Saturday, May 05, 2007

What is Man For? (5.03.10)

Man cannot be properly defined in the absence of knowledge of what a human life is for. Again, man is not simply a bit of discrete matter with easily proscribed spatial boundaries. Rather, a human life is something that can only unfold and express its wholeness -- and therefore its identity -- in time. But our movement in time is not simply arbitrary -- or, at least it should not be. Rather, it is guided by a telos, so that there is something that man -- both individually and collectively ought to become. As such, it is possible to waste our lives and fail to become human.

Of course it is.

Regarding our cosmic evolutionary future, St. Paul wrote that "the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage to decay into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs until now," just as human beings "groan within ourselves" for our spiritual redemption (Rom 8:21-23).

Human beings are not matter and they are not God. If we were matter, we could not evolve, and if we were God, there would be no need to. But in reducing himself to matter, the secularist covertly elevates himself to God, since nothing is higher or lower than anything else -- thus, with a single metaphysical error, the humanist makes a God -- and an ass -- of himself. You will have noticed that this is one of the contradictions at the heart of both scientism and leftism, and which ramifies into countless other errors.

(I don't want to get sidetracked into cataloguing all of these contradictions. Suffice it to say that the secular left is "the essence of contradiction" and can never be expressed in a metaphysically coherent manner, for it is a strict impossibility. Until the leftist awakens to his own internal contradictions, there is no hope for him -- not even -- or, shall we say, especially -- cognitively, for he is a talking contra-diction and thus "anti-word." Or, we might say that leftism represents language deployed against itself for that very purpose. Now that I'm thinking of it, it reminds me of Roundup -- you know, the weed killer. It is quite effective if you want to kill a single weed. But I once tried it on some unwanted ivy, which only kills a few leaves, leaving the complex root system intact. Leftism kills the leaves, but not the roots of the Word.)

(In fact, it is unnecessary for me to list all of the contradictions, because I just remembered that a dear reader, J., gave me a link to them. Hmm. Link no work. I've listed some at the bottom.* I'll get the link later.)

We should not automatically exclude the religious from a similar sort of fallacy, in that they often make the opposite error and deny our materiality. But as Schuon points out, the object of human existence "is to be in the middle: it is to transcend matter while being situated there." While "other creatures also participate in life," only man, from his intermediary level, "synthesizes them: he carries all life within himself and thus becomes the spokesman for all life, the vertical axis where life opens onto the spirit and where it becomes spirit. In all terrestrial creatures the cold inertia of matter becomes heat, but in man alone does heat become light."

Another way of saying it is that, just as life is "matter become divine heat," human existence is "life become divine light," so to speak. The reason this is so is that sparks of the divine light permeate matter, but only man is able to mediate the divisions both within the created world and between the created and uncreated worlds. As Nesteruk writes, coming at it from an Orthodox Christian standpoint, "The restoration of animals and matter to union with God will come about through the salvation of man, for it is only humans who can change the order of things in nature through their own perfection, leading ultimately to union with God, to deification."

Yes, it is a heavy burden to be responsible for the salvation of the cosmos, but there you are. Someone has to do it, but it can only be saved one human at a time, at least until a certain "tipping point" is reached. No one knows the day or the hour of this trippin' point, as it could be in 10,000 years or it could be happening right now (being that it can only happen now, while you wait).

Or, it may never happen, at least not with the current edition of the human being. Just as we may fail individually to become what we are meant to be, we have to entertain the possibility that we may fail collectively. Otherwise why do anything? There is a certain type of religious person who says, "what, me worry? The outcome is certain. It's all in God's hands," etc. This is wrong movement, crasshoper, for it is an absence of faith. Faith means that we have hope in such an outcome. Conversely, to have certainty of it is to eclipse the faith that abides in our uniquely intermediate human station.

Now, the "interior order" of the human being mirrors the interior order of the cosmos itself. Here it must be emphasized -- for it is another common error of secular humanists -- that we are not responsible for our own order. In other words, this order cannot be imposed -- which the left always tries to do in a thousand ways -- but can only be discovered. It is given, meaning that it is a gift, or a grace. The reverse is also true: to receive this grace is to find oneself -- or at least to find oneself on the path back to oneself -- one's nonlocal self.

Can I get an amen?


Yesterday I linked to an article that is a case in point, The Real Solution to Poverty, and which explains the apparently non-obvious relationship between free-markets and the spiritual evolution that can only be discovered, not imposed -- in other words, the necessary relationship between free market libertarians and spiritual traditionalists. Kling writes that

"The capitalist solution to poverty is unsatisfying to many people, because it is not planned or intended. Policy makers and anti-poverty programs per se are not involved.

"The phenomenon of unplanned results exceeding planned outcomes is quite widespread. As Nassim Taleb points out in his new book The Black Swan, and in this fascinating interview, human planning tends to work poorly when compared to trial and error. He argues, for example, that many medical discoveries are serendipitous, while systematic efforts such as those of the National Cancer Institute often yield disappointing results.

"In Hayekian terms, we say that order emerges, and often this order has little to do with the intentions of planners.... The intentions of the anti-poverty crusaders are good. However, the results of centrally-planned anti-poverty efforts are small, and perhaps negative (certainly very negative in the case of Communism). Decentralized capitalism, in which no one sets out to broadly reduce poverty, is the best anti-poverty program."

In short, there are rules for evolution, one of which is that there are no rules -- at least those that can be imposed from the top down by spiritually endarkened human beings.

Similarly, some 1500 years ago, St. Athanasius of Alxandria noted that "if things in the universe were to exercise the power of ordering themselves, we would see 'not order but disorder, not arrangement but anarchy, not a system, but everything out of system, not proportion but disproportion'.... Athanasius uses the existence of life on earth to conclude, in a similar fashion, that there exists a principle of 'arrangement and combination' in the world that is ultimately granted by God" (Nesteruk).

I have an intimate acquaintance with the wisdom of this innate "principle of order" in the form of my type I diabetes. It is something of a full time job trying to mimic the inconceivable wisdom of a pancreas. In other words, I must consciously endeavor to do what it does completely naturally supernaturally.

Nesteruk writes that the deep rationality of the universe proceeds "from the Word (Logos) of God, who unites all principles of existence (that is, the logoi of things) in himself in a harmony and order that penetrate into creation and are contemplated as the order and rationality of the universe."

In this regard, two things to bear in mind: 1) as above, so below, and 2) man is mirror and image of God. For these are the "keys" to being a normal human, which is to say, a realized human (as in "made real" and "really made," which is not a contradiction, but a paradox).

Nesteruk notes that the affirmation of the incarnate logos, "though being in a body locally at a given point in the vastness of cosmic space, is still co-inherent at every point in space because he is in everything as the Word of God," which in turn "provides an implicit principle of order in the universe that ensures that every place in the universe, as a place of the 'presence' of the Word, is co-inherent with the place where God is bodily incarnate, on earth."

Speaking of Sons and Words, I thank God for allowing mine to sleep in until 7:00 AM this morning, thus permitting this spontaneous raid on the wild godhead which otherwise would not have been.

In other words and melodies, we thank him for our sacred slack, without which nothing could happen.

New Finetunes setlist: Songs of Slack:

(It was hard to think of 45 songs off the top of my head, so I had to stretch a bit and include some titles that have more to do with "bad slack," or aimless bummin' around.)


*That there were no charities before welfare,

that there was no art before federal funding,

that the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of federal funding,

that taxing the use of gasoline or other energy will reduce the use of gasoline or other energy, but taxing work and investment will not reduce work and investment,

that all generalizations are false,

that there are absolutely no absolutes,

that you can be sure that nothing is certain,

that it's really bad, even evil, to make or pronounce moral judgments,

that all cultures are equal, but ours stinks; that no race, class or gender is superior, but middle class white males are clearly inferior, that no books are superior, except, of course, those by third-world authors,

that it's good to support minority, homosexual and women's rights and to simultaneously make common cause with Islamofacists, who would attack all of them,

that identifying individuals by their uniqueness is "racist," but identifying them only as a member of a race is not,

that the independent broadcasters who give us 500+ TV channels can't deliver the quality that PBS does,

that good economies are caused by politicians and not by entrepreneurs,

that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity,

that any person or any country which has a higher standard of living than any other must have achieved it as a matter of luck, not freedom, opportunity, foresight and work -- and must feel guilty about it -- but if they're not, they must be forced to "pay" for their good fortune in a manner which we (who feel guilty for them anyway) will decide is best,

that the correct view of the state is one that sees citizens as children who need nurturing, and bureaucrats and politicians as the only adults who can do the nurturing,

that there is no such thing as a "sovereign citizen." In fact, there is no such thing as "inalienable rights," only permissions from government,

that trial lawyers are selfless heroes and doctors are overpaid,

that recessions and depressions are caused by businessmen, and not by politicians and bureaucrats,

that FDR must be remembered for "ending the great depression," even though he didn't (in fact he made it worse), and for giving half the people "hope," even though he decimated the Constitution and gave the other half despair,

that you can acquire self-esteem without actually doing something to earn it or living up to a code of ethics,

that public schools must be given ever-more money and protection from competition, no matter how poorly they perform,

that intolerance may be horrible, but "zero tolerance" is wonderful,

that it is racist to be color-blind and that good policy is to be color conscious -- in fact to identify people ONLY as a member of a group,

that all cultures are precious, must be preserved at all costs, and must all be treated as equal, not because of their outcomes, but because we say so,

that it's shocking -- and worthy of detailed, damning and deliciously horrifying exposes -- to find that free-market scholars are actually able to fund their work with voluntary donations from wealthy individuals and businesses -- while it's pleasing to find that socialist scholars are able to fund their work "virtuously" with tax money (extracted from their opponents -- and victims -- by government coercion),

that CHANGE is good -- but ONLY so long as it is change TO liberal values FROM other values,

that black people can't succeed without your help, but those who do, or tell others they can, must be vilified as "Uncle Toms,"

that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than U.S. nuclear weapons technology in the hands of Islam-fascists,

that even though there are 54,000,000 children under 16 in the U.S., and you can never achieve "zero" accidental deaths from drowning, choking, fires, falls, poisoning, motor vehicles and medical mistakes, you can somehow achieve zero from firearm accidents (perhaps because there are always so many fewer such accidents every year),

that corporations are more dangerous than governments -- even when they haven't been sold a government-protected monopoly and can't make you buy from them, and even though the federal government is hundreds of times the size of the largest corporations and has guns, jails, IRS kangaroo courts, and can and does make you buy from it or deal with it,

that the quantity of wealth in all of existence remains fixed, and always has from time immemorial, so only people in government should decide how it's allocated,

that businessmen are parasites, but politicians and bureaucrats are not,

that people who work in the private sector are evil, but people who work in government are saints,

that private citizens are too stupid to make their own decisions about anything, but people in government are too smart not to give them dictatorial powers over everything,

that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried, is because "the right people" haven't been in charge,

that the only answer to the millions of problems caused by government -- is always ... ("ta-da!") more government (of course!),

and last, but definitely not least -- that good intentions are all that are needed to pave the way to utopia, especially if all your friends have the same good intentions.


Van said...

"Until the leftist awakens to his own internal contradictions, there is no hope for him -- not even -- or, shall we say, especially -- cognitively, for he is a talking contra-diction and thus "anti-word." Or, we might say that leftism represents language deployed against itself for that very purpose."

For the leftist, words don't identify, they divert and imply. Any short list of PC words will suffice for proof. 'Multi-Cultural' seeks to imply a higher and wider appreciation of cultures, while in fact only destroying western culture, and on and on.

PoMoFo's like to say we are 'Trapped within our words', but it isn't our words which trap us, but the intent we have for our words - do you intend to use them to see, or only to see what you intend? Two very different results are produced, and Reason is then put two very different purposes, for contra-diction requires dictating what you are intent on seeing, contrary to reality though it may be.

So different from what Reason should be deployed for, "from the Word (Logos) of God, who unites all principles of existence (that is, the logoi of things) in himself in a harmony and order that penetrate into creation and are contemplated as the order and rationality of the universe." , that is the integration that proper Reason should seek to see and to be.

Seeking to see only that which you intend, requires that you dictate to your self and your reason to see that "... the terrorist cells busted in Lackawanna, New York City, Miami, Chicago and London weren't a real threat, but a nondenominational prayer before a high school football game is..." and affirm it in the face of evidence. Evidence, afterall, only represents gross reality as it is, not the more fine and subtle results you intend - just need to try again to makeit work right, try again (Lenin), and again (Stalin), and again (Mao), and again (Castro), and again (Pol Pot), and again (Chavez)...

"leftism represents language deployed against itself for that very purpose."

What a horrifying thought.

wv:dyzlaki - those afflicted with wv Dyslexia?

Smoov said...

Just a wonderful post. Once again I appreciate the constant layering and burnishing of territory already touched on elsewhere (e.g., OCUG). It is the constant revisting and reinterpreation of the core concepts that allows me to gradually broaden and deepen my understanding.

Bob is in an odd situation. As far as I can tell this is among the most enlightened communities anywhere. I say "among" only because I have no way of knowing what else is out there, and I assume there may be parallel groups of people who arrive more or less at the same point (I think that was discussed here some 4-5 months ago). So there is no doubt that the 'Coon path leads to enlightenment, and that Bob is the guide. Yet if Bob tried to change the current format--especially if he took the lecture circuit or started selling slick DVDs on late-night TV--what would happen? I don't think the unique dynamic we experience here is really transferrble to other media, and certainly not to a mass audience (cf Sri Aurobindo on the dangers of celebrity).

This bothers me because I naturally want many people--especially "smart" people who are most prone to materialistic atheism--to share in the wisdom expounded here. I guess all we can do is set examples in our lives and hope that it makes a difference. I've bought the book for about 5 or 6 people so far, but in general I hate buying books for people since I hate it when people give me books (versus recommendations, which are fine). So far I'm not sure how much of a dent I've made.

I do hope we broaden the 'Coon base though. Whack-a-troll is fun 'n' all, but it ain't our "core competency" as we say in the business world.

Everyone concentrate real hard and send out mental 'Coon waves to draw in those desirious of change for the better, all around the 'Net.

Joan of Argghh! said...

I saw it this morning, and I think Ben linked to it last night, but Bob's timing is, as usual, somehow prescient.

The poor little photo of his chimpy paws through the cage (jail) where he resides just rends my heart. Yes! Make him a person! He has needs! Let him own property! Get him off of his subsidized lifestyle and put him to WORK.

And then TAX his ass.


Susannah said...

"In all terrestrial creatures the cold inertia of matter becomes heat, but in man alone does heat become light."

I liked that quote. :)

And this is a sobering thought...

"But our movement in time is not simply arbitrary -- or, at least it should not be. Rather, it is guided by a telos, so that there is something that man -- both individually and collectively ought to become. As such, it is possible to waste our lives and fail to become human."

I've had a refrain from a Rich Mullins song going through my head the last few days:

Every night and every day
You hold on tight
Or you drift away
And you're left to live
With the choices you make
Oh Lord please give me the strength
To watch and work and love and sing and pray

I've been pondering the principle of sowing and reaping lately, and how my choices are the explanation for just about everything as it stands in my life right now. It's heavy. The "telos" is "one thing"....

walt said...

Bob, sometimes I read your posts and certain phrases, or imagery that you use, will jump out at me, and "focus" my attention. Often, while I may believe I grasp your meaning, I can't quite see what "to do" with it. This gives a sense of "brinking-on-enlightenment," but not-quite...not-quite....

(I know: stop grasping.)

The passages Susannah chose are examples, for me as well. Also these:

"...just as life is "matter become divine heat," human existence is "life become divine light"...And, "...for it is only humans who can change the order of things in nature through their own perfection."

I think there are deep indications in those words about how things objectively "work," and "what we are for."

MizzE said...

. . . to receive this grace is to find oneself -- or at least to find oneself on the path back to oneself -- one's nonlocal self.


Light-hearted, local device for locating your path to the authentic, real
Won't cost you a thing - actually a good way to introduce pre-teens to the value of slack time.

faith hill said...

Bob wrote about the outcome of human spiritual evolution:

"There is a certain type of religious person who says, "what, me worry? The outcome is certain. It's all in God's hands," etc. This is wrong movement, crasshoper, for it is an absence of faith."

I have a different take on that; it is a wrong movement, butit is not a lack of faith so much as a failure of sportsmanship.

Of course God will prevail; it is His game and losing it is not in the cards. The rate and method by which it is won is where the entertainment value occurs.

Too slow, and a different species and planet may have to be selected to carry the evolution. So yes, humanity may fail collectively, but that is of little moment to the final victory which shall be attained by someone or something eventually. (Cold comfort for us, eh?)

Too fast, and the savor of the game is spoiled. This is why the worst possible thing that could happen would be to attain the kingdom of heaven on earth right now, today.

That would be like the players in the middle of a world series game stopping abruptly and saying to the crowd "ah shucks, we're done here. We're just happy calling it a draw. You'll go home now."

No. Not to be done. This is why passivity is a wrong movement, fatih or no. We are here to play ball; malingering is not allowed.

God wants committed players, men and women of action, not for faith, but for efficiency.

MizzE said...

". . you have a persecutory entity inside of you that your life revolves around. You have placed it outside of yourself, in the 'infidels,' so as to make your life bearable, for it conceals a truth that is too painful to endure. Would you like to put down that meat cleaver and talk about it?" ~ Gagdad Bob

And if he did put it down and did sit down, he'd only engage in the bureaucratese of a petty demagogue.

juliec said...

Van, your comments with Bob's post to mind for me a thought I had a while back, but fleshed out a little more and mixed with something new.

The first thing that jumped out at me, as I read the contra-dictions listed at the end of Bob's post, was how much leftist resemble Kipling's Bandar-Log,, who frequently stated
"We all say so, so it must be true!" They sit around congratulating themselves on their great-goodness, while accomplishing little or nothing of actual value, and often instead doing actual harm.

The second thought that came to mind was the idea, popular among many who don't like the world as it is, of "consensual reality." I first read about this idea in a fantasy fiction novel by Charles de Lint - I don't remember which one now, because it was a common theme for him - and liked it as an idea, because it certainly seemed interesting. But I didn't actually believe it; the world is a far more interesting place when it is what it is, as opposed to what we all agree it should be.
Leftists, however, seem to love the idea, and the drive behind much of their thought and catechism seems to be that if enough people believe in their version of reality, the world would be a nicer, friendlier, safer, happier place, where nobody would have their feelings hurt for being different, and nobody would have to grow up.

Not sure if I made my point here, but it's Saturday so if my train of thought was derailed, nobody'll notice anyway.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that prior to the seeming chaos of infinite ever changing pattern of forms there is an always prior unity. And as such the universe, and indeed the planet Earth in particular, is "governed" by a spontaneously self organising principle.

There is no "governer" because that implies something or someone that is outside of the indivisible oneness of the totality. Put in another way it is all an unfathomable and spontaneously happening light show.

At the human level one can only be truly moral if one is already consciously established in the inherently virtuous moral asana of prior unity with all and everything--the Divine Law then spontaneously becomes your operating principle.

If one is not in that disposition of prior unity then everything one does becomes a chaos of yes/no contradictions at both the individual and collective level---which becomes progessively worse as time goes on. By choosing the fundamentally godless negative asana of separation the patterns of negativity will always overwhelm the positive sooner or later---the immutable laws of psycho-physics if you will.

ALL of Western culture is based on three presumed separations. That we are inherently separate from the Divine Reality, the World Process altogether, and all other sentient beings. This tripartate presumed separation manifests as inevitable conflict. In other words all other beings,the World Process and God have become your enemy. The war of all against all and everything.

This inherently aggressive Western "culture" now rules the planet. Capitalism which enshrines the separate and separative individual as the ultimate source and focus of "virtue" is the most "advanced" form of this war of all against all that the planet has ever seen.

cousin dupree said...

What a dope. That comment goes straight into the One Cosmos time crapsule!

Van said...


(Do you think he realy thought he had a thought there, or do think just to put us on, he merged a pomo generator with some old shirley maclaine books & let 'er rip? I'm hoping the later.)

cousin dupree said...

His mind is just a self-hating meme generator -- a perfect example of language deployed against itself for that very purpose. A dog's bark makes much more sense, for no dog barks in such a way as to suggest that sensible barking is impossible.

Jacob C said...

"Not everyone who voted for John Kerry or who fits that description is aware of the elite Blueprint for Utopia - that's what I call it. But what the elite have succeeded in doing - by the way, I don't think they would support it if they were aware. I don't think my 'cousin' [his sister, who voted for Kerry] would trade off supporting evil, failure, and Wrong for some promise of a future Utopia. But what the elite have succeeded in doing through the institutions that we've allowed them to control - and if we're going to save America, we must take back the schools, the universities, the media, the entertainment industry - what the elite have succeeded in doing is indoctrinating, starting with the very young and going all the way up through college and beyond, starting the first time they turn on Sesame Street [...]

"And what happens is that they're indoctrinated into what I call a cult of indiscriminateness. And the way the elite does this is by teaching our children, starting with the very young, that rational and moral thought is an act of bigotry. That no matter how sincerely you may seek to gather the facts, no matter how earnestly you may look at the evidence, no matter how disciplined you may try to be in your reasoning, your conclusion is going to be so tainted by your personal bigotries - by your upbringing, by your religion, by the color of your skin, by the nation of your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather's birth - that no matter what your conclusion is, it is useless. It is nothing other than a reflection of your bigotries. And therefore the only way to eliminate bigotry is to eliminate rational thought.

"You know, there's a brilliant book out there, and those of you who know it will recognize how heavily informed my opinion is by it. It's called The Closing of the American Mind by Professor Alan Bloom. And Professor Bloom was trying to figure out - I'm gonna be blunt, he was a little less blunt... He was trying to figure out, in the Eighties, why his students were suddenly so stupid. And what he came to was the realization, the recognition, that they'd been raised to believe that indiscriminateness is a moral imperative. Because its opposite is the evil of having discriminated. [...]

"In order to eliminate discrimination, the Modern Liberal has opted to become utterly indiscriminate. The problem is, of course, that the ability to discriminate, to thoughtfully choose the better of the available options, as in 'She's a discriminating shopper,' is the essence of rational thought."

--Evan Sayet, speaking at the Heritage Foundation 5 March 2007

In other words... said...

i'll grant you that i'm on the port side of the bell curve but i energetically resonate with coon wisdom. my heartstrings vibrate.

reading Anon, conversely, made my sphincter hurt.


cousin dupree said...

Ah, for the good old days, when trolls only tried to ram it down your throat...

Van said...

My wife says the ISS coffee stains will come out of the carpet, but the table cloth will need to go to the dry cleaners. I of course said that it's your fault (meaning 'in other words' and Cousin Dupree).

So... how should I divide the cost, and where should I send the respective bills?

(I said I'd try)

walt said...

Van -

On quiet Saturdays afternoons, don't you -- be honest, now -- sorta wish your friend Inty would swing by?

walt said...

There's a very well-written article by Theodore Dalrymple at:

There is No God but Politics

walt said...

Oops, the link is bad - but the article IS good. Use:

There is No God but Politics, by Theodore Dalrymple (second article from the top)

In other words... said...

Van said...

"My wife says the ISS coffee stains will come out of the carpet, but the table cloth will need to go to the dry cleaners. I of course said that it's your fault (meaning 'in other words' and Cousin Dupree).

So... how should I divide the cost, and where should I send the respective bills?"

check's in the mail, buddy!


Smoov said...

Not sure what to make of this site. Some of the quotes are good though.

Proof That God Exists

hoarhey said...

Hmmmmm, the World Process, capitalized no less.
Should we be ready to add this newest phrase to the litany of names given to the pholosophy made famous by our buddy Karl?

juliec said...

Wow, smoov, I think they have the most painful-looking logo ever.

juliec said...

Some good quotes there, though.

walt said...

That is kind of tough to look at, isn't it?

Jimmy J. said...

"Songs of Slack:"

Quite a list! Very extensive and striking into the heart of the matter. I've copied it into my files for future reference. Thanks, Bob, for such a useful compedium.

Van said...

walt said "Van - On quiet Saturdays afternoons, don't you -- be honest, now -- sorta wish your friend Inty would swing by?"

(holding fingertips very close together)

Teensy bit.

When in the mood to battle giants, and all we get are pygmies... a stunted dwarf wouldn't be so bad.

NoMo said...

Amen, indeed, Bob. For some reason today your reference to "wild godhead" sent me back to my dog-eared copy of Thomas Howard's "Christ the Tiger".

"This is the reason why I find the Incarnation compelling. For in the figure of Jesus the Christ there is something that escapes us. He has been the subject of the greatest efforts at systemization in the history of man. But anyone who has ever tried this has had, in the end, to admit that the seams keep bursting. He sooner or later discovers that he is in touch, not with a pale Galilean, but with a towering, and furious figure who will not be managed".
The word within a word, unable to speak a word,
Swaddled with darkness. In the juvescence of the year
Came Christ the tiger

T. S. Eliot, "The Gerontian"
Today Bob asked, "What is man for?", and referenced Romans 8:21-23. But I have to include in the answer verse 19 - "The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed." Eager expectation. The children of God. Something to take into your dreams with you tonight.

will said...

>>we have to entertain the possibility that we may fail collectively<<

I'm fairly certain - my higher intuition seems to tell me so, at any rate - that while the frightening possibility of collective failure exists, those who are spiritually liberated will remain liberated, even if there is a back to square one re-assemblage of soul and spirit matter re: the collective.

Obviously we shouldn't ever find ourselves at a point in which we labor solely for ourselves - that would be the point in which we find ourselves descending rapidly.

Still, I think the true spiritual seeker and mystic realizes that there is only one person they are responsible for, only one person to whom they must devote themselves unstintingly throughout their earthly life, and that is themselves.

A collective spiritual failure would be a cosmic tragedy, of course; and anybody with a grain of spiritual awareness would find this notion unspeakably horrible. This is why I tend to stress hope as the most necessary "modern" virtue and attribute. To be sure, "hope" requires a very far-ranging spiritual vision, one that has to acknowledges that, even if the collective fails during this "cycle", eventually in time and space most souls will fulfill their spiritual destiny. Most importantly, I think, is that if we as individuals maintain hope, we (as individuals), increase the possibility that the collective will NOT fail spiritually and will not have to spend additional eons suffering in darkness.

Indeed, we surely can't simply think that it's "all in God's hands" - some time ago, God handed His creative, life-transforming powers over to us humans. The cosmic onus on our heads is, to say the least, breathtaking. Exhilarating, too. More reason to hope and keep on hoping.

will said...

>>No one knows the day or the hour of this trippin' point, as it could be in 10,000 years or it could be happening right now (being that it can only happen now, while you wait)<<

Good thing, I think, to keep in mind that it doesn't take all that many to provide the tipping point.

And so I think just about any hour is the potential hour of the tipping point - might take just one more, just one more lamp. Might be you or me.

Anonymous said...

I love the "Roundup" and ivy analogy.

I've successfully cleared about 3000 sq feet of ivy from my property. The entire back yard was engulfed when we bought our house.

Roundup doesn't work on ivy because ivy leaves have a wax-like coating that keeps most anything from being soaked in directly through the leaves. Any chemical that would kill ivy would likely kill everything and not be a consumer product.

The only way to kill ivy is to get down and dirty and first get rid of all the leaves so that you can see the surface of the soil underneath, then you have to go one sqare foot at a time and cut the root network into bits and pieces by hand or with a power tool.

Then you have to wait several months to see what you missed, and conduct "search and destroy" sweeps of the area to kill the survivors, and you have to do that several times over the course of a year or two.

I thought of a number of spiritual analogies during this process.


River Cocytus said...

Eric, the odder thing (speaking as a gardener) is that vine plants do not transplant well.

(They sure as heck grow everywhere, though.)

Anonymous said...


Paragraph 3 really didn't make sense unfortunately. I just don't see how when somebody doesn't believe in God they "covertly escalate" their status to God level. God is a not a rank, God is supernatural, and if you don't believe in God that doesn't make you supernatural. Making a false observation about the beliefs of others and claiming it to be a contradiction is, well, like forcefully shoving an easter egg in their hand and pointing out they contradict their own lack of belief in the Easter Bunny.
Not only that, why would somebody who denies any God go against their own belief just to be a god at their level? That would be a contradiction, but if they thought themselves a god that wouldn't be covert now would it? Have you ever honestly heard a non-believer seriously consider himself a god?

Pretty extreme I'd say. I've never heard of somebody just making up somebody else's beliefs for them and then ridicule them for it all in one blow. Nice set up.

My favorite part is not wanting to get sidetracked by offering sample contradictions, but getting sidetracked anyways just to emphasize the reasoning of that point.

And finally, the contradictions provided don't necessarily(actually some don't even relate at all) to secularist, liberal, or leftist viewpoints. Some of them are just plain crazy, and he's apparently confusing crazy for those three overly-used labels. A common mistake among politically influenced individuals. And of course we all know that they're not drones, so they don't contradict themselves if they disagree with one another, so I don't see how some just pretend that the same person is saying two different things. It's just two people with common beliefs who happen to disagree on one thing. That's not contradiction.

Now, had he left out those few issues I touched on, well it would have been a decent read.

Anonymous said...


Very well then. If you're not the highest thing in the cosmos, would you mind telling me who is? I have a question for them.

Anonymous said...

Well, last I checked, I believed in God. But for atheists, there is no higher being. And to them why does there have to be? If you don't believe in god do you HAVE to believe in a higher being? No. Your trying to apply your belief to theirs, and it doesn't work that way.

I certainly hope that nobody associates me with those labels either to point out. I am a centrist. And if you disagree with my topics, you can argue the points, please don't argue my character. I merely attempt to bring an awareness of the unnecessary labeling and circular logic, which didn't even relate...
The subject had nothing to do with pointing out why people are idiots, so why he threw that in there is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said, " why he threw that in there is beyond me."

That makes all three of us.

Biker Lady said...

On topic with Bob's latest posts.
In the 1800's Darwin & Huxley agnostic science - really picked up steam in the 20's, 30's, & 40's. The 50's was the lull before the storm of the 60's.
This article from American Thinker give the background of radical secularist Darwin & Huxley.
Your best read of the day... after Bob.

Anonymous said...

Hi river cocytus,

I've never tried to transplant any vine plants. My only experience is with ivy and that's just eradication. (Where I live it's considered a weed by the city authorities.)

I'll take your word for it, but believe it or not I actually tried to create ivy starter plants at one time, and I found that if you snip off about six inches of the end of a vine, stick it in "Root Grow", and put it in a little pot, you have a more than 50% chance of starting an ivy vine.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Anonymous said:
"Some of them are just plain crazy, and he's apparently confusing crazy for those three overly-used labels."

Obviously, you don't listen to what the left is sayin', including the leaders of the Democratic party.

And this:
"I just don't see how when somebody doesn't believe in God they "covertly escalate" their status to God level."

No, you don't see that a hierarchial void is always filled by something.
Either the atheist or something else will fill that void.
Ask yourself this:
Who does the atheist answer to and worship?

If you believe that anyone here is trying to "impose" any particular belief, you haven't read very many posts.
We are here to gno and grow.
If you don't like it you know how to exit.

Biker Lady said...

My link did not work..
The name of the article at American Thinker is, "The Paradox of Secular Scientism" by Jeffrey Osonitsch.
An article to read and keep.
I never heard of this man but his thinking and writing ability are sorely needed in this era of media bias and spin straight from the devil's mouth.

MizzE said...

"Who does the atheist answer to and worship? . . . a hierarchial void is always filled by something."

Amen Ben.

Johan (cosmic swede) said...

This anonymous joker told us that "western culture", i.e. capitalism, free enterprise, trade, and the rule of markets is nothing but a "war of all against all"... What a bizarre point of view on human beings interacting and creating by exchanging value for value.

It must be the most peaceful war ever fought.

What was it Bob said about using the language? :)

Magnus Itland said...

I love the concept of "consensus reality" and use it relentlessly, but to me as a sane person it doesn't mean what NewAgers think, that we can somehow get together and create the universe the way we want. Rather consensus reality is the reality we are aware of, or accept, together. As such it is just a subset of the larger reality.

My favorite example is heavier-than-air flight. Until the brothers Wright made their first functional airplane, there were scattered individuals who believed it was possible, and various failed attempt were made. But it would not really have mattered if everyone thought it was possible, unless they also discovered the means. If they only believed very strongly and jumped off high cliffs or buildings, it might have slowed population growth, but not made much difference otherwise. Only when the belief in the possible was aligned with the laws of reality did the "miracle" happen, and the impossible became commonplace.

On the other and less cynical hand, if lots of people thought mechanical flight was possible, it would be more likely that someone actively looked for the means to do so at an earlier time. As long as only weirdos thought about it at all, it necessarily took a long time to discover it. So consensus reality has marked effect on our cultural and technological evolution. It won't make candy grow on oak trees just by wishing it, though. We still have to follow the rules... some of which are still to be discovered.

veritas et al said...

Anon 4:49 said,
"I merely attempt to bring an awareness of the unnecessary labeling and circular logic, which didn't even relate..."

A circular mind relates itself to everything it sees.

Van said...

aninnymouse at 4:22 said "Wha?
Paragraph 3 really didn't make sense unfortunately."

sigh. speaking of pygmies and stunted dwarves....

Anonymous said...

I understand that it was paragraph 4, but paragraph 2 was one line saying... nothing. But you know, I don't know why you hate pygmy's or stunted dwarves. And if you don't, why are you trying to insult me by comparing me to them.

As for circular mind, I don't know if you're trying to offend me. Or how it related. I don't care what you think of me. I'd rather you point out why I'm wrong that just telling me I'm stupid. Anybody can say anybody is stupid and make a clever quip of it, but if it's just saying they're stupid is it really clever?

And then I saw somebody say address the crazy comment. Just because they're democrats or leftists, doesn't mean that everything they say is truly a leftist ideal. They're coincidentally crazy, an individual does not represent a whole group. If nobody in the group agrees with that individual, obviously it's just that person. Hardly evidence the group honestly believes that.

As for filling the void? Why do you assume there is a void created when you remove god? Simply put that is not the case for atheists, they don't see a void where you would.

Bob said...

Summer Breeze by the Isley Brothers...wonderful!

I gave this quiz to my family. My fifteen-year-old son agreed with the libs on many. My work is cut out!

Scheiben Honig said...

Great Post!