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Friday, September 29, 2006

Cato 1

Ceterum censeo Creationem Consulto delendam esse.

Would You Open the Door When Jihad Knocks?

I had a recent post about the Pope's speech and Mullah Nasr-ud-din. I will do what I never do: insult my audience by assuming them to be in need of an explanation. The rope was a parallel to jihad: is it a method of compulsion or is it something else of a more spiritual nature? There is a story of the Prophet and the early muslim community returning from a fight for their lives(their own neighbors and clans wanted to destroy them at the time) and the Prophet saying that they now return from the small Jihad to the big Jihad. The big Jihad is the everyday struggle to be good and moral and godly. It is by far more difficult than the small Jihad. Thus we see our understanding of Jihad is faulty, mostly due to the execrable nature of news media which delights in feeding us drivel. The concept of big Jihad, the struggle of the individual to be good is rather parallel to my notion of Faith as an ongoing struggle to maintain the word of God in the world - every day and every hour. How difficult is this struggle? I saw a magazine with a picture of Bill O'Reilly. It said he was a culture warrior and Christianity was under attack in the US of A. Jesus condemns divorce. The USA has a 50% divorce rate. There doesn't seem to be much of a struggle here. It is we ourselves who are attacking Christianity, not someone else. It is we ourselves. The struggle is even more difficult if you fear to admit your own adherence to evil.


I saw some children in a Christian compound in fear of their souls, all due to their sinfull nature. I thought that if innocents suffer so, their parents must be undergoing great torment. They must be going around like mediaeval penitentes, whipped from town to town for their sins. However, they were doing fine. Only the innocent suffered, which is - in this best of all worlds-the way it should be. It occurs to me that our understanding of sin is rather poor. Sin is not a singular event. It is a process of long duration. When we read: "...whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." we are not talking about standing around looking at the ladies. We are not talking about the sudden access of passion which occurs at the sight of something we would wish to love. The notion of looking on someone to lust after them is an expression which shows a resolve to set upon a course of action. The adultery is not done immediately. As I stand in rapt desire, the lady does not yield at once. I must set forth upon a campaign. I must also deceive those who already are within the ambit of my love. I must deceive my wife. I must become a faux-monnayeur des emotions ( sorry about that. the first person to whom I spoke these ideas was a Frenchy. also, apologies to Andre Gide.) I must become a counterfeiter of emotions. I must dissemble. I must deceive. I must plot. I need to lie to cover up the gaps of time spent in sinful pursuit. Then, after a time of preparation, my campaign is a success and then even greater are the calls upon deceit and lies and dissembling. This is not a single event. This is a commitment to a way of life at variance to godliness. This is a commitment to evil. The act of sin is merely an occurence of a measurable statistic; e.g., the adultery rate, the divorce rate, etc. Most of us dullards focus on the act of sin, ignoring the long history that preceeds it. A devotion to evil is still sin even though there has been no overt action which statisticians of morality may enter into their books of calculations. So Jesus is pointing to the sinfull nature of making up one's mind to pursue a course of action which is manifestly evil. You have sinned. The act may come about next year, but there's plenty of other evil to spread around until then. Do you feel the heat? (In this analysis, we see the importance of the personal history of the individual. Do we ascribe equal importance to the personal history of a society?)


I think it is time to be afraid when: the Food Industry has developed weapons grade E. Coli (not too hard to do) and developed a delivery system to effect 50% of the USA. I am waiting for an explanation. Perhaps we may have a War on Lousy Food. When is the last time you ate a tomato (non-heritage type) that tasted like anything? I do not recall being a consumer demanding tasteless food. I try to remember, but I can't. I believe this is Exploitative Capitalism, the Capitalism which wants quick returns, hang the cost, send the bill to the grandkids!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dead Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan: The Well goes Dry

It has been said that good things should be done so that your left hand knows not what your right hand is doing; i.e., anonymously. I will tell you a true story of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, everything remains without names, however. The donor in this story has always insisted on remaining anonymous. This is a true story and if you read it, you are among a small group of people who have heard of it, for it is only known to families of dead soldiers and they have been asked to maintain the benefactor's anonymity. There is a Canadian man who early on wished to show his support for the Canadian and American troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq by putting his money where his heart was: he donated $2,500 Canadian to each family of a Canadian soldier killed in action and $2,000 US to each family of an American soldier killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. A volume comprising a number of the soldiers' families and their response to this philanthropy was published this year in a limited edition of 50. In July, I sat and read almost every page of this book and looked at each page where families had sent in thank you letters, family pictures, snap shots of their son or daughter from happier times. Almost all of them affirmed how proud the soldier had been to serve his/her country. It is impossible to read without tears coming to one's eyes. Just before my reading of the book, the program had come to an end, having been in place since 2001. It had become just too expensive to continue !

Monday, September 25, 2006

Brother Falwell and the Devil

Brother Falwell has identified another agent of Satan, to wit, Hilary Clinton.

Brother Falwell has an eye for seeing these lesser imps of the Devil, and has done himself proud to call our attention to this female demon aide of Old Harry. Brother Falwell does seem to blur the distinction between the Spiritual Realm and the Political Realm, but who doesn't these days? Brother John Hagee's vision is so blurry that he goes hither and yon, up and down the countryside, from Aqaba to Galilee, preaching that the future of Christians is dependent on the future of Zionists.

Well, we here have been to the Mill and gotten our grist, so to speak, and ain't no greenhorns!
I am sure Brother Falwell doesn't mean he has detected the odor of brimstone instead of Chanel No 5 when the Senator walks by. I think Brother Falwell means he is without sin. Therefore, the first place in the stone casting line goes to him!
I do believe the politics of the present and Christianity are not a good combination . You will worship at one or the other, not both. Upon what do I base this? If you've forgotten, I believe Brother Falwell is in favor of Intelligent Design theory being taught in the schools. I have made it clear that Intelligent Design is Idolatry. If not idolatry, then polytheism.

Who is this other God that proponents of Intelligent Design wish to foist upon us? Perhaps it is the god who will approve of divorce, thereby sanctifying the divorce rate! Ceterum censeo Creationem Consulto delendam esse! ( a paraphrase of Cato the Censor: "As for other matters, I believe that Intelligent Design must be destroyed!" translating ID as creatio consulto = creation [done] designedly)


My Nephews and the Shadow of the Vampire

My nephews said the post "The Shadow of the Vampire" was too saccharine by far. They added a quote by George Ade: " A friend who is near and dear may in time become as useless as a relative. "

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Come Back, Little Catacuracha

I miss Kattbanjo. Her mother has been ill. We pray for the best. Be strong,Catacuracha.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Faith Reconsidered

I have taken heat about how I talk about Faith. It appears there are many people who believe that we can accept Faith by a statement of Faith. Beyond that, they agree it is hard to live up to one's Faith. We stumble and fail and so on. With that I do disagree. I believe Faith requires hard work over the history called "one's life". I base this on the observation that within the relatively small confines of the New Testament, there are direct commands to action which my society totally ignores. It makes no sense to make a confession of Faith if one is to totally ignore the major portion of it. I may find it a blessing that a family member practices family law in a Christian country that has a 50% divorce rate, however, there is a clear injunction against divorce in the New Testament. Obviously, Faith itself is hard, not just the approach to Faith. THE ABSOLUTELY HARDEST PART of Faith is maintaining Faith. I find it very hard to maintain a belief in the verity that God would provide for my needs were I act out my life in a Godly way. And here we mean all needs of life. Yet, that is exactly what is said in the Gospel. It is hard to believe with all your heart when your common sense quails at the possibility. I cannot have Faith when my emotion of certainty is but an emotion of indeterminacy. This view suggests a view of Faith ( and Life ) as a process. This will be the next post.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Totenkopfkultur: 2

"It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times ??!! Stupid monkey !!" Montgomery Burns, I have arrived! If you were to Google the above title, Totenkopfkultur, I would be on page 1, number 3 of the Google Search results. My nephews point out that even if 1,000 monkeys were seated at 1,000 computers typing like mad, they would probably never write the word Totenkopfkultur even if they stayed at their work for 100,000 years.

Again, Pope Benedict's Speech

People have spoken. The words “holy war” and “crusade” have been uttered. These are ultimate methods of compulsion. There have been violent demonstrations. Perhaps the Indonesian Government promise to execute some Christians on death row who had received a stay of execution on a previous papal appeal is related to this uproar. Now, a story from the Sufi tradition. Mullah Nasr-ud-din is walking down a street accompanied by a scholar. Another Sufi approached them, stopped Nasr-ud-din and pointed at the sky, by which he meant “There is only one truth, which covers all.” But he spoke no word. The scholar said to himself, “This weird apparition is mad. Perhaps Nasr-ud-din will take precautions against him.” The Mullah rummaged through his backpack and brought forth a coil of rope. The scholar thought, “Excellent. He will seize and bind this madman.” Nasr-ud-din’s action had actually meant, ”Ordinary humanity tries to reach the ‘ sky ‘ by methods as unsuitable as this rope.” The second Sufi, the “madman”, laughed and walked away. “Well done,” said the scholar; “you saved us from him.” Now, you , my audience; is the rope a method of compulsion or is it a symbolic pointing to some truth beyond words? Are we as blind as the scholar who fancies himself learned? Shall we find out by arguing and fighting? I myself seek to exit from this generation of compulsion. “There is no compulsion in religion.”

Pope Benedict's Speech

In response to the overwhleming lack of a groundswell of people wanting my opinion on this matter, I will wade in as the noteable So-and-So who enters where angels fear to tread. First, since Emperor Manuel Paleologus was fighting against Muslim armies - in the speech text it says between 1394 and 1402 common era so it would appear that he was leading the fight against not Arab Muslims, rather Turkish Muslims - it is hard to see why anyone would expect him to say nice things about Islam. So why was he used? And since he was used, why does anyone object to it? For the greater the rancor expressed in such a situation implies the greater force of one's opponent. Second, the speech deals with God, man, and reason and the differences within western tradition over time and some differences between western and Islamic traditions. Something like: God is transcendent (and wholly beyond our comprehension) AND Jesus became incarnate to link man to God (so that God need not be totally beyond our comprehension) AND God as Logos is susceptible of being understood by human reason (and is not absolutely transcendent beyond reason) {Pope's characterization of western tradition} VERSUS God is absolutely transcendent {Islamic tradition} So - if you have stuck with it thus far - you ask why the violence? Within the speech we hear the emperor say: "Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul." Now to whom does this apply? Certainly not us, not our generations. Who would do well to learn this lesson? Not us. We're perfect. Finally, Iran's Supreme Leader says the speech was a crusade against Muslims. So he's saying that Christians are leading a jihad against Muslims???? So the Pope mentions something from 1,000 years ago about jihad... And Iran's Leader counters with a riposte from 1,000 years ago about a crusade... I guess this means I can go out and protest, since I believe a 1,000 year old slur against me is just as grievous as a 1,000 year old slur against you!! I have no answers for you about the speech. I think we are condemned to attend the picnic on the great carpet of violence spread out upon the face of the world by leaders of both sides who cannot lead. I do not side with the Pope nor oppose him. I respect him greatly. There are many religious leaders I respect. Make of it what you will.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The Game of Historical Parallels

Our President has begun to play the game of historical parallels, expressed in sentences like " X is fascism" or "Y is communism". He has usurped the label "Islamo-fascist" from the greedy fingers of Rush Limbaugh and feels that it makes sense, considering the source. That is fine. Let's us play the game. Let's play Pearl Harbor: historic parallel In this game, President Roosevelt asks and receives a declaration of war against Japan from the Senate and the House of Representatives. About 9 months into the war, just after the Battle of Midway, it turns out that all the intelligence and the communications were wrong: Pearl Harbor is just fine, thank you, and is unscathed except for some rain storms lately, forcing us in from the lanai to have our juleps in the club. Well, what would Roosevelt do? He could say that Hirohito is a really bad guy, a scoundrel actually, and say the world is better off with him off the throne of Japan. We would keep at the war, new goals, however. The people at home might see it differently since a great part of the Army and Navy were drafted. The people at home might not want their sons killed for a sham. So then we send home the draftees but continue the war with people who voluntarily enlist. This might not be as difficult as it sounds. Since Pearl Harbor hadn't been attacked, Japan itself might not be at war with the USA. Japan would have to do some mighty fancy footwork to maintain itself in the Pacific. Would Roosevelt run against Wendell Willkie with a platform saying we couldn't cut and run? And Willkie would say bring the rest of the boys home. And would Truman drop the bomb? Good stuff here. Thank you, Mr. President, for the new game.

President A. as Hitler

I can't remember how to spell Ahmadinejad so I just use the abbreviation A.
It's easier that way.

I broke a long standing rule against oral arguments against the present Administration.
A friend said President A. was Hitler.
I said no he wasn't, Hitler was dead.
And even if Hitler weren't dead, He'd be 120 years old or so.

And furthermore down this road to idiocy, Hitler himself wasn't Hitler. I mean, if you can go around saying Joe Mc Doakes is Benito Mussolini, then who was the original Benito Mussolini? Somebody else, apparently. Or he was enough like some other historical avatar such as to render his own self a non-entity...

O.K. Then Prez A. is a parallel to Hitler. He is a simulacrum. He is the next best (or next worst) thing to the real Mr. H. So I sez, you are referring to his Austrian birth? Everyone knows Prez A. was born in Austria. His early years in Vienna? Everyone knows Prez A. spent some early years as an art student in Vienna.

Now I was accused of being deliberately obtuse. I acknowledged my obtuseness. I am always so when in the presence of majestic blatherscat. It is Prez A.'s ideas that render him the spit and image of Hitler.

So, was Hitler a Holocaust denier, I asked.Hardly that...
Has Prez A. published an entire book about killing various peoples?
Well, he did say once that Israel should disappear from the map.
So I sez, O.K. then Mel Gibson is Hitler, too? And so on.

Prez A. is a fascist. Oh, sez I, like General Franco? We must help the peoples he would oppress. Oh, sez I, like we helped the Ethiopians resist the Italian fascists? I left the argument - if this discourse can be lauded with such a positive term - fearing that the Iran-American Bund might have me marked for even speaking about the whole thing.

Let President A. be evil or good on his own. It's rather like saying U.S. Grant is Idi Amin because the US Cavalry killed Native Americans during his tenure. The evil (or good) of the day (or the man) is sufficient thereto.

The Shame of Not-Knowing

Most of us hate to be in a discussion with ethical overtones and end up- as we usually do-dropping our heads, shaking them slowly from side to side, saying "I just don't know."
It is a terrible feeling.

This is one of the reason we have recourse to the Assembly Line of Knowledge: Cable TV. And being addicted to it, we are ALKies. I want to get into some problems of capitalism and I've finally been able to modify my concepts to be able to do so without making a complete fool of myself. So, if you have a point to make you feel strongly about, keep with it. This present time is NOT the fullness of wisdom. And 99% of what you've already learned in this society is pure and unadulterated crap anyway.
Keep at it.


Satan Sells Us the Brooklyn Bridge

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." - Dick Cheney, August 26 2002 

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons." - George W. Bush, September 12 2002 

"If he declares he has none, then we will know that Saddam Hussein is once again misleading the world." - Ari Fleischer, December 2 2002 

"We know for a fact that there are weapons there." - Ari Fleischer, January 9 2003 

"Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." - George W. Bush, State of the Union address, January 28 2003

When did Politicians and Government Appointees receive a pass on even trying to tell the Truth? When did this country decide to no longer demand something resembling Truth from its leaders? When did we sell our souls to the Lie?


This means "Death's Head Culture". If you do not know what it refers to, look around you. There are many people who speak of Culture War (Kulturkrieg) who are on the payroll of the Totenkopfkultur Group.

Check it out. See the things that seek a better life versus those that degrade life. The Grammy for Best Group goes to......Totenkopfkultur !!!

Blog is Golb Spelled Backwards

I read a number of blogs, ones I 've read for awhile and trying new ones. What a variety of people I see. Sometimes it can be unsettling, such as when old friends you've kept in view experience pain and suffering. Sometimes you may share their joy. Sometimes I feel as if I were playing God and looking down upon my creation and watching the myriad and varied lives being played out upon the Earth. I wish I could do a miracle or two to help mankind with their suffering. I wonder now whether God feels frustration and pain from just not being able to do enough? The concept of God as being all powerful leads us to expect Him to do things. The concept of God being all knowing leads us to believe He's aware of the most minute detail of our lives - in the same sense of knowledge that we know things. So it seems to us sometimes He's remote and we do not understand why good people suffer. The obstacles which cause our suffering are an integral part of life. A sheer cliff is an obstacle on a road if we are on walk about. However, perhaps we are not on walk about; perhaps we are confronting the cliff - the ribbon of road stretching behind us is merely an accident. Jesus suffered. God suffers. What is different is how They react to the pain. We react as humans. How They react is a mystery.

Come Back Tsuneichi Miyamoto !

Where is Tsuneichi Miyamoto? Where are the wonderful photographs of Mr. Miyamoto? Quick glimpses of long ago... If you turn your head, it's gone! A dark cloud approaches... A flock of geese!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Danger of Parallels to Fascism

Sometimes I'm actually glad that no one reads my blog. I especially feel that way when I am compelled to say things I find hurtful. Well, here goes... The present administration has seen parallels or equivalencies between certain Islamic groups today and fascists of the past. ( Actually, the President said "...fascists...and communists..." in his speech the other day's like a multiple choice apparently). Now today I read: "The _____ authorities seized a large number of Hamas MPs and officials after militants linked to Hamas captured a soldier and killed two others. " This is from the BBC. I blanked out the name of the country. It is a very unfortunate fact of the reality of WW II that certain fascists believed that one of their soldiers was worth multiples of other groups of people. If one of their soldiers was killed, then 12 of the "others" were to be killed or whatever the golden ratio was at the time. Apologies all around.

Ontology of Desire

(In this post, everything good came from people specified or from Avivah Zornberg. Everything else, including punctuation, comes from me.)

All things have Needs and Aversions.
Even the basic Carbon atom experiences the Need to share electrons in the outer shell with their Hydrogen compadres.

Certain things are averse from others, such as those which are repelled from water.
Conscious things convert some or all of their Needs to Desires and likewise Aversions to Fears.

DESIRE is Need transformed by consciousness. FEAR is Aversion transformed by consciousness. In a child, the Need for food changes over time until at the ages two or three the child begins to pick and choose which foods he wants to eat. Thus, the Need for food transforms into the Desire for ice cream.
Likewise, the Aversion to Being-Startled may transform into a Fear of loud noises which itself may have a subset called Fear of fireworks. Desire and Fear fill out the DETAILS of the SELF. This entity has needs and aversions.

Over time, these needs and aversions are detailed and become the desires and fears of the entity who now has a name and a sense of self. We define ourselves by our desires and fears: that which we want and that which we do not. Therefore, the self is defined by desires and fears.
Since we have previously said that Humility is the virtue by which we redefine the conscious being from being the center of all things, this means we must radically affect desires and fears. At this point, we remember the Lord Buddha speaking of Dharma:

 "Thus, desire, having a strong will to live as its basis, seeks that which it feels desirable, even if it is sometimes death. This is called the Truth of the Cause of Suffering. If these thirsts and illusions are traced to their source, they are found to be rooted in the intense desires of physical instincts." 
This brings to mind our statement that those who are not humble are sometimes so arrogant that they must be the center of everything, even the end of time.

At this point, we should recall that religious statements and statements of taste are not to be assigned truth values. There is, then, a similarity between them and religious statements might well indeed be called "matters of taste" if we mean that Taste implies Desire.


The Desert Isle Game: Gitmo vs. Abu Ghraib

At the risk of getting something I'm not really asking for, I set forth the following: "If you absolutely had to be interred in a prison, would you rather be interred in Gitmo or Abu Ghraib?" Or, making the choice more realistic: "If you had to be marooned on a desert island and there were two desert islands next to each other (??!) , on one of which was Gitmo and on the other was Abu Ghraib, which island would you prefer to inhabit?" We could add things like "undisclosed CIA holding areas" in various places. Which band would you like to have blared at you 24/7 ? I saw Bill O'Reilly the other night doing an inspired bit on the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a torture device. It was quite good. I think I may have misunderstood Mr. O'Reilly. He may be better than Jon Stewart. I think I would like Kay Keyser's band. I could imagine some of the mad-cap B movies Mr. Keyser was in in the good old days. What about Sinatra? How come the CIA doesn't use Sinatra's songs as an instrument of torture? Would it be considered blasphemous? How would Bill O'reilly handle that one? I mean to say, Mr. Bill couldn't really sit up there and chortle and chuckle about the Chairman of the Board, could he? Interesting... Kate Smith comes to mind...she was too motherly and patriotic. Leadfoot? Bearbreath? Too Fat for Lotta? All great music. O.K. New game: "Which singer's songs would be considered an instrument of torture if delivered at your cranium 24/7?" Or, "If you marooned on a desert island with a sound system that had an inexhaustible source of power and could not be switched off and was playing music, whose music would be the most pernicious?" I think the winning singer would be the one with the least recordings, variety in this case being truly the spice of life.

9/11 is Nonsense if...

Late September 9, 2006 my daughter had another panic attack and went to the local hospital in D.C. She had had an appointment at WTC at 9:30 A.M. on September 11, 2001 and had slept in that morning, rescheduling her day to stop in at end of day when she had returned from far Long Island. The fear is that she will be caught in another catastrophe and she will not have her medicine with her. Perhaps our leaders in D.C. will see the large bold font above and do something for the people of this country, something for those not in the top 2% of wealth-holders.

My Profile

My daughter has suggested I render a more complete profile. My nephews scoff at the idea. Both sides are in agreement that a personal photo is definitely out of the question-unless its one from about 30 years ago when people still wore top hats and had mutton chop sideburns. All of my present day photos look like DMV photos or Costco photos or any photo taken by contrarian paparazzi who seek out the most unflattering angle and use it. Perhaps I am coming out of my Winston Smith period. Perhaps it is time to be O'Brien. I like the Celtic flavor of the name. I fancy I am the ancient Celtic civilization, torn by storms of nature and empire and barbarians, my back against the wind swept sea, a bulwark for an exotic faith standing in the face of paganism. Cool. However, I have wanted to be Montag for a long time also, ever since Fahrenheit 451. I couldn't get it at e-bay for the longest time. I could not get Sonntag either, since Susan Sonntag already had dibs on it. That left Dienstag, Thorstag, Freitag, and Samtag, none of which appealed to me. Oh, Mittwoch was also available. Obviously out of the running. My nephews liked Mittwoch. They suggested Mittwoch von Blatherstein as a possibility.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Cheerleaders in The Charnel House: 1

My brother (my other brother if you've read recent posts and are wondering) told me that Pat Robertson has a new book entitled Death of America. Something about America and Death. It all boils down to the Hispanic Flood.

I interpret this as a thinly veiled anti-Catholic tirade. My brother says that it seems to be centered on the disinclination to learn English. I guess I'll never know because I shall never read the rag. I suppose I may pick it up after they've interred me in Gitmo for 4 or 5 years.
Anyhow, so I tell him that Mr. Robertson is a prime example of the Christiano-celebrities who have a Culture of Death: they are unwittingly (or wittingly) viewing events through their filter of Death, Destruction, Armageddon, or whatever extra-Scriptural enthusiasm is in possession of them.

My brother is totally unaware of this Death's Head Culture (Totenkopfkultur) and thinks I'm daft. So I sent him a copy of the Christian leaders of the Middle East statement on Christian Zionism and he will immediately see the ideas I espouse are, alas, hardly original to myself. excerpt:
The Christian Zionist program provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today.  
Sounds just as if I have plagiarized my entire blog from these fellows. In fact, it is beginnning to sound like Lord of the Rings. Perhaps all of recent history may be and will be seen as the fight against the Lord of Death.
All of us within the deepest recesses of our being dimly perceive this battle. When we return to the surface world, we try to speak of what we've experienced and we use the ideas we are already comfortable with, so some people see Rapture, some see Armageddon, some see the positive side, others see only the horrid. Similarly, if we read of near death experiences, we find some are inspiring, some are terriffying. Which color filter do you use to view Reality?

The Real World is the website of the Israeli Human Rights Group B'Tselem.

You may read how, since the abduction of Cpl. Shalit, 76 Palestinians have been killed. This is a policy we are supporting. Huzzah!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Medium is the Morality

I was talking with a moral absolutist.
I asked for an unchanging moral or ethical proposition.
"Do not kill." was suggested.
I asked about his position on execution by the state. He was for it.
I asked about war. He dodged into just war.

Since he was Catholic, I pointed out that the Iraq War did not met the Catholic Church's definition of a Just War. And so on.
If there is actually a position to be described as Moral Absolutist, it must be maintained with mirrors and reflections.
If there is actually a position of Moral Relativism, it must be maintained by those of arrogant spirit. I have never read a paper or book on Moral Relativism-either pro or con-that did not strike me as utter nonsense. In both cases, the true Morality was subsumed within the argumentation, the message. In effect, the Medium was the Morality and Morality was the medium: it was no more than the arguments themselves.


What is the Love of God?

" ...more like a man Flying from something that he dreads than one who sought the thing he loved." William Wordsworth, "TINTERN ABBEY"

Fear and Panic: the Flight response come quickly to us.
Flight is an autonomous response. We have learned to play with it as we watch films of horror, gore, and violence; as we watch news reports of atrocities committed by others and by our own government. When people wonder why there is so much bad news, this is the reason: we are thrilled by the bad news for it titillates our inborn Flight response. This Fear & Flight response occurs universally across a wide range of human behavior.

Is there an autonomous and inborn response that attracts? Instead of causing us to flee and become a fugitive, does it bring us together? Is it universal across the range of human activity? Sexual attraction may come to mind, but it is limited to sexual behavior. It is not universal across human behavior.
The Love of God is the universal autonomous response of drawing-together. It is autonomous as it comes into being on its own. It is universal as it occurs across the range of all our behaviors. It draws the soul to God. I think some people experience when they imagine themselves to be in the proximity of a lovely sunset and thereupon say some tidbit like "Ah, Such Beauty! Thus do I affirm God's existence!" Thus they imagine themselves to have Faith.
That's fine. Faith uses the Love of God to create the structure of Faith. It is not a quid-pro-quo, but it does need the two participants-God and myself-to be fully serious about what we are doing and to be fully committed to it.

When I say it is not quid-pro-quo, I realize that I am disagreeing with those that believe that God rewards with carrots and punishes with sticks according as we obey or disobey. Faith comes into being as the Love of God pulls creation together. As two hands draw together in prayer, the hands create a structure- the "praying hands" of Durer's woodcuts, for example- and there is the space outside the hands and the space enclosed within the hands. We have a three dimensional structure.
When the hands draw apart, the structure dissipates. Each hand returns to solitude.

We are back at Dawn Consciousness of childhood. Love of God creates Faith. It is corrupted soon into the give-and-take, obey and reward, disobey and punish of the family life, of the economic life of mankind. That faith becomes the Universal Abacus of a miserly God. Faith is a structure that emerges into existence at our birth and requires absolutely no particular effort of anyone's part: it is essential to creation. Just as our tendency to flight is inborn-thus preserving our well being-so is our tendency to draw together-thus advancing our growth and progress.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Faith: 1

As I was depositing my brother in a cheap motel across from the legal offices to which he will go Tuesday morning after Labor Day in order to be accompanied by his lawyer as he surrenders himself to the local constabulary...


... I talked to him about Faith, Humility, and Charity. His own grasp of the Holy is rather tenuous and reflects much of the childish notions which clutter up our consciousness.

When St. Paul told us to put away the things of a child, he didn't mean dredels; he meant childishly improper notions of the Holy.
What is Faith?
We have already discussed statements of Faith and Truth and Falsity elsewhere, so we will not repeat it here.

What, then, is Faith?
I have heard people in bad situations say one must have faith in God. This seems to imply that God will ride to your rescue like the cavalry in the last reel of an old film thriller. Since this doesn't seem to happen too very often nowadays, it is wide of the mark.
Faith is a two-way street. A person of Faith must adhere to the ideals of Faith set forth by God. Then God will maintain His end of the bargain. Faith is not merely relying on God; it is absolutely relying on God given that you have demonstrated your firm reliance by an exhausting attempt to maintain the standards set forth by God.

If you do not visit the sick, it is problematic whether you should rely too much on divine favor. Similarly if you take oaths, if you do not honor your parents, if you remain stiff-necked and arrogant, if you do not minister to those in prison..all of which MUST be done so that your left hand is sublimely ignorant of what your right hand is doing. (It must be done quietly and without fanfare.), then it is not clear that God will provide. (As soon as I write this, I am aware that I subtly propagandize my efforts for my brother. I never said I was perfect.)

FAITH requires firm effort to maintain the standards set out by God. Before you ask God, He has already asked you. How difficult is it? You probably say, I always do what God wants: I go to church on Sunday, I tithe, I contribute to zakah, I observe the high holydays, etc. etc. etc. There are many stumbling blocks.

We are called upon to turn the other cheek. Do we? We are told not to ask what we shall eat, what we shall drink, where shall we sleep, for our Father will provide. Do we? The demands of Faith cannot all be met at the same time. Within the personal history of the individual there is a progress along the way from darkness to light.

We must maintain our intention to fulfill the demands of Faith as best we can within our lives. This is why we are given our three score and ten; it takes time to fulfill our commitment to God. God does not demand this. It is the nature of the relationship between God and Man that it is two-way. If God reaches out to me, I need to reach toward him. If God offers me and I refuse, do I ever experience that blessing?

Intelligent Design: 4

My nephews say that perhaps I should say ID is polytheism, not idolatry.

I think they're right. However, one Greek word is as good and as impenetrable as another, so idolatry stands. (If you were an ID supporter, you would say "Idolatry Rulz!" in the inner sanctum of your boys' club of spiritual depravity.)

In 1975, David Foster had a book call The Intelligent Universe. It was published by G.P.Putnam's Sons, New York, 1975. Mr. Foster was a scientist. Mr. Foster was postulating a universal intelligence based on data and information. This all hung on the analysis of the term intelligence. I quote:

"There is a classic argument for the existence of intelligence on a fairly universal scale based on the thought that a human design can only be created through intelligent human means, and therefore if we witness pattern or design in nature, it is highly suggestive that this is the result of intelligence. The idea is that you cannot have design without a designer..."
"But such views...are really beliefs of a quasi-religious nature, and while I do not dispute the possibility of their validity, nevertheless, they are hardly capable of proof in a scientific sense. The postulates are too simple and to inferential to be satisfactorily convincing, and even suggest that ' God is made in the image of Man. ' " 

There is a subtle point in all this ID that 30 years ago Mr. Foster got and we in our benighted generation cannot; that if you mix God and Science, you will either get bad Science or monstrous Religion or both.
In a era of scientific achievement, God will be reduced to a human scale: a heavenly draftsman.
In an era of religious achievement ( few and far between, alas) , science will be reduced to Scholasticism.

I mean, just how comfortable do you feel with a scientists who says, I've come across a situation I can't understand fully. I could either experiment and investigate, or I could retreat into some obscure idolatry. Suppose this scientist was your medical doctor. How comfortable would you feel? I don't understand your symptoms. I could run more tests, or I could sacrifice a chicken.



I have not posted for a while. I suppose this undermines blog status. One can't really have a blog-web log- if one doesn't actually log things in.

SO maybe I have an Intermittent Blog. It is not due to the exquisite languor of unemployment in which I find myself. It is not due to my slothful nature. I have started a novel. It's coming along. If you've never done this, you won't understand what its like, so I'm not going to waste your time. What good is a blog so brief?

People find my blog like a summer rain storm over Espanola being watched from the heights of Chimayo: it is brief and even in its brevity there is little solace since the heat evaporates the rain drops before they reach the valley.

Son of Fascism

Please inform Major Embarassment that WWII is over. Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation won it. I'm sure they don't begrudge us having our own little wars to make the world safe for democracy, but the big one ended in 1945. The expresssion "Islamo-fascism" does not make sense; it does not make sense immediately when it is spoken nor when it is heard; it does not make sense after a period of reflection. It does not make sense on a beach, it makes no sense in a speech. (The only thing that seems to come close to Fascism was the Christian Phalange Party in Lebanon, founded in the 1930's. The time is right. The nomenclature is correct; recall General Franco was a Falangist supporter. The political views accord. Everything sort of points to a fascist group.) The fact that certain people make statements like: "Herr Hitler was right! Such and such and so-and-so..." is in itself NOT proof of a fascist philosophy. Do you have any idea how embarrasing it is to have a government that has not yet learned that policy should not be based on fantasy? What important link to reality is missing from that group? What I mean is, I may as well go out an make a speech and accuse Muslim terrorists of being "Islamo-White Supremacists" or "Islamo-Aryan Brothers" and it would make as much sense as what Major Embarassment says. The important distinction is that I am not the leader of the most powerful nation in the history of the world!!! For heaven sake, what is the matter with this country?