Thursday, January 03, 2008

Why Good Things Happen to... People, of All Things (1.05.11)

Me again, Bob's UCS, continuing with yesterday's post (I want to say "transconscious," but Bob won't let me -- says people will get the wrong idea). Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, the question is not why good things happen to bad people, but why they happen at all. I suppose if you're a flat cosmos materialist, there's no mystery, since the only question is why pleasurable things happen, and pleasurable things happen because certain subjective sensations were selected by evolution in order to tell us when we're engaging in some life-enhancing activity that increases our survival prospects, like smoking cigarettes, eating a lot of cholesterol, or bashing somebody's head in when they don't see things our way. All of these things are good because they give pleasure.

But every conscious being knows that the moral order cannot be reduced to neurology, any more than a great work of art can be understood by reducing it to its molecular components. But if you are a materialist, then you must necessarily be a cynic, as you are able to see right through the naive people who believe in a fixed moral order. You know that they are just fooling themselves -- or worse yet, just trying to manipulate and control others -- and that good and evil don't really exist.

Yes, you know that such people are bad, which, of course, negates your frivolous argument, but so what, truth doesn't exist anyway. You know that Bach was just a musical con man, what with his sinister idea that the purpose of his music was to reveal the divine order. You know that Abraham Lincoln (see comments) was just a tyrant and demagogue who used the slavery issue to consolidate presidential power in unprecedented ways. You know that people only pretend a fetus is not a parasite in order to gain control over women's bodies. You employ strict logic to understand reality. How monkey logic can ever arrive at moral or any other kind of truth, you cannot say.

Buddy, you are without a clue. You are a One Cosmos troll, the lice on Bob's transdimensional vapor trail. But enviously suckling on the creativity of another feels good, so it must be right.

Now, as far as I can tell -- and I'm no theologian, so forgive me if I get this wrong -- one of the intrafamilial squabbles between Judaism and Christianity -- but not really, as we shall see -- is over the value of action in isolation from the state of the soul engaging in it. I have heard Dennis Prager (Medved too) speak of this on numerous occasions, that in Jewish thought, the overriding concern is the value of the action, not the motivations of the person engaging in it. Thus, bad people can do a lot of good. "Charity and pride have different aims, yet both feed the poor," say the rabbis.

There is obviously some real truth in this, but I think that overall, taken in isolation, this is a morality intended for an earlier age. Clearly, Judaism was a covenant with a people, a collective. This is perfectly appropriate, being that the individual as we understand it simply did not exist at the time of the Jewish revelation, which may have actually been vitally necessary to create the context for the interior individual to later emerge. Again I refer you to the works of Charles Taylor (who is a practicing Catholic, btw), e.g., Sources of the Self and A Secular Age, which trace the emergence of the modern self in the Christian West some 300 or 400 years ago.

This is not to say that the Jewish approach is negated by Christianity. To the extent that it is "transcended," it is only because it must be included in the Christian approach, just as Jesus said, i.e., that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. In my view, truly fulfilling the law would be to merge action and spirit, heart and body, man and God. There remain Christians who emphasize works, others who emphasize faith, but to the extent that the latter becomes "perfect," it should result in good actions.

Nevertheless, man's capacity for autoflimflammery, or pulling the wool over one's own I, is more or less infinite, so it is morally perilous to operate without the sort of external guide rails provided by a revealed moral code filtered through generations of The Wise. Or, to express it in an absolutely sweet Marie, To live outside the law you must be honest. Virtually all people need to be shown the good before they can see the good. A life spent contemplating the Law in the manner of a Jewish sage no doubt has a transformative effect on the soul, for as the Yiddish saying goes, Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven. So, where do you think you're climbing with your crooked feet, mister bigshot?

This has direct relevance to our discussion of free will, for a good action that is forced is just as unfree as a bad action, just as a dog that is trained to assist a blind person isn't really "choosing" the good. Similarly, memorizing truth in a rote fashion can never be the same as possessing wisdom, no matter how true. Interestingly, one of the greatest spiritual accomplishments for a Mohammedan is to memorize the entire Koran, which tells you a great deal about their relationship to wisdom. To quote the rabbi again, "he falsifies who renders a verse just as it looks." Indeed, "for every answer you can find a new question."

So intentions do matter, especially when it comes to the modern self, which is much more "interior." In a way, this is more challenging than merely engaging in outwardly good deeds, for it adds a whole new world in need of "sanctification." For no sooner had this new interior self emerged, than a whole host of new evils flooded into the world, or at least exacerbated the old ones. With the modern self came the appearance of the kind of unlimited evil we witnessed in the 20th century, and which we now see in Islamofascism. Islam itself is just sort of pathetic, but becomes combustible when merged with certain "ideals" imported from the West, among them, fascism, or scientific discoveries that they couldn't have made in a thousand years due to the very nature of Islam.

As Bolton explains, "physically similar actions can differ internally." Perhaps most importantly, "the actions of conscious agents owe so much of their true nature to the beliefs and intentions with which they are performed." And it is on the level of intention that the Law (discussed yesterday) really becomes apparent and that "like attracts like." This is why people are not united by common actions, but by a common spirit that draws them together into the same spiritual attractor. Even the blatantly non-spiritual, such as dailykosbags or atheist wacktivists, are clearly operating out of a debased spiritual attractor that will be well familiar to most Raccoons. We understand them perfectly, but they cannot understand us.

In turn, this is why there is a "culture war" in America, and why those who complain that there is "too much divisiveness" are missing the whole point. John Edwards is correct: there are two Americas -- the material flatland of his liberal fantasies, and the real one. In his world, theft is moral because it is detached from the moral order that he doesn't recognize to begin with.

Bolton says that it is on the interior plane that we will especially see the effect of the Law, as we attract people and things into our life which share a similar "spirit." For example, Raccoons who "stumbled" upon this blog and to its community were actually drawn here, "attractor to attractor," something that becomes increasingly clear as one's internal attractor develops in time. Why the trolls are drawn here is a different matter entirely, although for some, there may actually be a "good spirit" that was attracted here but which is concealed by their envy and intellectual deadness. For them there is hope.

Bolton goes on to emphasize that "interior" does not necessarily mean "private," and that the interior does affect the exterior:

"By virtue of the Law, actions and orientations are never merely private, despite appearances. Consequently, a manner of being which deepens the relation to God and universal values, and so identifies with a more concrete reality, thus interacts with the ambient world simply by being a part of it. This is to be the instrument of an action of presence which necessarily attracts proportionate positive action from the world, and so liberates potentialities within it which increase its order and stability."

Which is why the rabbis teach that a minimum of 36 righteous souls in each generation is required to sustain the world. Yes, that's all it takes to keep all the do-gooders in check.

When the great Tao is forgotten, goodness and piety appear. --Tao Te Ching


Lisa said...

Not sure if this has anything to do with the number 36 people of each generation, but in Judaism the number 18 is equivalent to Chai or Life in the Torah. Many people give charity in denominations of 18 for that reason.

River Cocytus said...

It is said that there are actually only 36 completely different plot lines for stories, I believe. Also, according to the Water Margin, there are 108 stars of destiny; 72 are 'Earthly' and 36 are 'Divine'.

Petey said...

Yes, and for reasons familiar to Raccoons, there were exactly 39 classic Honeymooners episodes, i.e., 36 + 3.

Anonymous said...

First time poster, long time reader.

Jewish thought is deeply concerned with motives. The actual difference may not even rise to the level of an (intrafimilial squabble" if properly understood. . reciprocal blind spots between Christians and Jews.

As a very basic example, note Maimonides levels of honor in giving, well known to Jews. Also, the Jewish emhasis on kavanah (faith) is not well known to most Christians, but is central for traditional Jews.

Gandalin said...

Happy New Year, Bob. And Petey.

Bob, your UCS or transconscious is overstating the case against the Jewish tradition. Or perhaps Dennis Prager is.

"I have heard Dennis Prager speak of this on numerous occasions, that in Jewish thought, the only concern is the value of the action, not the motivations of the person engaging in it."

That's very far from the case. Many masters have taught, that the performance of even the simplest commandment, such as washing one's hadns before eating bread, or lighting the Sabbath candles, must be informed by the correct intention, if it is to be effective in all of the spheres of creation. Without disparaging the simple faith of the simple Jew, these actions must not be tossed off haphazardly, but only bring about the supernal spiritual realities when they are performed with full consciousness and concentration. For the mystics, there are higher and higher forms of concentration, as well.

As you say, "In my view, truly fulfilling the law would be to merge action and spirit, heart and body, man and God," and that is certainly what is taught as part of yiddishkeit and chassidus.

Moreover, in Jewish civil law, as in American civil law, intent is very much a matter of importance. A marriage is effected, for example, when the groom present a gift to the bride, and the bride accepts the gift from the groom, with the intention that this will effect the marriage. Without the intention, it is null and void.

Furthermore, although The Creator revealed Himself to all of the 2,000,000 people gathered at the foot of Mt Sinai, and it is therefore fair to talk about a covenant with an entire people, the Jewish scriptures drip are full of individual persons and individual revelations.

When The Creator revealed himself to Abraham, it was to Abraham alone, and to Abraham as an individual. The same could be said of the various revelations that were individually Jacob's. We are not really told much about Isaac, but traditionally he also had a distinctively individual relationship with The Creator. That's why we pray to the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, because each one established his own unique and novel relationship with The Creator.

And of course the entire book of Genesis is given to us in the form of intimate stories about individuals in families.

And there is of course nothing in the Sermon on the Mount that a Jewish preacher would be afraid to preach before a Jewish audience. Which is not surprising, because it was preached by a Jewish preacher to a Jewish audience.

By the way, I've enjoyed your in depth excursus into Mr. Bolton's book. You are the kind of reader that every author wishes for.

Bob's unconscious said...

Yes, that was my point -- it is a matter of emphasis, not an intrinsic difference. However, for obvious psychohistorical reasons, the focus on actions had to precede the focus on the interior.

Bob's unconscious said...

Did I mention that I'm not a theologian?

Gandalin said...

Dear Bob,

You are not a theologian, you are a psychologian, but you are grappling with the intersections of the Theos and the Psyche, so you are becoming a thepsylogian. Or something.

Anonymous said...

Your view of the distinction between internal and external, even if just in "emphasis", or "psychohistorical", is not shared by traditional Jews. Sensitive point for Jews, because there is a tradition (not by you) of caricature of Jewish practice as rigidly adherent to law, seperate from belief. This is a differentiation made by Christians, but it is seen by Jews as a distortion of their faith.

Bob's unconscious said...

With all due respect, you missed the whole point of the post. It's called irony. I hate to have to explain these things, but what do you think it means that 36 righteous souls uphold the world?

at -- outside the gates of eden said...

you're just trying to butter me up now, with another great post and once again, more Dylan...

wouldn't you agree, that sometimes by doing good actions without fully having the intention can lead to having better intentions or even develop your understanding of the proper intentions behind the action?

Bob's unconscious said...

Sure. The intention can be "amplified" through the action and thereby be made more explicit.

bob's unconscious said...

That, in effect, is what you're trying to do with a child in Kohlberg's earlier stages of morality.

Anonymous said...

Dilys here.

I think Bolton's description in other places of the role of the "will" is helpful here, to avoid "motive" and "intention" from being interpreted on any level as emotions or sentimental imaginations. That accommodates anyone who honors the Vertical trudging through the snow as the fruit of duty and basic compassion and good will for The Whole. Whipped-up enthusiasm is not required, so much as a basic choice of the Good as mediated through the definitions of reliable traditions and one's well-tuned (hopefully we can all find one!) conscience.

Typically the visible curriculum for Soul Shift, observed by the unitiated, may resemble action for its own sake. Whether in the scope of any inadvertent querying the involvement of motive in Jewish observance, or the common Spontaneous Protestant suggestion that the sacramental and liturgical churches lack warmth of devotion and just "go through the motions," few people really believe that mere actions will save them, although the social gospel angle can obscure the Vertical so as to leave only prescribed "good" feelings and approved works.

All curricula for the spirit must deal with the hyper-introspective "am I devoted enough?" and will derive a kind of Prageresque "just do it" to cut through the scrupulosity miasma, as well as the danger that dramatic feelings of concern will be equated with beneficence.

Bernadette Roberts, the IMO accomplished mystic, describes the love of God as much more a deliberate psycho-physical setting of the will's direction "O"-ward, flowing out from the tan t'ien territory, rather than flitters and flutters of "the heart."

Once again, B'sUC, please tell the Dad thanks for the pointer to Bolton.

whopper said...

I am a longtime OC troll. I troll here with the attitude of the wolf--I love and respect the main herd of ideas that runs on the metaphysical plains here, but I do sometimes spot lame, sick, diseased or otherwise unfit ideas within the herd (albeit not many, so I mostly go hungry)--and when such an idea is seen, then I try to bring it down.

Examples: atheists are dangerous (not so)
The environmental movement is hysterical and wrong (not so)
The leftists are anti-religious (not true)

My main vice is that I think I know what is what; I am comfortable with the idea that I may be a piffler but I must, like Arjuna on the plain of Kurukshetra, fulfill my function of rebutting high level aspirants like Bob.

I am an asset to the intellectual fitness of this site.

cousin Dupree said...

I was wondering why you always sound like such a jackasset.

Smoov said...


When you are ready for the late quartets -- what do I want to say? You will know.

For the benefit of other Raccoons, Bob and I have traded files in the background.

Robin MAYBE could do jsutice.

I'm just awestruck.

BTW, I'm diverting $20M to REAL relief in Africa. the kind that gets help directly to children.

Hey, I've earned it. I deserve to be used as His instrument.

NoMo said...

Smoov et al - In case you aren't already aware, here is another extremely effective way to help with a focus on water and sanitation - perhaps the two elements most needed to even begin any kind quality of life.

joseph said...

This would not have anything to do with the pretty UN lady would it?

Just curious:)

Robin Starfish said...

if you let me in
i'll squirt scripture from my nose
mormon mandibles

CrypticLife said...

I'm sure at least some here consider me a troll. Unlike Whopper, I have no interest in rebutting what's written here. While one might say I'm "suckling on the creativity", I wouldn't describe the motive as envy, nor would I say it's particularly pleasant. I am unable to say whether there's any concealed "good spirit" drawing me here. If there is, it's quite tricky.

Just noting because, after all, motives are important.

whopper gets a clue said...

Examples: atheists are dangerous (not so)
Atheist philosopy, if incorporated into the larger society results in a general downward tendancy of civilization due to people having no transcendant truth since the transcendant doesn't exist. (yes so) ex. Communist China and Russia.

The environmental movement is hysterical and wrong (not so)
Current environmentalism is unconcerned with any type of coherant balance between human needs and the environment. They have become enamored with money and the power that it wields and have taken on the agenda of no growth and zero natural resource utilization resulting in Billions of transferred costs in drawn out litigation etc. to the average person. (yes so) ex. The Northwest Timber Industry and the Petroleum and Mining Industries in Alaska
The leftists are anti-religious (not true)
Leftists have abandoned traditional transcendant religious values and have in their stead replaced them with Utopianism, Socialism, NeoMarxism, Egalitarianism, National Socialism, Hillary Healthcarism, Maoism, Atheism, (see above) Stalinism, Global Warmism, Hugo Chavism, Tyrannical Thugism, LGBTransvestism, Nihilism etc. (yes so)

Hmmm, I may not be such a jackasset after all.

Mizz E said...

When the great Tao is forgotten, goodness and piety appear. --Tao Te Ching

Can a twice divorced, still dating French prez pull off a
call to a kind of spiritual recalibration of Europe?

Mizz E said...

Let's try this less kinky link.

hoarhey said...

Bob said,

Why the trolls are drawn here is a different matter entirely, although for some, there may actually be a "good spirit" that was attracted here but which is concealed by their envy and intellectual deadness. For them there is hope.

I anxiously await Cryp having that blinding flash, that AHA, HALLELUJAH! moment when he says, I SEE! BRUTHA, I SEE! I'm free, Free FREE!
That small child still inside keeps bringing him here.

hoarhey said...

Mizz E, it's all a ploy to get the morally indifferent to think that he's not such a bad guy after all. ;*)

Van said...

"BTW, I'm diverting $20M to REAL relief in Africa."

umm... I've bought african coffee beans before... if you were to divert even a tenth of that my way, I'd happily buy a bunch more, thereby directly relieving my children of a sleepy daddy...?

yeahhh... no, doesn't quite have the same oomph, does it.

"Hey, I've earned it. I deserve to be used as His instrument."

Ah, the beauty of Free Will and Capitalism.

Enjoy Smoov, and well done.

Van said...

"Nevertheless, man's capacity for autoflimflammery, or pulling the wool over one's own I, is more or less infinite, so it is morally perilous to operate without the sort of external guide rails provided by a revealed moral code filtered through generations of The Wise. Or, to express it in an absolutely sweet Marie, To live outside the law you must be honest."

Oh you can say that again (but I suppose since I just did, you don't need to).

This weekend, the wife was working through the whole holiday shebang, kids were off playing, so I wondered about the Amazon discussions under the Goldberg book ref'd here the other day - posts like "Worst book ever written!" about a book yet to be published, kinda caught my eye.

Turned out I had a nic 'Stormcrow' from who knows when, so I spent a couple days doing some fairly routine leftie Righting, and then as they seemed to be dying down, I thought I'd browse through the more general political discussions below those. Never have before, don't expect I ever will again. Literally thousands of posts on things like "911's a conspiracy!", "Israel is Evil!", etc, etc, etc.
Didn't make any posts and I still came away feeling slimed. Slimed and depressed about the world being doomed to destruction. Crypt, you are a veritable squire and gentleman in comparison to the filth abounding there. And that's among those who supposedly still read books. Gasp.

Took an OC bath through yesterdays post again, a little Founders Constitution, and some Rand disinfectant, and pretty much got me cleaned up and back into a proper state of mind, and today's post I think finally got me all cleared up. but I've got a new appreciation for those who wail that all is lost.


hoarhey said...

"BTW, I'm diverting $20M to REAL relief in Africa. the kind that gets help directly to children."

Shipped a bunch of Kalashnikovs and ammo to beat back the Mohammedans wielding machetes eh?

julie said...

Van, if you wander over to Whittle's place for a while, you might feel a little better. If you don't have time to read, just watching those last couple videos near the end of Part 2 will most assuredly give you the warm fuzzies.

walt said...

Bob's UCS wrote of:
"...a "good spirit" that was attracted here but which is concealed by their envy and intellectual deadness. For them there is hope."

Or: Love will find a way.

And quoting Bolton:
"...a manner of being which deepens the relation to God and universal values ... thus interacts with the ambient world simply by being a part of it ... which necessarily attracts proportionate positive action from the world, and so liberates potentialities within it which increase its order and stability."

A manner of being which liberates potential and increases order and stability, eh?

Sounds like a proper aim!

(And isn't this how Sages and Saints "do nothing, yet through them everything is accomplished"?)

Van said...

Ah yeah, I hadn't checked in there in a while, think I will toodle on over - thanks.

Mizz E said...

Hoarhey wrote: 
"Shipped a bunch of Kalashnikovs and ammo to beat back the Mohammedans wielding machetes eh?"

Yesterday I went to a movie theater in Mayberry & saw, among other things, the preview for the new "Rambo" film.

In one scene, human rights missionary (Paul Schulze) shows up asking Rambo to guide them up the Salween so they can get some much needed food and medical supplies to the desperate Karen tribe. He tells Rambo he could really make a difference.

Rambo: "You bringing any guns with you?"

Schulze: " NO! "

Rambo: "Then you aren't going to make a difference."

While looking for the trailer online to link to, which I didn't find, I stumbled into a forum discussing the film. They don't tolerate moonbats over there:

All of you liberal, ivory tower peacenik faggots who dislike movies that show good versus evil have the option to stay at home, watch "Philadelphia," "Fried Green Tomatoes," or maybe go down to your local IMAX and take in the next showing of "Laser Midler."

You label sentiments such as patriotism and bravery with predictable liberal monikers like "jingoism" and "rabid nationalistism."

Well, you better hope the entirety of the next generation doesn't think like you or your ilk, because if they do, you will undoubtedly have worse things to concern yourself with during your 'golden years' besides bitching about what's on your in local theatre.

This public service message brought to you by Race Bannon, Mack Bolan, The Punisher, Sgt. Rock, Fightin Army, Fightin Air Force, The Haunted Tank, The Dark Knight, and all of your friends at Able Team. GO TEAM VENTURE!

Ahhhhh, feelin' much better.

Smoov said...


Kenya is a stable point where help actually does good. Am in touch with a Cambridge educated Kenyan who is making waves internally.

He's young, but imagine MLK with a capitalist heart...

Magnus Itland said...

OK, this is a revelation of sorts that came to me on my way home from work, so it should have been entirely unrelated to today's transconscious post. You be the judge of that.

One of the things I like the most about OC is the lack of community-building. I hate community-building and consider it worthless and probably worse than worthless. This is a heritage from back when the Christian Church of Brunstad was just a flock of mystics with no registration and no state subsidies.

Having many members was not a goal, and in fact potentially suspect. For it is written: "God added each day to the Church those who let themselves be saved." If people tried to do the job, they would probably add plenty of likeable people, but not being God, would have no idea whether these really wanted to be saved or just wanted to belong to a community.

Likewise: "If we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other and Jesus, his son's, blood cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1) and in the same place, "That which we have seen and heard, that do we proclaim to you, that you can have fellowship with us; but our fellowship is with the Father and with his son Jesus Christ."

Any "community" that is built in any other way than by experience in the Light is just leaders trying to gather followers, and followers trying to find a leader to follow.

Whatever you think about Bob (like, for instance, "brainwashed ethnocentric American" which was my first impression) it is glaringly obvious that he doesn't want followers, only people going in the same direction by their own free will. This is typical of the vehicles of grace. If anything, they usually have to chase people away. Bob is fairly good at that too.

Elephant said...

In a dangerous feat, I traveled by day home to this country.

Speaking of reaping and sowing and discipline for side-rail zooming... Like a bip that was quick and stung, I was escorted back to the United States.

In June 2001 I moved to Scotland. In September 2001 I decided that due to missing Kraft macaroni and cheese, I'd move back to the United States, and after all, New York City was so cool, I'd like to live there.

I had really thought I had been moving in a correct path in the moral order of things by moving to the UK. I learned. And then, I really learned. The most extreme, in your face, get it straight, thing happened. Mid-air, mid-readjustment, coasting back to the US, the announcement.

So I learned. So much. In a real-world, hit where it hurts, hold-my-hand-through-hell to show me what I had been flirting with, where I had been mistaken.

And now, back here, I might be guilty of over-blatantism. I imagine people who have lived through real spiritual oppression cannot bear to keep things subtle. But they probably deserve that status. Me, the urge to be straightforward with my words is debatably not justified. For example when friends try to be cool or fit in or when friends keep their faith undisclosed or avoid topics of derision, they are probably living in the fat of the land. The reason they can operate stealthily is due to the sophistication this country enjoys. But maybe it is my sympathy for the larger picture that makes me cease to be as diplomatic as I could be. In the name of sympathy for those who have been unable to utter certain words I have wanted to utter them. Social pressure starts to feel like censorship.

With the sheer dark ignorance some have written and spoken it just makes it worse. Like if someone is going to stoop so low and be that ignorant of reality, i mean really, then I am going to be that forthright about Light and Truth and Reality. Even about politics.

Yes discretion but I have learned by talking in depth with some "liberal" friends that they HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. People either admit that eventually and say to talk to someone who knows more and that they just watch certain shows and read certain things. Other people find themselves up against the wall and they outright flake out by openly holding non-coexisting opposing views. Like freedom is good but injustice is so bad. Cowardly, lacking courage. Bad consequences of those good intentions.

yadda yadda... this might be some of elle's phantism unconscious. just felt like saying some of this story. i was turned around and now i know the truth. that our freedom means something, it is unique, and the challenge is to discover what to do with that freedom. maybe then people will see it again and want it. it is not merely the freedom to 'get more stuff.' that is a slimy coat. anyway...

Elephant said...

btw, the "announcement" was only that there was "a terrorist threat" and that it does not seem to effect this plane and that will be diverted to Newfoundland. Nothing more than that.

On the ground an hour and a half later, a story from a dying cell phone (it was 2001) and then finally a bit more of the story in an announcement 4 or 5 hours after landing. The next 12 hours (total about 17) no news, no announcement. just 30 or so other planes on the defunct airport being used now for the planes. Lots of time to pray, read the Bible, and hope that things would be okay once coming back to the US. But this might have also heightened the concern, since at that time, the US was going on without us without any connection with news sources, or many perspectives. We didn't talk, we didn't know what was going on. It was a manifest difficulty for all of us on the plane. It is remarkable thinking back, how only one person had a cell phone that worked. It was a quite non-full plane, but still, now it seems as though most people would be calling home. Maybe it was a signal issue... I'm not sure. I don't remember exactly.

ximeze said...

Ooooooh, just love all this testostetalk!

Mizz e:
Real question is whether Able Team members are available for, um, dating purposes?

Sly himself tho, is kinda too dopey, a la Victor Mature......

However, this crowd does not suffer from the Gender Identity Disorder of this "post-metrosexual age," where anything effeminate on men goes and is celebrated.

Check out this "Men--The New Women--Alert: Hello Kitty & Pearl Necklaces" & weep.

Elephant said...

by the way also... I'm not putting down countries other than the US, I am merely not saying that the US is bad. In fact, it is where due to risk, there is the potential for a lot of good. And I think other countries have potential and have things to offer just as well. ....anyway hope you get my point.

Djadja said...

It takes two handles to handle a Whopper. 10-4.

hoarhey said...

Thanks for the Whittle link reminder. I haven't been there much of late.
Excellent essay.
Hope do spring eternal!

hoarhey said...


You wrote:
Whatever you think about Bob (like, for instance, "brainwashed ethnocentric American" which was my first impression).....

You were somewhat trollish in your earlier days and I remember your "first impressions". I still don't get the ethnocentric label as America has nothing to do with ethnicity and all to do with ideals.
I'd be interested to hear of your shift in attitude concerning Bob (assuming you've had one) and how that came about.

hoarhey said...

You realized what you lost, the lesson was reinforced and underlined on you trip back.
No need to make any appologies, arm yourself with the truth then stand and fight for what you've come to know, before it becomes a place not worth returning to.

Magnus Itland said...

"ethnocentric" is not the same as ethnic, at least the way it is used in cultural development theory. It is a cultural complexity level, higher than tribal but lower than global.

In any case, I will probably always disagree with Bob on a number of things, but neither of us derive much entertainment from me posting every few day to remind us all of my disagreement. "Hey lookit lookit I disagree with Bob." It is not particularly newsworthy after the first time or two. If two people agreed on all things without one of them being a mindless "fan", that would be newsworthy indeed.

Bob's political writing is irrelevant to me. We have our own leftists here in Norway, people you have never heard of, and I have gently mocked their craziness since years before I heard of "One Cosmos". But they are different and I gain no useful inspiration from Bob's political speeches, though they are sometimes amusing on a purely verbal level.

Whenever he writes about the inner landscape, though, the heights and depths and different dimensions, it is usually keenly relevant to my own experiences, sometimes eerily in sync. This is certainly not by any design of Bob, since he barely knows me. That's fine by me. "O" evidently has some project going that involves us both, though it consumes Bob more than me.

hoarhey said...

Thanks Magnus for the response.
My own view is that Bob's political views are directly related to his spiritual insight and in my mind, he explains the obvious links.
I'm not in agreement with him always but willing to give the benefit of the doubt due to what you describe as the keen relevance to my own experience in most matters, politics included.
I'm also amazed on a daily basis that a man who has been highly influenced by Eastern Mysticism, not to mention Terrence McKenna, hasn't spun out into the thin layer of ozone any further than he has. ;*)
My faith in and understanding of Practical/Rational Spirituality is renewed here daily, and from this comes genuine gratitude.

Magnus Itland said...

The relationship is that Bob's political views are derived from his spiritual experience, not the other way around.This is a good thing. But the primary is always purer than the derived.

Also please understand that for the average Raccoon, America is the familiar terrain and the inner life is what's new. But to me it is the other way around. I spent many good years with Christian mystics who strived to share with me many truths I were not yet ready for, despite my best intentions. When I now meet these truths again in a foreign land, I realize what my late teachers meant, and seeds from long ago start sprouting.

Sal said...

Or, in my case, Bob adjusts the focus on stuff I've known for years, as a Catholic. Unpacks it in intriguing ways, though not everything makes it through the filter of tradition.
But we often mean the same thing- just expressed different ways.

Dilys- exactly!

Smoov- you're kinda my hero.

Thanks for a day's worth of thoughtiness, everyone.

Van said...

Smoov said..."Am in touch with a Cambridge educated Kenyan who is making waves internally. He's young, but imagine MLK with a capitalist heart..."

Now That's Inspiring!