Saturday, August 12, 2006

Suspended Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth

What did Oscar Wilde say? “Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.” That’s how I feel about politics. Too many posts about politics leave me wanting to join a monastery to get away from it all. Sometimes I do wish I could withdraw from the world altogether, but I believe that doing so represents a false spirituality just as much as its opposite: “To darkness are they doomed who devote themselves only to life in the world, and to a greater darkness they who devote themselves only to meditation,” says the Isha Upanishad.

If one is lucky, a moment comes in one’s life when one makes the conscious decision to move closer to God, to know reality to the fullest, and to establish a permanent relationship with what is permanent. In so doing, we become what we are and what we were always meant to be. We become a true individual, but we also become a human being as such, for there is no humanness without divinity, only exalted animality.

There are many ways to prove the existence of God if one is sincere about doing so. One very easy way for me is to notice how different my life is when God withdraws, as inevitably happens with most anyone on a spiritual path: now you see Him, now you don’t. For example, when I write something of a spiritual nature, it is only because I am in the state of which I write. If I am not in that state, then I can only fake it, which I try to avoid. Such writing is generally worthless.

The same holds true for anything I write about politics. Whatever the content may be, it also unavoidably emanates from a particular level of consciousness. I am completely aware of this as I am writing. People who accuse me of a disconnect between my supposedly lofty spiritual principles and my “blue orange” political philosophy (in the loopy terms of “spiral dynamics” theory) don’t seem to realize that I take the world as it is, not as I wish it to be. Nothing could be more vain and narcissistic than assuming that everyone in the world is at the same level of development and responds in the same way to the same rewards and incentives.

This is elementary. Take two tribes and place them side by side. One is a highly spiritually advanced, wise and peaceful “green” community of seekers. Next door is a bloodthirsty tribe of red-purple brigands. If the peace-loving group is not entirely in touch with its own aggressive red side, it will simply be devoured--as was Tibet and as would Israel if it were to lay down its arms.

This is why I consider Gandhi such an unqualified--you will pardon the expression--ass. The notion that violence is a priori bad or immoral is one of the most pernicious ideas imaginable. As I have said before, it is as immature, stupid and dysfunctional as the idea that your immune system is bad because of the violent manner in which it greets invaders. Pacifism is the moral equivalent of AIDs; it is like equating a compromised immune system with robust health.

Not everyone is the same. To become an individual is to know your destiny, and your destiny is not another’s destiny. There exist natural castes--priests, scholars, warriors, artisans, merchants, laborers, etc. Each person has their function in the whole, and none has any more intrinsic dignity than the others. But no one, regardless of caste, should lose sight of the good fortune of being born into the human state. Trials and ordeals will come, and they will be of a different nature, depending upon one’s dharma.

Some of my readers are well aware of the ordeals of the spiritual path, for when you take that path, make no mistake, you are declaring war. And your declaration will not go unnoticed by the other side. You are going to have to drop the gloves at center ice and go toe to toe with the other team’s goon. It is your destiny, just as it is the warrior’s destiny to meet the enemy on the battlefield.

War of the external variety is simply an exteriorized version of this interior warfare. The spiritual path is hardly a cakewalk, as the lives of the great saints and mystics illustrate. For when you take this vertical path, there comes a moment when the divine element makes contact with what is undivine in the soul, and the results are both painful and disruptive. Whatever you habitually carry within yourself that is incompatible with perfection will be burned, dissolved, broken apart, shoved around, and hopefully transformed, but not without putting up a fight.

All traditions recognize this process by various names. Joseph Campbell called it the “hero’s journey,” but it is also known as the “dark night of the soul,” the temptation of the devil, the descent into hell, and yes, even jihad. Only he who has personally witnessed sacrifice and resurrection knows the secret of dying in order to be reborn.

The elements that are aroused by the declaration of spiritual warfare come from different levels and dimensions. There are the personal mind parasites I discuss in my book. There are cultural mind parasites--the collective madness of your particular human group. There are genetic influences that must be transcended, even collective patterns that haunt all of mankind. It is well understood that the great saint or boddhisatva takes on the karma (or sins) of the world and does something for the benefit of all mankind, no different than the great scientist who makes a breakthrough that will cure a disease that threatens everyone.

I am personally so grateful to some of these saints who have waged spiritual warfare for my benefit, that I can hardly find the words to thank them. They devoted their lives to a cause which benefits me in a direct and palpable way, every day of my life. Where would I be without these great souls that went before? They are no different than the great explorers of the physical world who first discovered the unknown country, waged battle with various hostile forces, made a little clearing, mapped the territory, and made it habitable.

Obstacles and trials in life are absolutely necessary, because these will reveal and test your character. I was about to say that everyone is tested, but no longer. A big part of the liberal impulse is to reward weakness rather then to help the weak--to eliminate the very conditions that allow humanness to bloom on the altar of sacrifice and trial. Society degenerates under these lax conditions. Even thinking becomes sloppy and decadent, let alone behavior.

It would be nice if we could make life easy for everyone, but it would be a life unworthy of human beings and our reason for being here. A well lived life is not measured by indulgence and momentary pleasures, but “is paved with acts of renunciation; in order to live in accordance with truth and beauty it is necessary to know how to die. Thus it is that the ‘Remembrance of God’ is a kind of death that day by day interrupts the blind flux of life; without these pauses, the flow of our temporal existence strays and is squandered” (Schuon).

War would not be useful or necessary if every man could bear the battle within rather than without. All human beings should be taught as part of their birthright that their greatest enemy is within and that their greatest struggle in life will always be with themselves. Both the Left and the Islamists, in their own ways, teach the very opposite of this quintessentially humanist doctrine: the enemy is outside, you are a victim, and you are entitled to the fulfillment of your fantasies.

Where are the leaders who teach not self esteem, but self conquest? What great Arab will explain to fellow Arabs that Israel is not the source of any of their problems--not a single one--and what great liberal will deliver the hard news to his fallow trivialers that George Bush is not what is obstructing their spiritual--much less material--fulfillment?


ben usn (ret) said...

Hi Bob-
I concur with your ass-essment of Ghandi.
True courage is found in the will to protect all that is good.
It's easy for some to be a pacifist, because there is no responsibility.
I cannot imagine standing by, begging for mercy, while my wife, kids, friends or neighbors are massacred, and I'm thankful I can't, for it is opposed to all that is Holy, and good.
There is no justice in such reprehensible behavior.
Pacifism is, honestly speaking, disgusting.
Pacifists fool themselves into thinking that they are morally superior, but there is nothing morally good about it.
Thanks for the wisdom, Bob.

Alan said...

I agree and disagree with your assessment of Ghandi.

It seems like the heroes of this world spring into being to face a particular challenge. They are brought to the point in life where they make their not unsignificant contribution. Then life passes them by and their all-to-humaness becomes clear.

For Ghandi, his strategy was ideal for dealing with British (if you count the cost in lives) but falls down in the face of radical Islam. For those in the suffragette movement, they got the vote and ultimately turned women into victims. The same thing with the southern black rights movement (see Jesse Jackson)

For a wild one, look at Malcolm X who really made the rest of the black rights movement look like the palatable alternative even for those who were against the movement. If you haven't read is autobiography, it is, IMHO, probably the most soul baring bio I have read.

So I agree and disagree. Clearly pacificism is a morally challenged philosophy overall.

Counter Mag said...

i hear 10,000 jackboots marching in lockstep...
this is honestly one of the filthiest channels for disinformation on the web-
that's why i can't get enough of it
i'm so addicted to reading what nonsense doctor bob is gonna spew forth for the coming day
i love sifting through your racist, second-hand info, your obvious regurgatation of republican propaganda is laughable
i love your attempts at trying to claim righteousness through jesus christ, all of you, also laughable
your 'support israel at any cost' is very neoconservative in nature
im starting to wonder if any of you have ever had an original idea in your life
i see you're all linked to the same right-wing blogs, that's cute
what did dr. insanity have to do today?

but worst of all, your labelling of islam as fascist takes the sycophantic cake
why don't you turn to your neocon heros for a lesson in fascism
maybe look to michael ledeen for a true lesson in 'italian fascism' and the much successful 'strategy of tension'

for a doctor, you sure like to break things down into overly simplistc parts, black and white, good and evil, believer/non-believer, left and right

you all speak as though you are on the front lines of the israeli-lebanese conflict, like somehow you have first-hand information that the 'left' just doesn't have

you should stick to writing about the pseudo-science you practise from your office chair

at least those semi-damaged minds you call your patients will absorb some of your bullshit

then again, you know what they say about the medical profession--always get a second opinion

quack, quack doctor bob

Countermag said...

Pacifism - The belief that disputes between nations should and can be settled peacefully.

I believe it's completely unholy to fight something you are against in the first place, with violence.
Ex: "I hate war and plan on killing everyone involved'
Pardon me? Really, this makes no sense whatsoever. I'll agree to a point. If these hands would only kill they'd surely cleanse the MY standards. What good comes of that? Someone would surely not agree. This is what the problem is, people forgetting that the pictures, people and genuine issues arising are stemming from real live humans. We can all sit and debate from out lovely little homes and offices but people are begging for mercy. If the swat busted down your office door right now I am positive you'd come out with a different perspective. Especially regarding your innocence. Aside from captivating observative countries with fear, there is the killing of innocent people, with redundant reasoning. how much anger can one have at an entire nation that you are willing to send other innocent people in and have them kill the ones you don't want(I say the ones because I swear no one is important enough for even a name anymore) and lose/risk their lives in the process. I think violence is completely disgusting, if you can't win with words and you feel the need try and defeat a nation/person with death and fear you need a lesson in morality.
Btw, I don't absorb any ignorant comments to flame mine,so please note comments in hopes to 'hurt my feelings' and degrade my(or anyones)intelligence actually work in an opposite manner. We are free to opinion. That is why war exists.

Gagdad Bob said...

counter mag--

Thank you for so vividly depicting the raw and uncensored inner workings of the mind of a moonbat. Fascinating stuff.

Counter Mag said...

there's bob with another bombshell dropped on countermag

call in your dogs now, bob, im sure Will is just salivating for a 'lefty'

maybe petey too...
let's see if we can get Will to throw a chair...

Gagdad Bob said...

Counter mag--

Don't worry. No one here disagrees with you, least of all me. Rather, I just think you're loony, and it is an exercise in futility to engage a lunatic in rational debate.

Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, with Gandhi I am making specific reference to his doctrine of ahimsa, which he mistakenly believed was an ironclad spiritual law rather than a shrewd political tactic. Believe me, I wish the Palestinians would follow his example. But he also urged the Jews to passively resist his "friend" Hitler, which is just folly, pure and simple. That's what I mean by "ass." (He was also a somewhat nasty piece of work in his personal life, but I won't get into that. For example, I believe--if I am recalling correctly--he was likely responsible for his wife's death by refusing her medicine that might have saved her.)

Counter Mag said...

ok bob
so ghandi is out
now rip apart another pacifist
you know, the one you supposedly worship?
now what did he say, um, turn the other cheek, or was it preemptive force in my name?

Gagdad Bob said...

Geez, I thought I was turning the other cheek by allowing you to keep stinking up my blog.

Counter Mag said...

Bob, that's all you seem to have is a bag of insults and unjust views. You supply no rebuttle to opinions unlike your own. All I ask for is an intelligent discussion regarding your posts. All publicity is good publicity right?

will said...

Oh Counter Maggles -

JC did say he came with a sword and not to bring peace as the world counts peace, or as Gandhi and Joan Baez count peace.

Say, there was actually a war in heaven once, wasn't there? You know, a violent expunging of evil . . in heaven yet. No pacifists in heaven, apparently.

Your prob is you don't believe in evil, unless of course, it's people who recognize evil and will stand against it. That, to you, is evil.

Really, Maggles, next Holiday season, ask for a new soul. The one you've got now isn't doing you any good.

Petey said...


Heh heh. Answers the question, "What is an unemployed butler hoping to do?"

David said...

Regarding the teachings of Jesus Christ on war and peace: I'm not a Christian myself, but I'm pretty sure there's something in there about "my kingdom is not of this world." His thoughts on war and peace must clearly be interpreted in that context. Letting the people you care about be murdered by savages is clearly a different proposition if judgment is imminent and afterlife is certain than it is if this world is all we have. Yet most of those who glibly ask "who would Jesus bomb?" are very much people of thiis world.

Also, some (like C S Lewis) have interpreted "turn the other cheek" as advice to the Jewish community for handling of day-to-day conflicts, having nothing to do with international politics. Which makes sense since the Jews were then a disarmed and subjected people, with no involvement in foreign policy or war.

will said...

By the way,Maggles, so what if I fling a chair now and then?

All you do is fling your own poop.

Gagdad Bob said...

Note to readers:

Comment moderation has been temporarily enabled until the idiot wind dies down, so your comment won't appear immediately. And naturally, troll comments exceeding the stupidity or obscenity limits won't appear at all, except for purposes of self-inflicted mockery.

The Bunnies said...

If anyone is interested in Gandhi and his rational solutions to the issues of his day, neo-neocon does an analysis which links to an incredibly long but fascinating article on the Mahatma.

And didn't Jesus say something like "I came not to bring peace, but a sword"?

Sal said...

Dorothy Day, so admirable in other ways, was a pacifist ass, too, sad to say.

Wow, Bob- this is a winner, very insync with our day.

Just got back from only son's college graduation. His college career has been a long, hard, on-again, off-again slog so we were all very proud of him.
And thanks for the prayers- he was still debating going through the ceremony last night.

"Thus it is that the ‘Remembrance of God’ is a kind of death that day by day interrupts the blind flux of life; without these pauses, the flow of our temporal existence strays and is squandered” (Schuon). "

If you've been doing this for a while, decades or so; you eventually forget what it was like to not have these pauses in your life. It's a little like trying to remember not being able to read, for example.
And so it's very difficult to imagine what a life without the "Remembrance of God" would be like.
No wonder there's such a disconnect between horizontals and verticals. A 'cannot compute' sort of thing.

And I have always loved your emphasis on caste. but you know that.

geckofeeder said...

Was it Charles who first said "Don't feed he trolls."
Why on earth do they come over here but to distract from the great cyber warrior's pearls of wisdom(Petey) who has more creativity in his, well, in his - umm, spirit, than just about anyone I've read recently. Tell me, Lisa, that you don't really think they're cute.
Now Petey, he is cute.
Ghandi (how some of us always choose to love the narcissist) helped rid India of the peace of the colonial rule of the English which had managed to supress the Hindu/Muslim antagonism for two hundred years. Read Modern Times - Paul Johnson
chapter 14 for starters.

Gagdad Bob said...


I love Paul Johnson:

"Gandhi was not a liberator but a political exotic, who could have flourished only in the protected environment provided by British liberalism....

"His teachings had no relevance to India's problems or aspirations... His food policy would have led to mass starvation...


will said...

>>Whatever you habitually carry within yourself that is incompatible with perfection will be burned, dissolved, broken apart, shoved around, and hopefully transformed, but not without putting up a fight<<

One thing that I think can bring some measure of comfort to those who suffer through this dark night purgative process - the suffering and pain one must endure is due to one's relatively sudden exposure to the Light. It is a dark night because one's emergent spiritual senses are overwhelmed by the Light. It's as if a lifelong blindfold is discarded and the eye must slowly acclimate itself to the light of a greater world. In short, the Light that scourges and purifies and brings the demons forth is the same Light of heavenly transcendence.

This is, I'm told, the same purgative process every soul must pass through after corporeal death. However painful it is while in a corporeal state, it's worse after one permanently leaves the body. Maybe it takes just as much time to purify one's self on "the other side", but it'll seem a whole lot longer.

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, so we have heard from the wise:

"He who dies before he dies does not die when he dies."

Lisa said...

They sure aren't cute in the way Gagbaby is cute, but they do serve their purpose. They are cute in a pitiful and ugly way , much like a Cabbage Patch Kid! It usually just drives many of the points home that Bob highlights. I get a kick out of how "out of their league" they are and they are not even capable of realizing it. They are also easily offended and don't have much of a sense of humor, making them prime targets to tease.

The other interesting observation about trolls is that they love Bob sooo much, they can't just leave him alone. Their hubris is so inflated, that they feel the need to constantly belittle and judge Bob and his ideas, looking like the true asses that they are! In their little minds they probably think they are speaking truth to power or some nonsense! It's generally amusing but does easily get irritating and I wouldn't care if the delete button was used more.

Van said...

Oh, it does me good to see others Gag(dad Bob) over Ghandi - he helped bring an end to the most civilizing peace India had known since that remarkable Religion of Peace, the Muslims (get that 'Mag?), brought mass slaughter to it's divided land back in 664 a.d. As Will Durant notes in Book 1 of his "Story of Civilization" series "The Mohammedan Conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history."

Interesting to note that Ghandi, or "That Half Naked Fakir" as Winston Churchill refered to him (I really like ol' Winston) was strongly influenced by passages from one of America's own founding leftist moonbat hypocrites, Henry David Thoreau. Lines of his such as: "Only the defeated and deserters go to the wars, cowards that run away and enlist." or "Patriotism is a maggot in their heads." prove that Progressive Leftists have always had a penchant for spouting nonsense.

"Gandhi cited Thoreau as one of the foremost influences in his life. He had read "Resistance to Civil Government" as it appeared posthumously under the title of "Civil Disobedience" ... and borrowed the term civil disobedience as an English equivalent of his own term Satyagraha.

Gagdad Bob writes "Where are the leaders who teach not self esteem, but self conquest?" Unfortunately I don't know, but I am pretty sure he won't be found striding about in either actual diapers such as Ghandi, or the intellectual equivalent that writes such winning prose as "if you hate the system and say '#%$! the man'" as does our estimable commenter Counter Mag. (I'm afraid you were right about the Shiftless comment Bob, he seems to have lost his way to that Big Key again)

Jimmy J. said...

A great post. I identify very much with the thought that God sometimes withdraws. I have been privileged to know His grace. But it never lasts and then I must deal with the, as you call it, horizontal on my own. But when I really need it, grace reappears and lifts me into the vertical again. It is always a process and a journey, which is never easy. As you say, "Obstacles and trials in life are absolutely necessary, because these will reveal and test your character." Amen.

Howard Nelson said...

Curious that some of the commenters accentuate the most negative thoughts of some of our greatest humanes -- I wonder what they know of and appreciate, in those they malign, that made beneficial contributions to humanity?

And British rule in India/Pakistan, which did a lot to truly humanize the Hindus and Muslims there, don't blame Gandhi for the ensuing carnage at independence and population transfer.

Perhaps, by the late 1940's, the Hindus and Muslims preferred freedom and self-government rather than the maternalism/paternalism of the British, and did not foresee the serious problems and persecutions that followed independence.

I don't grok the glee and viciousness in the tone of some commenters in their views of Gandhi's misguided altruism. At least he paid his dues BIG-TIME, in the service of Hindus and Muslims.

Perhaps it would have been best if we had never revolted against the British -- what's the big deal with a tea tax [let them drink Coke!]and nonrepresentation, as long as we have British Mommy, Daddy, Bobby, and Tommy to look after us.

Connecticut Yankee said...

Bob-- I'd be interested in your thoughts about the fact that many pacifists seem to have serious anger management issues ("reaction formation" is the term of art usually applied, I suppose). Your post reminded me of a comment that my dissertation director in grad school once made about a faculty colleague known (and admired by many students) for his pacifism-- which he wore on his proverbial sleeve. My advisor remarked that Professor X "was one of the angriest human beings" he'd ever met. I am told that Jimmy Carter comes across to those who meet him as an angry person too. Three of my personal acquaintances are self-declared pacifists, and all three are touchy and easily provoked to open displays of hostility. I used to think that the nickname of the University of Pennsylvania's football team--the "Fighting Quakers"--was an oxymoron, but the older I get the more I think pacifism really is thinly disguised aggression, with moral superiority as its weapon of choice.

Gagdad Bob said...


Yes, one of the best lines I ever heard in that regard was that Ronald Reagan was a real man: hard on the outside but soft and gracious on the inside. Carter is the opposite of a real man: soft, wimpy, and flaccid on the outside, but hard, bitter, and mean-spirited on the inside. I think you could say the same about Gandhi.

geckofeeder said...

We love him too. He is amazingly prolific.
My daughter's high school America history textbooks seemed so confusing and badly written with lots of run on sentences , and left out important stuff which is how I discovered Paul Johnson's "History of the American People". He writes with such clarity and is easily understood, even by the likes of me (pre 911). What a relief it was for her.
Lisa, your lisobservations hit the proverbial nail on the carefully observed troll heads.

Hoarhey said...


Perhaps you could do a post on the Jekyl and Hyde nature of the trolls that are attracted to this blog. There seems to be a pattern where they literally "go off" on you for several posts then a few posts later come back with something like, "All I ask for is an intelligent discussion regarding your posts. All publicity is good publicity right? ", it's as if they're under the impression that they've been totally reasonable all along. There must be a psychological explaination, it's too early in the month for the meds to have run out.

whinin' jeez- us said...

Hello friends! Dr. Bob, I check in periodically to make sure your "wisdom" is still peppered with venom and intolerance toward those who don't think like you do.
Whenever I read your curious mixture of algorithm and and clothing catalogue prose, of ketchup and ice cream, I push through my desire to be bothered by you and send a small prayer that you will some day quiet the turmoil so evident in your "own cosmos" and will be drawn toward peace rather than rancor. It won't lessen your manhood, your intellect, or your social standing. It will require strength of another stripe, and will give your spleen a much-needed rest. And it isn't so rewarding to the ego. That's a good thing, for those of you who haven't yet faced loss of self.
Namaste, Brother.

BTW: this "spiritual quietude" can be found in any country, under any government, under any external conditions. Believe me, or better yet look for it yourself.

Gagdad Bob said...

Really? Spiritual fulfillment can even be had under George Bush? You are one unusual moonbat. Spread the word to your fellows.

whinin' jeez- us said...

Whatsamatter, Bob? Taking a few too many direct hits? Leave 'em up so the hoarhey's and the weak wills and the cy's and (ret)s can come prostrate themselves before your large shadow. After all, that too is a truth of sorts, eh what?

But quid pro quo aside, questions are good Bob. They show a growing awareness of a world outside of your own mind.

And I am spreading the word, starting with you:

Exorcise #1: Inhale, and as you exhale try not to think about yourself.

Dare you to leave this one up, coward...

Van said...

Howard Nelson said... "would have been best if we had never revolted against the British"

When the 13 colonies revolted against the Brittish, we had an essentially monolithic culture, educated, and that valued civility & rule of Law. The sad fact is that the Indian culture that had once produced mass spectator events of marathon debating tournaments as we do multiple card boxing matches - was long destroyed and gone due to hundreds of years of invasion & internal disintegration and sectarian hatred & violence.

Ghandi's genius was that he found the key that would work against a Liberal society - by using non-violence against the guns of a society whose aspirations believed that hitting someone when down to be wrong, not to mention shooting an unarmed man - tied the Brittish Empires hands behind its back with it's own morality.

But was it wise to push for the full withdraw of Brittish Rule?

"don't blame Gandhi for the ensuing carnage at independence and population transfer"

Why not? If someone's trying to pass you on a highway that can't see around you, and you wave them to pass, knowing a Mac Truck is barrelling down at them from the other direction - would't you be to blame for what happened next?

Ghandi was an educated man, a lawyer. At the very least he was familiar with Burke's commentaries predicting what would come of the French Revolution - it took no stretch of the imagination to see what would happen if the Brittish Colonial system were to be suddenly removed from the chaos of sectarianism in India. Churhill certainly saw it and spoke out about it. I started out (in ignorance) as someone who admired Ghandi, but some digging into history disabused me of that estimation.

He could have used the same methods he did use, differently, perhaps to point out the folly of Racial prejudice, if he had pushed for the smashing of barriers against Indians full inclusion into the society & political structure based on skin tone alone, and for either more inclusion & representation within the Empire, or a phased withdrawl from it; rather than sudden disengagement - India's situation today might be closer to Australia than Sri Lanka.

Pacifism can be an effective weapon against a moral people - but mistaking it for an all purpose philosophy, and seeking coziness with the likes of Hitler, together with his ludite/socialist policies, to my eyes shot his credibility and blasted his moral stature away. His methods wouldn't have worked against Hitler, Stalin or Tojo - who would have greeted it as a fine gift, and probably would have made newsreels of slaughter to enjoy as after dinner entertainment.

No people should be a "kept" nation, but I think the method used in rehabilitating Japan was far superior to what took place in India as the Brittish left - and to that being used today in Iraq.

If the world would just let me run it, everything would be so much better. What? ...Narcisist?! Where!?