I guess, as I get older.

3/19/2016 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Joan, that's interesting. Funny how people change over time, but also the ways they stay the same or come full circle.

3/19/2016 07:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think art starts when creatures begin to have free time for self-expression, beyond their daily survival activities. It’s their way of saying, “That was me. I was there”. And ones personality seems to be a definite factor. If Bob had been born an ESTJ, with all other things being the same, would he still be writing artfully?

3/20/2016 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

If Bob had been born an ESTJ, all other things could not possibly be the same.

3/20/2016 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure? If it was the family business, tough minded parents to please... ESTJ may be compulsively bossy, but they're also notoriously traditional.

3/20/2016 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Your hypothetical makes absolutely no sense, and the follow up even less so. Quite simply, a person who grew up with a family business (of... what, exactly?), and an ESTJ personality, might be all sorts of things, including an artful writer or thinker... but that person would in all likelihood not be the author of One Cosmos, the book or the blog.

If you're asking if an ESTJ could be artistic or creative, the answer is "of course." If you're asking whether a person completely unlike Bob would create what Bob creates, the answer is "highly unlikely." Approaching impossible.

3/20/2016 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh, details. May I retrack?

My original question, did not specify “One Cosmos” anywhere in it. Nor did it suggest that Bob’s life would follow the exact life track it’s taken if his temperament was different or that other variables could push his life that exact way.

I was asking if it could be possible for an ESTJ to be as creative as Bob the INFP is, doing what does not come naturally. And, how this might be possible. Just saying “of course” adds nothing to the discussion. And misunderstanding the original intent of the question even less so.

3/20/2016 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Okay, Captain Crankypants. Is it my fault if your first two questions didn't make any sense? I used the specific example of One Cosmos because you used the specific example of Bob. My broader point was that pretty much any other person wouldn't create the same general type of dilletantric yoga, even if he were using the same practice and setting to write each day. Even if he were also an INFP.

I don't know a thing about ESTJs besides the broad descriptions available onine. However, it stands to reason that an ESTJ - being human - is perfectly capable of creativity. The output and expression of that creativity would probably be very different; perhaps grounded, for instance, in perfecting a trade or craft that requires skill, dedication and structure. Or if the ESTJ in question were drawn to write about metaphysics, he might explore the structure of reality in a very different way. Bach instead of Beatles. Crystalline formations instead of upside-down trees. Aquinas instead of Areopagus (though perhaps I go too far with that one).

To ask whether one broad type can be "as creative as" another broad type is, well, a little too broad; like asking if a tall man can walk as well as a short woman, or vice versa. They can presumably both walk, generally speaking. They just won't do it exactly the same way.

3/20/2016 03:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough, MissUnderstanding. And no it’s not your fault. You’re just made the way God made you (plus some environment). I also noticed Joan’s comment, believing it meant that she’s changed type then came back to the original over time. I’m curious about how much influence nurture can have over one’s nature, as that exact thing has happened to me.

My original question was meant for Bob, since he stated that he’s had experience with this stuff for many years. I’m only about 10 years in. Plus he’s a professional in a related business, where I am not.

3/20/2016 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Ha - I like that nickname, I may have to use it sometime.

3/20/2016 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’m just stirring the pot between boring chores. I used to be a cubicle drone, but now have to get out there every day. Just another Peter Gibbons cept I need better answers. Uh oh. Another fart coming on...

After 10 years of observation. You’d think INFP and INTP would be alike, give or take. IME, they are not. At first meeting INTP is the more sociable, complete with all the niceties, norms and even charms. IFNP appears more reserved, self-conscious, slightly nervous. But when you get to really know them it all changes. In my experience, when if you look under “mirth” in the dictionary, that’s an INFPs face they’ve got pictured there (when they're at their natural best). If you look up “dour”, that’s an INTP. Where an INFP would rather write comedy stories, INTP write computer viruses. But I’m talking about the stronger versions of such. Most folks are just variations of XXXX, projecting their own selves onto the world.

I don't like psychopaths.

3/20/2016 04:21:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

And now, for something completely different, a musical interlude from Cosmic Swede territory (or somewhere in that vicinity).

Anony was asking earlier whether someone with a completely different profile could be artistic. There's something about this that strikes me as being along those lines; it's so ordered that a machine literally does most of the work, and yet there's an element of play and artistry that bring it to life and render it more than merely mechanics. It's like listening to icicles dance.

3/20/2016 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

I doubt it's so much that I've changed as much as I've stopped artificially being something else out of shock, trauma, necessity, penury, stupidity, hurt, or fear. Regeneration is an ongoing process and suffice it to say that we are made in the image of God and the difficulty is to look into His mirror and not one of our own assumptions.

The M-B test is man's attempt to help us understand ourselves; it is merely good information, it is not Good News.

3/20/2016 07:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julie, I don’t think an ESTJ could come up with something as creative-mechanical cool as the marble machine. I’m partnered with one (person not machine), who would simply describe his vision (which he got from somewhere else) and have other people design, build and play the thing.

3/20/2016 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

I can relate to that, Joan. Well said, as always! :)

3/20/2016 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Allena-C said...

Julie, I cooncur. If one is human the potential to create is there. How can it not be? That doesn't mean, of course that everyone IS creative, but everone has the potential.

3/20/2016 10:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joan. That makes sense. I was a probably a creative happy-go-lucky ENFP kid but hard times knocked me to cynical yet compulsive-curious INTJ. I may indeed be forcing myself to be artificially something else for powerful emotional (survival) reasons, where I believed I had no choice but to change.

As far as image of God and the mirror, I see it as a one way mirror, (spirit sees us) which our physical selves can only penetrate with help from the Holy Spirit. Might explains why Jesus said you can blaspheme him all you want but the Holy Spirit... you’re screwed. Might be some really serious metaphysical law gets broken.

I once posited that Jesus is to our physical self, as God is to our spiritual self. God gets it, because he’s actually lived it. And yeah, created all the physical and spiritual laws that govern conscious beings. Jesus didn’t just die for our sins, he showed us what we really are. And the Holy Spirit is probably the God-force which connects both realms. My quick and dirty explanation for a 3 in 1 God. The mental structure I hold about all this is so counterintuitive-abstract that I don’t even bother explaining it anymore. Words can’t nearly suffice. I have to use multiple metaphorical descriptions to try and build a higher dimensional structure in the other’s head. Few have that kind of patience. They think I’m trying to be too clever, crazy, or whoo-hoo-lookit-me. I’m just trying to find somebody to talk with about what I’m sensing. I think it is possible to hold physical science and spirituality in ones head together, and with ‘mental eyes’ slightly crossed (okay, it's abstract reasoning), see the pattern just like we did with those old computer generated dot pictures. But then, that's what works for me.

3/20/2016 10:51:00 PM  

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