Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The Icon is an image. We have an Imaging System, which we use for Image consciousness: remembered dream images, thinking in pictures, day-dreaming. The Imaging System relies on a code of images, different from Language, which allows us to be image-conscious and to operate with images.
The Holy cannot enter into our world - except that it does so according to the proper code, just as I cannot program the computer without a proper code. For the Holy to enter, it uses the Iconic Image associated with the spiritual phenomena. It has no other choice. Although the Holy may affect us on the non-conscious level, for us to be conscious of this, we must use one of the various ways we encode things.
We cannot be conscious of the non-conscious. Therefore, we must code it into language, or images, or music, etc. That is why the Holy appears as the Virgin to Catholics, but as Elize Danto to Haitians: the iconic code. By using this iconic code, the Holy participates in our world.
HOWEVER, since the Virgin appeared to Coptic Egyptians, and this was attested by Egyptian Muslims it is clear that belief is not necessary for participation, merely acquaintance with the icon. In essence, if the Holy were to have one Iconic appearance for all the diverse peoples of the world, that would be the nonsense situation, the impossible situation. Diversity does not imply that the underlying truth is unstable. Just as the images of battleships and muskets both represent the concept war, so may different images represent the Holy.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Jesus said the kingdom of heaven was the inheritance of the Poor.
His Mother sang that the Almighty will thrust the mighty and rich from their thrones, and then raise up the lowly, thereby turning the profane world upside down!
Jesus said the Peacemakers are the children of God.
How do we deal with the poor and homeless in today's world?
How do we deal with war and peace?
The manner in which we, the USA, deal in public with these issues is reflected in and is a reflection of our religious beliefs. We do not feel the divine compulsion to go up to the high country and listen to that Sermon on the Mount too often.
"Ritual" is the setting aside of space and time, moving it from the profane to the sacred. For example,when we deal with the poor, we have special times: food drives, Sunday sermons; all compact and perfect within themselves, yet not pervading our entire lives.
By setting aside special times and spaces, by not letting the great teaching pervade our lives, we create the separation of religion and life. We set up small rooms of devotion, and then we tend to use our extra religious "furniture" - way too much for the one small room - in our profane and non-churchly pursuits...because we think we have seen the Holy in its entirety.
By establishing special times and special places for God, we restrict holiness into those small rooms.
By restricting God thus, we find ourselves able to look about the small room into which we pushed the divine and fancy that we see everything there is.
Thus, we feel we know all the aspects of the divine.
Thus, we create Ritual, and Ritualistic Icons: Yoda, Neo, martial arts with a spiritual bullet.
Ritual is akin to a cutting, a pruning...not to promote luxuriant growth, but to restrict and domesticate the wild; to bring the forest into the domicile.
Think of your Ritual as Bonsai: small, restricted; it will not grow beyond bounds and infect the entire universe with its virus of freedom and life. It is an Icon.
When the Icon substitutes for the reality, then we see the world of today in the USA and around the globe.
The later post in 2011: http://fatherdaughtertalk.blogspot.com/2011/02/willow-bonsai-original-post.html
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Once again, the Hari Seldon vault opened, and there was a flock of dignitaries. They filled the chairs and the standing room. This time, the display was piped outside to a large crowd who had gathered. As soon as Professor Seldon's image appeared, an absolute hush descended. "Welcome. By now, we are well into the first of the stages of global dissolution, as I described in my previous message. I quote: A handful of analysts have been warning for years that the wholesale deregulation of financial markets and the wrong-headed privatization of the public sector during the past two decades would threaten the viability of free-market capitalism. Yet ideological neoliberal fixation remain firmly imbedded in US ruling circles, fertilized by irresistible campaign contributions from profiteers on Wall Street, methodically purging regulatory agencies of all who tried to maintain a sense of financial reality. This ideology of "market knows best" has allowed the nation to slip into an unsustainable joyride on massive debt giddily assumed by all market participants, ranging from supposedly conservative banks, investment banks and other non-bank financial institutions, to industrial corporations, government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and individuals... At present, the first stages have remediated, and you are thinking yourselves well on the way to recovery, lengthy though it may be. I caution you that nothing has changed, particularly the nature of the people in charge. The ruling class is still the same people who designed, created, and fostered the crisis. To imagine that they will entirely give up a system which is so lucrative for them - neglecting the nation at large - is wishful thinking. You are watching the Conservatives rail and scream against the new President. This President is somewhat unusual, as there is no established influential national school of thought that fostered him: he is almost a mutant, a sport, if you will, that almost threw PsychoHistory off course. The trajectories will have been worked out by PsychoHistorians by now. The President will not be followed by one such as himself; there is no one. There will not be politicians such as him until those in their twenties and early thirties begin to fill elected positions. What is most likely is that the Right Wing will end their nonsensical attacks and actually try and develop ideas, something they have not done for 15 years or more. Both sides of the political class, however, will come to a tacit realization - and agreement - that the old system with its incredible inflated levels of money available was just too rewarding and lush to let die off. It will be resurrected by the next Right Wing President into a system with more regulation, but it will be a regulation that tempers the more outrageous acts of the piratical participants. It will do nothing for the vast majority of the population, who will sink into a morass of constant 10% - or higher - unemployment, stagnant wages, and diminishing access to higher education, all the while suffering from the new feudalism of a stagnant real estate market; their houses cannot be sold and will become their prisons...and their eventual tombs. " At this point, a great outcry came from the outside, among those gathered to listen to the speech outside. There was a commotion at the main entry way...
Bomb Iran Now
Only fierce military action can stop the Atomic Ayatollahs ...Should we bomb Iran? That's this week's Big Question, put to Michael Freund of the Jerusalem Post and Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com. Through Thursday afternoon, they'll argue action vs. inaction, warmongering vs. appeasment, bombing vs. diplomacy... yada,yada,yada.. ...
We must stop Iran at all costs. The alarm bells are ringing, and the danger signs are near. Like it or not, time is of the essence, and there is not a moment to lose. The U.S. or Israel should bomb Iran now, before it proves to be too late. (signed) Michael Freund
Now read the comments of the Jewish readers.
Oy! One of the less vicious comments: israel has 200 nukes, probably half of which are pointed at iranian cities, and we're supposed to believe that iran is an existential threat to israel and the rest of the so-called "civilized world." his comment, "And once he dispenses with the Jews, as we know, it is the West that will be next. So this is not just Israel’s battle, it is everyone’s war, and it is time for the decision-makers in Washington and Jerusalem to act," is the pinnacle of disingenuousness. if this pathetically shallow, neocon worldview weren't so freaking dangerous, it would be laughable.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Well, I got some good news and some bad news. Which do ya wanna hear first?
Masha'allah, I said, rolling my eyes.
What model do you got? The 2 billion year old one, or the one that's got just over 6,000 years on her?
Man ya'rif? I said, shrugging. Who knows?
Ya know, some people bought into the younger model, the Bishop Ussher model, the T four-oh-oh-four. Some got the older model.
I said I thought it was the older model. It had certainly been acting as if it were. (Bishop Ussher was the bloke who said the Earth was created in 4004 B.C.)
Then there's the designer: was your designer the Big Guy or that Intellygent Designer that's all the rage these days?
While he said this, he did "majnoun" motions; i.e., finger points to temple and implies that some of us were not too tightly wrapped..." mad as hatters" nicely sums it up.
I said I thought it was the Big Lebowski...I don't know why. I mean, there isn't much holy about Jeff Bridges as The Big Lebowski. Or is there? Anyway, long story short, it was going to be flush the system for the next 1,000 years at some phenomenal figure per flush, or...get a new model.
So I'm getting the system flush. It gives me the shivers, sounding way too much like eternal colon cleansing, but she'll be running like new in no time.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
The Scots Philosopher MacFinn
Back when I spoke to the Maya, I used to complain about their sacrificial religious rites. The entire business of ripping people's hearts out was really not a sign of spiritual advancement, but on the contrary was a sign of a vicious indulgence in a corrupt spiritual vision gone badly awry. Of course, given their history of bloodletting, from human sacrifice to the ritual bloodletting of kings, they merely looked at me, shook their heads, and smiled to each other, much as if I were the chimpanzee in "Jungle Jim", who had stopped by to supply everyone a much needed laugh. They pointed their index fingers at the sides of their heads with a circular motion, saying "chowen", and laughing lots, this apparently being "mad as a monkey", and equivalent to "looney tunes". At this point, I realized why I have so much trouble speaking to Americans about violence in society: there's way too much lovely history of bloodletting in which we wrap ourselves in comfortably like a warm duvet on a winter's morning. It may have, indeed, troubled us once upon a time - such things as the pictures and the words of evil hitherto inexpressible being heralded into our living room from cable TV - but we have grown used to it. In fact, violence is the constant. The morality which gives rise to moral outrage when a truly outrageous violent event occurs is the exception. We live with a Punctuated Christian Morality; it exists only in pieces. First comes the Vision Quest. First the 40 days in the desert, fasting. First you come to God. After that, you may sit around an argue about what is good or bad for a society. St.Paul tells us that what we think is True and Clear Vision and Insight is nothing more than straining to see through a glass, darkly. In this present day of religion and ritual and atheism and power......we see only as if through that dark window. Therefore, religion and ritual and all the trappings of our Rationality and Reason and Power and Governance..., they are all exigencies of people who are lost and cannot find their way. We cannot make decisions as long as we are immersed within the prisons of our dark, unseeing visions of the world. Just as the Maya, we cannot understand that violence and bloodletting should be the rare exceptions, not the rule. We are fish, and violence is the water in which we swim. What is beyond our little sea?
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 09, 2009
So many guns are being sold, there is not enough ammo for a proper Hundred Years War anymore.
Last night, I dreamt about it. I saw in a dream our history as an opera. It seemed Wagnerian. It was taking place in a Bayreuth theater imagined by Leni Reifenstahl. "2008" - strangely and eerily similar to the name "2001" , which itself was an iconic bit of music - was merely the overture to a Gotterdammerung, or Twilight of the Gods, where the end of time has come and even the gods in Valhalla go down to destruction.
A good deal of sound and fury and wonderful music. I sing quite well in my dreams. I don't recall at what point I had left the audience and joined the cast onstage, but there it was.
Last night was the first opera: Gaia or Ge, the mother Earth, rejected us at last for the slings we lashed her with. The peaceful God lamented our hoard of weapons of destruction, saying not even Alberich nor Mime ( the dwarf ) with all his gelt ( his gold ) had such a destructive pile of goodies. ( I think one of Alberich's gold pieces was the ring of the Nibelungs. Exactly how it wrought destruction may be imagined from "The Lord of the Rings")
Disgusted by mankind's murderous greed, the gods abandon the Earth for Valhalla. At the end, there were a wretched few humans remaining alive. They raised their assault guns into a spire like a crucifix. The spirits of their ancestors - milling about the wings like a Greek chorus the entire opera - wept and abandoned them to the world they had created, thereby removing the last spiritual vestige which had connected man to the rest on the universe. It was all rather sad.
As I was exiting, I heard a large matron say to her companion, "Well, I can see why the living will envy the dead! All very Biblical." Her companion, an elderly gent, smiled a smile of the elderly - a benign symbol obscuring the fact that he had not heard what she had said at all. We bumped into each other and excused ourselves, allowing for each other to take precedence in exiting, and smiles all round.
We remembered the words of Winston Churchill:
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Monday, April 06, 2009
Sunday, April 05, 2009
So, what really grinds my gears is the blatant connection between the notion of Deconstruction in Literature and Philosophy, and the rise in Alzheimer's related dementia.
I mean, obviously there is a "deconstruction" going on, and the one parallels the other. I am really ticked off how Reality imitates Art.
I am equally ticked off about Art imitating Reality.
It is like that Irony thing: it really ground my gears that the USA has this reversal of fortune thing going on, with the banks and all... It's the real deal, not some Tower of Babel fairy tale! That really, really grinds my gears!
So...what am I saying? I'll tell you what I'm saying! This blather and hop-scotch about deconstruction leads to a void. It was a dramatic foreshadowing of the deconstruction of society...and vice versa, if you wish to have it both ways.
Literature should learn to stay out of Reality. Or, if not, then it should get a job like the rest of us. Or, like the rest of us used to.
Same thing goes for films. Siegfried Kracauer notwithstanding, the film The Cabinett of Dr. Caligari should not warn us about fascism; in that best of all possible worlds - envisaged by Dr. Pangloss - the spiritual and the physical do not " leak " into each other, but maintain strict Cartesian segregation and separation. The spiritual has separate, but "equal" facilities, such as water fountains and wash rooms. That's what really grinds my gears!