Sunday, January 22, 2006

Breaker Breaker, Anyone With a Copy, Come On

Let's see.... I've been doing this blog since 10-4-05. Ten-four is CB code for "message received." A big ten four signifies hearty agreement.

Today, in keeping with the CB theme, I'd like to say, "Anyone with a copy, come on." Do you read me? Message received? Understood? And mainly, do you have any questions?

I've received a surprising number of interesting questions and comments via e-mail, but those are obviously not for public consumption. I was wondering if anyone had any anonymous or public questions for either me or for Petey (who may or may not have any interest), or any topics they would like me to further discuss.

These can be questions about yourself--spiritual impasses, doubts, dark nights of the soul--questions about me, questions about the book, questions about anything I've already posted on, ideas for future topics.... As I said, feel free to post anonymously.

Obviously, this is not an invitation to vertically challenged trolls to pester us with inane, incoherent, vulgar, and predictably annoying questions. In CB terms, I'll have to pull the big switch and give a negatory to any wind-jamming bootleggers and button-pushers, channel hoggers or savages with fake handles and peanut butter in the ears.

Simple questions, stupid questions, metaphysical questions, religious questions, psychological questions, musical questions, political questions, yes/no questions, complex questions....

Actually if it's too complex, it may not be answerable in blog form, put perhaps I'll be able to point you in the proper direction. Feel free to be creative or to ask anything that pops into your head, like, "Where did the cosmos come from?," "What is consciousness?, "How do you know this thing called God exists?," "What is this painful rash on my thigh?" (your thigh, not my thigh -- I have no idea what this thing is), "Will you share your award-winning chili recipe?" (no), "What happens when we die?" (actually, don't ask that just yet -- I don't have a simple, bloggable answer).

Hopefully this will be both innertaining and instructive. With luck, perhaps even frivolous. If I don't know the answer, I promise to say so or to provide a confabulated response that seems so plausible that it even fools me. Especially me.


Mrs. Gagdad has also agreed to answer any general questions. She's a therapist and career & life transition coach who is currently a barefoot, chained-to-the-kitchen, stay-at-home mom, raising our young 'un and doing her level best to set the feminist movement back. I have a question. What's it like to live with an eccentric neuronaut? Is he always like this?


Anonymous said...

Showing how simple I am, the first question to arise in my little sphere:

From whom did your chili receive an award? And secondly, why not share the recipe with an otherwise deprived and appreciative audience.

Gagdad Bob said...

It involves Petey. That's all I can say.

Gagdad Bob said...

Let me put it this way--I don't want to get into the chili recipe or what happens after you die. However, they are connected.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy the entries; Keep it up.

LiquidLifeHacker said...

I asked this in another thread...

If you were sending your son off to college tomorrow, or you had a family member that was sending a kid off to college tomorrow, and you were asked to compile a list of books to ship along in a box, that you felt were a MUST HAVE to to read, What books would you suggest?"

Please everyone join in...on your top ten list of must reads that you think would have enlightened you prior to your freshman year into college.

Gagdad Bob said...


I didn't answer that queston right away, because I'm giving it some thought. I'm thinking back to when I was 18, and asking myself whether there was any book that have could have stopped me from doing all the crazy things I did, and the answer is probably "no."

I guess it depends on the purpose of the books. Books of practical wisdom? Books of moral instruction? Books as antidotes to the leftist brainwash?

A friend of mine with a couple of impressive college age kids pointed out that by the time they're 18, it's too late. You had your chance. In fact, you had 18 years of chances.

In his case, the boys are not just bright but appropriately skeptical and conspicuously independent minded. That would be a key: how do you inculcate the courage and confidence to maintain independence of thought, since the leftist blob exerts such a strong influence on young minds?

Mark Butterworth said...

I won't ask if there's a God, but what is he like? And have you met him?

Also, what is consciousness is a good question, but I'd really like to know what is the subconscious and unconscious, how do they operate, and can they be eliminated? Is it possible to be fully conscious?

Anonymous said...

Here's my question. How do you define salvation?
In our culture the term is most commonly associated with the Christian religion, but I have seen the term in Buddhist literature as well.
Do you have a definition that cuts across the differences in various religions?
Is it up the same tree as enlightenment?


Gagdad Bob said...

"what is consciousness is a good question, but I'd really like to know what is the subconscious and unconscious, how do they operate, and can they be eliminated? Is it possible to be fully conscious?"

--All exteriors have an interior, however attenuated. Consciousness is the interior of the cosmos. It has been evolving along with the exterior for the past 13.7 billion years.

--No, it is not possible to be "fully conscious," because our self-consciousness lives in the dialectical, generative space between the nonlocal, noumenal ground of consciousness as such and our evolved nervous system. Consciousness is refracted through the lens of this nervous system, and is as boundless and inexhaustible as our dream life.

--You cannot eliminate the unconscious, but you can have insight into destructive and self-defeating parts of yourself that have lodged there ("mind parasites"), while hitching a ride on the "higher" aspect of consciousness and using it to your--actually, its--benefit.

Consciousness extends vertically in both directions, toward a lower zero point of apparent nescience to a higher zero point of empty plenitude. The idea is to orient yourself on the vertical plane toward the higher, and thereby generate what might be called "theologoumena" (as opposed to surface phenomena or unknowable noumena).

This is how you 1) meet God and 2) find out what he's like. In the West, god is called the Word. In the East, they say that the world is God's play, or lila. Thus, reality from God's perspective is a lot of clever wordplay. The world is actually made of language, but language is not of this world, if you know what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Liquidlifehacker:

Here's a couple of non-moonbat titles that are actually fun reads as well:

Anthem, by Ayn Rand.

(short and sweet)

Starship Troopers, by Robert Heinlen.

(I'm not foolin')


Gagdad Bob said...

"How do you define salvation?

"Do you have a definition that cuts across the differences in various religions?

"Is it up the same tree as enlightenment?"

Salvation is spoken of in different ways in different traditions. I am of the belief that religion often involves metaphysics without knowledge. That is, embedded in any religious tradition are all sorts of metaphysical insights that are expressed in an obscure, ambiguous, symbolic, or mythological way. Thus, they have to be unpacked and understood.

What is salvation? From what do we need to be saved? I believe that the true meaning of the fall involves our entrance into the dimension of time. Time is not actually possible without eternity, but evolution is not possible without time. Therefore, we need to be saved from our apparent separation from the eternal, as we engage in our evolutionary sprint from monkey mind to divine mind.

For example, it is quite easy to fit Jesus into this paradigm. Adam's fall is the fall from timeless communion with God into the separative consciousness of duality and strife. Jesus represents the Universal Principle--the abstract absolute outside time and space--taking on particular form. Thus, Jesus is the Ultimate made Particular, or word made flesh.

However, the Bible clearly teaches that we may share in this process--that it didn't just happen one time to one person. We may be sons of God "through adoption," and thereby be saved from the ravages of time, here and now. We may make the eternal present in us.

The Upanishads discuss the problem in a slightly different way, but I think it's the same idea: to disidentify with the local personality and see that atman and brahman are not-two.

That's a quick answer.

Anonymous said...

What obligations, if any, do we have to others in need such as the poor, the sick or the handicapped ?

Gagdad Bob said...

"What obligations, if any, do we have to others in need such as the poor, the sick or the handicapped ?"

--If you are who I think you are, our obligation is obviously to become leftist loons, join the Democratic Party, and institute a plethora of usually ineffective government programs so as to deflect our personal responsibility onto the collective and assuage our guilt.

Gagdad Bob said...

"The poor"

--First of all, we have to realize that this is a misleading term, for there is no such thing as "the poor." Most people are probably poor at one time or another, but people rarely stay in the bottom quintile their entire life. Rather, people are constantly moving in and out of that quintile for a number of reasons.

And we now know that most of the reasons are self-inflicted. One has only a 5% chance of being poor if one follows some simple rules, such as finishing school, working, and not having children out of wedlock.

Plus, poverty is often a state of mind. I suppose that I myself would have qualified as "poor" dring much of the time I was in college and graduate school, but I was never poor. In fact, if someone had told me I was, I'd have probably told them to f*** off and mind their own business.

What was the best thing that anyone did for me when I was poor? First of all, I'd have to thank Ronald Reagan for drastically cutting taxes and creating the most expansive economy in history. I would also thank my parents, who taught me that the world doesn't owe me anything and that I needed to work and go to school.

Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

Back in October you had a series on Cosmic Solidarity in which you promised (and I was very much looking forwrd to) a continuation of the theme touching on Judaism and Christianity. It seems to have gotten as far as Swami Moishe, and there it ended. I would very much appreciate an explication leading into the Christian era.

KMac said...
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KMac said...
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KMac said...

I'm a lapsed atheist (broke away from the "religion" - don't believe in a supreme being but know that there's more than what we can see, hear, and eat.)

I've been asked how I can say I don't believe that God created the universe - I've answered that if God created the universe, what was God doing before then? Even that's absurd (i.e., what was God doing before there was time/existence) - I routinely receive a curt "you shouldn't ask that question ..."

I believe God is the universe - and where it came from (or going, whether it's finite, infinite ...) - I have no idea; indeed, "God" is the most profound way to express that which a mere human can't know, unable to even form the question let alone answer it.

Finally, a question (sorry for the preamble) - do you think common ground is possible between those who view The Bible as the literal word of God vs. allegorical text of he contemplation of God?

LiquidLifeHacker said...

Bob, no problem on waiting for you to think about some good titles...

As for it being too late at the age of 18...I will agree their personality is pretty set by then, but their brains are still not totally developed at this age so reasoning with new literature is still always hopeful.

Anway...JWM and others, I have written down the books you have suggested. Thanks very much.

P.S. Bob, I am including your book One Cosmos, and look forward to what else you come up with to toss in the box.

Anonymous said...

who subsidized your tuition at a public university ?

Gagdad Bob said...

I guess my parents' property taxes paid for my public education, but I attended private schools for my MA and PhD, which I paid for.

Kurt said...

All I have to say is that "One Cosmos" has become one of my daily must-reads. Thank you for your efforts. This guy enjoys them greatly.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Interesting point. My son's blog is, which I thought was a terrible idea, but he, at 22, thought was appropriately retro. Y'all might enjoy it, especially if you like humorous but accurate film reviews.

liquidlifehacker asked for advice over at my blog as well, so this is clearly a young woman willing to attend to how other people see the world.

My own booklist got thrown into complete disarray when we adopted our two from Romania, one of whom has started college this year. Before that I would have leaned toward the heavier tomes of the Western Canon -- the sort of thing I leaned on my two older boys about.

As my third and fourth boys do not read for pleasure anywhere near as much, I have learned to look for shorter works which capture a lot in a small space. I would send at least one CS Lewis: Screwtape, Great Divorce, Miracles, Abolition of Man, or Mere Christianity. I would include Solzhenitsyn's One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovitch and Elie Wiesel's Night. I wouldn't have to include a Bible, they would both pack their own unbidden. Animal Farm, most likely.

Anonymous said...

"...embedded in any religious tradition are all sorts of metaphysical insights that are expressed in an obscure, ambiguous, symbolic, or mythological way. Thus, they have to be unpacked and understood."

I did a lot of "unpacking"in the sixties, but consider myself a recovering atheist now--happy in my state of suspended disbelief. I guess you could say I'm in denial of denial.

Anyway, after reading your blog for the past few days, I can't believe I have the temerity to disagree with you, but my experience led me to conclude that deconstructing (or unpacking) religious belief left me essentially belief-less, unless you count my resulting atheism.

My point and my question are the same: don't mystery and ambiguity have a place in religous tradition?

I enjoy your blog very much--I'm just coming up short on the understanding part, a common problem for me. Oh, and for liquidlifehacker's list--Rand was great in my day, but don't know if today's kids would warm to the polemical tone. I suggest Nelson DeMille's fiction to provide insights into the failures of bureaucracy, while simultaneously entertaining. "Charm School" in particular offers insights into the failed Soviet system. I've also heard "The Road to Serfdom" by Hayak is invaluable. Also agree with avi's suggestions.

Finally, I had to abandon setting up my blog before I finished it, but it'll be called Deep Trope when I figure it out, so I hope to be back un-anonymously and un-lurkingly.

Anonymous said...

why is the muslim religion so decadent ?

Anonymous said...

Suppose a person came to you for treatment of troubling mental symptoms resulting from the spontaneous awakening of kundalini. Would you consider his case to be a psychotic episode, a spiritual emergency, or a combination of the two?

What sort of therapy do you feel would be most helpful in this instance? Do you feel that most licensed mental health professionals are qualified to provide this type of care, or would he need to be referred to someone who specializes in treating such complications of meditative practices as he's experiencing?

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late coming to the party, but I have three questions.

1) What do you see as the most common and significant "mind parasites" afflicting people who are on an authentic spiritual path?

2) Why are contemporary people on an authentic spiritual path, whether Buddhist, Vedantic, Hindu Tantric, Christian mystic, Sufic, or Kabbalist, almost unanimously leftist? There is, of course, the counterexample of Sri Aurobindo, but he appears a lone voice crying in the wilderness these days. As a Buddhist who also happens to be a Straussian neo-conservative, I've been feeling pretty lonely and in fact have had to suffer denunciations from spiritual teachers and friends, not for expressing my political views, which I generally don't, but merely for not agreeing vocally with theirs. So my motive for asking this question is kind of personal, but I've just been wondering why the political views of modern spiritual seekers fall out so consistently this way. Ken Wilber, whom I revere, says that the Democratic party represents a sick version of a higher level of consciousness (green meme) and that the Republican party represents a healthy version of a lower level of consciousness (blue meme). This was persuasive to me until I saw the political aftermath of Sept. 11, but now it seems to me that some other explanation has to be found.

3) This is totally unrelated to questions 1 and 2, but in the light of the work of Allan Schore and others on the significance of attachment to human brain development, do you believe that there is any validity to the traditional Buddhist and Hindu yogic emphasis on the desirability of solitude and of severing human attachments in order to find enlightenment. I have in mind such things as the Buddha walking out on his family and encouraging his disciples to leave their wives, Ramakrishna exhorting his disciples to shun women, Sri Ramana Maharshi telling a devotee whose wife had died that he was better off without her, and so on.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the millionaire who sent his kids to private college paid part of your tuition, as did the retired couple whose kids went to college back in Chicago and whose grandkids live there, as did the family down the block whose kids never went to college. And none of them had a choice in the matter.

If the system depended on just the taxes of attendee's parents, they would shut down.

public universities are one big lefty redistribution of wealth. Most libertarians btw oppose them.