Sunday, December 03, 2006

Know Your Caste

The great metaphysician René Guenon once mentioned that one of the problems with the modern world is that so few people are “in their proper place.” He made the remark in reference to something that we in the West categorically reject, the caste system, so it should not be surprising that people have no idea what caste they belong to.

But natural castes exist, and if you try to eliminate them, they will just return in a perverse form -- just as you can try to eliminate sexual differences but will end up with weird sexual hybrids and a lot general confusion -- confusion that is then institutionalized and taught as “wisdom” in our universities.... but only because there are so many academics who are in the wrong caste and have no business being in academic life! (As a brief aside, you will also notice that when I have a troll problem -- or more accurately, a “problem troll” -- it is always a caste issue, so that there is really little Dupree can say aside from “pipe down and keep pulling the rickshaw!”)

Let’s review our castes, shall we? But before doing so, let us remind ourselves that this is not a matter of equality under the law, much less before the eyes of God. To be honest, it is actually an issue of compassion, for it is difficult to be happy if one spends one’s life on the wrong path. As the Buddhists say, “another man’s dharma is a great bummer,” or something like that. I hope it goes without saying that I am not advocating some sort of imposition of the caste system, any more than I would advocate stratification of society based upon Jungian typology. Having said that, there is a good chance that you will be happier in life if you know your Jungian typology -- your “psychological DNA,” so to speak -- and pursue a career consistent with it.

In fact, in order to avoid any misunderstanding, let’s just stipulate at the outset that we are speaking “mythologically,” in a Jungian sense of the term.

There are five main castes; the priest, the knight or warrior, the merchant or artisan, the laborer, and the “untouchable.” The priestly, according to Schuon, is “the purely intellectual, contemplative and sacerdotal type.” In a manner that comes to him quite naturally, his mind is focussed on the transcendent -- you might say that he is born with a vivid “sense of the eternal.” There will be something about him that is “not of this world.” It is as if there is a reversal of figure and ground, in that the noumena will stand out from (or “shine through”) the phenomena, rather than vice versa. There will be a natural aversion to the things of this world -- which is not to say “disgust,” only that, for the sage, any created paradise is a prison compared to the eternal and changeless. For a person who is truly of this caste, they will be a natural renunciate -- which is a rapid way to distinguish between true and false prophets, so to speak (or at least degrees of such). Perhaps one major qualification is in order, because attraction to beauty is central to this caste, but only insofar as it serves as a reminder of its transcendent source.

Just as the priestly caste is poorly understood by our culture, so too is the knightly. This is reflected in idiotic sentiments toward the military that are routinely expressed by the left -- such as Jon Carry’s remark a few weeks back. In fact, a couple of days ago, an anonymous troll left the following comment:

“Meanwhile dreadfully sane peace loving ‘christian’ America accounts for 48% of world wide armaments trade. It is easily the largest maker,owner,seller and user of weapons of all kinds including and especially WMD's. Its dominant institution is the Pentagon and its associated military industrial complex. The ‘values’ of the Pentagon permeate every aspect of USA ‘culture’. The ‘culture’ of death literally rules. Brought to one and all by over 700 foreign military bases” (sic).

This troll’s fulsomely idiotic comment is a fine example of Guenon’s remark about no one knowing their place. To jump ahead a bit, the problem is actually the opposite of what the troll suggests. Because of an aggressive imposition of egalitarian ideals, this results in the “leveling” of the higher castes, so that the society ends up with a collective soul that is roughly half merchant and half laborer. Not only that, but, as we shall see, through the magic of “inverse analogy,” the society ends up “worshipping” the outcast -- the transgressor, the outsider, the person “above” (actually beneath) the law.

You see the same foolishness in the MSM’s coverage of the war in Iraq, which comes down to a running tally of how many "ultimate losers" have died in the battle. In short, in their liberal “sophistication,” there is not the merest appreciation of warrior culture -- of a caste that is higher than those common leftist intellectual laborers and liberal media drones who dismiss it with such contempt. Deep down they know this, which is why, after they express their contempt, they must always qualify their statement with an expression of how much they “support the troops.” Whenever they say this, what they really mean is, “ignore what I just said.”

In fact, the knightly or warrior type is analogous to the priestly, except that their keen intelligence “is turned towards action and analysis rather than towards contemplation and synthesis.” Their strength lies especially in the area of character. The warrior “makes up for the aggressiveness of his energy by his generosity, and for his passionate nature by his nobility, self-control and greatness of soul." Action rather than contemplation is valued, for it is through action that honor and glory are attained.

The nobility of the warrior caste is something that, as a boy, it was impossible to "not know.” This heroic ideal was reflected in movies, in television programs, in the media, and in my grade school text books. Now it is the opposite. Our elites believe that warriors are “losers,” a message that has been ubiquitous since the Vietnam war. An entire generation of Americans was brought up to believe that warriors are either “victims” or “baby killers” and that the cowards who characterize them as such are “heroes” -- courageous “activists” who “speak truth to power” -- itself a pale imitation of the real warrior who puts his life on the line to confront evil.

For the moment, I want to skip over the merchant and artisan castes and discuss something I touched on above, that is, the moral inversion that places the “untouchable” or “outcast” at the top of society. Schuon mentions it somewhat in passing, but in giving it some thought, it occurred to me that he hit on something rather consequential -- at least it was for me when I was growing up.

First, it needs to be said that the man “without caste,” like the others, is a natural type, or “basic human tendency.” He possesses a “chaotic character”; in modern psychological parlance, you might say that he has poor boundaries. He will exhibit “a tendency to realize those psychological possibilities which are excluded for others: hence his proneness to transgression; he finds his satisfaction in what others reject.”

There is a mythological explanation -- do not necessarily take it literally --- that the “chandala,” or casteless person, is the product of the maximum of differences between the parents -- say, a noble brahmani mother and a common shudra (laborer) father. The idea is that there is a maximum of “impurity” introduced by the incompatibility of the parents. Food for thought.

In any event, what intrigues me is the notion that the outcast “constitutes a definite type which normally dwells on the fringes of society and exhausts those possibilities that no one else is willing to touch. When he has talents -- and one might say he is then capable ‘of anything and nothing’ -- he often appears equivocal, unbalanced, sometimes simian, and protean if he is gifted....” He will often be drawn to “illicit occupations; in a word he shows a tendency either to follow bizarre or sinister activities; or simply to neglect established rules, in which he resembles certain saints, though of course by inverse analogy” (emphasis mine).

When I read this, I immediately thought of the many celebrities, actors and rock stars who clearly fall into this category -- chaotic and unbalanced people who “live on the fringes,” and whose neglect of rules and boundaries can be confused with some sort of liberation or transcendence.

Now, I am not ashamed to admit that when I was younger, I was unquestionably drawn to this type of individual, for lack of any other model of transcendence in our society. For example, John Lennon was undoubtedly of this type -- a perfect example of the “gifted and protean” outcast. He didn’t transcend anything but he transgressed everything, which is why he is practically elevated to sainthood by the left. This is an example of the “inverse analogy” alluded to above. As a human being, Lennon was so dysfunctional that it is hard to imagine what he would have done with himself if the Beatles hadn’t become successful. Bear in mind that it took a good seven years -- from 1956 to 1964 -- to achieve this success. But in the case of Lennon, those seven years cannot be thought of as any kind of patient “laying the foundation” for a career in music. Rather, he was mostly driven by sheer drug-fueled desperation, because, given his many personal problems, he literally had no other options.

To a large extent, this is what the art and entertainment worlds have become -- refuges for desperate outcasts, most of whom have no talent, much less Lennon’s prodigious gift. Instead, we end up with people whose only talent is their ability to transgress or to shock -- or, to be perfectly accurate, their juvenile inability to not transgress. What would be left of Madonna without the childishly obligatory transgression?

Schuon points out that this pariah type is “without center and so lives on the periphery and in inversion; if he tends to transgression, that is because in a sense it lends him the center he lacks and thus in an illusory way frees him from his equivocal nature. His is a decentralized subjectivity, centrifugal and without recognized limits; he flees from the law, the norm, because that would bring him back to the center which by his very nature he avoids.”

This would explain the inverted hypocrisy of the psychological left. Although this type of person superficially appears to be the most “liberated” and without boundaries or limitations, in reality, they are desperately in need of the “cultural center” to rebel against. Like a child, they are most in need of what they most protest against. Since they are chaotic souls with no center, they gain a spurious sense of internal coherence by rubbing up against, or breaking through, a boundary. Thus, the transgression eventually takes on a wearily compulsive quality. They rapidly become caricatures of themselves.

Looking back at my own life, I can clearly see that I have always sought transcendence. But again, in the absence of any models for such, I was initially attracted to transgressive sociopaths -- the "beats,” or Timothy Leary, or John Lennon and other rock stars. I remember when I was 19 or 20, my circle of friends included such an individual. At the time, we were in awe of him, although now I can see him as he was: pathetic and desperate. He had what Paul McCartney described as Lennon’s “fuck all” attitude, as if there were literally nothing he wouldn’t do. It was quite bracing to be around him, to say the least. I have a vivid recollection of sitting around a pool with the guys, drinking beer. A lizard had fallen into the pool. My drunken outlaw friend impulsively reached in, grabbed it, and bit off its head.


I sometimes wonder where he’s buried....

***All quotes taken from Language of the Self, which I do not necessarily recommend as an introduction to Schuon's thought.


Gandalin said...

Bob, You have devoted many posts to the varieties of leftist aberration.

Today, you mention that "natural castes exist, and if you try to eliminate them, they will just return in a perverse form -- just as you can try to eliminate sexual differences but will end up with weird sexual hybrids and a lot general confusion -- confusion that is then institutionalized and taught as “wisdom” in our universities.... but only because there are so many academics who are in the wrong caste and have no business being in academic life!"

I wonder if you had seen this article in the New Duranty Times: "Supporting Boys or Girls When the Line Isn't Clear."

I wouldn't blame you if you wished to avoid this subject, but I would be very interested in your thinking about this issue, particularly with respect to the vertical and horizontal dimensions.


PS Have you ever heard the expression "raised from a dead horizontal to a living vertical."?

Anonymous said...

Bob, for a troll this post is almost too good to be true...

Plenty of material to work with here.

Let's start with YOUR caste--you fancy yourself a "priest" looking for transcendence, but I think you are more like the John Lennon that you portry, i.e, you're an outcast with a temperament for priesthood rather than a priest himself. (And, to give you credit where it is due, a talented writer).

I say this because you don't stick to any one dogma, but instead have fashion some kind of hybrid philosophy. You don't really stick to the right, nor to the left. There is no box that you can put R. Godwin in. There are no boundaries.

Even morally, you can be very vertical, or via C.D, shockingly crude.

You are certainly no orthodox Christian.

The key insight came when you said this:

"Like a child, [outcasts] are most in need of what they most protest against. Since they are chaotic souls with no center, they gain a spurious sense of internal coherence by rubbing up against, or breaking through, a boundary. Thus, the transgression eventually takes on a wearily compulsive quality."

Now, if the above doesn't describe Robert Godwin and his blog of late, I don't know what does. You weary compulsion to attack the left is diagnostic of your condition.

You ARE a closet lefty, Bob. That's the only hypothesis that fits the evidence. You have achieved a major insight about yourself; what you do with that is up to you.

Anonymous said...

Bob, get over here! I think we're busted!

Anonymous said...

Troll, you are amusing.

Bob is clearly an artisan priest.

Anonymous said...

And Troll, the fact that you actually call yourself a troll, demonstrates how fully you have embraced the outcast role.

Gagdad Bob said...


I couldn't get past the first paragraph. What these foolish activists are doing is quite literally a horror. They themselves are symptoms of the very disease they propose to cure.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding post Bob!
I never really thought much about castes, until you explained it.
That does explain much about my own inclination.
Psychological DNA is a unique and underused term, I think.

Anonymous said...

The continuing mythadventures of US Ben of the USN:

The next day, I reported to Davis, but he had nothing to say, so I got started with my regular duties. When I was caught up enough, I prepared for stripping the old wax off the passageway deck.

Unfortunately, I had to speak to Davis to get the supplies I needed.

"Go see the Bosun Mates," he muttered.

The Boatswain Mates (BM's), knew all about waxing, painting, removal of wax or paint, handling of the mooring lines for docking, getting underway, and ship to ship refueling, transfer of supplies, ammo, and people sometimes (called underway replenishment), the Bosuns Whistle (which I mentioned yesterday), Coxswain (small boat driver), basic ship maintenance, knots, etc..

I stopped by the QD (quarterdeck) to ask the messenger where the BM's were, since I was new, and had no idea.

"Excuse me, can you tell me where the BM's are working?," I asked.

"You must be new," said the Messenger.

What an acute observation, I thought. Nothing gets by this guy.

"Yes, I'm new," I replied, when the Messenger didn't continue.

"Well, they are all over the place. Who do you want to see?," he asked.

"I don't know, the guy that handles the supplies I guess," I said.

"That would be him," said the Messenger, pointing at the POOW (Petty Officer of the watch).

Thanks, but why did you waste my time? I thought.
"Thanks," I said.

"No problem. Anytime," said the MOOW helpfully.

I walked over the the BM2 wearing the forty-five (.45 cal semi-auto pistol).

"Excuse me Petty Officer?," I asked, wishing I had asked for a name.

"What?,"sSaid the POOW.

"Can you tell me how I can get some supplies to strip the wardroom passageway?," I asked.

"That would be me, but you'll have to wait until I get off watch, and eat chow," he said, not offering his name.

"I really need to get started now," I said.

"No can do," said BM2 stonewall.

"OK, I'll tell the Captain I can't get the supplies on time then," I said, playing my ace.

I learned early on, that there were ways to get things done faster, and this was one of those ways. This was the first time I had the opportunity to use the Captains name to get what I needed. BM2 stonewall's eye's got wider, as he sized me up again, perhaps thinking he had underestimated me .

"What do you need to do?," asked BM2.

"The Captain wants the wardroom passageway stripped and re-waxed before the Commodore gets here tomorrow," I said, happy to use the Captain and Commodore in the same sentence.

"OK, what do you need?," said BM2 helpful.

Bingo!, I thought. "I need masking tape, a new mop, wax, wax stripper, scrubpads, and new sponges... Oh, and a buffer if you have one, with a scrub pad and buffing pad."

"Alright, do you have the requisition forms?," he asked.

"Requisition forms?," I repeated.

In Boot Camp and "A" school I didn't need paperwork, I thought.

"Forget it, you don't have time," said BM2 helpful. "Go see BM2 Sanchez and tell him what you need. Tell him I'll do the paperwork. Better yet, tell him I said he should do the paperwork. He's either on the fantail or in the hanger," he said.

"Where..?," I began to ask.

"That way," he pointed, "all the way aft (rear of the ship)."

"Tell him to call BM2 O'Malley if he doesn't believe you," said BM2 O'Malley.

"Thanks!," I said, glad to get some help.

"No sweat. Make sure you mention my name if the Captain likes your work," he smiled wryly.

"Will do," I said, "And thanks again."

I proceeded aft, arriving in the hanger in short order.
Looking around I spotted a petty officer taping off part of the hangar.

"Petty Officer Sanchez?" I asked.

"Yeah," said BM2 Sanchez.

I explained what I needed and who asked for it, and what BM2 O'Malley said.

"That hoser," said BM2 Sanchez, "If anything, he owes me! Alright, follow me," he said, walking forward in the direction I came from.

"OK, here we are," said BM2 Sanchez as he began sorting through his key ring.

I noticed he had a knife and what looked like a spike in leather sheaths attached to his belt. I had seen others with knives that looked similar. Usually the Buck or Case brand, fold-up type, with locking blades.

"What's the knife and spike for?," I asked.

"New guy, huh?," said Sanchez as I nodded.

"Well, this is a Marlin spike," said Sanchez. "We use it for loosening knots and splicing line or rope. Sometimes we use it as a lever. It's a required tool that all BM's use. The knife is for cutting," he said with a laugh.

I laughed in return, not expecting that obvious answer.

"We use them for opening boxes, cutting line, opening letters, and cutting steak that the galley butterknives can't cut," he laughed again. You'll be surprised how often you need a knife, even if you aren't a BM," he said, getting all the items out of the Bosun's locker that I needed.

"Alright, there you go," said Sanchez, writing everything down on a form. "Next time, fill one of these out, OK? By the way, what's your rate?," he asked.

In the Navy there are ranks, just like the other branches, E-1 to E-9 for enlisted and O-1 to O-11 for officers. There is also Chief Warrant Officers which is W-2 to W-5. Some ranks are not equal. For instance an E-9 in the Navy is a Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO), but a Command MCPO, Fleet MCPO, or MCPO of the Navy are all E-9's but have different rank, ergo, a MCPO is below a Command MCPO.
confused? You're not alone.

In Boot Camp we learn to memorize all these ranks, and the stripes or collar insignia that show a person's rank. A rate, is an enlisted job identification (rating) and your rank combined....
BM is a rating and BM2 is a rate. In Navy dress uniforms there is a symbol that designates your rating, and you can purchase them for work uniforms also, but most do not.

"I'm an Operations Specialist Seaman Apprentice," I said.

"Ahh, you're a twidget!," said Sanchez.

"Twidget" is unofficial Navy slang which originally meant Electronics Technicians, Electricians, Fire Control Tech's, SONAR Tech's, and Electronic Warfare Tech's, but can include Operations Specialsts (aka scope dopes), and Radiomen (aka sparkers).

"Ookaay," I replied, not yet familiar with all the slang.
It didn't sound noble, in any sense.

"Thanks for the help," I said, strugglng to carry everything in one trip, which I soon discovered was impossible.

"Where are you headed?," sighed BM2 Sanchez, effortlessly lifting the buffer.

"Wardroom passageway, " I replied.

"Thanks aga...," I began to say, before Sanchez cut me off.

"Yeah, yeah. Just don't make a habit of this," he said, grinning.

I rushed to get the wax stripped, and began coughing from the fumes about an hour into it.
Perhaps I used too much, I thought, as I opened the outside hatches to let in some fresh air, making a mental note to do that first, next time. I was finished with stripping the floor by lunchtime.

After lunch I laid the first layer of wax, by hand, for the best results. By 1500 (3 PM) I was finished, and the deck was sparkling. Now to get this stuff back to the Bosun locker and finish up my other duties.

Having dropped off the buffer, and pads, I swung by the ship's laundry to pick up officer uniforms, and headed back up to the wardroom area. As I was hanging up uniforms, I heard someone address me.

"You Conrad?"

I turned around to see an officer.

"Yes sir," I repied.

"I'm the Supply Officer, LT. Osborne. Did you know that you are supposed to make-up all the officers racks everyday?," he said.

"No sir, I didn't," I said, feeling more tired now.

"Petty Officer Davis didn't tell you?," he said, looking disappointed.

"No sir," I said.

"Well, make sure you get that done then. Have you seen Davis?," he asked.

"Not since 1215 sir," I said.

"Ok, when you see him, tell him to report to my stateroom," he replied, before leaving.

I finished my work at 2100 (9 pm), took a shower and hit my rack for some Z's.

The next morning, Lt. Osborne found me on the mess decks drinking my morning java.

"Conrad, where's Davis?," he said, obviously flustered.

"I don't know sir I haven't seen him since yesterday, at 1215," I replied.

"Damn! Can you cook?," he asked.

"Well, I don't know sir. A Little, I guess," I said, without any confidence.

"What about eggs and bacon?," he asked.

"I think so, sir," I said tepidly.

I had cooked scrambled eggs before, I thought, and bacon and sausage shouldn't be too hard.

"Good, good. Go up and get the galley prepared then. I'll try to locate Davis. You have about 30 minutes, so hurry!," he said, looking around.

I ran up to the galley and remembered to put the pans with water in to keep stuff warm, having seen the servers do it on my first day. I wasn't sure about the temperature so I cranked them up to high. Next, I searched for the eggs, bacon, and sausage. Must be in the fridge, I thought. Bingo! I was on a roll.

I figured I would cook the bacon and sausage first, so I covered the grill with the tasty pork products.
Where's the bacon turning thingy? I wondered.
Aha! There it is. Now I'm cooking!

This was kind of fun.

Why isn't the grill thingy getting hot? Oh yeah! Gotta turn it on first.

Soon the bacon and sausage was frying real good.
It seemed like something was missing. Relax, I told myself. You can do this.

Soon after the bacon and sausage were done (extra done), an officer entered the wardroom.

"Where is the milk and juice?," he asked.

Dang! "Right away sir!," I said, looing for the milk and juice.

There was 2 covered pitchers in the fridge. I took the covers off and looked inside. Half a pitcher of OJ and a pitcher of milk. That'll have to do for now. I rushed the pitchers into the wardroom.

"Is this fresh coffee?," said the officer, a Lieutenant Junior Grade (LT.JG).

Coffee! I forgot the coffee!

"Sorry sir, the cook is missing, and I didn't have time and I was cooking the bacon," I said, a bit out of breath.

"Well...hop to it then, I'm not drinking this crap!," says the LTJG.

I'm beginning to not like this guy very much. I grabbed the pot and rushed to go empty it. Now where was the coffee grounds...

"I'll have a ham and cheese omelet, bacon, and toast," said LTJG obnoxiously.

What did he say?

"Excuse me sir, what did you say?," I asked, sticking my head out of the galley so I could hear better.

"I saaiid...Haamm...and cheeese oommelet... baaaconn...and toooaast! Doo yooo understaand?," said LTJG really obnoxious, really slow.

I hate this $&%@&*^! Wait!

"What is an omelet sir?," I asked, foregoing the urge to say it slooowly.

"Are you asking for trouble?!," the angry young officer asked.

"Because if you are, I'll make it happen!"

Do not throw the sausages at him. He deserves it, yes, but don't do it.

"Sir, I am not a cook. I have never heard of an omelet, and I don't know how to make one," I replied through clenched jaws.

"That's it! I've had it!," said LTJG Spaz.

You've had it?

He picked up the phone and I heard him say, "Yes, page LT. Osborne to the wardroom."

Was that supposed to scare me? I wondered why this guy was so worked up. He looked at me with a 'now your going to get it look', with smugness.
I was thinking this was a good time to finish the coffee, and find the bread

As I was finishing the coffee, in walked another officer. An Ensign, I thought, as I looked at his single gold bar.

"I'll have a cheese omelet, sausage, toast, and pancakes," he said.

Pancakes? The LT said nothing about pancakes!

"Sir, I don't know how to make an omelet," I said.

"What?," said the puzzled looking Ensign.

"It's OK Sam," said LTJG Spaz, "I just had the quarterdeck page Bill."

"Whatever. Is that sausage?," asked the Ensign.

Just then we heard the ship's loudspeaker (1MC) crackle: "LT Osborne, your presence is requested in the wardroom."

"Damnit!," said Spaz as he picked up the phone.

"Look here! When I tell you to page someone you do it ASAP! Do you understand?..... What do you mean 'who is this?' I'm LTJG... "

While Spaz tried to intimidate the POOW, I offered the ensign some sausage.

"Thanks," said the Ensign. "Where is Davis?," he asked.

"That's what I would like to know, sir,"
I said.

The door opened, and in walked LT Osborne.

"LT Osborne, we have a problem," I began.

"This man disobeyed a direct order, Bill!," shouted Spaz, still holding the phone/

"No, I wasn't talking to you, just...forget it!," said Spaz, slamming the phone down.

"What's going on here?," said LT Osborne.

"The sausage is good, Bill," said the Ensign.

"I ordered a ham and cheese omelet, Bill and Sam ordered a cheese omelet, and this kid tried to..."

"Conrad." LT Osborne cut him off.

"Huh?," asked Spaz.

"His name is Conrad. Davis is UA" (unauthorized absence).

"Right. OK. Well you see, Conrad says he doesn't know how to cook omelets! Do you believe that Bill?," said Spaz, calming down a bit.

Meanwhile, two more officers entered.

"I thought you said you can cook eggs, Conrad," said Mr. Osborne.

"Only scrambled sir. Maybe overeasy, but I never saw an omelet and I don't know how to cook them," I said.

"Alright. My fault for not asking specifics. Let's go beore the Captain or XO get here. I'll show you how to make omelets," said the LT.

"So he wasn't pulling my leg?," said LTJG Spaz, sheepishly.

"No, he wasn't John. What did I say about jumping to conclusions?," queried LT Osborne.

"Not to, and you're right Bill, I just..."

"We'll talk about this later. We have work to do. Sam call the Chief cook and ask him to meet me in the galley when he has a minute" said LT Osborne.

"Wilco, Bill!" Said the Ensign.

After the first few omelettes I was starting to get the hang of it.

"This is pretty easy sir," I said, regaining my confidence.

"You catch on quick. Do you have any questions?," asked the Supply Officer.

"Yes sir...uh, what about pancakes?," I asked, reluctantly.

"You never heard of pancakes?," he asked, surprised.

"Of course I have, sir, I just don't know how to cook them," I said.

"OK, I see. Where is the pancake batter?"

"I don't know sir," I replied.

"Captain on deck!," someone shouted.

"At ease," The Captain said immediately.

"Oh sh*t!" I heard LT Osborne whisper under his breath.

"I told you not to do that at meal time, John!," said the Captain.

"I apologize, sir!," said LTJG Spaz.

"Look," whispered the LT," if the Captain asks for pancakes, I want you to run down to the main galley and get some, and bring them to me."

I nodded my head yes.

"Don't let it happen again, kapisch?," said the Captain, as he poured himself some coffee.

"Yes sir!," said Spaz.

I hoped the coffee was done.

"Who made this coffee?," the Captain asked.

Uh oh.

"He did sir!," exclaimed Spaz, pointing at me.

"Dammit John!," whispered the LT, "I'm goin to kill him!"

"Bill?," asked the Captain. "You made this?"

"No sir! He did!" Spaz walked toward the window, between the galley and wardroom, still pointing at me.

I felt the Captain's gaze, as he moved closer.

ximeze said...

troll casting... said

"I say this because you don't stick to any one dogma, but instead have fashion some kind of hybrid philosophy. You don't really stick to the right, nor to the left. There is no box that you can put R. Godwin in. There are no boundaries."

Troll, your chosen moniker includes "Casting a large Net", but your comment clearly demonstrates the exact opposite.
There is nothing "large" or "net"-like in your reasoning, rather, it (your reasoning) appears to be structured of boxes into which you must stuff concepts.

True, you do end up with a clean & ordered workspace & it can be fun to stack those boxes like legos to make attractive static designs, but don't you eventually suffer from Hardening of the Categories?

That sluggishness must get really annoying. Perhaps cognoplasty be of help to you. You know, scrape the plaque off the walls of your mind & allow the thoughts free flow without obtruction.

Anonymous said...


Troll used "casting a large net" because I was playing on the word "caste," plus I wished to enmesh a large prey-animal (Bob) so the use of the adjective "large" was meant as a compliment.

The other meanings you built into into it aren't bad, though, and I do like to get things "boxed up" as you say.

I know I am a troll and an outcast; I am ugliness that despairs of its ugliness. My only relief comes from attacking others, which is a symptom of my insignificance and my diseased state.

Gandalin said...


I agree that the article was a horror. A frightening horror. My reaction was, I'd get my kid out of one of those schools tout de suite.

My request remains -- that you turn your attention to the sexual politics of the left.

For me, it begins with the tendentious use of a grammatical term -- "gender" -- to replace the biological term "sex."

Once they get you to believe that you have a "gender" instead of a sex, they can then create the idea of a "gender identity." And so on.

Anonymous said...

The gender sideline to the discussion simply underscores the taken-for-granted transgressiveness of the pomo/liberal disdain for conventional boundaries, which may need creative adaptation in occasional situations (what practial Christians call the "pastoral"), but which on the whole provide the cartography of human sanity ("right doctrine").

Your beginning meditation on castes has the most subtle resonance of anything of yours I remember reading. I've been thinking about careers, and "class" for years, and the Myers Briggs, but the way you bring them together here wonderfully combines compassion and resolute regard for reality.

Ah reality, where we find the good stuff if we look closely, putting away wishful thinking, envy, and complaint, and receive the embrace of the harness of our respective rickshaws.

As my spiritual mentor says, "Heigh ho, I Owe, it's off to work I go!"

Anonymous said...

love the story from tne navy guy, what happens next! Good writing, start a blog and post the url!

Anonymous said...

I know I am a troll and an outcast; I am ugliness that despairs of its ugliness. My only relief comes from attacking others, which is a symptom of my insignificance and my diseased state.

In sarcasm there is truth.

Gandalin said...

Dilys, I think you are right about this:

"conventional boundaries, which may need creative adaptation in occasional situations (what practial Christians call the "pastoral"), but which on the whole provide the cartography of human sanity ("right doctrine")."

Our sorores and brethren of the legal profession like to say that hard cases make bad law.

The occasional sporadic appearance of genuinely difficult situations, e.g. hermaphroditism, does not and should not set the norm.

The norm should be the norm.

As you say, the postmodernists have that backwards; they want to make the exception, the rule.

Anonymous said...

Bob - what a string of great posts

Could you expand on the differences, if any, between caste and vocation? Or possible overlaps, a la Stu's "artisan priest"? A perfect description of you.

Could Mrs. G. run a tape measure around the Boy's chest? I'd like to see if he'd fit into an experimental sweater in the works.

Anonymous said...

Ben - breathlessly awaiting. This is SO good!

A blessed Advent to all Christians reading in - happpy New Year.

FYI- if you're planning on doing any volunteering this holiday season, sign up now. Programs fill up fast. Can't tell you how many people we disappoint from the 20th on with no jobs for them...

ximeze said...

Thanks for the clarification. Your response tells me that at least there is a possibility that you are not a complete idiot.

Anon 2:34:04
Ben has been charming us with these cliffhangers for a week or ten days (or so?). If you're new to this site & liked today's chapter, you'll find it worthwhile to get the story from the beginning

Anonymous said...

" I wished to enmesh a large prey-animal (Bob)....."

Wouldn't that be a large pray-animal?

Lisa said...

Bob is so far off the ground he does have some sense of un-touch-ability!!!

Lovin' the story, Ben! Can't wait for the next installment. It would be cool if you could send Bob some pics of you from back then...or maybe someone with some artistic ability could draw some pics.

HV said...

Thanks for your praise of the warrior caste. Even though I've been an artisan from day 1, I've always admired the true warrior, because he has mastered the fear of death. This is not an exaggeration, because I've known a number of special forces guys in my life, and that's just how they are. How that works, I have no clue.

DK said...

The apostle Paul says is Romans 9:21

"Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?"

In the U.S. we're taught that you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up. However, we find out that this is not entirely true when we get older. Sure, we're all allowed to try to be whatever we want to be. It's just that we don't all have the same potential.

I guess this idea is non-PC because it kinda tips over the left's "everybody's a winner" applecart.

Anonymous said...

The story of US Ben of the USN is engaging written, but seems to have no connection to the subject matter of the blog. The disconnect is kind of weird to me.

Am I missing something here? Out of the loop? If so, someone please set me straight.

ximeze said...

Anon 9:00:06

Scroll up to my post today to another Anon (5:03:30)& you'll have your answer.

Also a good idea to read the comments to this blog. Lots of stuff goes on here, many threads weaving in,out,up,down,forward,
backward, thru the middle & around the whole.

Lots of fun, good for the soul & great for getting the brain juices flowing.

No weenies or dolts allowed.

Anonymous said...

Anon 09:00:06,

Ben's story is an ongoing saga and was started about a week ago in relation to a thread Bob posted. It has since become relatively unrelated to subsequent threads so I just skip over it to maintain the continuity of the thread, the comments and the troll bashing and then come back and read it afterwards.

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Anonymous said...

I believe you have far more Warrior in you than you may think.
That's based on my noumgut-insynch coordinated with, and yet part of
the O--k revel-luminations, that has ben unlocked from the futurepast through eternity.

I don't completely understand how, but that is the point, and it's not relevant.
But I know why and it evolves, or revolves you.

The wheel-within-a-wheel ad infintum you talked about awhile back, is what got the wheels turning, or I should say helped me accept the vision of it already occuring everhence.

I would try to be more cryptic, but that would be too easy for you, because you already know.
You just don't know it yet.

Which is probably how it happened to begend with.
But that's a bestdeustiguess.

Thank you, my fellow Bobbleheads for your way too kind comments.

I got so full of myself I took an innercation and you have convinced me to keep on sailing the inner See. :^)

Anonymous said...

Draw some pics?
Would that be with or without the flash?

Actually, I can draw, but I haven't found an inker that can make my drawings recognizable, plus they want money.

River Cocytus said...

Hmm. I think that in America, the idea more is, you can try to be whatever you want to be (though you may not end up being it.)

This is partly because from what I can tell, caste is not something 'inherited' the way genes are; sometimes it seems to follow; intellectual parents have an intellectual child-- but many other times it does not. So with a stratification system you end up with a bunch of 'nobles' who are just untouchables and a bunch of brilliant, uneducated peasants.

I personally see the world in 4's (in regards to living things.) I use the card suits to describe the castes of man. To me they are not 'unequal', except for 'no suit' (the joker) which makes itself unequal by continually throwing away its suit.

More or less,
Heart = Priest/Intellectual
Spade = Warrior
Diamond = Merchant
Club = Laborer/Artisan

There's only two cards that don't have a suit (if you exclude the game rules.) and those are the jokers.

Often, oddly, the jokers are wild. Which might explain why they are thought to be 'transcendent' when they are really just transgressent.

I also tend to think that caste is more of an attitude than anything. We've got examples of societies where one of the castes figured out the whole deal and put itself cleverly on top. (Or so it thought.)

Leftists interpret our 'casteless' and 'castleless' system to mean that everyone literally can be literally anything and will be whatever they dream to be.

However, the reality is, we sort of throw our hands up at defining the mystery that is human tendency and let it develop itself. Which actually works the best, even when people are making a conscious effort to demand that there are no 'lesser' and 'greater' persons even while people daily demonstrate their nobility or baseness.

Naturally, Christianity frees one from the problems of this existence. We don't need to fool ourselves that there are no lesser or greater persons at all. We're called to treat all persons with the dignity and love of Christ, so whether they be a bricklayer or a businessman, before God they're just a person.

I personally find that the 'untouchable' caste is merely an aberration (I might be wrong) created by people not wanting to be in their caste. Or perhaps its a generational curse handed down to particular offspring. What curse created it I don't konw. But in any person I have seen who is an 'untouchable' there is always a talent for a particular place whether it be business, learning, war, or craft -- but that dream is perennially unrealised partly I think because they don't want to be defined.

I also think that a person can 'cross' castes. Bob has an artisan like crafting ability to his work; but he has the thinking and the mind of the intellectual. Thus the 'heart/club' dualism.

Possibly it is impossible to define one's own caste but maybe I'm just hyperbolizing.

In this way, anyway, I would advise anyone against self-identifying as the outcast (unless doing so in condition of spying.)

Troll: You don't seem to get that all you are doing is gainsaying Bob's arguments. Gainsaying proves nothing but that you are contrarian.

As for his subject matter, does the gardener not need to dig many rows to grow a large garden?

As an aside, I think there is a whole new 'turn' to the phrase 'Call a spade a spade' :)

River Cocytus said...

PS: know = k - now, and also an anagram for k - own.

Just wanted to mention that, it popped out when I saw my misspelling of 'know'.

mynameisnobody said...

The priest is an epitome of renunciation. Does it include being on the top of everybody ?

Lisa said...

Ben- did you mean flash or flesh? Both sound good, though. Can't you just draw on paper and scan it in? Books/stories are so much better with pictures!!!;0)

Seriously, send Bob a pic to post of you in uniform!

Anonymous said...

I think we started worshipping untouchables because at some point they started representing for us the ultimate in Liberty - true Americans who have shaken off the conventions of society and gone their own way. They didn't have the European caste system to rebel against, as many of their forefathers did, so they did so against their own society.

About the time the freedom-loving hippy became our new symbol for the Outsider, we started deconstructing our traditional heroes. John Wayne's free-riding but upright western hero became Clint Eastwood's independent and amoral fistful of dollars anti-hero. Audey Murphy's Medal of Honor persona morphed into Clint Eastwood's (busted to Private from) Lt. Kelly - disgusted with the Army and out to grab his share of the war profits.

The message, evidently, was that *anything* that limited or guided your own personal path was Bad and had to be actively opposed. Of course, that's a path as well - which fact its exponents ignore.

That, plus a little fashionable French thinking, somehow put us on the ground we stand on today. Fair is foul and foul is fair.

Notice how the foul ones, when they're not getting stoned or screwing each other's wives, like to engage in very public acts of charity and benevolence toward us, the little people. They know they're worshipped beyond all reason attempt to live up to their inverted images - frequently with embarrassing or at least dissonant results.

Wish the days would return when every kid knew about Abe Lincoln and Sgt. York but couldn't name one popular singer.

Anonymous said...

The left has no problem with the Meyer-Briggs categories, or with the idea of intelligence varying between people in a measurable way. But if you put these two ways of quantifying people together, along with historically useful vocational tags, they come all unglued.

My mother put the classic literature in a special bookcase and told me and my brothers that under no circumstances were we to read it, it was too grown up for us. So by time I was eight I'd read all about these archetypes and knew which one applied to me and everyone I knew.

Reality is only hard if you can't let things be what they are. Liberals constantly try to pound everything into some matrix that bears no relationship to human nature or the laws of physics. Then they whine when the results don't suit.

Get over it.

Belloq said...

When I read this, I immediately thought of the many celebrities, actors and rock stars who clearly fall into this category -- chaotic and unbalanced people who “live on the fringes,” and whose neglect of rules and boundaries can be confused with some sort of liberation or transcendence.

On a personal note, surely you don't include Steve McQueen. And yes, I am calling you Shirley.


Anonymous said...

Caste-ing Call...

In thinking of the different Caste members, I thought perhaps a standard Gaussian distribution would be a good visual.

The Priestly caste at the top end, with the Warriors following close behind. This would be the upper (approximately) 15 percent.

The bottom 15 or so percent are the uh, untouchables / nutjobs. The mean and one standard deviation from it would be what my friend's mother calls, "The Dominant Strain".

It also occurs to me that from the 66 percent line (top end of the upper standard deviation from the mean) on down, we can draw an arrow pointing towards the left of the graph.

This indicates in greater intensity (proportional to the approaching of zero) -the magnitude of the "Its all about me" syndrome.

Additionally, only the upper few percentage points (if that much) of the upper standard deviation have the awareness to attempt to understand the upper 15 percent at all.

That is, they are aware they exist, even if they do not understand, and are somewhat aware of the concepts held there, but do not fully comprehend this.

Note further, that the "Elite" types are not actually elite at all, but less than these upper percentage points. In other words, they are Narcissist "wanna be" types and Toadies.

They misinterpret Spirituality as mere power and control, which is what they seek, so tend towards being manipulative and faux-spiritualists / into "mysteries". They become legalists, not liberators.

As Jesus said of some Pharisees, ".. you won't go in, and you won't let them go in.." (my paraphrase).

They are lacking the true sight to see the light at the upper end, which is liberating, and not controlling.

It causes the individual to submit to God or higher concepts in spite of himself, which is beyond the grasp of a Toad.

A rather infamous genetics expert we obtained at the close of WWII mentioned to a friend of mine one night, that all our social programs would be the downfall of our nation. He used the term, "The subsidizing of the reproduction of the unfit."

Many might say this is rather insensitive or racist, considering the source of the remark. But it is accurate in and of itself, without any implications of race or "smarts".

The growth of an entire Troll class, and "permission", if you will allow the term, to fail in life, has caused hideous damage to our society. We now pay money to support this Caste, and moreover, in many ways encourage people to continue to produce more of the same.

This creates a conflict between the "makers" and the "takers" -who will always say they have not enough from the others.

This also, in a way, reminds me of Plato's Republic. Keeping the Joe Sixpacks happy with nonsense, so they can live out their lives and exist and pay taxes. (Obviously I'm over-summarizing, and Plato did not have any six packs. Joe Six Urns?)

IMHO, and at your service.


Anonymous said...

Apologies, I neglected the Artisans. Generally, I suspect they occupy that upper portion of the curve nearest the warrior and priestly class. But this could depend on possible uses of the term "Artisan", of which I am too tired to do.

Also, it was said earlier today..

[stu said...

And Troll, the fact that you actually call yourself a troll, demonstrates how fully you have embraced the outcast role.]

Stu -perhaps if this person fully embraces thier "Inner Troll" they can heal, go through the 12 steps of Trolldom, and come into life without having to live under the bridge of despotic thinking? John Bradshaw would be proud!

Of course, I suppose, if we consider this notion, that IS the spiritual quest.. overcoming the Troll Factor -within and without.

Of course, radical Wasabi (sic) Islamists have missed the implications of the internal Jihad in this sense. By deciding it is an outside work, they assault the enemies of their Trollness. Rather than, seeking the struggle or Jihad against their inner Troll -which would make the outer Troll conflict a moot point. (IMHO)

What was that Beatle's song? "..Trolls go on within you and without you.." -nahh, I'm goin' to bed now!


Anonymous said...

True artisans are higher up in the caste with the priests and warriors, but most of the self-proclaimed artisans we see today like to grub around with the outcastes, because they are outcastes, or because they are outcaste-wannabees.

My dad, who is blue collar and never made it through college, sometimes said, "We are not serfs." Over the years, I've come to see that he is definitely the hunter/warrior type.

He was so right about that serf thing.

Much of the left, longing for that all-embracing support of socialism, look like serfs to me.

Anonymous said...



Thus the hip shot I followed with regarding definitions of Artisans. I suspect we are using the classical sense, and not the disaffected (current) sense -which considers a Crucifix in a jar of urine to be "cool" or "artistic" which it is not.

I think Artisans are also quite spiritual (true artisans) but perhaps technically less disciplined or devoted as the priest or warrior.

Perhaps it is this, which allows for disaffected faux-artisans to appear. In other words, the antithesis / rebellion facet of the lack of discipline as been elevated as the art itself, rather than what the artisan "is for" per se.

But now I digress into other portions of works of Bob and others here.

Bob, maybe you should register the domain: ?

An interesting read is called, "Assessment of Men" and was somewhat of a handbook written between the OSS and CIA regarding the evaluation of candidates.

The multi-level "games" which were used in the evaluation make it fun to read.

A reprint is available at Aegean Park Press.

In the meantime, I need more coffee.


Bilgeman said...


""I'm the Supply Officer, LT. Osborne. Did you know that you are supposed to make-up all the officers racks everyday?," he said.

"No sir, I didn't," I said, feeling more tired now."

Hey, in the Merchant Service, you'd be called a "fart-chaser", (Bedroom Steward).

Steward assistants who wash dishes are called "pearl divers".

"Twidget" is not so bad, considering.


River Cocytus said...

I guess you guys saw my comment, but I found using the deck of cards as helpful; all suits have face cards and aces as well as low cards. In some games spades or hearts or some suit will be supreme, but it reflects the rules of the game (like the rules of Hindu culture) more than it reflects the actual nature of man.

I think the key issue we've gotten messed up in, is with the aces. The aces are both a '1' and the top card; they're not a face card but have the highest rank. In all games (other than a sparse few oddballs) aces are either the top ranked card, or the most important card on which all stacks are built (and thus the First Card.)

However, I think we confuse the ace (both high and low) with the joker (rejector of caste) since the joker tends to be wild and can be mistaken in the right hand for being an ace.

Of course, I think there are also transcendent castes, which is somewhat like having a whole hand instead of just one card.

I mean, what if you could play 'war' with a hand when everyone else was just drawing the next card?

Just more silly analogies.

But as an aside, I think there is a 'low' and a 'high' of each caste. For instance, school teachers and so forth might be your 2's and 3's of hearts, and construction workers and so forth might be your 2's and 3's of clubs. Likewise the private would be like the 2 or 3 of spades, and the cart vendor a 2 or 3 of diamonds.

Interestingly, there are a goodly number of service-related jobs that are casteless- like being a clerk. And perhaps the castelessness of a job indicates that it could be done by a machine.

Maybe that's what is so unsatisfying (to me at least) about any of those jobs?

Anyway, I think the understanding of caste relates to the concept of Eudaimonia.

Anonymous said...

bugs said...

"I think we started worshipping untouchables because at some point they started representing for us the ultimate in Liberty - true Americans who have shaken off the conventions of society and gone their own way."

In your dreams Buckwheat!

Untouchables are neither "true" Americans, nor do they have Liberty. They are trapped in their narrow viewpoints and selfishness.

They are merely self reinforcing legends in their own minds. This illusion is maintained by the lock held on the general media which worships itself and others like it.

This does not make your ostensible free everyman intrinsic in his free nature, and thereby laudable.

"They didn't have the European caste system to rebel against, as many of their forefathers did, so they did so against their own society."

Such presuppositions are nonsense. Our society predominately came from Europe.
Moreover, rebels need only a thesis for their antithesis to make them "justified" in their exist-stance. ;)

"About the time the freedom-loving hippy became our new symbol for the Outsider"

Perhaps became YOUR symbol, but not mine. I have chunks of untouchables in my stool buddy! ;)

Projection of your self image and calling it reality is scary stuff. A rather common mistake to confuse a symbol for a referent. adding personal redefinitions and affirmations in the process.

".. we started deconstructing our traditional heroes."

No, those who are rebellious and unevolved selfish whiners, saw this as their chance to not evolve, but stay in permanent youth -a point brought up in today's post.

Some of us really were there in the sixties and seventies -it is not the glory days the left would love for us all to believe. Nor is it some kind of mystical and magical awakening into any new form of humanity.

If anything, it is a retreat to paganism and the grunting pig part of human nature. This pig, hosed down with lots of liberal perfume, is still a pig.


Anonymous said...

What a fascinating post!

I think the deification of the 'outcaste' is because, as you said, so many are stuck working/acting in the wrong caste:

To a schmo stuck in the 'wrong caste', outcaste looks like freedom.

There is no question for me what 'caste' I'm in:

I knew it as a child and followed it. Others who know me grasp it instantly. Whether it's a 'higher caste' or not, I don't care; it's the best for me!

Anonymous said...

People - We are all free to be who we choose, how we live and what we do (unfortunately sometimes)- otherwise we would be ridding our world of the diversity that comes with chaos.

Anonymous said...