Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Descent of Homo Slackiens

As I've mentioned before, I am a simple man with simple needs. Way back in high school -- after graduating high school, to be precise -- when it came time to chart the course of the pathless Gagdad path, I reduced it all to two non-negotiable demands.

First, I needed to somehow support myself without ever working on a full time basis, since I knew even back then that my real interplanetary cosmonautical mission would never be remunerative. I don't know why I was so confident about it, but even when I had no skills, no prospects, and no future, I was quite certain that I was having more fun than the people who did have those things.

In other words, I noticed that the people who tried to purchase slack with money ended up having less slack, because it took so much time and energy to acquire the money. In truth, these people weren't really in it for the slack, but for other things such as power, prestige, vital excitement, attention, etc. More often than not, they're just running away from their own mind parasites, which are what actually create the barrier between O and (•).

Very few people are truly motivated by slack, and willing to risk all in order to acquire it. Which is one more reason why I do not recommend my path to anyone, since you had better be certain at the outset that you are willing to risk all -- that you are truly on fire for O, and that no earthly consolation can make up for its loss. I don't want to be responsible for the people who realize too late that they are really motivated by the usual mundane human desires.

I might add that one cannot really "acquire" slack, since it is our prior condition. Thus, if we set up all sorts of elaborate means to acquire slack, it can end up leaving us slackless. Many people say they want slack, but they truly wouldn't know what to do with it if they had it. They would instantaneously become bored, or depressed, or persecuted, or adrift.

Secondly, I never wanted to have to use an alarm clock. I was so traumatized by the drudgery of high school and the tyranny of dragging myself out of bed each morning for such a meaningless endeavor, that I vowed never to perpetuate the exercise once I was out of high school.

This is just a roundabout way of saying that I slept in this morning, and that it's too late for a new post. However, due to the mirrorcle of cooncidence, the first old post that I grabbed from two years back actually touches on the above. So here it is:

Be quiet and know that I am God. --Psalms 46:10 (New Life Version)

SHUT UP! SIT DOWN! (Ben Stern Version)

Our God says, "Calm down, and learn that I am God!" (Contemporary English Version)

Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream. (John, Album 7, Track 14)

Be still, and know that I am God. (New International Version)

Own a still, and it's much easier to do that. (Cousin Dupree's Version)

Cease striving and know that I am God. (New American Standard)

Have Slack and know that I AM. (Dobbs Version)

Rishi does it. Take your shoes off & set a spell. Relux & call it a deity. Disbeaware we disappear (who hesychasts is lost). (Petey's OM Version)

Next up in the arkive is this one, originally called Weekend Sermon: Advanced Leisure Studies. At the time I started the blog, I was writing mostly about politics, as do other Uncle Fromms such as Dr. Sanity and Shrinkwrapped. I guess I was reluctant to let 'er rip, spiritually speaking, because I didn't know if there would be any audience for the Way of the Coon, and whether the introduction of overt spirituality would alienate my already tiny audience. Which it eventually did. The blue meat is always more popular to the red man.

So I floated the idea of writing about spiritual matters once a week, just to mix things up a bit. There were only a few comments, most of which were mine, so that wasn't very encouraging. However, one commenter -- oddly, I don't recall him ever commenting again -- lavished the highest possible praise, writing,

Sir, I believe you are a Christian Subgenius.

Well. This humble Bob does not expect to be compared to the One True Bob or to his fraudulent but eternal Church, which offers the following formulation:


In truth, Raccoons do not deviate far from this template, as our spiritual program of evolving toward the Infinite Slack of the transcendent I AM cannot be separated from our worldly struggle against flatland leftist conspiracy dupes who are all about diminishing and stealing our spiritual, intellectual, political, and financial Slack. Not to mention the false prophets of the New Age, such as Deepak Chopra and his oily ilk.

Anyway, this was my first overtly "spiritual" post, in which I attempted to perform a Bobectomy on my own ego in real time while engaging in spontaneous (for it can only be spontaneous) O-->(n). But I don't think I fell headwrong and heartlong into that method on a day-to-deity basis until around six months later, in the spring of 2006.


The Advanced Leisure Studies below the title of this blog [not there anymore] is not a gag. In fact, there is nothing more serious and important than leisure. The Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper wrote a classic little book on the topic, noting that the very possibility of culture rests on a foundation of leisure -- a sphere of activity that is entirely detached from our immediate wants and needs, free from practical or political considerations -- free from the tyranny of the horizontal.

For leisure is the gateway to the timeless, to the Vertical Church of Perpetual Slack -- that is, if you are able to slow down your thoughts long enough to locate one of the little springs dotting the landscape of your mind, pleasantly bubbling down from above. If your religion is working for you, it is because it has helped you tap into one of these springs.

In his book, Pieper points out that the word for leisure in Greek is skole, and in Latin, scola, both meaning "school." Therefore, leisure, properly understood, is a school, an unhurried realm where some sort of learning takes place; a mystery school, as it were.

Leisure gives access to the unmoved mover within, the still point of the turning mind, the sabbit hole we may enter, not by grasping and struggling, but by opening and receiving. It doesn't mean not doing anything. Rather, it means reliberately doing nothing, even in the midst of doing something -- returning to the pregnant Nothing from whence you came, even now. It is to quiet the mind, withdraw from the world, and open oneSelf to energies that do not emanate from time, but from the timeless.

The external world forces us to dance to its jagged rhythms, but here, at the center, is the leisurely rhythm of eternity, against which thoughts are like passing birds. In fact, this is all you need know in order to unKnow what we're talking about:

Body Like Mountain
Mind Like Sky
Thoughts Like Clouds

As memory reflects the past, silence is like a mirror that reflects and makes present the above, whether it is called heaven, brahman, tao, nirvana, moksha, the One. With all due respect, merely believing in God is a weak substitute. Better to know God, because that is how he ex-ists, that is "stands out" from his otherwise hidden ground. Only humans can manifest the unmanifest God.

The book of Genesis tells the story of our fall. It may be interpreted in many ways, but one way is to see it as a fall away from the timeless, vertical dimension of spontaneous communion with the Creator and the enjoyment of Boundless Slack, into the horizontal world of sweat, toil, pain and frenzied activity. Interestingly, even the Creator, after six days of activity, stood back, relaxed, and just enjoyed the show. From what they say, it was good. Like him, we must occasionally relux and call it a deity.

Science searches for the horizontal beginning of the cosmos. That beginning is located at the outskirts of the material world, where we may trace the faint exhalations of the Big Bong.

Spirituality searches in the opposite direction for the vertical center and source of the cosmos, which is located deep within each person, slightly to the north. It may be thought of as the "I" that is to "AM" as Life is to Matter. It is what makes Being come alive. It is what makes you a light-filled Lumin Being instead of the ssslithery ssslackless kind that keeps messing up the Garden, Homo serpentine.


swiftone said...


Struming my thoughts with your words... was meditating (er jes' thinkin.. no need to put on airs) on leisure, and how I enjoy, use, structure it. Retirement has been a lot of self discovery among other things. O listening as well. I hope to blog later (or blather?) on this today. Meanwhile, off to walk. Gotta impose some order on all this slack. Not ready to turn and face down the mind parasites, I'm aguessin'

Jack said...

"Very few people are truly motivated by slack, and willing to risk all in order to acquire it."

Makes me think of:

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it."


"Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it."

Carpe Slackem!

grant said...

Boy do have it right with this post and its preamble, as far as I am concerned.

You've managed to put into words that which I thought about quite a bit.

I can only add that too much slack is a detriment (I've had it both ways).

It's good to have some structure, as long as that structure is voluntary and not controlled by one's monstrous need for a large house and a money-spending main squeeze and a passel of offspring and a boat and a...yeah.

Simple is beter.

But then again, I've lived in a crackerbox apartment with a very part time job, and there was some anxiety about not putting my shoulders into the traces enough to satisfy the Slackmaster.

You don't want to let the Boss of the evolution catch you being avoidant either.

It's a delicate balance. To err on the side of slack is probably a good idea when all is said and done.

Gagdad Bob said...

Jazz, baby -- discipline and structure + spontaneity.

mushroom said...

The just shall slack by faith

walt said...

I've always had a strong aversion to alarm clocks as well -- or any sort of mechanical waker-upper, including a radio.

In my early twenties, I read somewhere that we humans can "set" our internal clocks, and wake up when we intend to. I tried it, and found that I could, even though I get up quite early. I'm sure habit plays into this, as well.

Yes, it helps to go to bed early, not have puppies and four year olds. Of course.

Alas, my quest for "psychic powers" sort of ended with that. Now I'm just seeking that "Jazz" you referenced.

ted said...

Hi Bob,
Serious question...How do you align slack with the evolutionary impulse of the cosmos? Everyday busyness can come from a place beyond ego if its in the context of something higher. We're in the creative flow of the universe, and as long as take some time during the day to get in touch with O, we should probably use the rest our energy to express our deepest authentic selves.

Gagdad Bob said...

I guess I reject the premise of your question, in that I don't believe the cosmos has evolutionary impulses.

julie said...

Better to know God, because that is how he ex-ists, that is "stands out" from his otherwise hidden ground.

Or Zo it is written, "Come and see: There is opening within opening, rung upon rung, through which the glory of the blessed Holy One becomes known."

f/zero said...

Alarm and clock. Two words that really do belong together.

BTW, Robin's on superslack holiday and left me to run the Motel. I thought he was smarter than that.

ted said...

I find that interesting Bob as I read your book (terrific read btw), and you clearly make the case that form is evolving -- and that is probably a good thing. For instance, I don't have to go to the hospital and have a witch doctor put leeches on my skin to treat my flu-like symptoms (in this part of the world anyways). So if form is evolving -- not static, not cyclical -- but trying to express itself through eros, does it seem like O is always being and becoming. I am not trying to take a dogmatic stance here, but offering this up as healthy debate if we are to include our understanding that evolution and O are not mutually exclusive. Philosophers like Heidegger went deep into the idea that the human is always thrusted into the future, and this has been my experience too. When I get in to the "flow" state, it is not just being but wanting to create from a place that resides beyond me -- as if something is expressing itself through me and I am only the vehicle. I appreciate your thoughts.

Gagdad Bob said...

Oh yes, I'm quite sure evolution is occurring. It's just that to attribute it to "the cosmos" sounds pantheistic. That's why it's One Cosmos Under God, with reference to the final and formal causation that are ahead and above, not behind and below. Evolution is strictly impossible on any Darwinian basis.

ted said...

Yes, I see your point that it's top-down verses bottom-up. Yet, getting back to my point on slack. Can you reconcile slack with the top-down pull towards becoming that is infused in fully conscious human beings? Maybe we agree here, it is just a semantic issue I am missing.

grant said...

Ted, that's just the thing. It requires some judicious experimentation to balance the checkbook of life correctly.

Slack is not exactly a waste of time. In fact it might be a very good use of time. It builds spiritual muscle, as it were. The goals of non-slack emerge from slack.

On the other hand, too much slack and of course things won't get done that need to get done.

So, there's no easy formula. You've got to work your mojo until it is optimized.

Van said...

"This is just a roundabout way of saying that I slept in this morning, and that it's too late for a new post."


Van said...

ted said "reconcile slack"

Hmmm... two words which suggest that one of them doesn't belong there with the other.

Tigtog said...

Enjoying the conversation. Wondering if most who are attracted to slackness consider themselves introverts or extroverts? I'm and introvert. Slack for me comes early in the morning when I can play my guitar and awake fully. With wife and child, this is the only time I can find to focus on the freedom of my thoughts and align them with my emotions.

Gagdad Bob said...

The orthoparadoxical position is that we are extreme ambiverts with equally intense needs for solitude and relationships, but no need for frivolous companionship or for solitude without communion. Your mileage may vary.

julie said...

Ted, perhaps I'm wrong but you may be confusing "Slack" with "sloth." Really, they are two very different things, though sometimes the distinction may be difficult to elucidate. Kind of like art - you know it when you are in it, if you know what I mean. Slack is repose in action, or vice versa. The most basic form would perhaps be simple meditation (though of course, like anything truly simple it isn't simple at all), but it may be carried through almost anything we do. Ideally, everything is slack. Practically speaking, everyone is at different stages of realizing that truth.

Also, what Bob just said.

Tigtog said...

Ambivert - got it. Julie, went to jwm's site and got lost in his robot collection. Shoosh, reminded me of my japanese robot circa 1962. They were tin then, ran on D cell batteries, had lots of lights and some beeping noise. They didn't do much, but were definitely unique.

Gagdad Bob said...

Search of the day:

are diabetics evil?

And depending on your answer, another search: