Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Triumph of the Will and the Reign of Nothingness

Mankind’s deepest problems are universal and existential. But solutions to these will problems vary from person to person and culture to culture, based upon insight, maturity, intelligence, and revelation.

It is a truism that ideas have consequences, but even ideas must take a back seat to the values that shape the ideas one is capable of thinking. One of the greatest benefits of a proper religious grounding is that very early on you internalize the value that your problems are your fault and that it is essentially a sin to externalize blame onto others. This is one of the sharpest divides between classical liberals and leftists, the latter of whom propagate the doctrine of victimology, i.e., the systematic shifting of blame to others. For the leftist mind, to the extent that your life is a failure, it is not your fault, but because of racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, white European maleism, whatever.

The point of this exercise is not to identify any real entity but to create a locus of blame, so that one’s existential problems may be externalized and spuriously relieved. The more mature culture is the one that produces individuals who locate existential problems within, and can both tolerate and transcend them--for example, tolerating the constitutional envy we discussed yesterday. There is no way to eliminate envy “from the outside,” which, after all, is why it is one of the commandments. The commandment does not say, “you shall try to eliminate envy by empowering a huge collective to give to each envious person according to his insatiable needs.”

The envious person unconsciously says, “if I can’t have it, then no one can. I will destroy the object of my envy.” Thus we can see how unhinged envy is at the basis of pure nihilism, and why our enemies are so frightening. Think of Hitler’s scorched earth policy of destroying every square inch of land as his armies retreated. If he could not rule the world, then he would take the world down with him. This is what is so frightening about the prospect of nihilsts with weapons of mass destruction, for they truly do not care about the world so long as the world does not comport with their fantasies of how it ought to be.

Clearly, the Islamists operate by this principle, and one naturally worries about the extent to which normative Islam is informed by the same toxic attitude. For even if we were to disregard all of the hideous violence that emanates from the religion of peace, we would still conclude that this is a religion of perpetual outrage based upon the behavior of its most visible spokesholes, such as CAIR or Juan Cole.

The constant perception of victimization--even amidst the outrageous and widespread victimization of others--must come from something deep within Islam itself, unless this is merely a modern deviation. Despite it all, I am still open to that possibility, although I haven’t been able to find a single example of a truly interior Islam outside Sufism (which in my view is more Vedanta than Islam). In proportion to the billion or so normative Muslims, there are only a handful of Sufis, and frankly, even many of them tilt toward the dark side.

Still, if forced to choose, I would prefer to live in a world of interiorized Sufism than exteriorized Christianity, which, let us be honest, did once exist in the form of pogroms, inquisitions, witch hunts, and the like. The problem was clearly not with Christianity--which is perfect in its reflection of timeless truth, subject as always, to limitations in one's capactity to receive--but within the psyches of the flawed humans who exteriorized it. Furthermore, the sort of inner Christianity I value is compatible with Sufism, whereas it would be regarded with great suspicion in a world of exteriorized Christians. In such a climate I would probably be regarded as a conjuror or witch. Who knows what they would think of Petey.

The gospel of nihilism is in fact a war against truth and therefore a war against God, even though it is fair to say that few nihilists are aware of this fact. But the only reason we have a word called “truth” is because it is a reality that is vouchsafed by God. Being that we are in the image of God, we are informed by an intellect that may know truth, a will that may choose the good, and an interior “eye” that may perceive beauty. The leftist attacks and undermines all of these things, and in so doing, destroys both man and God. Leftism is ultimately a program of radical immanence that cuts us off from our roots--which, as expressed in the Upanishads, are aloft, not below.

For to say that absolute truth does not exist is to say precisely that human intelligence does not exist. To say that morality is relative is to say that anything is permitted and that man is therefore nothing, for he has no essence. And to create new forms of merely human “art” that celebrate ugliness, depravity, and naturalism is to sever mankind from the higher planes that distinguish us from the beasts and make us human. It is to reduce man to his animal nature--except he becomes a pathetic animal with no nature, truly a nothing.

In this regard, the existentialists were correct in drawing out the implications of their philosophy of stupidity. To return to our original point about values, every man is faced with two, and only two, choices that will determine everything else: essence or existence. For the religious man, essence is prior to existence and determines existence. God knew you before you were bearthed and begaialed and keeps a running count of every hair on your head.

For the leftist, existence determines essence. You are an accident. You have no a priori transcendent essence, but your essence is determined by accidental factors such as race, class and gender.

It is probably no coincidence that the largest constituents of the left always include the young and unmarried. As one matures, gets married, and has children, one naturally evolves away from leftist ideas, obviously not everyone, but a clear majority. This is because concrete reality has a way of clearing aside so much abstract intellectual theory. There is a reason why Marxism only exists in universities, and that you will never find a businessman who operates his business along the lines of Marxist doctrine.

Likewise, as a parent, it has been very obvious to me from the moment he arrived here that my son has his own unique essence. He is not a reflection of me, let alone “my flesh.” Rather, just as each face is unique, his essence has been palpably present from the start. I could no more believe that his being was determined by race, class and gender than I could believe that he came from a pumpkin patch. But that is what the left would have you believe.

It is one thing for an adult to believe such leftist claptrap. If they want to ruin their lives in their adolescent rebellion against God, that’s fine by me. But to ruin a child’s life by inculcating him with these dysfunctional values is an unforgivable sin. For example, to raise a black child in contemporary America by telling him that this is a racist country, that white people hate him, that he is a victim from the start, and that his efforts will be for naught, is soul murder pure and simple.

Likewise, to brainwash an Arab child into believing that 15 million Jews in the entire world are the cause of a single problem among the world's billion Muslims--let alone all their problems--is a heinous form of abuse, because when you create a victim, you create a nihilist. Why? Because once victim status is secured, then you are no longer burdened by a conscience. You may destroy and kill plentifully, because the order of the cosmos is unfair and illegitimate, and anything you do to set things right is inherently moral, no matter how immoral. One is sanctioned to abandon oneself to one’s most primitive instincts. And the violence will not end until the Old Order is overthrown and the New Man is created, free of the existential categories that define man to begin with.

Meaning has been vanquished. Man is liberated from himself. The Triumph of the Will and the Reign of Nothingness are complete. God and man are dead. Long live the Beast!

And whoever must be a creator in good and evil, verily, he must be an annihilator and break values. Thus the highest evil belongs to the highest goodness: but this is creative. --Nietzsche

Nothing makes me more certain of the victory of our ideas than our success in the universities. --Adolf Hitler

When our liberty is lost we are compelled to serve sin: that is, we will sin and evil, we speak sin and evil, and we do sin and evil. --Martin Luther


Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

Great post!

You wrote:
"It is to reduce man to his animal nature--except he becomes a pathetic animal with no nature, truly a nothing."

I'm not going to argue, but doesn't it seem that when "humans" repress or destroy their "humanity" (or someone indoctrinates them out of their humanity) they so often become something so much worse than an "animal"?

What I mean is that "animals" seem content to eat and mate, but an animal doesn't have a need to, for example, take over the entire world and destroy all the animals with different worldviews. (I'll bet dolphins and squirrels have very different worldviews.)

Or to put it another way, when a "human" becomes an "animal" is often precisely when it decides to become a "god", and when it is particularly unqualified to be one.

So, it seems to me that when a human loses his or her humanity, they become something more than an animal, but he "more" seems to be a kind of evil that animals know nothing of.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for another interesting read, Bob. Your discussion of Sufi influence on modern Islam might include as well the fact that it was Haci Bektas Veli, a Sufi Saint, who restored a semblence of coherent orthodoxy to the Turkman Islamic practices full of animistic precursors. This re-invigorated Islam was then the Islam spread by the Ottoman empire and kindled the spirit of this successful and highly militant movement at a time when the Arab/Moorish Caliphate was in decline and corrupted. A similiar movement again occured five hundred years later by the mystic, Baha-U-lah, but did not achieve the penetrating results of Haci Bektas Veli.

Gagdad Bob said...


Absolutely. A man who fails to transcend and master himself actually becomes lower than the beasts.

Anonymous said...

That Nietzsche quote reminded me of a sticker I saw on the wall of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC (probably put there by a visiting protestor); it said, "Destruction is the highest form of creativity". I thought it was kind of chilling, since the terminal had been hit with a bomb scare a few days after 9/11...

Gagdad Bob said...

Creatio ex nihilo, not destructio ex nihilists is the highest form of creation.

Anonymous said...


Robert McNamara visited Cuba in the 1990s and talked to Castro about the Cuban Missle Crisis. McNamara asked Castro what he would have done if U.S. forces had invaded Cuba during the CMC. Castro replied that he would have launched his missles DESPITE the fact that he knew the U.S. would retaliate in kind and sink his entire island.

McNamara was disturbed, even 30 years later, to know that they were dealing with someone who would sink the ship he was on instead of giving is up.

Today we KNOW for a fact that we are dealing with people like that. Why aren't more people concerned?


Anonymous said...

>>The constant perception of victimization . . . must come from something deep within Islam itself<<

I still think that it's not so much Islam itself - though by contemporary religious reckoning, there is much that is off-center about it - but that Islam is simply out of sync with the spiritual/historic timetable. I think it could be argued that Islam would have been "natural" 2500 years ago as a fiercely monotheistic religion that posited Allah as a judgmental Other - there are, after all, obvious similarities with Judaism.

However, that mode of religiosity is, again, out of sync. I'm going to posit that this earth, at this time, is experiencing a "quickening", meaning there are new spiritual energies enveloping the planet, and that anything not attuned with these energies - without spiritual foundation, in other words - is bound for self-destruction. With this in mind, I think even the "good" aspects of exoteric Islam will have to shatter in some way. The strain on the entire out-of-sync edifice is simply too great; it's all going to implode. And it will go fighting to its self-destruction. It could take us with it.

For me, the question is - how did this out-of-sync reprise of Judaism come about, how was it even possible? And what does it mean in the spiritual/historic scheme? Maybe we can get some idea from Islam's inception. Islam would not have caught fire the way it did had Judaism not been as attenuated and corrupted as it was at the time. In this respect, Islam was and continues to be the Shadow of Judaism. In the time of a spiritual quickening, whether individual or universal, the Shadow takes on a particular vibrancy, a particular palpability. In this sense, current Islam could be the Shadow of an attenuated, corrupted Christianity, which is to say a corrupted Western Civilization.

In Eastern terms, the problem is "karmic" - and I think the concept of karma understood correctly amounts to unresolved psychological issues that continue to manifest themselves by way of crisis, dysfunction, etc., until such time that which resides in the unconscious is made conscious - in other words, until a spiritual self-awareness is achieved. A quickening is the time when the issue is forced, when the Shadow assumes a such a fearsome shape that it can't be fully ignored or thrust back into the unconscious. Self-victory comes when the Shadow is faced head-on, when it is fully understood, and its dark energies are sublimated, integrated back into the psyche where they then serve our creative, spiritual impulses.

Given this as a template, I think maybe our victory over Islamofascism depends primarily, ultimately, on understanding our own psychological karma, our own state of spiritual corruption, and on our own potential for "self-awareness". Should we accomplish this, I suspect our clash with Islam, whether militarily, theologically, propaganda-ishly, etc., would magically unfold in our favor. Bottom line is that I think that, in these quickened times, our victory over Islamofascism absolutely depends on our own spiritual self-victory, this to an extent perhaps never demanded of us before in history.

Anonymous said...

My own home life being what it was, I had every reason to be jaded and cynical. But my spirit was naturally resiliant, drawn to Life and mystery since very young, and truly innocent. (Joan of Arc was my patron saint, good Catholic girl that I was!)

I rebelled against all the nihilism in an open letter to my 11th grade English teacher. She insisted it was merely to make us think. At least I wasn't burned at the stake.

Such boldness in her teaching had her promoted to the School Board, much to our delight. We were rewarded with a beautiful soul of a woman who was actually dying of cancer, who brought us more joy in walking with her in her pain and passing, more learning (in the house of mourning) and more real things to make us think than all the pathetic pages of apathy we had absorbed until then.

By the way, what did nihilism have to do with good English?

I have, in later years, learned to see it, and even find I have to root out its insidious efforts to influence me, so pervasive is the rush to destruction all around us. It's not just Islam.

Thank you, Bob,for taking up the vigilant watch.

Anonymous said...

Islam did not displace, replace, or reprise Judaism. Islam was spread by a bunch of illiterate tribesmen imbued with a rational for pillage and rape. They proselytized using the sword, not the word, and the fact that they embraced Abraham in no way presumes that they displaced Judaism. However, I do fully agree with your conclusion that the Islamic "rave-party" is visited upon us through the graceless Western populations embracing moral relativism and materialism.

Anonymous said...

Bob, your series on the Fall is one of the best things I have ever read online! We are all in your debt for taking the time and effort to put these important thoughts online while maintaining a practice at the same time.

On envy, I have always perceived that Communism and Socialism were the only philosphies that were entirely based on envy (I don't have, you do, therefore, GIMME!). I wonder if leftists realize how much like the bad behavior of angry pre-schoolers their worldview really is.

Anonymous said...

Karl, I didn't say Islam displaced or replaced Judaism. Obviously, Judaism continued. I said Islam would not have caught fire, perhaps not even have been conceived, had the spiritual tenets of Judaism been lived to their intended spiritual potential.

I also said that Islam is, in many respects, a reprise of Judaism, adherance to the letter of the law, a Jehovah-like god, etc. I think those similarities are pretty obvious. However, I went on to point out that, being as out-of-sync as Islam is, it is a crude copy, an often barbarous version of Judaism.

Surely the threat of Islamofascism is exacerbated by Western materialism - I was trying to underscore the deeper spiritual/psychological aspects at play at this time in world history. Thus the "quickening" and "Shadow" references.

Anonymous said...

Arabs, the children of Ishmael, were excluded from Judaism... they didn't have a Jewish mother! In the 7th Century, Judaism certainly was not in a proselytizing mode. Moreover they were in Diaspora. So how did "corrupt" Judaism in any way affect the souls of non-Jewish human beings populating the Arabian Penninsula, and later Africa, Al-Andalus and Asia? How could it have affected the Ottoman sweep beginning in the 13th Century? How could it have affected the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the Shia apostasy and the Wahabi psuedo-fundamentalism that have taken over the "Prophet's" religion in the 19th and 20th Century?

Anonymous said...

Karl, try to see a bit above the purely cause/effect historical plane. Transcendent spirituality of the sort implicit in Judaism and Christianity is, when manifested, a universal solvent of sorts. One might ask - what did American individuals in their living rooms in the 1930's have to do with Hitler and the rise of fascism? Ostensibly nothing. On the spiritual level, everything, and I'm not speaking of their voting habits or the politicians they elected. I'm speaking of genuine prayer and contemplation, of anchoring the Light on earth.

I believe that had enough of us lived the spiritual life, anchored the Light as an aggregate of individuals, WW2 would have been prevented, this by a sort of spiritual osmosis that would have influenced world events for the better.

Same, I think, in the days of the inception of Islam - had enough people truly lived in accordance with the spiritual principles of Judaism and Christianity, there would have no Islamic religion.

And by the way, such spirituality can, I believe, prevent or limit natural disasters.

Anonymous said...

Although we rightly bemoan the state of the world system as it appears in our lifetime, I am reminded that the "triumph of the will" and the "reign of nothingness" have been firmly in place since the very instant humankind determined to worship the created rather than the Creator (envy). It was at that moment that God and man "died" -- the Creator withdrew from within the created and the created immediately began seeking anything and everything to fill the void.

For a long time following that "devolution event", there ensued the ultimate object lesson -- that is, try as we might to live the life of the original humans, our efforts will only and always lead to futility and nothingness. Without the Creator inside, humankind is an empty shell. We were made for so much more.

Fortunately for devolved (fallen) humankind, a greater "triumph of the will" (the Creator's, that is) occured -- completing the object lesson exactly according to the rules established, and making that original, intended humanity again possible. Possible, that is, through an individual act of will (there it is again). Believe the possible and become what you were meant to be.

Thanks for indulging.

Van Harvey said...

Will said... "our victory over Islamofascism absolutely depends on our own spiritual self-victory, this to an extent perhaps never demanded of us before in history."

I agree, unless we recover our willingness to acknowledge Truth (I think nearly all recognize the fraud of leftist PC blather, but are reluctant to stand up and say so, which might even be worse than believing it) and denounce falsehood and foolishness, we doom ourselves, and the Islamist's will be happy to be the tool of our suicide.

Karl, Mohammed made several serious attempts to gain the approval and fellowship of Jewish leaders - I was only after his failure to gain their respect, that he unleashed "pigs & monkey's" verbiage.

I'm at lunch and so don't have access to docs, but unless my memory is completely off, isn't the Koran (or maybe Sharia?) arranged, not in thematic or chronological order, but by length of passage? Either way, that together with the fact that it is not authorized to be translated, but must be memorized by rote rather than understanding for those who don't speak it's original tongue, might explain a bit more of it's horizontal pull against Reason and the Vertical.

Anonymous said...

Will said:
"had enough people truly lived in accordance with the spiritual principles of Judaism and Christianity, there would have no Islamic religion."
You have amended your position to include Christianity. Now, remove Judaism from that sentence, and we'll be in perfect agreement. By the 7th Century, Judaism had become an anchronism, although a vital springboard for the next level, Christianity, and the tragic false step, Islam.

Anonymous said...

"The envious person unconsciously says, “if I can’t have it, then no one can. I will destroy the object of my envy.” Thus we can see how unhinged envy is at the basis of pure nihilism, and why our enemies are so frightening."

For a long time I have had this idea in my head for an international thriller, either a book or movie, entitled "Black Dawn". The premise is that a loose consortium of intellectuals, militants and scientists are secretly gathering in some remote secret location with one aim in mind: the exermination of mankind. The call themselves Exterminationists. They all have different reasons (The End Times are here, and we must implement them; humanity must go for the environment to heal; humanity is evil, and must be destroyed; the genetic pool is hopelessly damaged, and we must recreate a New Race; I want to die, and take everyone with me), but the same goal. Some want to destroy all humanity including themselves, others want to destroy all humans but a select group of themselves, to create a new utopia. Despite their differences, the Exterminationists are going ahead with plans to manipulate world finances and politics in their favor and smuggle sufficient quantities of WMD's of various types to being the process. Who will stop them?...

"the sort of inner Christianity I value is compatible with Sufism, whereas it would be regarded with great suspicion in a world of exteriorized Christians. In such a climate I would probably be regarded as a conjuror or witch"

The best examples I know of of the kind of "Inner Christianity" of which I am a staunch proponent can be found in readings by St Theresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, Jean Marie Guyon, Francois Fenelon, Miguel Molinos, Frank Laubach, and Gene Edwards. And as for being regarded as witches; Guyon was imprisoned in the Bastille for her writings, and Molinos' book was the most burned of his day.

"The gospel of nihilism is in fact a war against truth and therefore a war against God, even though it is fair to say that few nihilists are aware of this fact."
I guess Anne Coulter is right when she says that liberalism is a religion.

"And whoever must be a creator in good and evil, verily, he must be an annihilator and break values. Thus the highest evil belongs to the highest goodness: but this is creative. --Nietzsche"

some more choice nilhistic quotes:

"Religion is the opiate of the masses" - Marx

"If the US monopoly capitalist groups persist in pushing their policies of aggression and war, the day is bound to come when they will be hanged by the people of the whole world. The same fate awaits the accomplices of the United States." - Mao

"Tune in, Turn on, Drop out" - Timothy Leary

"Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No Hell below us
Above us only sky" - John Lennon

"The geek shall inherit nothing" - Frank Zappa

"The media has spent nearly a decade trying to scare the uninformed of the internet. Child porn, corporate time waster, evil people in bathrobes undermining America - this is a way to harvest the fear they planted". - posting on DailyKos

Anonymous said...

OK, maybe that last quote doesn't fit so well...but the very concept behind DailyKos does.

Anonymous said...

Karl, I know some Christians (and others) think of Judaism as being an "anachronism". I don't happen to agree. That it was the necessary historical step to Christianity, sure, but, to my way of thinking, that doesn't render it anachronistic. Actually, I think the New Testament/Christianity continues to vitalize Judaism to a degree even greater than 2500 years ago, but that's how I see it.

To my way of thinking, the Torah, etc., are living, sacred texts, as is Judaism a living, sacred religion, transcending historical, linear time. The post-7th century holy Jewish men and women - genuine saints in Christian parlance - would probably agree with me.

The reason I emphasized Judaism in my original post was because in Muhammed's time, Judaism was more prevelant than Christianity in the Middle East. I could be wrong about that, but I do know that Jews have been living in what is now Saudi Arabia and Syria for near 2500 years. Or were anyway, until they were booted out in '48 after the state of Israel came into being.

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it, even if the Jews were in the minority or non-existent in the Arabian penisula area in Muhammed's time, it wouldnt make a dif re my little thesis - namely, that a lived, manifested spirituality can change the world via "spiritual osmosis", no matter where in the world the Light is anchored.

Anonymous said...

tsebring, your Zappa quote reminded me of a better one, seen on a bumper sticker. It still brings a smile:
"The meek don't want it."


Anonymous said...

Bob, You have written one small sentence in your post which I believe holds the essence of most of our worldly problems:

"I would prefer to live in a world of interiorized Sufism than exteriorized Christianity"

If everyone (especially the great and the good) would keep to bettering themselves, and stop trying to improve others, we would not have a tenth of the problems we currently face.

Anonymous said...

Alan, yes, and there are geographical locations that seemingly quicken - they tend to repel or attract very dramatically.

If there is a universal quickening in the works, there will be no place for the negatively polarized to run to.

Gecko said...

Tsbring,to be Bobblehead benificiary is to be awed daily. The reading list that Petey gives to Bob, well it takes a while ,especially for someone who likes to goof off and sing lulabyes to birds babies as I do, but I am slowly reading several on that list, " one of which is Envy "by Helmut Schoeck who offers the deeper meaning of exactly why nv is one of the seven deadly sins. Of course , so much falls into place by understanding how that piece continues, playing itself out now with those darlings of the axis of good(that's their spin,Chavez, Castro, Dinnerjacket et al.Don't get me started, and thank you for the great and thoughful posts dearest Bobbleheads. Dinner - up to me .. .

Van Harvey said...

Well despite my inability to find my keys in the morning, my memory isn't a total loss. As I mentioned earlier, the very organization of information as present in the Bible and the Koran is massively different.

"The Qur'an [or Koran], is a collection of the speeches made by Muhammad... written down and edited after his death. ...the standard text is organized in a remarkable way. Divided into chapters, or surahs..., each surah is arranged according to length, the longest coming first. Muslims' early education often consists in learning large parts of the Qur'an and so this arrangement presents little difficulty. For new readers it can make the text somwhat confusing."

Ya think?

Imagine the chapters of Aristotles Nichomachean Ethics arranged by their length rather than one chapter building the meaning and foundation for the next, or the chapters of Genesis arranged by the number of verses within it.

Of the 50 chapters of the Book of Genesis, imagine if they were arranged as the Koran is, by the number of lines within the chapters, instead of by narrative order. If arranged in such a fashion, the first chapter would be the current Chp 15 containing 16 lines "Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.". The Chp that traditionally comes first in Genesis,Chp 1 with 31 lines, would be 26th in order "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.". The present 24th Chp with 67 lines "And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things." would come last ending up the Book of Genesis.

If the West were as heavily influenced as it has been for the last 500 years since Gutenberg printed off the first popularly available copy of the Bible, were organized in this fashion, what impact would that have had on the Western (scientific? could there have been?) mind?

I would bet that the history of the West would have been much more like that of the East. Such a lack of logical order I would think would not lend itself to logical reasoning - it would instead lend itself very readily to emotional indoctrination, and likely marked by insecure defensive outbursts at being challenged, rather than a potentially patient explanation of the content, and understanding of the whole - whether or not agreement with it's message followed.

I would bet that this alone has had a huge influence on the backwardness of the Islamic world.

Van Harvey said...

I would bet that this alone has had a huge influence on the backwardness of the Islamic world.

With such a foundation of what we would view as disorganized thoughts and beliefs, how integrated would your world view likely be? How much easier would it be for a demagogue to focus your thoughts on disintegrating rants, on physical, vitalistic and nihilistic messages, when your most deeply held beliefs are held together by nothing more than the number of lines in each section?

Van Harvey said...

alan said... "did you ever see the movie Scanners?"
Ooh! Excedrin headache #86!

Anonymous said...

Hey, here are some more mind-screwing quotes from some of the great nihilistic minds of the world (try not to vomit):

"Sports plays a societal role in engendering jingoist and chauvinist attitudes. They're designed to organize a community to be committed to their gladiators." - Noam Chomsky

"They (the 9/11 hijackers) were targeting those people I referred to as 'little Eichmanns.' These were legitimate targets." - Ward Churchill

“OK, I'll predict that the rapture's coming and you and I, Chris [Matthews], are going up, and all these hypocritical conservatives who tell people not to do stuff but then they get caught doing are not.” - Maureen Dowd

"There's a gullible side to the American people. They can be easily misled. Religion is the best device used to mislead them." - Michael Moore

"It is unnatural for a majority to rule, for a majority can seldom be organized and united for specific action, and a minority can." - Rousseau

"God is, as it were, the sewer into which all contradictions flow." - Hegel

"Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." - Stalin

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." - Joseph Goebbels

“In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm” - Che Guevara

"But when we place God on our side of things, that we are now ridding the world of evil - that's very dangerous, that one nation has this role to rid the world of evil. What about the evil we have committed, that we are complicit in?" - Jim Wallis

"Everybody must get stoned" - Bob Dylan

"To me death is not a fearful thing. It's living that's cursed." - Jim Jones

"“From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment.” - Charles Manson

“We love death. The US loves life. That is the difference between us two.” - Osama bin Laden

"From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need" - Marx

"I could dance with you until the cows come home. On second thought I'd rather dance with the cows until you come home" - the other Marx (Groucho)

"I have an existential map. It has 'You are here' written all over it." - Steven Wright

Had to add that those last two to break up the nausea a little :)

Anonymous said...

The abysmal understanding so many of those who post here, on the religion of Islam, is so painful. Since so many of you believe we are at war with those who adhere to this religion, it may prove useful to actually learn about it from authoritative sources. I suggest beginning with Understanding Islam, by Frithjof Schuon and Muhammed: His Life based on the Earliest Sources.

Anonymous said...

Now for some more palatable, anti-nihilistic quotes:

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other." - Abraham Lincoln

"All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent." - Thomas Jefferson

"An excellent man, like precious metal, is in every way invariable; A villain, like the beams of a balance, is always varying, upwards and downwards." - John Locke

"God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us" - Machiavelli

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do." - Leonardo da Vinci

"Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain." - John F Kennedy

"I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed." - Booker T Washington

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." - Joseph Campbell

"Character matters; leadership descends from character." - Rush Limbaugh

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." - Winston Churchill

"Chaotic action is preferable to orderly inaction." - Will Rogers

"Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected." - George Washington

"The big divide in this country is not between Democrats and Republicans, or women and men, but between talkers and doers.” - Thomas Sowell

"What our country deserves from everyone who enjoys its fruits and freedoms is a little more gratitude -- and a lot less greed." - Michelle Malkin

"Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has." - Billy Graham

"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens" - Tolkien

"Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." - CS Lewis

"Our activity should consist in placing ourselves in a state of susceptibility to Divine impressions, and pliability to all the operations of the Eternal Word" - Madame Guyon

"As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins" - Albert Schweitzer

"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." - Helen Keller

"Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning" - Proverbs

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." - Jesus

"An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea." - Buddha

"He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger." - Confucious

"At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst." - Aristotle

"All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine." - Socrates

"In this view of a free society, both its liberties and its servitudes are determined by its striving for self-improvement, which in its turn is determined by the intimations of truths yet to be revealed, calling on men to reveal them.” - Michael Polanyi

"It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes... we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions - especially selfish ones." - Alexandr Solzhenitsyn

"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have." - Ronald Reagan

"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is." - Yogi Berra

"In the lexicon of the political class, the word "sacrifice" means that the citizens are supposed to mail even more of their income to Washington so that the political class will not have to sacrifice the pleasure of spending it." - George Will

"Liberals are stalwart defenders of civil liberties - provided we're only talking about criminals." - Ann Coulter

"America stands for liberty, for the pursuit of happiness and for the unalienable right for life. This right to life cannot be granted or denied by government because it does not come from government, it comes from the creator of life." - George W Bush

"There is hope for the future because God has a sense of humor and we are funny to God." - Bill Cosby

"My Karma just ran over your Dogma" - bumper sticker

Phew, that's better!

Van Harvey said...

Isn't the source a good place to start? It's true that since the Koran is not a narrative story, the ordering is less important... but to do it by length? My point is that here there is obviously a very different mindset at work, from the most basic of choices on up.

I've read and re-read most of the major religions 'books', there are two that I couldn't make it all of the way through and I'll admint that the Koran was one of them. Just not my style, give me Confuscious over Mohammad any day.

For those of you who like to go to the source first as well, here's a link at Gutenbergto a triple translation which helps to get the over all flavor of the original meaning. Each line is presented as translated by a different translator.

Title: Three Translations of The Koran (Al-Qur'an) side by side
Translator: Abdullah Yusuf Ali
Translator: Marmaduke Pickthall
Translator: Mohammad Habib Shakir

Anonymous said...

As to the observations about narrative...
Discourse analysis of narrative orientation (or lack-of-narrative) yields a lot of information about people. At the very least, the mind-sets and models of effect are radically different. This blog post was a longer consideration of the matter, both of content and shape of narrative by political mindset.

An early foray into Deconstruction by Frenchified American academics was a book called The Forms of Violence,
arguing that a narrative-based art and mythology was too male-friendly
(having to do with certain arcs of, uh, intensity), and predisposed to
"violence," which I suspect is the liberal small-chunk term for

It's satisfying to discover that the book crusading against violence, whose cover image features an Assyrian warrior choking a lion while abjuring narrativity, is now subverting Western discourse for a grand $2.12 on Amazon.

Gagdad Bob said...


I am not particularly interested in what this or that Muslim believes. It is what they do--and don't do--in the aggregate that concerns me. The notion of seeking a nexus between what Schuon believes and how the Islamic world behaves is in my view preposterous. It explains precisely nothing, for if they adhered to his belief system, they would be living in heaven. Any anyone who confuses the Muslim world with any kind of heaven is either blind or something worse.

Anonymous said...

In order to understand a religion, one has to first place oneself, to the degree possible, on the inside, if you will. You have no affinity for the basic text of the believing Muslim. Would you place any stock in a critic of Christianity who had no regard for Jesus? Best to stick to what you know, which is a lot.

My point is not to pretend that there is some correlation between the current Islamic world and what Schuon writes about, but in order to speak to a subject, one must first understand it. In order to understand it, one should attempt to to so from the best possible sources. It is useful, it seems to me, to know what a Muslim (not just a Sufi) ought to believe in order to distinguish the various forms of it in the world today. One would, for example, see that Saudi Arabia, with the Wahabist heresy, which has become the prime ideological militant force in the Islamic world, as its official religion, is, from the point of view of liberty and spirituality, our actual enemy. This is a state, not a cell, that must be confronted, yet this never enters into a discussion. Why?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for cleaning up your playspace.

One can only hope that when you decide to delete the dissent rather than let the ego take a public lashing, there comes, along with that decision, a tiny moment of self examination where your higher self reminds you that you are still learning, that you have not suddenly arrived.
We are all one spirit. I send you good thoughts. Please keep up the reflective postings, and tone down the criticism of those unlike you. It's kindergarten logic, Bob. You can remember that if you try. Your son may be your best teacher at present.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, more deep thoughts to ponder. Truly, an endless fount of platitudes.

Van Harvey said...

I'd say that Religion must itself be understood first, then with the religion which you see as giving you access to Truths, you place yourself on the inside. There is a danger that this can easily be made into playing a dangerous game of chicken with relativism, but that is in no way what I mean) I make no claims to understand Islam, as I said, I couldn't get all the way through the Koran, having seen enough to convince me that it would lead me nowhere I wanted to go.

I have no interest criticizing the Muslims religion, only what I see as fairly demonstratable secular results from the way its adherents practice it.

I'm with you on the Saudi Arabia issue, another deep would inflicted upon ourselves through political correctness.

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