Tuesday, May 08, 2007

On the Utter Uselessness of Coons (5.18.10)

A wily Coon whiles away his time in the cosmic zone of truth -- the natural Coon habitat -- and for this reason is the most useless of all God's creatures.

Josef Pieper writes that "Truth is the self-manifestation and state of evidence of real things. Consequently, truth is something secondary, following from something else. Truth does not exist for itself alone. Primary and precedent to it are existing things, the real. Knowledge of truth, therefore, aims ultimately not at 'truth' but, strictly speaking, at gaining sight of reality."

Therefore, when we speak of "truth," we must add truth "of," since different things are known in different ways. For example, material objects are real -- i.e., they are antecedent to our knowledge of them -- so understanding their truth involves aligning our minds with their properties. But the truth of matter is very different from the truth of man or the truth of God. Or, you might say that matter speaks one way, while consciousness speaks another. And God speaks yet another way, although he is also, ultimately, the basis of all the otherwise inexplicable "speaking" and "hearing" that occurs at every level of being.

The idea that matter speaks its truth to human minds is weird enough. Weirder still is that its particular mayafestations also speak to us in very specific ways, something known to every poet, and without which even good poetry would be impossible. For example, rivers, mountains, oceans, wind, trees, seasons, storms -- in fact, nature in general -- all of these material things whisper their secrets -- their truth -- to the human soul (which is one way we know we have one).

Now that I think about it, the radical environmental movement probably represents what you might call a godless effort to preserve this aspect of God's reality -- a sort of hollow memory of the fullness of God's self-revelation. The environmentalist loves this divine truth -- or one part of it -- but not the source of this truth, which is to say, reality. Thus, he often slides into the barbarism of pantheism, or at least becomes the functional equivalent thereof. (Of course, I am speaking in generalities, as there are obviously countless people who love nature but are not radical environmentalists.)

Similarly, if we attempt to understand man in the same way we understand matter, we will simply generate confusion and paradox. And if we attempt to build a philosophy and a way of life around this misunderstanding, we will create a human nightmare, for we will have created a misanthropic world that is unfit for human habitation. This is reason #847 that leftism is a waking nightmare, for not only does it elevate matter to the ultimate, but it elevates our most primitive way of knowing the world to the highest wisdom, which is no wisdom at all. This would be reason enough to reject the radical atheists such as Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkns, since they not only reject reality, but declare war on man as such. Theirs is truly a misosophy aimed at the lowest and commonest demonimatter.

This is why Aristotle noted that all other disciplines are more necessary than philosophy, but none is more important. To which I would add, "except theology." That is, the higher the discipline, the less necessary but the more significant. At the same time, the higher the reality -- i.e., the more real -- the less important the thinker. Again, truth is a secondary phenomenon, contingent upon the ultimate Real. Since religion is the science of this ultimate real, we must ultimately eliminate ourselves, so to speak, if we would fully comprehend it (or rather, it us). And this is why religion involves both revelation and faith, for revelation is the manifestation of the ultimate real in terms the average human can understand, while the "full emptiness" or "empty fullness" of faith is the mode of knowing it.

And of course, this is where our divine slack comes into play, for if it is true that philosophy must serve no purpose in order to remain philosophy, then theology must be utterly useless. In other words, theology can never serve anything other than the Real. It cannot be made to serve some manmade, "practical" end. Rather, we were made to serve it. And serving it is the sufficient reason for our slack, which is otherwise simply a "waste of time."

Slack is that which makes us free insofar as we are engaged in an activity that serves no purpose outside of itself, the ultimate case being worship of God, or conformity with the Real. In losing our freedom, we regain it. Or in dying, we are reborn. However you wish to put it. But it is a passive state, which is why it is more analogous to hearing (which is feminine) than to seeing (which is active and masculine):

"Leisure amounts to that precise way of being silent which is a prerequisite for listening in order to hear.... Leisure implies an attitude of total receptivity toward, and willing immersion in, reality; an openness of the soul, through which alone may come about those great and blessed insights that no amount of 'mental labor' can ever achieve" (Josef Pieper).

When we talk about the true meaning of "separation of church and state" -- which, of course, does not appear in the Constitution -- the deeper meaning is the preservation of our divine Slack, which is the purpose of the state, not vice versa.

As Pieper writes, this free and slackful space is exactly "what is meant by the ancient term scholé, which designates 'school' and 'leisure' at the same time. It means a refuge where discussion takes place, in total independence -- that is, without the interference of practical goals." Rather, it is a "zone of truth" that is "set aside in the midst of society, a hedged-in space to house the autonomous engagement with reality, in which people can inquire into, discuss, and assert the truth of things without let or hindrance; a domain expressly shielded from all conceivable attempts to use it as a means to achieve certain ends."

Not only must this slackademic space be defended and preserved from without, but also from those threats that arise from within "as an infection of intellectual life itself." We know some of these nasty infections by the names "political correctness," "speech codes," "diversity," "tolerance," "multiculturalism," "critical theory," etc.

Thus -- at risk of being a champion of the bobvious -- the problem with our schools is that they are no longer schools (scholé), which is to say, pointless and disinterested centers of leisurely slack serving no human end. Instead, they are centers of indoctrination that reduce human beings to serving the ends of leftist ideology. This leftist ideology is also the essence of selfishness, in that it is the polar opposite of the selflessness required to know higher truth. No one is more appallingly grandiose than the secular leftist. (Not to raise a sore subject with our uncomprehending troll of a couple days ago, but this is again why I insist that the atheist makes a God of himself.)

I heard a perfect example of this on the Michael Medved show the other day, someone Gide might have been thinking about when he wrote that "as soon as we are no longer obliged to earn our living, we no longer know what to do with our life and recklessly squander it." Medved's guest was a radical feminist -- her name escapes me -- or maybe I chased it away -- but she had written a book that excoriates women for choosing to stay at home and raise children instead of working, the reason being that these women have selfishly abandoned feminist ideology.

Unfortunately I don't have time to outline the full horror of her inhuman ideology, but the point is that her ideology -- which is always true of any leftist ideology -- reduces the human being to a faceless and soulless unit who exists to simply serve the ends of leftist ideologues. Therefore, it is quite patently the opposite of "women's liberation," or any kind of liberation at all, for that mater. Rather, it is women's servitude, in that you must subordinate yourself to the glorious "revolution."

In this regard, as Josef Pieper writes, "politics must inevitably become empty agitation if it does not aim at something which is not political." It becomes meaningless "the moment it sees itself as an end in itself." Both feminism and the civil rights movement long ago achieved their ends, so they have now become circular, self-enclosed ends in themselves, utterly isolated from the Real.

Again, this is 180 degrees from our divine Slack, which has no purpose and no end except to conform ourselves with reality and humbly serve its truth. I hope you get my point, which is to say, my pointlessness.

All practical activity, from practice of the ethical virtues to gaining the means of livelihood, serves something other than itself. And this other thing is not practical activity. It is having what is sought after, while we rest content in the results of our active efforts. Precisely this is the meaning of the old adage that the via activa is fulfilled in the via contemplitiva.... [T]he ultimate meaning of the active life is to make possible the happiness of contemplation. --Josef Pieper (all quotes taken from this outstanding little compendium)


Sawdust said...

I believe that, for me at least, the inability? unwillingness? to make this slack time has been one of the major hindrances to my spiritual growth. I had a wife and three children to support, so this easily became an excuse to pursue things other than the truth. And that's a hard habit to break, as someone once sang.

But then the wife passed away and the kids grew up and out, so what's my excuse now? Big problem, but I managed to overcome it somehow, still seeking something else.

Since finding this blog, 3 or 4 months ago, I find myself seeking things other than the Truth less and less, so I have to say that it is more than a coincidence, though just off the top of my head I don't specifically recall much discussion of this "slack time". Bob, I think your way of spontaneously writing is the most, what's the word, attractive? alluring? way of considering the spiritual life. I think that it is because the truth in what you write is so self-evident. You get an "Amen" from me.

Petey said...

Amen for a child's job.

walt said...

So, I'm imagining "food fights at the watering hole," wherein Coons compete to determine who among us is the most utterly useless?

Ricky Raccoon said...

RE slack time, reminded of what McCullough writes about our Founding Fathers’ ideas of slack time, freedom, happiness and what and why they wished for it. What they did with it:

“We must never forget either how hard they worked. Nothing came easy. Nothing. Just getting through a day in the eighteenth century meant difficulties, discomforts, and effort of a kind we seldom even think about.
But it is in their ideas about happiness, I believe, that we come close to the heart of their being, and to their large view of the possibilities in their Glorious Cause.

In general, happiness was understood to mean being at peace with the world in the biblical sense, under one's own "vine and fig tree." But what did they, the Founders, mean by the expression, "pursuit of happiness"?

It didn't mean long vacations or material possessions or ease. As much as anything it meant the life of the mind and spirit. It meant education and the love of learning, the freedom to think for oneself.

Jefferson defined happiness as "tranquility and occupation." For Jefferson, as we know, occupation meant mainly his intellectual pursuits.

John Adams, in a letter to his son John Quincy when the boy was a student at the University of Leiden, stressed that he should carry a book with him wherever he went. And that while a knowledge of Greek and Latin were essential, he must never neglect the great works of literature in his own language, and particularly those of the English poets. It was his happiness that mattered, Adams told him. "You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket."

The rest of this wonderful lecture can be found here:

'The Course of Human Events'

Magnus Itland said...

Good stuff today again. I remember the Christian mystics who taught me sanity, quoted a Jewish proverb. It would translate roughly as "Wisdom is won by opportunate leisure". I also remember by father, a hardworking farmer, once saying to me: "It is better to sit on the hay wagon thinking of God, than to sit in the church thinking of the hay." There is a leisure of the heart that comes from not having any gods before the One.

walt said...

Aside to Magnus -

The little book you mentioned by Elias Aslaksen was a fine read, and worthy of a second one.

Van said...

Eagerly awaiting "Leisure: The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper" from Amazon.

(psst! Walt, let's give the Trolls a treat, they work so hard...)

I'm more useless than you are!

bitter magoo bites you said...

Bob writes of the things that spoil free discourse:

"We know some of these nasty infections by the names "political correctness," "speech codes," "diversity," "tolerance," "multiculturalism," "critical theory," etc."

The hypocrisy of it all is that the One Cosmos blog is the most restricted and speech-coded place I've ever seen.

Dissention is definitely NOT welcomed here. The right-spin PC police (Van, Dupree, et al) immediately make an arrest and hustle the offending "troll" away.

Yeah, plenty of slack here. Not.

And Benjamin Franklin is the man to follow. In regards to sex, he had this pithy thing to say:

"Use Venery in moderation as needed for health."

A one-liner that outclasses all manner of sexual enquiry before or since.

Oh, but wait, I forgot--we don't discuss sex here. This slacker's forum is too free for that.

cousin Dupree said...

Can you not see that your freedom to be an idiot everywhere but here makes you more, not less, free? It's why you come here.

robinstarfish said...

they once passed this way
further up and further in
aroughcoune nation

Smoov said...

bitter magoo bites you

"Oh, but wait, I forgot--we don't discuss sex here."

You think 'Coons aren't into sex? Ever check out the 'coon population in most suburbs? How do you think we spread so fast, spontaneous generation?

We're all about wine, women and song here--within the confines of matrimony, and in moderation of course.

walt said...

Van -

To even reply to your idea is useless, and nothing I could add would be of any value i.e. the entire web of illusion is pointless. So no, I won't play - anyone else would be preferable.

(How's that?)

MizzE said...

I knew a magoo once. He always got himself into sticky situations as a result of his nearsightedness, compounded by his stubborn refusal to admit the problem.

My friend Eric use to say as soon as a boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing.

My friend Eric taught me a lot about the fine art of cuffing and caring.

hoarhey said...


You're free to post whatever you want here and often do. We're free to to ignore you or not.
Ignorance need not be tolerated by anyone.
If you wish to discuss your understanding of the venerial, I'm sure there are many teen forums to do so. Or you might do what you do best and just play it solo on a porn site.

River Cocytus said...

Isn't the male lion the ultimate slacker?

I think I quoted B. Gracian earlier when he says:

Do Not Live In A Hurry. To know how to separate things is to know how to enjoy them. Many people finish their fortune sooner than their life. They run through pleasures without enjoying them, and would like to go back when they find they have overrun their mark. Postilions of life, they increase the ordinary pace of life by the hurry of their own calling. They devour more in one day than they can digest in an entire lifetime; they live in advance of pleasures, eat up the years beforehand, and by their hurry get through everything too soon. Even in the search for knowledge there should be moderation, lest we learn things better left unknown. We have more days to live through than pleasures. Be slow in enjoyment, quick at work, for people see work ended with pleasure, and pleasure ended with regret.

Yes, that dang Jesuit slacker!

River Cocytus said...

Bah, by far, I am the most useless of all of you, for I have many years ahead of me yet that I plan to slack off in! How can you beat that pre-record!

Van said...

Walt said "To even reply to your idea is useless, and nothing I could add would be of any value..."

Oh man, flung me from the watering hole with a single shrug. You are a true sensei of Uselessness.

Van said...

bitter boy said "The right-spin PC police (Van, Dupree, et al) "

Hmm..."The right-spin PC police"... hmm, kind of has a ring to it.

"the most restricted and speech-coded place I've ever seen."

Trollish for "Stupid is called stupid here, not 'how creative'"

MizzE said...

In case any non-coons are are still lurking about and wandering about the fine art of cuffing - Cuffing is when two COONS, who SERVE REALITY, get together and HUG each other, LIKE MOSS HUGS A ROCK, 'TIL THEY POP LIKE CANS OF SHAKEN CERVEZA AND SPRAY JOY ALL OVER THE COSMIC FIESTAVERSE.

How useless is that?

Van said...

River Cocytus said...
"I have many years ahead of me yet that I plan to slack off in!"

Nah, you don't have the hang of it yet, see you plan to be useless, which automatically disqualifies you from being useless.

River Cocytus said...

It sounds somewhere between tasty and naughty. I don't see any point in adding more.

juliec said...

Between Van and Mizze, I'm practically rolling on the floor here. Thankfully, I finished breakfast and coffee some time ago. My dogs think I've gone nuts, though.

River Cocytus said...

But they are plans I shall never achieve! And those are the most useless plans of all.


juliec said...

I dunno, Riv - I think I have you beaten there. I have no plans. For today, my goal is to change out of my pajamas sometime this afternoon and wander to an art league meeting. I hoard slack like a miser hoards pennies.


Van said...


Dare I touch that (ahem) in light of biter boy's last comment?

emm... discretion seems the better part of valor here.


MizzE said...

I know a Type A male lion who graduated from Creighton. He apparently missed Gracian's course. So I'll pass your quote along as part of a post graduate course in slack.

Ricky Raccoon said...

I never bothered to lern to spell yuzles.

River Cocytus said...

The best plans are the ones you un-plan. Spend a while planning and then unplan your plans. Its very zen.

It does do something for you, but you don't need to know or care exactly what it is; that's what I love about slack. It takes some real faith to slack for reals.

will said...

>>Weirder still is that (matter's) particular mayafestations also speak to us in very specific ways . . . <<

In some sense, I think, matter is "degraded spirit", a degradation necessary for us to become self-aware children of God. Still, it is spirit and it speaks to the spirit-vulnerable soul. I have to wonder what will happen to matter when we finally do achieve full Godly self-awareness.

Also have to wonder what is really happening on the plane of archetypes when an earthquake occurs, or a massive solar flare as was the case recently.

Ricky Raccoon said...

“For reals”
Is that a nod to my man Nacho? Or rather, Steven?

MizzE said...

I guess we know what will be going through your mind the next time you see Your rock.

"It's Dos Equis time" or do y'all prefer "Rolling Rock"?

Take some rotten tomatoes with you this afternoon - never can tell what you might be subjected to at a congregation of arteasez. I'm thinking about your encounter with that pre-pubescent, pre-concert anti-art lecturer last Sunday.

Van said...

MizzE said "Van, I guess we know what will be going through your mind the next time you see Your rock. "It's Dos Equis time" or do y'all prefer "Rolling Rock"?"

I'm so ashamed. oh, please don't let the trolls see me like this...

(wait a minute... I'm a racoon! I wear a mask! They can't see my face!)

MizzE! You Wanton! Zip that Burqa UP! Stand up straight!... ehm... in a non vertical manner...so to speak... having nothing to do with rigidity... (oh my)


Joan of Argghh! said...

Useless is
as Useless doesn't.

-Forrest Coon

NoMo said...

I am not compelled.

Van said...

Will said "...I have to wonder what will happen to matter when we finally do achieve full Godly self-awareness...."

That has some difficulty getting through my Western Civ sieve... but in lax moments... I do think about when I used to Lucid dream frequently, and in particular one where I was fully concious and laughing while rapping my knuckles on a 'solid marble floor'. In dreams, what I wonder what difference there is between the 'actors' in my dream, and the the surroundings acted within?
What happens when we wake, do the actors and the scenery go to different places?

Van said...

Man o man. Even out uselessed by Joan & Nomo. My humiliation is complete.

robinstarfish said...

lifting quill to page
queuing up a clever phrase
nah it's too much work

wv: stxczzk (st. ecstazeez, k?)

River Cocytus said...

Hmm, I'm useless at being useless. Woe as me!

wv: recit ... its the latin tongues coming through today..

Joey Bardo Ramone said...

There is nothing more useless than the kingdom of heaven itself.

There will be nothing to do and nowhere to go (and all the time in the world) once you 'coons get there.

Unless you can imagine a heaven where something actually needs to be done or said. But what would that be? Evolution would be over, so what would be the point?

The Tibetens say the Bardo starts after death. I say it is here in life.

Ain't no sunshine when She's gone.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Even out uselessed by Joan & Nomo.

You assume it took any effort? Puh-leeeze!

Joan of Argghh! said...

Oh, wait! Van, did you get a JOB yet?

You could still be a contender, I tells ya...

juliec said...

Mizze - no worries about the arteests at the league - I don't think that speaker is one of 'em, and if he is he's never spoken up. Most of them seem to be a little more traditional-ish, anyway - not many abstract pomo types there, that I've seen (if that's how it was, no way would I have joined).

Susannah said...

I liked the whole thing.

That radical feminist sounds like Linda Hirshman (sp?). She sets herself apart from "choice feminists" and says it's time for feminism to reintroduce judgmentalism (i.e., staying home is never the right choice).

Actually, she doesn't give a flip for uneducated women. The only women she deems important enough to speak to are those who would have economic power, potentially at least. She's all about power.

Wish I could join the slack party (y'all are hilarious!), but I promised to build a rocket ship out of an empty film canister. Now I have to hie myself downstairs to the [shudder] playroom [/shudder] to find the canister somewhere in that sea of toys.

My kids have Ph.D's in Slack.

Oh, and we don't discuss sex here? I wasn't aware...well, we're prob'ly too busy engaging in it. :)

River Cocytus said...

jbr - uselessness is resistant! Yes, it will be nothing to do and all of eternity to do it.

It is useless to add anything more.

NoMo said...

"...the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day." (Gen 3:8)

Now that's slack.

juliec said...

Suasannah - again, I'm glad not to be eating right now :D

As to the feminazis, I can't help but notice that one thing they don't expect or want women to have is slack time - after all, if you're working and then coming home to do house work, when exactly are you allowed to just pause and enjoy it all? I've often noticed that the women we are supposed to look up to, the powerful business women with two kids at home, seem to be constantly busy. Their faces are etched in stress lines that they try to hide with botox and plastic surgery, so they can appear to be on top of it all, but a closer look usually reveals that they're white-knuckling their way through life. Many of them complain (brag) that they only get four or five hours of sleep a night, their kids are raised by nannies (and also not allowed much slack - must fill in all their time with scheduled activities), their husbands are often (when allowed to speak of their wives), demonstrably unhappy, etc. ad nauseum.

Not a life for me; I'll take my God-given slack, and be joyful I have it. Life will inevitably get busy and stressful enough from time to time without me making it harder.

River Cocytus said...

Yeah, what's that God guy doing just taking a walk! He's the ruler of it all..

The problem with 'retirement' is like saying you're going to put all of your sabbaths at the end, to save them for later. But like the Manna from heaven, they all go rotten.

By the time you get there you're half crazy and worked to death, and have no idea how to actually slack.

Besides, God, you know, rested. On the seventh day.

He rested!

I rest my case.

River Cocytus said...

Ps. - Cream.

Sal said...

Susannah- it was her.

Only heard a little, but she sounded both elitist and emotionally dead.

But give her props for at least being honest. When I was a young woman, in the early '70's, your 'choice' was supposed to be whatever hastened the revolution and oh, the despising that went on if you chose otherwise.

Stealth slacking: dishwashing, weeding, knitting.

River Cocytus said...

OGMZ. By the by, leisure is the foundation of civilization? Read what Isaiah had to say:

'If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shalt honor him, not doing tine own ways nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words, Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father, for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.' (Isaiah 58:13-14.)

River Cocytus said...

"not doing tine own ways"

Forking typos!

Van said...


Van said...

Joan of Argghh! said "Oh, wait! Van, did you get a JOB yet? You could still be a contender, I tells ya..."

ya. thanks for trying though. I finish them, or lose them, and some darn butinski keeps handing me a new one.

thanks for trying though. you see River's last comment? even he slacked me up. slacked up by a cream conjuring chopin waltz player. sheesh.

In other words... said...

To thine own Slack be True!

you guys are great...you know, but in an offhand way...


MizzE said...

Beer. Here's to the brewers that support slack time:

Dos Equis Mexican beer 
Slogan: Sooner or later you'll get it.

Newcastle Brown Ale 
Slogan: The Other Side of Dark

Old Milwaukee beer 
Slogan: It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This!

Miller mad a bad call with this one.

robinstarfish said...

i had a good thought
followed by a few dark pints
brilliant someone said

i had some dark thoughts
followed by some blacker pints
not a good idea

drank of the spirit
was baptized in the river
that runs through all times

peace like a river
i've got love like an ocean
in my in my soul

MizzE said...

>>Stealth slacking: dishwashing, weeding, knitting.<<

Amen Sal.

Reality is found in being what you're doing.

>>peace like a river
i've got love like an ocean
in my in my soul<<

Amen Robin.

James said...

There is something about this post I just don't understand. I've had a few posts like this in the past. I just couldn't wrap my head around the post at all. I could see the ideas, but I didn't understand them. There is something important here, something about doing something for itself rather than what it can get you. This is difficult for me because what something can do for me is my only reason for doing anything. When someone tells me to do something for itself I don't even think I know what that means exactly. I'm not sure how to do it. I never realized that until now. I don't think I really understand what slack is not in the way you all mean it. I guess I need to think about it or not think about it? I know I don't know. Thanks Bob.


That has some difficulty getting through my Western Civ sieve... but in lax moments... I do think about when I used to Lucid dream frequently, and in particular one where I was fully concious and laughing while rapping my knuckles on a 'solid marble floor'. In dreams, what I wonder what difference there is between the 'actors' in my dream, and the the surroundings acted within?
What happens when we wake, do the actors and the scenery go to different places?

I couldn't think of a more poetic way to ask the question: Does matter Dream?

walt said...

River, for whom Geezerville must seem, not just 'way-beyond the horizon, but also a place where -

"By the time you get there you're half crazy and worked to death, and have no idea how to actually slack..."

- has not heard the words of Mark Twain, who was quoted as saying, "Let your vocation become your vacation." Or, as Smoov mentioned recently, if you LOVE what you do, it ain't WORK.

Answering the financial question is OFTEN very consuming, and "consumed being" doesn't lend itself to cultivation of The Way - no question - but, there are different ways to answer it. As Bob said two days ago, "Quality is not just another form of quantity."

So, half-crazy? Yes, but I began that way, so it's nothing new. Worked to death? Actually, still working at it, and on it. No idea how to actually slack? Hey, Van sez I AM the Sensei of Uselessness!

will said...

Van -

Was just sayin' that when matter becomes useless - ie., when it no longer serves its purpose in our spiritual evolution - will it continue to exist as matter? Or will it become another kind of substance? Speaking of which -

>>What happens when we wake, do the actors and the scenery go to different places?<<

Probably remain in the same place, they just reconstitute form, dream-substance being as plastic as it is.

juliec said...

James, it sounds like you could use some lessons in basic Slack. Try this: at some point today, when you can pause from your busy schedule for a bit, sit back, relax and close your eyes. (There's no point to this, beyond living in the moment for a little while). Breathe deeply, and feel the air moving in and out of your lungs. Start wherever you like - from your center, or your toes, wherever your mind happens to wander, tense that muscle, and then relax.

When your whole body feels like a rag doll, open your ears. Listen to the sounds around you, and really hear the music of the rhythms of life. Feel the textures beneath your fingers and toes, the fabric of your clothes, maybe your aches and pains, or maybe just your relief at putting down the burdens for a moment.

Then, when you're ready, let your eyes drift open. Try not to focus on anything particular, but if you must then look at motes of dust dancing in sunlight, or the whorls of fur on the dog's chest - something small and precious that you don't usually have time to notice.

All this time, thoughts will be drifting through your mind, trying to drag you back from the Slack to the inexorable Now. Let them drift by like flotsam on a stream - notice them, but don't fish them out.

At some point, when you must or when it's time, you'll pick up your burdens again, but you might feel a little refreshed, a little stronger and ready to get back to it, whatever it is. If you practice this, you will find that Slack can be had in five minutes, if necessary, and feel like more. But more importantly, you might eventually find that in those moments, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, it just feels so very joyfully good to be alive.

This is only way way to feel/do Slack, of course, but it can be done almost anywhere and by anyone.

It works for me, anyway, and contrary to what our trolls think I am usually ridiculously happy.

Life is wonderful, if you just take the Slack to see it.

juliec said...

Er - I meant this isn't the only way to slack - my mistake - obviously slacking too much while commenting...

Susannah said...

"But like the Manna from heaven, they all go rotten."

Brilliant! Well, and you never know when your "soul will be required of you."

I've been toying with the idea of "soaking prayer" for a while...the thought of hiding in the parked van and meditating is very appealing to a mommy. Hmmm, early bedtime tonight?

Well, we shot off the rocket in the backyard. We ended up ripping off all the rocket trappings and just playing with the canister. We used up all our Alka Seltzer tablets and made a little mud puddle for the 3yo to Slack around in. Then we watched coke & mentos videos on YouTube and slacked around on starfall.com. How did people homeschool before the internet? (Answer: Bible + library card.)

Now they are downstairs and I hope they are "stealth slacking" right now 'cause I need the playroom cleaned up while I get dinner. It sounds like they are actually getting along. Usually, that's good for sibling relations and bad for the task at hand.

Lisa said...

Nicely said Julie! ;) Hammock-time non-works wonders too!!!

juliec said...

A Mom and a rocket scientist. Awesome!

I don't know about your kids, but when I was little and quiet, that was when my parents were most likely to find me happily wreaking havoc. (I hear my husband was the same way. We plan on having kids, and I just know we're going to have our hands full...)

NoMo said...

JulieC - Slaxercize..I like it.

Lisa - Slaxercize in the hammock. Yes, even better!

jwm said...

On the "uselessness" of religion. And so it would seem that the most usless part of a house is the foundation. It does not shelter you from the weather, like the roof. It does not protect you from intruders like the walls. It provides no heat to cook your food like the hearth. But without the foundation you don't have much of a house.
Slack. God knows I have had my share. I used some of it well. I have never taken any of it for granted. Every time time I have set foot in the hills I have had an accute awareness of just how precious those hours are. Looking south from the trail, you see both Orange and Los Angeles Counties- one undivided urban mass stretching out all the way to the ocean. On good days you can spot Disneyland, Catalina island, and the giant cranes at the Port of Long Beach. North is the San Gabriel Valley, solid city all the way to the mountains.
Ten years of slack.
I've begun each day with prayer; I've asked for guidance. Started out in Moonbat central, and ended up here with Jesus and the Coons.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
But I've had enough of slack. It was really strange. I was at the turning point last summer. The Voice had made a strange enquiry about carrying the fire. That was followed by a long funky streak of cold wet spiritual weather. I was wondering what to do with myself. I was hiking one of my favorite hills when two things hit me at once. I just said, that's it dammit. I really want to just go find a job. That was exactly when the the heart trouble first announced itself. Synchronicty? maybe.
The heart thing didn't kill me, and I got the job. Pushing broom for the local schools. And I like it. Slack is a gift. But so is the dance that makes it possible.


walt said...

In addition to all the playfulness today, I'm pretty sure Coons "got" the connection between what you provide here each day, and the description of 'schole' -

"...this free and slackful space...which designates 'school' and 'leisure' at the same time. It means a refuge where discussion takes place... a "zone of truth"...in which people can inquire into, discuss, and assert the truth of things..."

I know you do this for your own reasons, but it won't hurt to say again how much it is appreciated.

walt said...

Another of Bob's statements, that almost has the flavor of a formula:

"The higher the discipline, the less necessary but the more significant."


I had some slack today and took the time to infiltrate a blog. I wouldn't get my expectations too high as far as posts and the like. But I did want to show off my picture. Caught red-handed in the dark of night by one of those flash cameras tripped by infra-red.

Walmart Shopper said...

I recently had a great slack experience wandering the streets of downtown Copenhagen at night and getting lost. It was exhilirating and surreal, the engulfing sense of utter *aloneness*. I felt like a character in a film noire, um, film. And yet I knew God was right there. It was a classic slack experience I think: unplanned, pointless, and HEAVY.

Sawdust said...

Bitter One;

I always figured that people who talk about sex all the time are doing what they do best-talk about it.

My best slack time is travelling. I usually have no idea what route I take , where I will end up (other than back home), and most importantly what sort of people I will meet. Always someone interesting to talk to no matter where you go, the old folks are always the most interesting. Spent several hours in Justice, WV last year, talking to "Big Jim" Hatfield, a descendant from the Hatfield-McCoy feud.

I just ran across the phrase which describes Bob's writing. The military uses "drinking from the fire hose" to describe a briefing in which officers are brought up to speed on a huge amount of information in a short time. Just thought it fit.

Anonymous said...

The truth of our existence is love.
Not much of that on this blog.

True,or Real,or esoteric religion is not a matter of conventional "god"-ideas.

True,or Real,or esoteric religion is not a matter of systematized beliefs.

True,or Real,or esoteric religion is not a matter of hopeful mythologies---such as "jesus".

True,or Real,and esoteric religion is not a matter of preoccupation with visionary, or even hallucinatory, experience.

Conventional "god"-ideas, systematized beliefs,hopeful mythologies, and visionary experiences are all mind forms only.
All mind-forms are only ever conditional manifestations generated by the brain-mind.

Therefore,no mind-form is Truth itself.

Conventional popular exoteric religion is founded on the allegiance to a particular culturally and historically determined collection of mind-forms.

Conventional popular exoteric religion requires a commitment to one or another variety of false views.

True,or Real and esoteric religion reqires the utter TRANSCENDING of ALL false views.

There is no mind-form that is Truth itself.

Petey said...

The question we need to ask is not whether we are pleasing to a given visitor, but on the contrary whether a given visitor is pleasing to us; it is out of the question, for a spiritual center, to make a given visitor’s stay as agreeable as possible. We owe him nothing, he owes us everything; we can have no motive to desire his visit, it is he who desires to see us and who therefore must make himself intelligible and acceptable; we do not ask anything of anyone, it is clearly visitors who ask something of us, otherwise they would not come. --F. Schuon

jwm said...

Gee, thanks, nameless one. You convinced me. All this God stuff is just mind forms. Why didn't I realize it before? It's all so clear now! Now that I know about mind forms I can quit hanging around here and go be with other mind formless folk like yourself.
So where we all meetin' up?
Your place?


the odious mr. pibb said...

I like to slack by looking at porn. Does that make me a bad person?

cousin Dupree said...

No, don't worry. You were already a bad person.

Lisa said...

Thank God, the porn isn't forced to look back!

Michael said...

Some really good stuff you are writing about.

NoMo said...

JWM - FWIW, I, for one, am sure glad you're still here. You definitely get it. It's the dance.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to DANCE,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

(Ecc 3:1-8)

jwm said...

Is Dupree out of Troll-be-Gone spray?


juliec said...

JWM and Nomo,
You are of course correct that there is a time for slack and a time for work. Sometimes, if you're lucky, the two are melded together, as with Susannah's secret slack. It seems to me that so-called mundane physical chores, when approached with the right mindset, can be wonderful that way. With the hands and body occupied in a task you take pride in doing well (no matter whether it's gardening, dishes, or sweeping halls), the mind can be free to do some of its best thinking.

jwm said...

Nomo: Thank you for that!
And of course it's impossible not to read that passage without hearing "Turn, Turn, Turn" by The Byrds. The song still occasionally puts a lump in my throat.

OH! something for the enlightened and unenlightened alike:

You Tube.
A gold mine of pop, rock, jazz. Joplin, Hendrix, Doors, Cream, Blind Faith, T-Rex, Roy Orbison, Bobby Fuller Four, and tons of other stuff.
The only way I know how to navigate to his playlists is to search the song "Soulful Strut" You'll see the entry from 60otaku. click on the name '60otaku', and that will take you to his You Tube page. Click on "Playlists".

You'll be glad.


jwm said...

er- It's impossible to read that passage without... (scratch "not")



River Cocytus said...

dupree, I think we need to bring out the troll-b-gone.

You might need to get the blue bottle, 'Self-effacing sock-puppeteer formula.'

Nomo, it is one of my favorite passages. Anytime a Christian tries to say you can't be for any particular war and still be a Christian I point to the passage and say, "There's a time for war, and a time for peace." Its almost like Solomon was in some ways the pre-Hume Hume... 'All is vanity!'

walt said...

Ah, smells so....well, so "fresh" in here! Thanks, Cuz.

USS Ben said...

Their's is truly a misosophy aimed at the lowest and commonest demonimatter.

Gee thanks!
Now Skully is asking folks what demonimation they belong to.

hiasl said...

I'm so useless I'm not even a person...

firlzbl said...

However you wish to put it. But it is a passive state, which is why it is more analogous to hearing (which is feminine) than to seeing (which is active and masculine):

What? WHAT?

USS Ben said...

Hey! What happened to my name?
I'm so useless that wordveri doen't recognize me!

Skully said...

cousin Dupree said...
No, don't worry. You were already a bad person.

Lisa said...
Thank God, the porn isn't forced to look back!

Whoa! After that lethal tag-team combination they'll be pickin' up dna sized pieces of troll for months!

walt said...

Ben -

Word-veri KNOWS!

Van said...

Will said "...Probably remain in the same place, they just reconstitute form, dream-substance being as plastic as it is. "

That's what I mean... it's all the same stuff, just looks different, and when we wake it can't 'go away', it's still in there, here, its part of the proprietor, so to speak.

Pinto:"You mean... there could be an entire universe... in each of the atoms of my fingernail?"

Anyway... wife sent me to bed after dinner last night... something to do with sleeping in the salad being bad table manners (not really, but close). I woke around 3:00 and popped on the pocketpc (read in the dark, fellow coon not disturbed) to see what'd been going on, and there was troll poo all over the place. Looks like Cousin Dupree was up early cleaning - never appreciated so much as when we can't see what he's done. I'm afraid you lose the useless crown too, Cuz.

James, sorry, no time to address the Slack question, though there are some good replies here. I'm sure it'll come up again.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Wordveri must be a woman.
Hee hee!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

What kind of salad was it?

Susannah said...

It's a good thing the younger slackers cleaned up the playroom, because the fire dept. came out last night. Twice.

Just call us, "Cheaper by the Half-Dozen." And the most problematic of us are mom and dad!

Van said...

USS Ben USN (Ret) said "Van- What kind of salad was it?"