Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Great Cosmic Casting Couch and the Role of a Lifetime

Before we implement the caste system, a couple of readers wanted some clarification. I'm hardly an expert on the subject, but I'll give it the old Coonish try.

Rick asks, "So Bob, do you think a person can be built for two or more [castes]? I think you are saying there is a 'predominant' one for a person and that even then most will not be great at it. Which is fine. It’s the forcing yourself to be exceptional at it, and convincing yourself you are when you are not, that is not good. And you’re speaking 'generally.' But I look at the categories and I clearly see a little farmer and hunter and warrior in me too. Seems the blessings of modernity finally allow it. The real world outside of your predominant caste will provoke those lesser ones. In other words, you may need ‘em someday."

That's a good point. Reminds me of astrology, in which one has a dominant sun sign, but within the context of various other archetypes, aspects, houses, elements, transits, and cycles, so that each horoscope is as unique as a... a human being.

The second question is from an anonymous commenter who boasts of living "in an abandoned refrigerator carton in a vacant lot. My box is lined with carpet scraps and is quite snug and cozy. I use the computer at the public library. I turn in aluminum cans and so forth to get spending money."

What this resourceful man wants to know is, "So, what caste am I, anyway? Am I the lowest or is there an even lower one?"

Let's start with these latter questions, being that I sense they have more comedic potential. First of all, there is an unavoidable political dimension to the questions, in that the caste of which he speaks only exists during a Republican administration. During such Hard Times, hordes of these untouchables suddenly appear as if by magic, living in their cardboard boxes and pushing shopping carts around the city. But when a Democrat is in office, the problem just as suddenly "disappears," and there are no longer any members of this caste. This is the nature of "liberal compassion." It is so powerful, that mere good intentions are sufficient to make the problem go away, at least until a Republican returns to office.

Caste. Exactly what is it? Schuon writes that "in its spiritual sense, caste is the 'law' or dharma governing a particular category of men in accord with their qualifications." The Bhagavad-Gita says that it is "better to perish in one’s own law; it is perilous to follow the law of another.... [S]imilarly the Manava-Dharma Shastra says: 'It is better to carry out one’s own proper functions in a defective manner than to fulfill perfectly those of another; for he who lives accomplishing the duties of another caste forthwith loses his own.'” The point is, there is real existential peril and pain involved in failure to identify one's caste.

Of the castes, Schuon only mentions four, but as Rick implies, the modern world would seem to suggest that there are many more niches to fill within the pneumacosmic economy -- which is again one of the great blessings of America, not just that we are free to move from level to level (vertically) or category to category (horizontally), but may also make a "mid-course correction" at any age. It's never too late to discover your role in the Cosmic Adventure!

Regarding the four castes, "There is first of all the intellective, speculative, contemplative, sacerdotal type, which tends towards wisdom or holiness.... Next there is the warlike and royal type, which tends towards glory and heroism.... this type will readily be active, combative and heroic, hence the ideal of the 'heroicalness of virtue.' The third type is the respectable 'average' man: he is essentially industrious, balanced, persevering; his center is love for work that is useful and well done, and carried out with God in mind.... Lastly there is the type that has no ideal other than that of pleasure in the more or less coarse sense of the word; this is concupiscent man who, not knowing how to master himself, has to be mastered by others, so that his great virtue will be submission and fidelity."

Again, we are not interested in the institutional application of these principles in any top-down manner. Rather, for Raccoon purposes, their only value is in the idea that we do possess our own "soul imprint," so to speak, which must be "actualized" in this life. In the past, I have discussed this in terms of Bollas's idea of the "unthought known" and its relationship to the discovery of our own unique idiom of expression, which would represent the "exteriorization" of our inwardness, so to speak. This is where liberty and the sanctity of private property come in, because it is obviously quite impossible to discover oneself except under conditions of freedom, nor can this exteriorization of the interior occur unless the soul can choose those objects that "resonate" with it.

That probably sounds too abstract, but I think you will find that it is actually quite concrete and "experience near." For example, Bollas talks about how a person's dwelling is like a sort of "soul museum" -- like walking through an objectified dreamscape in which the "contents are visible," as Van Morrison put it in song. To say that a sanctuary is where the soul and intellect find their rest is to say that there is a "good fit" between the inward and the outward. Thus, one person's sanctuary can be another's dreary airport terminal. I am often shocked at what people call "home," since my soul would be quite restless, if not totally alienated, there; but there you go. Different cloaks for different blokes.

In my case, whatever the external trappings, I usually go straight for the books and CDs. That tells me everything I need to know about what kind of person I'm dealing with (although what is hanging on the wall -- i.e., what they call "art" -- is another dead giveaway). This may sound... I don't know, petty, but I am utterly disoriented if someone has the complete works of Michael Buble or Harry Connick, but no Sinatra. Frankly, I don't know what to say to such a person. Just make my apologies and slowly back away.

You see, it's a matter of essentials. I am reminded of Ray Charles, who said that he could tell everything he needed to know about a woman by holding her wrist. Someone said to him, "that's preposterous. How can you tell everything about a person by touching their wrist?" To which Ray responded: "I didn't say everything. I said everything I need to know." (Which reminds me: How does one become a Raelette? Easy. You let Ray.)

Some people have no clear or articulate idiom, and that is part of the problem. For if you haven't discovered the soul, then you will not have found its idiom. Or, to put it the other way around, to find the soul's idiom is to have found the soul, precisely. Look at me. I would say that I didn't fully discover my idiom and truly flesh it out until I began blogging. This is a critical point, and again goes to what Rick was saying about the diversity of modernity, and the many more opportunities to identify and occupy niches and sub-niches.

As I have probably mentioned before, my book was difficult -- or at least laborious -- to write, in large measure -- which I now realize in hindsight -- because I had no audience. It was as if I were trying to develop a unique idiom, but absent any context. It's analogous to an artist who must simultaneously express himself and invent the means to do so. Looking back on it, I can definitely say that for much of my life, I felt like "an artist without an art form," and now I know why: I had to invent the art form, or the idiom, for my soul's expression. And of course, it's an ongoing process. For example, in reading that post yesterday from early '06, I could see how far I've come since then. And where I've come is "toward me."

Again, not necessarily just in terms of "content," but in expression, which turns out to be a vital component of the content! For this reason, I would never worry about someone "stealing my ideas," because they would have to "steal me," which no one could ever do. Or, put it this way: it is obviously possible to steal a scientific idea, or just discover it before someone else does. But no one could steal my idiom, because it is unique to my soul. For this reason I say, to paraphrase Walt Whitman: This is no blog, comrade. Who touches this touches a man! Or a soul, to be precise; cut it, and it bleeds my blood. So I suppose it's a body as well: again, the exteriorization of my deepest interior, for what it's worth. It is my "image and likeness."

Another important point is what Bollas calls "the erotics of being." This refers to the deeply satisfying feeling of expressing the soul's idiom and having it understood by someone else. It is "erotic" in the sense that it is soul-to-soul touch. People occasionally or constantly ask me when I might write the next book, and the answer is "possibly never," one reason being that it could never be as satisfying as the blogging, through which I have the privilege of indulging in the "erotics of being" every morning. With a book, I would have to be too self-conscious and couldn't "pull out all the stops." Even as it is, I am surprised that my publisher went along with some of the unorthodox features of my existing book. No one knew back then about the lost tribe of Raccoons, and how we share a similar idiom.

Now, back to our box-dwelling reader. Is there a lower caste? First, he might be confusing caste with socioeconomic status, for one's essential caste doesn't change with material circumstances. There are obviously wealthy people who are outcasts (one thinks of Hollywood) and noble and dignified people of modest means who have a natural aristocracy about them. They know who they are. These are often the people for whom liberal outcasts have contempt that they express under the guise of "helping the little guy." In point of fact, liberals are "little guys," i.e., constricted and emaciated souls. We are not, for we contain the very cosmos that contains the liberal.

Regarding those Hollywood liberals, one has only to examine their idiom -- i.e., their dreadful films -- to know everything you need to know about them. They must live in a kind of grinding soul-poverty that is scarcely imaginable to a Raccoon. What kind of soul thinks that these projects needed to exist, or even have a right to?

The lowest caste is a kind of "anti-caste," being that it has to do with a person who has no center, or else has a completely exteriorized and therefore dissipated soul. He then chases his soul outward, which results only in additional fragmentation and further distance from himself, as his soul drains into the terminal moraine of the senses.

Nevertheless, such a person, according to Schuon, is "salvageable through submission to someone better than he, and who will serve as his center. This is exactly what happens -- but on a higher plane which may concern any man -- in the relation between disciple and spiritual master." Recall that a couple of weeks ago, I was discussing how this has worked in my life. I have repeatedly discovered "spiritual masters" who at once served as a "surrogate center" and a means to discover my own idiom. Once that occurs, then you can relinquish the model, because the center is now "inside," so to speak.

The other day, Hoarhey was asking about people who are (•••) or even (•••••). What about them? Schuon talks about the "pariah," who arises from a "mixture of castes." One thinks of Deepak, who combines the sacerdotal with the material, and is therefore "capable of everything and nothing." In fact, this probably applies to all cult leaders and spritual frauds, who may have some level of spiritual insight, only mixed with other factors and tendencies, and which results in the inevitable "acting out" that we always see in such people -- the abuses, the contradictions, the broken moral compass, the rules that apply to followers but not the leader, etc. L. Ron Hubbard, Da Love Ananda, Rajneesh.... One could think of dozens more.

"The pariah has neither center nor continuity; he is nothingness eager for sensations; his life is a disconnected series of arbitrary experiences." Again, one commonly encounters this type in new age circles -- those "masters" who confuse the absence of a center with a kind of false transcendence. One can always sense when one is dealing with such a person, because their teaching will have no true depth, continuity, or resonance. It is very ad hoc, and they nearly always reject and belittle tradition, because it calls their absence of a transcendent center to account. They are also "charismatically creepy" or "creepily charismatic."

For as Schuon notes, "there is a supra-human Center which is always available to us, and whose trace we bear within ourselves, given that we are made in the image of the Creator." So although manifestation is a kind of great casting couch, ultimately there is really only one Role, and that's all that matters.

You know what they say: it's Frank's world, baby. We just love in it.


NoMo said...

We're not widgets stamped out on an assembly line at Godworks' Design and Manufacturing Company. We're custom jobs, individually equipped for particular purposes, the discovery of which is what we need freedom enough to pursue. Freedom or not, by the end of this lifetime pursuit, it seems very few ever fully hit on their purpose. Why is that?

Repeating my pondering from the end of yesterday's comments:

I'm trying to imagine how the Body of Christ, as described with each member having certain spiritual gifts, etc. and performing different roles in the Body, will play out in the new heaven and earth. The Body wouldn't just be for this world, would it?

Anonymous said...

On the lines of the soul with no center, who benefits from submission to a superior soul-- would it not then be a beneficial practice for each raccoon to take on one or more acolytes or underlings?

This would be helpful for the world movement towards O, would it not?

I have such a one in my life, but there is a problem in that she is not so submissive, so I wonder if she is actually recieving any benefit from my soul.

Or, rather, she is dragging me down a little bit?

christopher said...

GBob, I am reminded very strongly in your writing of Jung's "individuation" and Maslow's "self-actualization". What adding the idea of caste to these ideas does is add a strong sense of social responsibility, for caste is not really about the individual but is instead a category of service.

To the extent that service is essential in the spiritual walk, then having a serious social role is also essential. This creates the audience that you also wrote about, in that your peers in the business and those whom you serve are witnesses of your actions.

Anonymous said...

Here is the difference between a conservative and Leftist.

A conservative knows which caste he belongs to. Leftist has no idea.

A conservative Christian/Buddhist reads scriptures, to let the ancient wisdom to contain their unfoldment; a Leftist Christian/Buddhist either don't read the spiritual classics or substitute them with modern horizontally inspired dribbles.

(I wonder how many sutras do the Western Buddhists actually read?)

In that sense, a search of self-identity involves a recognition of Self and a recognition of one's caste.

My life began to function in a more harmonious and dignified way when I realized that I belong to the "every joe" caste. It involved sacrificing a lot of fantasies and delusions about what I should be and become. I stopped pretending that I knew more than what my managers did; I stopped pretending that I knew more than the political leaders; I stopped pretending that I am a brilliant intellectual who knew more.

Suddenly I am more aware of the inner authority that's potentially inherent in all human beings and that can be sensed and intuited through intense vertical calistenics of mind, body and soul.

I couldn't begin to be who I am until I have found a proper place in the horizontal world and then began to climb up into the vertical world.

Gagdad Bob said...

Very good. When we fall, we only fall back to earth.

erasmus said...

I know that this is off topic, but now that nomo's mentioning the "new heaven and earth", does anyone have any insight into the deep structure (a la Bob's comments about the deep structure of leftism) of the thinking those who immanentize the eschaton?

I'm specifically thinking of my Pentecostal friend in high school who was convicned that the world was going to end, and that he was going to be raptured into heaven, before he gratuated from college.

Needless to say, 1996 was not the end of the world.

And Nomo, with respect to your comment's from yesterday, I think very few fully hin on their purpose because life is a challenge. And for some people, Vegas is just too much fun.

NoMo said...

"My life began to function in a more harmonious and dignified way when I realized that I belong to the "every joe" caste." (Anon)

IOW - I am what I am and dat's all dat I am...(Popeye)

Robin Starfish said...

"...but may also make a "mid-course correction" at any age. It's never too late to discover your role in the Cosmic Adventure!"

Thank God for that as I am smack dab in the middle of 'course correction' right now. It couldn't not happen.

I'm also finding that a lot of my courseness is putting up a big fight at being corrected.

julie said...

"This may sound... I don't know, petty, but I am utterly disoriented if someone has the complete works of Michael Buble or Harry Connick, but no Sinatra. Frankly, I don't know what to say to such a person. Just make my apologies and slowly back away."

*cough* Or you could just casually mention that, since those two are so very derivative of Sinatra, perhaps the person would enjoy expanding their musical horizons in his direction; it may be that they just never got around to buying his albums...

(I'm thoroughly enjoying "Come Dance with Me," by the way)

Gagdad Bob said...

That is a terrific record. When you begin to get more deeply into his phrasing, you will understand that it is a supernatural gift that utterly transcends the medium. It's eery. One only has to hear someone else try to sing the same number, to appreciate the gulf between him and all others. It cannot be surpassed, at least in the given medium.

Gerard said...


by Noël Coward

performed by Anna May Wong

Drink a bit, laugh a bit, love a little more,
I can supply your need,
Think a bit, chaff a bit, what's it all for?
That's my Eurasian creed.

Half-caste woman, living a life apart,
Where did your story begin?
Half-caste woman, have you a secret heart
Waiting for someone to win?

Were you born of some queer magic
In your shimmering gown?
Is there something strange and tragic
Deep, deep down?

Half-caste woman, what are your slanting eyes
Waiting and hoping to see,
Scanning the far horizon,
Wondering what the end will be?

—1931 :mad:

Van said...

On a wackemetricaly related note, there is a science show I catch now and again on Sci channel(?), with Michio Kaku - best T.V. science guy since Carl Sagan... he was doing a show on the nature of Time this weekend, the affects of gravity on its passage, its affects on bodies, etc. At one point he goes to some group who runs a workup on you to discover your effective age, based on condition of skin, stamina, etc. Anyway, though he's actually 58, it's overall rating came back as something like 50... but it came back accompanied with something like a thermal map of the body, showing the relative ages of different portions of his body... one hand was 48, another was 63, his lungs 35, knees 65... etc.

I wonder how a virtual map (not 'virtual', but Virtue-al) of our lives would come out, a Caste-al map of our lives... and how a stereoscopic image of the two together might come into focus...?

River Cocytus said...

Sinatra? Totally. Somehow he was always talking when he was singing and always a microbeat off of everyone else, but always right where he was supposed to be. It's the definition of what 'musical interpretation' is supposed to mean. Sinatra never seemed to put a lot of 'emotion' into it, but yet - you fill in the blanks yourself. He was in a sense a truly classical musician (as for singing) because he was using the classical definition of interpretation (at least it seemed he did) instead of the knock-off torch singers.

As the little David learned in American Idol this year, adding warbley emotion to everything doesn't count as real interpretation, even if you've got a great voice.

Sinatra had - a kind of 'okay' voice. But he knew how to use it better than anyone else.

'Caste' anyone?

Van said...

"anonymous said "...the soul with no center, who benefits from submission to a superior soul-- would it not then be a beneficial practice for each raccoon to take on one or more acolytes or underlings? This would be helpful for the world movement towards O, would it not?"

Let’s see...'superior soul', yeah, that'd have to be me of course... um.. take on an acolyte or underling... ah... make them fill their centerless soul with mine... (tasty)... dutifully live for others (not for my ego of course, only to serve...) ... ensure that they get what I think that they need... make sure they develop as I see movement! ...yesss hmm... yeah... I think that falls under the Snake caste, with leftist rising.

NoMo said...

Gerard - Thanks for finally solving for me a tiny mystery involving the source of a small snippet of a song used on the 1969 Firesign Theater album "How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All",
Side -2 "The Further Adventures of Nick Danger", in the scene where Nick Danger, 3rd Eye, confronts his decrepit future self singing, "Outcast woman, living a life apart..." I can even hear the tune.

Funny how the mind works, isn't it?

Nick said...

After thinking over caste systems a bit more, I sure am glad America allows for a mobile caste system. I think the big thing is that there are natural classes in souls and therefore natural orders and heirarchies, but it is not for a society or people impose this order. Instead we can only recognize and help encourage natural fullfillment of this order.

I echo anon. 9:39 in that once I started realize who and what I was subserviant to my life made a whole lot more sense, and became a whole lot more fullfilling.

julie said...

yeah, I was thinking earlier that that comment was probably the creepiest thing I've ever read here at OC.


bob f. said...

Sorry, but I just don't get the Sinatra adulation; granted he was the best at what he did in music, but he was also a thug and hung out with Mafioso; on the other hand, you've slammed Alan Watts because he liked being spanked, while ignoring his valuable early works, like "Nature, Man and Woman" and "Myth and Ritual in Christianity"
Even more, stopping at what is essentially pop music, and ignoring Bach, Palestrina et al., seems to ignore the musical vertical.
"If any man have ears to hear, let him hear."

River Cocytus said...

bob: About taste, there is no argument, I think. As a musician's musician, I can say that I appreciate Bach as well, but that is because his music resonates with me. In some sense it requires a classical musical education to get him - starting around the time of Bob's generation such a thing became less and less available. In my family, you learned to play the piano. That was it, no questions asked. If you weren't too good, you'd stop in your teen years. In school you'd learn an instrument as well.

I think someone here - can't recall who - associated the different Chakras with different kinds of music. While I don't know if there is anything literally accurate to it, it certainly expresses the difficulty in music - and in almost all aesthetic things. Different strokes for different folks, even while there is an objective measure of 'good' and 'bad' in terms of Beauty.

Gagdad Bob said...

True, Sinatra was a thug -- at last part of the time (I suspect bipolar illness, or perhaps a borderline personality) -- but that only makes the unblemished gift more mysterious!

But he elevated pop music whereas Watts vulgarized the sacred, so I don't see a parallel.

River Cocytus said...

PS - the mistake of a lot of those in the Western Tradition is to assume that things which appear 'well ordered and perfectly structured and balanced' - like a Cathedral - are what Beauty is. However, while they participate in what Beauty is (which is right or true ordering or patterning) that style or even that concept of balance and majesty have a monopoly on what is objectively beautiful.

If we are to see the face of Christ in the poor, and Christ, a plain-looking man was the complete embodiment of beauty, we must say - the grotesque as much as the elegant is beautiful. For both the grotesqueness of the Blues and the cool elegance of West Coast Jazz are participating in that song - the eternal humming silence of the spheres - even as they are peculiar and strange in their own right.

Of course, 'holy' means 'totally unlike', or, if you will, weird.

So next time you think of God as holy, you might as well acknowledge that he's pretty weird too. But in the best possible way!

Thankfully I'm currently in a lightning proof building.

Van said...

"Some people have no clear or articulate idiom, and that is part of the problem. For if you haven't discovered the soul, then you will not have found its idiom. Or, to put it the other way around, to find the soul's idiom is to have found the soul, precisely. "

Problem is that it is easily diverted into the de-maturing "I'm off to find myself!" or as the earlier anonymous might have said, "I'm off to find yourself!", the chief flaw perhaps being where they hope to find their idiom and themselves... out there, rather than in there (or perhaps in there, via a particularly conducive 'out there').

Is the idiom found or developed? The person who traipses off to try acting, or try being a musician... or try whatever else, in order to find themselves usually seem to be getting just lost and getting loster.

But as you concentrate on fundamentals, perhaps traditions... don't you at the same time build that soul scaffolding that gives substance to your idiom? As you develop your character... your virtue-all self... is that idiom something you find, or slowly/suddenly discover you are in?

ersamus said...


Does that mean that you are not going to take anonymous as your acolyte?

Maybe anonymous's problem is that's he's dating a Vegas showgirl and things have gone horribly terribly wrong and he's asking for help in the the troll way...

ersamus said...

I wonder what happens when you run off to Vegas to find yourself.

Gagdad Bob said...

Also, realize that I am engaging in a "pious exaggeration" with Sinatra. I hate to spell these things out, but sometimes I am being 90% half facetious, while other times I am just pulling your piñata to express a sweeter treat. Long time readers know the difference. It's an idiom thing.... Sometimes you just have to take me laterally.

Van said...

ersamus "I wonder what happens when you run off to Vegas to find yourself."

You might find yourself, but it stays in Vegas after you leave.

christopher said...

Since I lose my money in Vegas I guess that means self=money.


Who said that?

Wasna me.

Van said...

Having grown up there, I can say that the showgirls are just for show.

(but sometimes you can catch a good double feature)

[I'm so ashamed]

ximeze said...

" um.. take on an acolyte or underling... ah..." etc.

Van, um... does not the word nubile go in there somewhere?

Van said...

Ximeze said "Van, um... does not the word nubile go in there somewhere?"

"Bweep! Bwwweeeppp! Warning! Further travel down these memories will dredge up what should stay in Vegas!"

...uh...sorry Ximeze, I don't live there any more.

Ron said...

Since Bob mentions astrology, I am wondering if anyone has any experience or view on vedic (contra western) astrology. At a friend's urging, I recently had my first vedic "reading' and, despite my skepticism of such things, it was quite uncanny and helpful.

To the extent I had/have a view, it is something like: I think there is something to this but that 99.9% of the practioners are not effective at it (or are even fraudulent) and only that rare gifted individual is actually any good. This strikes me as even more the case when you take into account that intuition of the reader vis-a-vis the client is a key part of such things and the particular means (like a vedic chart) is in some way a just tool used by the practitioner. Anyhoo, any input out there?

julie said...

A bit of food for thought (if you have eight minutes or so). Derren Brown is some kind of rogue street magician in England (also, apparently, a dedicated atheist, since it comes up frequently in the YouTube video descriptions) who does things like demonstrate common scams, then shows how they worked.

I just saw the one show last fall, but it was a fascinating look into how people can be manipulated, especially the Russian Scam clip. Anyway, this clip on astrology was particularly interesting as well. Which isn't to say there's nothing to it, only that it's good to be at least a little skeptical. Keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out.

Anonymous said...

Out Where?

Just kidding. I don't have any vedic output or input but I do have some very basic guesstions for this audience.

First I have to admit that after studying One Cosmos for the last 3.5 years of my life (and believe me it's deep enough to keep me going for...well put it this way I've arranged for a copy to be mailed to me in my next life)I'm suprised to find out (yesterday) that the Great RobGod would associate himself with any political party.

1 If you/we are the "very cosmos that contains the liberal" would it not be well below your caste to deem one as such.

2 What in RobGods green/brownish-yellow world is a Raccoon?

3 Please list 19 examples of a dreadful-lib film. I know you're deep enough to do so. I need more than a wrist.

4 What is a Lizard?

5 What is a Troll?

6 Why do people associate the duck-billed platypuss with your sense of humor?

7 How do I justify asking you my favorite number of questions?

Stay Sweet, KIT

Anonymous Bosch

christopher said...

I have the same opinion as you expressed with Vedic Astrology on Western astrology, especially re the practitioners. Here is an excellent example of people with and without caste or calling.

I personally couldn't predict the future with astrology to save my life, but have seen considerable success in years of a practice in a group therapy setting, where I was co-leader with a Clinical Psych in private practice. Thus I buy the person centered archetypal approach pretty happily. I give a sh*t less about "scientific proof" of the field. It's ALL symbolic as far as I am concerned, following symbolic affiliations. As above, so below.

But I left the practice behind, and no small part of it was my increasing embarassment as I met more and more of the other astrologers. I met the pros.

But not all of them shamed me. One tragic case was a man named Richard Idemon, who was magic at the practice of astrology, but who was also troubled enough to suicide one night and leave all the rest of his friends in the lurch.

Van said...

My Mom has been casting Horoscopes for 50+ years (personal interest, not for cash), she's a walking encyclopedia of all the terms and tools and strategies, she's been advising on what to and not to do when mercury is rising or mars is in your 5th house... since before I was born. My apologies to Mom, but sorry, still not buying. To the thought that there is no way, what with the Cosmos being One Cosmos, that they astral bodies couldn't have an affect upon us... we just aren't able to measure it... well ok, so we're essentially at the comparative level of Aristotles astronomical observations? Sun orbits the earth?

Yeah... sorry nooo, still not buying, if we are at that level, then so is there ability to 'read' their influence. At best, it is a visual distraction for the person casting the horoscope, who taps into their own observations of the persons character, etc, and outputs a wining forecast. But still, sorry, no offence intended, but not putting any stock in that whether forecast.

Van said...

Anonymous... pardon me for saying, but if you've been reading OC for 3.5 years and have those questions... most of which have been answered in the last 3.5 weeks... you've somehow managed to skip over all the answers for 3.5 years.

Gagdad Bob said...


That comment was from the future. One Cosmos will have been here 3.5 years in April '09. Something happened between now and then that caused it all to not make sense anymore. I'm trying to send Petey ahead to remedy the problem.

julie said...

I predict that the commenter from the future will have just graduated high school a year from now (since that's the last time I've seen anybody sign off with "Stay Sweet, KIT").

walt said...

What troubles me is that in the future there will be a question in someone's mind about WTF a Raccoon is!

I mean, aren't we destined to Rule the World any day now??

bob f. said...

OK, let me try again; not trying to pick a fight.
Sinatra is fine; I love Doo Wop, and any music can lift you up. I guess I wonder why the ignorance of the golden oldies like Bach; I grew up in Brooklyn (like the Great One) and didn't have any classical music edu.; I just liked it and listened to it a lot. Granted I have an advantage now, I'm married to a church musician and sing in her choir, and have developed a real taste for choral music. But I loved the B Minor Mass back in the Sixties along with Help Me, Rhonda.
As for Watts, I feel gratitude toward him because, among other reasons, in "Nature, Man & Woman" he showed a (non-intellectual)sympathy for the Church that helped me come back to Christianity. There is also something of value in "The Watercourse Way", his last, unfinished work. It wouldn't hurt to cut him some slack, especially since he's dead.
One more musical comment: been listening to some Russian sacred music; the CD's don't even have translations for the works; it doesn't matter. It is simply magnificant music and listening to it can put you in touch with Something.

julie said...

Bob f, lot's of people here like Choral/ classical music. A few of us even sing in choirs. It's just not Bob's thing. Trying to make it his thing is like trying to force my husband to enjoy raw broccoli or any flavor of tea; to them, it just isn't pleasant. There's nothing wrong with that, it's simply a question of how the flavor is experienced by the consumer. The fact that he can communicate well about the music that he is passionate about is the key, not necessarily the music itself.

christopher said...

Van, there is heliocentric astrology also, and some people swear by it.

You are conflating real solar system space with the symbolic earth centered space that once was a marriage of God's Universe with our current universe. It is still married in a different way, that of the ecliptic plane which is very close to that similar plane of the other planets as well, close enough for govt work as they say, when astronomic distances are thought of.

As for planetary influences, they are ridiculous when you bring in the squares and cubes of distance and volume. But as symbols distances collapse in spirit or soul space, so that Mars and Jupiter are in souls. That is the same space that Jung tried to describe in his archetypal language and it is the marriage of inner soul space with outer spiritual space that is being discussed and used for astrological lore. It is in this space that AS ABOVE, SO BELOW.

I had to dash this off. Hope it isn't complete gibberish.

Gagdad Bob said...

Bob --

Again, I hate to spell these things out, but one thing I am very much interested in is attempting to "redeem the times" by finding the sacred in what is often thought of as profane. This is very much a Christian/Raccoon/Aurobindo thing, as it involves descent of the divine energy into this realm, rather than mere ascent into the celestial realm. The other way is too easy. If you want to sit in church listening to Bach, no one here is going to stop you.

Re Watts: I never said he was all bad. But on balance, he was a low character whose main interest was using religion to bed women and stay high. Indeed, one of his virtues is that he was completely forthright about this.

Late Convert said...

Bach's no golden oldie. Now, Tomas Luis de Victoria, there's a golden oldie!

Heartily recommend for Coonish listening pleasure Mozart: Adagio in B minor, Piano Sonatas K 332, 333, & 457 performed by Alfred Brendel on the Phillips label.

Back to loyal lurking.

jwm said...

River said:
"Of course, 'holy', means totally unlike, or, if you will, weird..."

That was something that rather blind sided me when I got to this part of The Story for the first time. I expected many things from the Old Testament. Weird wasn't one of them. But I'll tell you what, 'Ol Jehovah sure had that 'make an indellible impression on 'em' thang down cold.


Anonymous said...

I left the comment earlier about taking on an acolyte or an underling--

I meant it in a non-ego driven way. If you are really a raccoon, then yes, you can handle underlings safely. Even if that means having sex with them. Hey, comes with the territory, the acolyte expects it, so deliver... so what if it feels good. That's no trouble to the raccoon. Se la vie, take it or leave it, but get the job done, eh wot?

The question involved FEISTY underlings, and no one addressed the question. How can one make sure the underling won't counter-infect the coon? It's a dangerous undertaking.

But as Christians have evangelism, the racoon must propogate the light or is falling down on the job.

julie said...

Oh, dude. I think I need to wash my brain out with bleach now.

Seriously, that just comes across as creepy and revolting.

Van said...

christopher said "...You are conflating real solar system space with the symbolic earth centered space ..."

No, I get the difference, was speaking metaphorically. Speaking non-metaphorically, and at the risk of channelling ray - IMHO, it be bunk. If some are able to make anything accurate out of it, it is coming from the caster, not the tools they're casting with.

Van said...

Bob F., there are some other Classical music lovers out here. I didn't have any training in it, but grew up with Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky. Cosanostradamus I think is another one here... but as Julie said, it ain't Gagdad's thing (which since most Jazz ain't mine, figure we're even ;-) Not meant in any way relativistically, but because one person doesn't find the value in a type of music, doesn't bean it isn't there.

Except for rap of course. No value there, whatsoever, no where. [cue flaming response from Smoov. Smoov, you out there? Hope all's well.]

On the other hand, I also read all of Watts, as a Teen, and remembered it as being very thoughtful and significant. Dug them out a couple years ago... ya know how your childhood home in memory seemed like a mansion, and you go back and see it as an adult and discover it was barely a step up from a shack?... 'fraid that was my experience in reviewing Watts.

There you go.

Anonymous said...

In the future, there is no computer access. Furthermore, underlings aren't capable of sex. Just as a homosexual isn't capable of "marriage".

walt said...

Watts became famous as a Westerner who seemed to "get" Eastern teachings, and was able to communicate them to a wide Western audience. This occurred in the late '50s and '60s, long before the tonnage of information we have access to became available. He was not only among the first of this genre to gain a wide audience, and therefore notoriety, but he also conveyed humor and razz-a-ma-tazz along with it, which further charmed audiences.

Much of what he wrote is now "old hat" and has been presented in numerous other ways. Some of his writing seems "dated."

He was hedonistic in some ways, and unabashedly so. It did not seem to concern him particularly. He lived amongst artists, and was intrigued by hippies and beatniks -- although he never adopted those identities. People around him wanted him to be a guru, but he never took on the role in public.

As with any author, or body of information, discernment is the key. Some of his writings about Eastern culture still strike me as insightful -- but not at all on the level of the books referenced by Bob.

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, I think that is the point. Watts clearly had a gift. But just as clearly, he squandered the gift, as he never dealt with his own impurities which were unworthy of the gift. As such, the gift eventually became a kind of decadent and careless glibness. He certainly didn't give a hoot about the souls of his readers, or he would have been much more careful. In some of his books, he utters some of the most hoary cliches -- cliches that are still common currency among new agers. There is a direct line from Watts to Deepak.

As I was saying the other day, if you are truly aware of the gift, you don't do anything to compromise it, plus you do everything to pretend you're worthy of it. In short, you cultivate virtue, which is the concretization of the realization.

Another problem with Watts is that he helped usher in this retrograde, counter-cultural ideal of "easy Zen," which really amounts to a kind of "transcendence from below." It was like "Playboy Buddhism" -- a kind of pseudo-religion that Hugh Hefner would undoubtedly endorse. Again, it's the kind of bogus "spirituality" embraced by a Madonna, or Sharon Stone, Richard Gere, or so many other numbskulls and narcissists.

NoMo said...

JWM - I love that story. He is truly the Master of shock and awe.

Gagdad Bob said...

Alan Watts, without the charm. Creepy.

walt said...

Well, dial-up won't let me watch the show -- but the comments are instructive.

This, for instance, is a lady who felt Guru Dee cleared up ... well, everything:

"So now I understand creativity and the heart better. And the third, being is like miracles (or magick) automatically happening all day long, if one can stay in that state, as it just happens. And if we are not developed in any of these three parts, then we can correct the error. I love it! :-) This is great!!!! So that's yoga ... amazing. I better get back to meditating."

julie said...

I didn't watch the video, but if the comments section here were like that, I never would have stayed past the first visit.

Gagdad Bob said...

Now you know why I don't want to be popular. What a zoo.

Gagdad Bob said...

The incredible thing is that Deepak imagines himself to be a fount of creativity, when there is more creativity on our comments section than in his entire crapus. He's never had an original thought in his life.

julie said...

It's like they all took a hit off Deepak's big bong. I've changed my mind - that comments section is actually the creepiest thing I've read today.

The worst part - there's a raccoon logo on the video box.

Gagdad Bob said...

Deepak shows what becomes of religion when detached from tradition -- it becomes "just anything," with no intellect, light, or standards. He obviously thinks we're the retarded ones. Here he is on Jon Stewart.

ximeze said...

"Oh, dude. I think I need to wash my brain out with bleach now."

Wise precaution, Julie my dear. You wouldn't want to get counter-infected with the counter-infection obsession meme.

Next thing you know, you'll be going nuts about how TVs are taking over the world & finding yourself shouting out HALLIBURTON!! in mixed company at inappropriate times .

coonified said...

"Even if that means having sex with them. Hey, comes with the territory, the acolyte expects it, so deliver"

Yep, that's sick. I prefer the 'path of lust resistance' until marriage. (If that ever happens) Actually, I'm making good ground in the lower vital. Innocence and purity really feels good, much better than...the existential convulsions of the perverted beast-men from below, the hostile forces that the person above seems to side with.

Alan said...

RE: Alan Watts, without the charm. Creepy.

Sounded like the Guru Pitka imitating Darth Vader to me.

hoarhey said...

Anon 4;39

You're the one being taught.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Julie said...
It's like they all took a hit off Deepak's big bong. I've changed my mind - that comments section is actually the creepiest thing I've read today.

The worst part - there's a raccoon logo on the video box."

Maybe it is a Dracoon. They look like Raccoons but they are really shape-shifting bloodsuckers!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Thus, one person's sanctuary can be another's dreary airport terminal. I am often shocked at what people call "home," since my soul would be quite restless, if not totally alienated, there; but there you go. Different cloaks for different blokes."

A real mystery; cloak n' dagger stuff...caste noir.

I can hear the trolls screamin' now: "don't faze me bro!"

cosanostradamus said...

Hi Van!

ximeze said...

Hi Ben! Good to hear you got that re-ti-q-lez insurance SNAFU cleared up. How's Cammilu?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Ximeze!
Thanks! I'm glad they did a quick about face! LOL!

Cammilu was kinda depressed for awhile but she's doin' okay now. :^)

How's Beaky doin'?

Hey Cosa! Long time no see! We missed ya! :^)

cosanostradamus said...

Hi Ben! I've been thyme traveling. Nice to be wherever I am.

walmart shopper said...

For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, Charles Krauthammer has a real zinger in the WaPo.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Cool! I love thyme! I love sage too! They go together well. :^)

Are you back home for awhile?

julie said...

Heh - Obama, Lord of the Seas. His next big speech should feature a trident on the podium. Apparently, Poseidon had a thing for Medusa at one point - oddly appropriate, that.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Wow! Charles Krauthammer really hammered the Snobama! Ha ha! Petrifying!

"Americans are beginning to notice Obama's elevated opinion of himself. There's nothing new about narcissism in politics. Every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Nonetheless, has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his lifetime achievements?"

Slam! And Snobama still keeps sayin' he's gonna transform America from the BOTTOM up.

Snobama, the upside down shade of man, leader of the out-castes with nothin' within' but an empty, satanic subversiveness.

cosanostradamus said...

Yes. Rosemary was lonely.

Skully said...

Just make sure you avoid Rosemary's baby. That kid gives me the creeps!

Rosemary said...

I'm not going to breastfeed him!

Rosemary's Baby said...

Obama for President! (Translated from evil demon baby talk-ed.)

hoarhey said...

Obama is a professional campaigner. Always on the stump, moving towards the next higher position having accomplished little to nothing in the previous one. Equating having achieved the office with having accomplished something of merit.
He is a bit like Yasser Arafat in that Arrafat was a professional terrorist, and when presented with 95% of what the Palestinians were supposedly asking for, turned it down and went back to warring. He would have had to change from terrorist to leader/statesman and had no clue how to do that.
What do we get if Obama makes it to the end of his campaign trail?

Skully said...

I know all about reel casteing.
Just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

jorge: Imagine gb turned inside out. we could do worse.

Woo Hoo to Hee Haww said...

Jorge: does this stimulate some original thinking rather than puking up a party line? (difficult when you're tethered by the acorns, but give it a coons's effort)

"He is a bit like George Bush in that Bush was a professional terrorist, and when presented with 65% of what the Americans were supposedly asking for, turned it down and went back to warring.

Slice or dice, As you will, soul dier.

Woo Hoo to Hee Haww said...

oops. close quotes.

I know how jorge is a stickler for de tails.

Rosemary's Baby said...

Look mama, retarded trolls!

rosemary's baby said...

please mama, pull the string on the back of my neck again!

rosemary's baby said...

(thank you mama)

GB, you are wonderful. Your latest post is my zeitgeist and my gesundheit. Danke, bitte.

(mama. Your wrist feels so...

sweaty... ..)

rosemary's baby said...

Mama, please. Get the gun. Or the big boodts. Shuush. You know it helps. Pick anything. The dog. Just get it...


Never mind. Its for you, my sweetest mama.

There. Do you feel better?

Rocky Road Coon said...

"He is a bit like George Bush in that Bush was a professional terrorist, and when presented with 65% of what the Americans were supposedly asking for, turned it down and went back to warring."

Hooot! 2True! Wash pause, coontinue.

I'd laugh but I'm crying. 2Bad these oc-coons don't have peripheral vision. Much less hindsight. All things coonsidered, this omission is hard to thank about.

Johan said...

I can sure tell that I have been drifting around without any "plan" or feeling that I had "found myself" or my place in the world, caste if you like. A few years ago I was perfectly fine with that. "Tomorrow is another day"...

Now, I have kind of hit a "stream of life" that think I am fitting into. Going to try to float with this one all the way out to the ocean.

I can look back now and wonder how I could enjoy being so lost back then. Guess I was just telling myself it was "good life" when it really wasn't. There was, of course, moments of joy and happiness, but not the continuous joy and happiness.

Anyway, I don't think one should have regrets and feel all bad about the past. The past is the path that leads to now.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well said, Johan!
I cooncur! Regrets are just a waste of timelessness! :^)

Looks like we got a few Dracoons runnin' around tonight. Ha ha!

Van said...

What about Parsley!? Eh?! Oh sure, everybody remembers Rosemary (who got a really big head after that Movie... and it wasn't even reallly her baby), and of course Sage and Thyme... but Parsley Ha! Don't make me laugh!
It's always forgotton on the side of the plate.
Ya know who's behind the Salmonela outbreak?!
Can ya blame it? Biter & dissaffected, it turned to a life of crime...
Oh well... see you at the fair.
But stay away from the Salsa.

(Hi Cosa!)

Ohhh thank God the coffee's done brewin'.


Van said...

ol'Yellower-inte-nags-aninny - the Parsley of commenters.

River Cocytus said...

I never cease to be fascinated by the various ways in which trolls will come in and launch an attack.

There's a story from the colonial era. There was a small city, too small to be defended against the British effectively. So instead of trying to defend normally, they placed a bunch of lights in the trees to give a false impression of the size and position of the town.

The British, who attacked at night, saw the lights and fired into them.

Needless to say, the trees were quite ruined, but the town was unscathed, no matter how much ammunition those Brits put into her.

Most troll attacks are like this. Some of them are very effective attacks - but they aren't being directed against any of us.

Strawmen, on the other hand, are quite horrified to tread in this place...

erasmus said...

Maybe Ray will argue with the trolls.

He likes to argue - that's why he's here.

julie said...


"Strawmen, on the other hand, are quite horrified to tread in this place..."

especially in the wee small hours of morning. Kinda like cockroaches.

ximeze said...

"especially in the wee small hours of morning. Kinda like cockroaches."

Flip on a bright light & skk skk skk you can hear them scurry away back into their dark hide-y-holes

hoarhey said...

Trolls is troll and it's the same late night asshole pitifully trying for one-upsmanship.
We're deep into his psyche and his sicker by the day mind is addicted to trying to get even ever since he was REJECTED years ago.

hoarhey said...

That would be Hee Haw Boy, BTW.