Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Bee and the Lamb, Part 4

THIS POST WAS “STICKY” FOR SEVERAL DAYS. Scroll down for posts that appeared after it was first published on Feb 12.


The essay below is the fourth chapter in a series by Takuan Seiyo. The author was unable to publish it in the same venue that hosted the first three chapters, so Gates of Vienna is privileged to offer him a slot for it, and possibly also for the final installment.

Author’s Introduction

The text that follows is the fourth chapter of a long five-part essay that’s my answer to Oswald Spengler’s Der Untergang des Abendlandes. What I lack in comparison to the brilliant German, I tried to compensate for by offering not only an analysis of our decline, but also a suggestion of a peaceful ascent road out of what appears (except to progressing Progressives) as a bottomless pit.

The genesis of this essay lies in my continuous puzzlement why the particular post-modern, post-Christian virus decimates only the Western West, but not the Eastern West of Iron Curtain scars, or the Far East. I was born behind the Iron Curtain but have lived in the West since I was ten, and in the East for the past six years. This is therefore insider’s praxis rather than outsider’s musings.

The subject is so wide that its treatment must be equally eclectic. One who ventures here must be ready to travel with me to Washington and Mount Vernon, Estonia, Saxony, Judea, Rome, Greece, Babylon and China, with a commensurate range of subjects and periods. For that reason, it’s not fair either to the reader or to the writer to start with the text below, but rather one must go to the previous three, as well as have patience for the publication of the fifth one in the near future.


The reader is going to wonder why the fourth chapter is at Gates of Vienna and the previous three are at New English Review.

Different publications have different risk tolerances. NER was brave enough to publish the first three parts, but found the fourth one too hot. No one should condemn it who hasn’t published the kind of “Islamophobic” and other taboo-busting content as NER has. Especially after what happened to Giordano Bruno and Fjordman.

— Takuan Seiyo

Yin-Yang

The Bee and the Lamb
Part 4


By Takuan Seiyo

On the edge

The only way to restore vitality to Western Civilization is to recalibrate its yin-yang balance. Just as in Oriental medicine a patient suffering from acidosis (yin) is treated with alkali (yang) foods, so American and European societies must regress to nullify much of the Progressive “progress” that the Long March of the last 100 years has wrought. Not to erase it altogether, for the “progress” itself has been a correcting mechanism to the yang eruptions of two world wars and centuries of harsh religious fanaticism, but to rewind the reel 50 years back, just before excess yin started overflowing.

Jim Crow was wrong, and the WASP ruling elite committed various errors of direction and also of degeneration into a caste of Bertie Wooster sybarites, light on the brain content, or brooding Nick Carraways (of The Great Gatsby). But the antithesis, Black Run America[1], is much worse: a dystopian disaster, a banana republic without the bananas, a Detroit writ large, a Philadelphia turned Killadelphia.

The WASPs at least had a code of honor and a spirit of noblesse oblige inherited from Roman patricians. The people who rule us now are a multiracial collection of plebeian Looters, Loons and Fools, with the WASPs and Jews there either doing penance for past “unearned privilege” or further repairing the world by carrying water for the loudest looters in the black and brown communities.

Strict meritocracy and race-blind equal rights are just and great, and America did not have them even 60 years ago. But it did, at last, 45 years ago. Very briefly, for it continued hurtling toward the opposite pole. Now it is mired in the suicidal insanity of quotas for minorities and women, engineered equal outcomes, and the disparate impact doctrine proclaiming, essentially, that proper societal measures to promote lawful conduct, civic culture, work ethic, competent workforce etc. are “racism” requiring the federal government’s intervention, if racial minorities fall short of such standards. Showing that a yin-poisoned culture will use any available tool with which to self-eviscerate, in Scandinavia, where there are no indigenous People of Color, the ruling elite has been importing them to fill that vital need. Meanwhile, they mandate 40%-50% quotas for women in politics and corporate governance.

The bipolar amplitude currently in the far zone of yin may be observed in every area of postmodern, post-Reality Western society, with only superficial differences between countries.

The past ostracism of homosexuals and criminalization of homosexuality were wrong. But the current courting of “gays,” “gay” marriage, “gay” Marines, pedophile politicians, deviant promiscuity flaunted before a disgusted but cowed population — they are a cesspool of dissolution. Prudery and sexual repression were a terrible drag too, but seeing 13-year-old girls dressed like whores and Tweeting tales of their latest hookups from a perch at Jamba Juice is a civilizational tragedy.

Back-alley abortions were horrible, but the sanctioned and taxpayer-financed annual murder of 1.2 million fetuses in each of the United States and Europe[2] must inevitably unleash God’s wrath — even if God is just a homeostatic cosmic loop of information sub-particles, not at all like the Bible’s booming Jhvh or Michelangelo’s hirsute old man. If the sheeple just looked away from their brain-macerating LED screens, they could see that God’s wrath is already manifesting as the mathematically verifiable demographic atrophy of Euro-origin peoples.

The restrictive-oppressive educational systems in Europe’s and America’s schools a hundred years ago were stultifying. But the current educational regime of self-esteem, dumbed-down curriculum, non-competitiveness, “inclusiveness,” constant guilt inculcation for the sins of whitey, and the horrors of (White only) testosterone — they all form a path to the trash can of history. We have gone much too far, expanding sixfold what was before contracted twofold.

The same heedless yin expansion is evident in America’s geopolitics. Amazon.com’s editorial review of Robert Kaplan’s Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power states: “The Indian Ocean area will be the true nexus of world power [snip]. It is here that the fight for democracy, energy independence, and religious freedom will be lost or won, and it is here that American foreign policy must concentrate.”

This leaves me puzzled. Is there a shortage of democracy or religious freedom in the United States? There is an egregious surfeit of both, and both ought to be trimmed for the American people’s own good. Voting rights should be constricted and tied to a positive net worth, proof of English literacy, clean criminal record, and maturity defined as the age of 21. Religious freedom too ought to be curtailed to exclude Islam and voodoo — the one, a blueprint for subjugation of the host population by fanatical practitioners of a hostile ideology; the other, a barbarian cult unfit for a modern country firmly planted in the Christian civilization.

But it’s likely that the reviewer of Kaplan’s book expressed the Neocon — Christian Lamb creed that it’s America’s divine mission to fight for democracy and religious freedom the world over. After all, that’s the standard opiate of America’s ruling Republicrat Party. One might ask with whose taxpayers’ gold ducats and soldiers’ lives such a global fight will be waged, America’s dollar and sovereign debt now forged into manacles of penury due to this kind of madness, and her flyover people tired of the bleeding.

These observations seem outrageous to people relentlessly indoctrinated in the age of gushing yin that has “progressed” to the point of drowning every area of life in the West. However, the age of blowback yang contraction will come, either eased gently by enlightened leaders or slammed painfully on the countries of progressive lemmings by the intractable force of cosmic homeostasis.

The current travails of the West already spell the end of yin madness. Democracy as a governing system is self-terminating, having devolved into kakistocracy: a scorpion catching a river ride on the back of Aesop’s gullible frog.

“Quantitatively eased” fiat paper money and the welfare state are self-terminating, having run out of our peoples’ trust and other people’s money. Financial capitalism is self terminating, having degenerated into the larceny of global leveraged three-card Monte. Ten thousand bright and eloquent Naomi Kleins are waiting in the wings, flogging their competing brand of malignant idiocy, ruinous but tight and coercive for a change, at a dazed populace.

America’s overreaching Empire is ending, the dollar too hollow to support it and the American-built Beijing Frankenstein eager and able to step into the breach. The global troops of jihad are surging, thanking Allah for the fool giant’s last gigantic works on behalf of “democracy” that paved the way for Muhammad pbuh.

Christianity, having taken a radical but wrong turn from its past errors, is wading in pools of irrelevance or deep weirdness, its mainstream just a holding pen for Eloi lambs. The Jews, having forgotten their cosmic destiny as canaries in the coalmine, are self-terminating by supporting and even leading “progressive” ideologies that will blow back at them first, devastatingly[3].

The sexual revolution and the GLBT foolishness are ending, for the West’s young are ending and their Afghan and Somali replacements have different plans in this matter.

Culture is ending, the polite, old white crowd that savors Bach at the Frauenkirche or Velasquez at the Prado having neither the courage nor the vigor to stop the barbarization of its former domains. The future is writ as the torture of the children of Grieg with the barbarians’ Dika Down Booboo! or their mega-decibel Adhan; the Booboo-Muslim-Morlock crowd multiplying and living off white Eloi’s taxes under Leviathan’s special care[4].

Education in the West has already ended. It had evolved into a progressive indoctrination Kumbaya Socialist Youth Camp for unemployable Occupiers of Wall Street: their noses full of cow jewelry, egos full of self-esteem, and brains stuffed with Rosa Luxemburg and Rosa Parks, Howard Zinn and Malcolm X, Mumia and Che, Obama and OutKast — but not the multiplication tables.

Nature is slowly being devoured, turning into concrete and particle board beehives built with zero-interest loans from Ponzi socialist rulers to no-risk banksters; its displaced animal kingdom now in zoos, or eating from suburban garbage bins, or being eaten in China’s better restaurants.

All this should give rise to leaders who would ask Lenin’s question, What is to be done? — though answer differently. But there are no such leaders. The leaders the West does have only know how to pour more yin onto flooding yin. More credit expansion to cure the ills of credit expansion. More loans to nations and banksters who can’t repay existing loans. More technological capacity transferred to China. More subsidized college for imbeciles who can’t calculate 24% of 87 or pinpoint Moscow on the map. More retreat before advancing Islam. More appeasement of the barbarians within. More “minorities” in privileged positions in the ruling apparatus of Leviathan. More police facing Mecca. More women in combat, and toy soldiers confiscated from little boys. More gayness in gay Paree. More persecution of the flyover serfs who notice all that.

The question therefore is not what is to be done, but what will be rebuilt on the ruins, some day. For future archeologists will sift through the rubble, and some will rise strong enough to rebuild with the found pieces.

Restoring the Balance

The future edifice should be rebuilt on the Estonian model we identified earlier as “Between Jhvh, Jesus, Janus and Jutta,” with a fifth face reserved for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, courage, strength, strategy, creativity: civilization itself. Only the five-faced Judeo-Christian-Greek-Roman-North European pyramid can give Western civilization the structural strength and richness it is heir to.

The “Judeo-Christian” weltanschauung has warped what ought to be a solid five-faced pyramid into two surfaces propped against each other with a bit of Greco-Roman mortar. It’s this instability in the cultural substructure that has allowed the wild swing from the earlier pole of yang explosions to the current pole of staggered yin disaster.

A pentahedron is much more stable than a duohedron. The ancient Egyptian pyramids are still with us today, and still carrying their message. But the recent Bolshevik and Nazi duohedrons, communist internationalist or socialist nationalist, are history. Even the massive buildings that enshrined them are gone or decayed.

Takuan Seiyo — pyramid

This should be considered by the future builders with respect to the Yin Epoch we are witness to:

In our jurisprudence and race relations we are Judeo-Christian, but should be more Roman. In our pop culture we are Roman but should be Judeo-Christian. In our civil rights and soft welfare we are Jewish but should be more Greek. In our religion and sexuality we are Greek but should be more Jewish.

In our economics we are Roman but should be North-European pagan. In our relationship to Nature we are Judeo-Christian but should be North-European pagan. In our education we are feel-good African, when we should be elitist Greek. But in our governance we are Greek, abusing a system perfected for 10,000 to misrule 310 million.

It’s possible that a better future will be built on an explicitly oligarchic model, mindful of previous failures of such models. In a three part series published in 2007 in the Wall Street Journal[5], Charles Murray argued for restoring intelligence as a criterion of educability and social utility, per these considerations:

1. It takes an IQ of 100 to successfully complete an unfaked high school curriculum. Only half of all [white] children have that IQ level. Spending more torrents of money and lying verbiage on education cannot change the fact that half the [white] population is generically unsuitable to graduate from high school.
2. It takes a minimum IQ of 115 to successfully master the unfaked college curriculum. Slightly over 15% of the [white] population is so equipped. Yet 50% of high school graduates go on to college, and politicians push for ever higher college “opportunities.” They are wasting astronomical quantities of time and money.
3. The ruling elite — in politics, government, law, media, literature and punditry, corporate governance, academia, science, etc. — comprises people from the top 10% of the [white] IQ distribution field (IQ of 120+): about 15 million people in America. This 10% of the population steers the ship of state, country, economy, culture. As Murray puts it, our future depends on how we educate this 10%. Or, as I put it, our future has already been determined by how we have educated this 10%, who now occupy the offices of Obama’s czars and the dressing rooms of MSM stars, or fill the coffers at Goldman and Morgan or rewrite the Constitution in judicial robes.

Murray relays that despite the crucial importance of the top tier of human capital, the federal government spent only 1% of its education budget on this gifted segment, until G.W. Bush terminated that, too. He suggests that the gifted 10% require a special education. It should encourage precise thinking via mastery of analytical tools like grammar, syntax and logic. It should impart wisdom and a sense of responsibility and humility through the study of history and ethics. It should be based on qualitative distinctions that Murray defines as a light dose of Aztecs and a heavy dose of Greeks.

Now we are talking. But Murray does not nearly go deep enough. He can’t, for otherwise the pages, prestige and fees of The Wall Street Journal would have closed to him then and forever. The current “10-percenters” do run a tight ship when it comes to protecting the special form of cognitive encephalitis that has ravaged their brains in the post-Christian, yet even more irrational West.

Were Murray free to state the whole truth, he would have reprised data from his own The Bell Curve and from thousands of other psychometric books and studies going back 100 years relative to racial groups’ mean IQ differences and how that affects the percentages he defines as fit for high school, college, and the cognitive elite. From which he might infer that a nation willfully self-blinded to such Reality will be set on persecuting its people for “racism,” torching trillions of bank notes to fight or “improve” nonexisting chimeras, and stuffing the incompetent into positions of power and responsibility by virtue of their melanin ratio.

Similar fateful consequences apply relative to the self-inundation of the First World by the Third. Thilo Sarrazin defined it for Germany as “doing away with itself,” and an American cognitive scientist who goes by “La Griffe du Lion,” to evade the Star Chamber[6], condensed in a paper entitled “Cognitive Decline: The Irreducible Legacy of Open Borders.”

It’s not by accident that PR China is a step ahead of the United States in practically every area of their mutual relationship and international rivalry. The Chinese trade negotiator or general who meets with his American counterpart has been chosen for his mental powers and character by a ruthless weeding process from a subgroup of 32 million Chinese with at least a +2σ (mean plus two standard deviations) intelligence of 135 IQ points[7]. He will have been armed with the best education money and hard work can buy — often from an American university — and with a store of ancient wisdom that will have trained him from kindergarten to think and act strategically. Facing him across the table will be a paraplegic Eskimo[8] transgender lesbian with an affirmative action law degree from Yale and the guaranteed high-level government sinecure that her “affirmative” attributes and the fake parchment guarantee. She will have spent a lifetime of stewing and “community organizing” on behalf of the Rainbow-GLBT-Differently Abled Coalition and The Oppressed Peoples of the World. Not a good preparation for strategic jujitsu with a Chinese mandarin or a Russian, Persian or NorKor nuclear commander.

Murray went soft in other directions, too. Wisdom is not imparted through the study of ethics only but through the study of how to lead a worthy life and stay out of trouble. Just like no greater mass of brain power assembled in the White House since Jefferson breakfasted alone, no hundred books taught in American schools are worth a random page of Ben Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac. If one adds to it the Bible’s Ecclesiastes and Aesop’s Fables, one has assembled a far better tool for imparting wisdom and raising good leaders than all the Law and MBA schools in the land. Moreover, not a word is needed that was written after 1758.

Former Peace Corps volunteer that he is, Murray writes, “It is not enough that gifted children learn to be nice. They must know what it means to be good.” Goodness is good, but by far insufficient as the sole compass of a civilization already terminally diabetic from its feast of goodness, yet still blind to godness, to Reality as created by Nature’s God.

We are rich in the Judeo Christian values of Compassion, Faith, Hope and Love. We are extremely poor in the Greek values of courage, prudence, temperance and justice — and that’s not the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals justice. We are broke and empty of the Roman values of Constantia (endurance), Fides (good faith), Firmitas (firmness of mind), Frugalitas (love of simplicity), Nobilitas (nobility), Pietas (civic dutifulness), Prudentia (foresight, wisdom), Pudicita (chaste modesty), Severitas (sternness, self-control), Veritas ( truthfulness), and Virtus (manly courage).

We have plenty of pagan values, but because that side of the spectrum has been co-opted by the Left, instead of the fierce territorialism of the proto-Europeans we have eunuch globalism; instead of the fertile wisdom of early semi-matriarchy we have screeching Goddess feminism; instead of the love of one’s own land we have Luddite Gaianism.

Naturally, where such ethereal space exists populated by unshaved, Birkenstocked goddesses and their meek male mates, troglodytes implant their stakes. And so we have the völkisch crypto-Nazis currently parading as the “New Right” savior of White man’s civilization and dreaming of spaceships humming with Nordic vril, taking off from Lemuria for the final showdown with ZOG, Julius Evola navigating.

Midgets above and dummkopf hulks below. We have repulsive midgets for leaders, foolish, craven, and traitorous, because in our egalitarian delusion we failed to properly identify human material fit for the “10%” by IQ and character, and to raise them as a dedicated equestrian order (Roman ordo equester). The education of such an elite would have to be not only in the professions and sciences but also in the values of Greek paideia and the spirit of Greek arete: virtue, nobility and excellence in the moral, intellectual, artistic, aesthetic, spiritual and physical realms.

Since Edmund Burke until we were dumbed down quite recently we had a good understanding why democracy does not work except in small scale. In the current polities of multi-centimillions of rainbow strangers, democracy yields a ruling layer of mediocre clowns whose perception by the public has been manipulated via virtual reality electron streams issued by expert cognitive burglars like BHO’s Svengali, David Axelrod, and other acolytes of Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays.

In the absence of a noble elite, our values, morals, fashions, culture flow from the bottom to the top, with a caveat for PC-MC values that the ruling midgets rain on the hoi polloi from above. Except for that, being much cleverer than the rest the midgets encourage the monstrosities so that they may saddle, steer and milk the giant beast with ease.

In the Undemocratic Republic, the fools, cowards, traitors, practiced liars and consummate looters who make up America’s and EU’s parliamentary and ministerial elites would not have a chance to even be considered. While some now serving have the brains, few have the character. Or look good on horseback.

The takeover of all levers of control in politics, governance and culture by peddlers selling something or themselves by any and all means is a relatively new development in Western history. A natural aristocrat may covet money for what it can buy, but has an internal code that will not permit him to sell his honor and values [see “chivalry code” in the West, bushido in the East].

The capitalist system would be enshrined in the Undemocratic Republic, but capitalist crime would be treated as the capital crime it is. Money would not rule, but class would. Money is fungible, but nobility is etched into one’s life history, and face.

Race in a country that was multiracial at its founding cannot be an obstacle. I believe that Thomas Sowell and AyaanHirsi Ali would be in the top of the discriminative ruling elite: the nobility and the brains are chiseled in their faces and CVs. But Al Sharpton and Maxine Waters would not be even at its bottom for the inverse reasons, also etched in faces and CVs. Nor could a typical Racial Looter theme of disparate impact count with respect to dicing and “adjusting” the Upper 10% by any identity shibboleths or spoils formulas.

In matters of culture, a survivable Western polity may not be equally catholic. An honorable elite cannot but acknowledge that since 1965 the demographic and cultural balance of the United States, and even more so Europe, has been upset on purpose by the ruling midgets, to serve their own practical and ideological ends. The results of this catastrophic sabotage would have to be reversed by just and humane means.

I don’t know how a Greek Arete Oligarchy may be restored: perhaps not before the human genome can be read like an open book and serve as a guide. The Western generation that witnesses the main phase of the collapse of its civilization, if desperate enough, may find a way, perhaps by the two guiding lights that still avail. America’s Founding Fathers, now a shamefully reviled ghost, are the first one[9]. The other is the Church: perhaps the sole institution with the endurance and legitimacy, however shriveled, that can awaken the decadent wastrel. But to revive the latter, one would do well to consider the faith of the former.

Embracing the elephant

The Catholic priest and philosopher Józef Tischner, who made a brief appearance in the previous chapter, once said, “Faith is essentially a sad necessity. If we could have more knowledge, we’d not need faith. The crux of the matter is that we cannot have more knowledge. There are things that exceed the capability of the human mind. There is a blinding light. That’s how it is with God.”[10]

Beautiful, but, ah, if we could only define what makes a credible basis for faith. Credible faith: a non sequitur that should be resolved, like a Zen koan asking what was your face like before you were born. Particularly in a religion based on the premise that faith alone (with additional caveats in some denominations) is necessary for salvation.

Christianity has lost Charles Murray’s 10% because of its obstinate clinging to manipulative hocus-pocus from the marketing plan of St. Paul, with later even more ethereal accretions. All brilliant, for in tune with the insights of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell nineteen centuries later relative to universal archetypes such as the Hero’s virgin birth (e.g. Krishna) and resurrection (e.g. Osiris), or proffering the ultimate sales pitch: the promise of eternal life. But in the 21st century this kind of stuff does not work well for graduate degree holders and atom splitters, or just people who can think for themselves.

For the last 100 years Christianity has been paying the wages of its early proscription and persecution, since Constantine, of anti-Platonian Epicureanism. The wisdom of Epicurus evolved around savoring life in this world and valuing pleasure and happiness attained by modest and intellectually refined means. Christianity is paying as well for its early suppression, since Justinian I, of Stoicism. The wisdom of Zeno and Epictetus taught that moral and intellectual perfection through reasoning, not faith, leads to a life of virtue and contentment regardless of the vicissitudes of fate and society. It was the ethos of the Greek and Roman patrician classes, but was deemed too pagan under know-it-all Christianity.

Greek sages 2600 years ago knew more about the great questions of life and death than we do now. They, and Confucius too, were preoccupied with the issue of the life well lived. Church fathers, instead, fashioned of bona fide or fake second and third hand accounts of Jesus’ life, death and teachings a damper on earthly happiness, promising instead rewards in the afterlife in a pattern social psychologists know as the cognitive fallacy of insufficient justification. A more salutary focus for a religious institution might be the question of what constitutes a life well lived in a Reality as hard as the next paycheck or chemotherapy session, and as transcendent as the taste of fresh honey at sunrise, or a man giving up his life on the cross to redeem fellow men unworthy of it.

It’s important to answer honestly what “well lived” stands for. The current answer for “progressives” and Christians alike is “a life of loving service to others” — which is hypocritical bunk. The answer of secular hedonists is “He who dies with the most toys (or sexual conquests, fun etc.) wins” — which is a low doggy aspiration bereft of the dog’s nobility. But the answer of the only stoics still extant in Western society: commandos, smokejumpers, and others who risk their lives in a line of duty with mediocre odds of survival, is the pursuit of valor and virtue and avoidance of decadence — all based on the acceptance of the certainty of death.

Truthful moral and pragmatic philosophy would define the good life somewhere within this triangle, but it takes wisdom and discrimination to peel and sift layers of concept and meaning to get more precise coordinates. Why should that not be an ecclesiastical endeavor?

Consider the opening of the New Testament (Matthew 1:1): “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Then lots of begats — all unprovable and unlikely assertions, a proselytizing pitch to fellow Jews to convince them of the legitimacy of Jesus’ claim to Messiah status. Compare that to the opening of Confucius’ Analects: “The Master said, ‘Is it not pleasant to learn with a constant perseverance and application? Is it not delightful to have friends coming from distant quarters?’”

You can live by those insights in this world, this Reality, whereas lines about Jesus’ lineage from Zorobabel and Abiud are just a plucking of ancient Judaic strings that even then contributed nothing to their beholders’ understanding of life and man.

Or take this opening of Laotse’s Book of Tao, the founding book of Taoism: “The Tao that can be told is not the Absolute Tao; The names that can be given are not the absolute names.” Substitute “God” for “Tao” — or don’t — and you have a deep insight into the mystery of the Supreme Being.

There are pearls of prudential wisdom in Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and in Jesus’ metaphors and parables. But the philosophical orientation of the Bible and therefore the West is dialectic-linear, instead of organic-circular. It is from that that the notion of progressively debilitating Progress has sprung. But the organic-circular orientation comes from Nature-based creedal systems such as the proto-Europeans had long ago, and Northeast Asians still have now. Deep wisdom and sacredness, even forces that appear supranatural to Westerners (e.g. ki, yin, yang), are embedded in them.

The manicured hand of a Cardinal; what good is it with its gold ring and lace trimmings if it cannot stun or vivify a man with a light touch? What’s so special about a preacher who quotes from the Bible by heart but cannot predict the future? Predicting the future is easy for one who has conquered his own stupidity; no theological hocus pocus or PhD are necessary. Father Tischner, again: “I have not seen anyone yet who lost his faith reading Marx; I have seen many who lost it through contact with priests.”

The spiritual autobiography of one of Zen’s great contemporary masters, Soko Morinaga (1925 — 1995) is subtitled “An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity”. How many Church greats were or are ready to so subtitle their own memoirs? Yet what does man need spiritual leaders for if they have not conquered their own stupidity so that they can impart wisdom to others?[11]

“Stupidity is the only universal capital crime,” wrote the great writer and intellect, officer, gentleman and patriot, Robert Heinlein in an age when America still produced such quintifectas, “the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity”[12]. A religion concerned with saving its believers from this death sentence ought to promote wisdom rather than encourage stupidity, particularly the stupidity of religious fundamentalism. And that has to start from recognizing that Reality is what God hath wrought.

Suppressing inconvenient social facts, persecuting politically incorrect truths, misrepresenting group inequalities as consequences of “discrimination” to be redressed by Leviathan, backstopping the negative outcomes of risk for banksters who got rich on risk, meddling with the market’s interest rates as Helicopter Ben does — these are but few of the ways in which a ruling elite that’s echelons above reality (that’s soldier-speak for generals) destroys the future of the little people in its custodial care. Faking or subverting Reality are the ultimate blasphemy. “Good” intentions are no excuse for their horrific unintended consequences

All of which ought to make Christianity incompatible with and hostile to mushy Progressives, sacrificial Lambs, equalizing Socialists, and Third World liberationist fans of Che. That it isn’t, presently, counts against it. One may feel compassion for Somali refugees, but resettling them in Minnesota as several Protestant organizations do is a willful offense against Reality, devoid of compassion for Minnesota.

In pursuit of its own global village utopia, Christianity has ceased caring for its home village. It would be wise to contract the universalist and absolutist dogma, to squeeze some yin and air out of it. Caring for the survival of Western Civilization — the only authentic home of Christianity — should become the Church’s primary concern.



[1] The term Black-Run America (BRA) was coined by Paul Kersey of the Stuff Black People Don’t Like blog. His is one of perhaps five small quality pajama media outlets — not counting crypto-Nazis who mix malevolent lies with truthful items — that alone stay the course of truth in matters of race relations in the entire Western World.
[2] U.S. figure is from the 2012 Statistical Abstract of the U.S. Census Bureau. European figure is from a May 8, 2008 Daily Mail article, “One in five pregnancies terminated across Europe each year.” I have pointedly omitted statistics from other parts of the globe. In the dire circumstances that the West has brought on itself, the affairs of the rest of the world ought to be none of its business until it gets its own house in order.
[3] Some Jews, e.g. here are beginning to wake up to this, but still without admitting how much their long infatuation with “progressive” ideas has contributed to this situation.
[4] When I viewed the Dika Down Booboo! video, the promo to the right of the prancing savages proclaimed Get Your Free Money Now!! and linked to B. Hussein Obama’s stimulus grants. Adhan, the amplified Muslim call to prayer is a disgusting outrage to the little people suffering in what were once their own countries, but it’s the rulers’ special protected darling, drawing support from the likes of the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard in the UK, and undoubtedly mobilizing the U.S. Department of Justice for a path-clearing lawfare jihad.
[5] Retrievable at the AEI website as:
[6] J. Philippe Rushton, one of the world’s most distinguished and relentlessly persecuted evolutionary psychologists, now gives a lecture entitled, “My Life as a Scientist: The Consequences of Seeking the Truth.” Another taboo-violating scientist of the mind, Linda Gottfredson, published in 2010 “Lessons in academic freedom as lived experience.”
[7] This paragraph pertains to race-related statistical facts that progressively lobotomized “scientists” — e.g. Stephen Jay Gould — treat as “racist” opinions. The U.S. has at most 4,000,000 individuals in the 130+ IQ bracket, given that America’s population is 22% of China’s. Whites and Northeast Asians — both higher on average by 15-20 IQ points than the black and brown minorities — constitute only 70% of the population, and the white majority’s mean IQ, at 100, is lower by 5 points than the Northeast Asian average. All that is even more the reason to go by strict meritocracy.
[8] The clucking class considers the word “Eskimo” offensive. I don’t care. The anti-matter doppelgangers of the clucking class considered the poetry of Heinrich Heine and the music of Felix Mendelssohn offensive. People of brain and conscience must push back in 2012 just as they should have in 1932. Incidentally, Whites are not immune to this pathology. I get emails from enraged defenders of Whiteness objecting to my using the words “gentile” and “WASP,” notwithstanding the former’s King James Bible lineage and the latter’s being a perfectly innocent and useful acronym.
[9] We will not get stuck here on the Progressives’ spear of slavery. The lobotomized class that fills the upper deck of America’s Republicrat ship never lets facts interfere with its favored fictions, and is too cowardly to stand up for the truth even if it were, improbably, able to see it. The truth is threefold. First, if the Founding Fathers stood on the principle of getting rid of slavery, the United States could not have been born. Sometimes a hero is a tragic hero, caught in the framework of his times. Second, if they didn’t set their own slaves free, let the reviler first erase his own net worth, as would have been the case with Jefferson. Third, let him who continues to view the origins of America with the bias of presentism, at least get rid of the bias of relativism. The latter bias is blind to how slaves fared in the hands of their Black African and Arab masters, and how many more of them there were.
[10] This and other Tischner quotes are translated from the Polish. I am not aware of English translations of any of his many works, though some exist in French and German.
[11] Not everything is great and wise in Buddhism, Taoism etc. The examples adduced here are from the spiritual peak those systems have produced. Human stupidity and corruption are as evident in the popular practice of those religions as they are in the practice of Christianity, though manifested differently. There is no space here to develop this theme farther.
[12] Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, Longman, 1978.


Takuan Seiyo is a European-born American writer living in exile in Japan. The next chapter of this multipart essay will appear next month.

Previous posts by Takuan Seiyo:

2008 Oct 14 The Real Mark-to-Market
  Dec 1 You Say Mumbai, I Say Bombay
2009 Apr 8 The Deadly Jive of Jiverly Diversity
  Jun 2 The American Press: The Unbearable Lightness of Treason
    12 Critique of the Culture of Kevin MacDonald
  Jul 31 Sons of Onan
  Sep 2 Be the Change
  Dec 15 F Street
2010 Apr 25 Vast Canyon of Gas and Dust, Inshallah
  Jul 7 Vast Canyon of Gas and Dust — Progressive Progress Report
  Dec 12 The Art of Strategic Citizenship, Part 1
2011 Jan 7 The Art of Strategic Citizenship, Part 2
    31 The Art of Strategic Citizenship, Part 3
  Mar 20 The Art of Strategic Citizenship, Part 4
  Apr 2 The Art of Strategic Citizenship, Part 4(b)
  Sep 30 On Fanciful Attributions and Wishful Imputations
  Nov 1 The Bee and the Lamb, Chapter 1
  Dec 1 The Bee and the Lamb, Chapter 2
2012 Jan 1 The Bee and the Lamb, Chapter 3

90 comments:

John said...

Pessimistic but true. A magnificent essay which touches even still seldom mentioned themes such as women in combat and the courting of “gays,” “gay” marriage etc... For one always hears that islam penalizes homosexuality with death... but the bulk of homosexuals (not everybody, of course, but the many) are in fact multiculturalists who profit from the actual boundless tolerance towards minorities, not realizing that this trend will eventually bring them doom. And promoting gay marriage as something "normal" certainly does not make the level of european population increase... But the line about the jews perhaps needs a puntualization. Not all jews are like this. Some of them are conservative and certainly care about moral and values.

I wonder what kind of archeologist he's referring to... perhaps ideological ones? If so, they will be truly amazed to realize what sort of ideologies devastated the west.

K. from Germany said...

Wow. A-W-E-S-O-M-E. I'm going to print those out and have another go, or 2, or more. Not just because I, too, happen to be a great fan of Heinlein's L.L. notes.

Thank you and hats off to you for this work.

babs said...

in our egalitarian delusion we failed to properly identify human material fit for the “10%” by IQ and character, and to raise them as a dedicated equestrian order (Roman ordo equester). The education of such an elite would have to be not only in the professions and sciences but also in the values of Greek paideia and the spirit of Greek arete: virtue, nobility and excellence in the moral, intellectual, artistic, aesthetic, spiritual and physical realms.

The one place I can think of where the education of the top 10% does take place to the extent you desire is our nation's military academies. Alas, they are also being compromised.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to you, Gates of Vienna, for being brave and allowing this work to be shared!

Nemesis said...

Read the whole four instalments of this wonderful essay and found myself agreeing with so much of what has been written.

A truly expansive view into what ails our 'Western Civilization'

Looking forward to the next instalment.

Anonymous said...

(cont'd)...

And even though suffering and death existed long before mankind's temptations, it still doesn't mean that the ancient Jews weren't on to something, when they realized that the darkness of this world, when consciously chosen, is the very definition of evil.
It isn't suffering, or darkness that afflicts this world. It is EVIL -- and evil is the attribute of a BEING. Something wicked passes through Creation, just as it once had to pass through the celestial realm. And every time we listen to its promises and participate in it, we produce the very darkness that has existed in this world long before we were here.
Creation has been infected with something. Humans are just the ones capable of consciously knowing the truth of it. God came to save Creation in a manger...but as a man. And not just any man, but a Jew: the very people who believed in the wisdom of Genesis.

Salvation through Jesus is not synonymous with being Christian. It is the Samaritan, not the Jew, who ultimately heard and followed the quiet voice of God. Jesus is merely the manifestation of the spirit of God which exists in the hearts of all men, and which sustains Creation itself. He is with ALL people regardless of time or place. As Jesus himself said: "Before Abraham ever was, I am."

The truth of the Good Samaritan, or the Good Muslim, or the Good Aztec, etc etc, has been expressed in history. The ultimate truth of the human condition has been spread (however imperfectly), across all nations, just like the Son of God said it would.

And now here we are, living in the shadow of our own fallen nature, and the accumulated sins of history.

Five minutes to midnight ....in the Garden of Good and Evil.

john in cheshire said...

This is a wonderful article. So many home-truths in such a short space. If only there were ears to hear and eyes to see, then perhaps we'd start identifying those amongst us who have the capability to lead us into the light. But I don't see that happening before some major catastrophe has occurred that is a game changer.

spinoneone said...

A monument to clear thinking. Sure, we won't all agree with each and every line, but overall an A+!!

Some Jews have always supported totalitarian regimes. In the U.S. in 2008 about 80% of the Jewish population voted for Obama. According to current polling, that number is down to the low 60s. That is progress, even if a baby step.

I look forward to reading part 5. Kudos to Gates of Vienna for presenting this superb work.

Benge Runfalk said...

Precious poetic prose flows from Mr Seiyos cornucopia seemingly in a neverending abundance... I just gave myself a friendly pat on the shoulder for maybee having in a tiny way participated in seeing the completion of this brilliant pentagon.

Peter76 said...

I find nothing pessimistic here-a truly excellent essay. But what to do indeed; with the world's media against us, it is perhaps already too late. We are forced to just go with the flow. One thing is certain; there will be massive violence.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous
Re: Good an Evil

I can’t disagree with anything you wrote, but based on my life experience, reading and thinking about these issues, I’d recast your statement onto somewhat different tracks.

First, there is nothing in my statements that could be interpreted as a denial of the importance and value of the contribution of “ancient Jews.” Western civilization begins from the very moment when Abraham’s knife stops in mid-air above Isaac’s throat. That Abraham may not have existed, and that if he did he was not a Jew, is not important. What’s important is that through the Bible he is an expression of the collective Jewish consciousness. Then you have the Ten Commandments and other Biblical building blocks. I am not arguing about that. I am arguing that we have additional cultural wellsprings that we have neglected, and we need to integrate them better with Christianity to have a rounded, more immune civilization.

Evil is real, but genuine evil is rare. Herod, Nero, Hitler, Himmler, Stalin, Mao – they and a thin layer of underlings were evil. But most of the German people who followed Hitler were not evil. Most members of the Soviet Communist party were not evil. The pious Muslim who believes that only his kind has a direct telephone line to God is not evil. He is immensely stupid, though. Stupidity is a far greater problem than evil. Without stupidity, evil could never mobilize millions to back it up, until the inevitable moment of reckoning.

Then I would say that salvation through Jesus is synonymous with being Christian. What is not synonymous with being Christian, in my opinion at least and that of various past Christian thinkers (some burned for that thinking), is belief in all the complicated Neo-Platonian concepts involving the Trinity, transfiguration etc. Is the Virgin Mary of any lesser impact and spiritual comfort if one asserts that no conception is immaculate? Non-virgin Virgin Mary’s exist in other creeds, e.g. the ancient Slavs had Marena, Japanese Buddhists have Kannon etc.

Lastly, Christians should not assume that because their culture incorporates Jesus as the road to salvation, it means that other cultures have no valid avenues of their own. The past is the past, but in the 21st century religious imperialism ought to be left to the one creed where it indubitably belongs: Islam.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

@Takuan
Thank you for your reply.

I couldn't agree more that everything good from other cultures should be incorporated and adopted. After all, when mankind seeks what is good, he seeks God, whether it knows it or not.

You are right that borderline pure evil is rare. But willfully having an affair with your neighbors wife can destroy a home and wreck lives. It isn't Hitler, but it nevertheless IS connected to the darkness which afflicts this world.

I never meant to say that Western Civ should adopt a provincial or narrow minded christianity. Again, all that is good in other cultures represents a search for God. But the ultimate truth of mankind nevertheless IS expressed in our culture. Gravity existed in the lives of all peoples, but it was Western Civ that discovered the truth of it.

Your essay was truly brilliant. I couldn't agree more that we need to rediscover lost virtues of our own civilization, and emulate those of others.

Unfortunately, the first part of my response to you didn't go through, and only the tail end of the good/evil bit was left.

I'll try to sum it up next.

Green Infidel said...

RE Father Jozef Tischner - here in Poland he is regarded by many on the Right as being a "Leftist" priest - a flag-bearer for those wanting Polish Church to follow in the footsteps of the Western Church!

Generally a very interesting essay - looking at the fall of the West from a wider angle than perhaps any previous articles. Looking forward to part 5.

jeppo said...

The ruling elite — in politics, government, law, media, literature and punditry, corporate governance, academia, science, etc. — comprises people from the top 10% of the [white] IQ distribution field (IQ of 120+): about 15 million people in America. This 10% of the population steers the ship of state, country, economy, culture.

Sometimes I think that the erudite Takuan Seiyo, with his flowery prose and obscure (to me) philosophical references, is speaking exclusively to this 10% intellectual elite rather than to the great unwashed masses. That's all fine and well, but who then is going to explain our bio-conservative worldview to the uneducated simpletons, the dimwitted rubes, the mouth-breathing dullards of the world?

What we need is an HBD For Dummies primer, a simple but effective way of popularizing the undeniable truth of racial differences in intelligence. Let's start with this map from Lynn and Vanhanen's "IQ and Global Inequality". The map should be instead coloured yellow, white, brown and black, ranked by skin colour in order of average IQ by nation. Unfortunately, some PCMC enforcer has edited the Wikipedia page so that the table that once listed average IQ by nation is no longer there, so I'm going to have to quote them from memory.

I'm going to call this horribly bigoted system of ranking people and nations by the hue of their skin and average IQ "Colourism" (or Colorism for our u-challenged Yankee friends). Colourism: It's the new, improved racism! Three colour-groups (Yellows, Whites and Blacks) are easily recognizable racial groups, while Browns are an amalgamation of the three major races that I have further divided into 5 subgroups based on religious affiliation. All nations in the world, if not necessarily all individuals, fit into one of these 8 categories.

YELLOWS are Northeast Asian Mongoloids, dominating China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Singapore, total population 1.6 billion. Average IQ between 101 and 108.

WHITES are European Caucasoids, dominating Europe, Russia, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Uruguay, total population 1.15 billion. Average IQ between 90 and 102.

BROWNS can be of any race or combination of races, and I use the term loosely, encompassing all shades of skin from light beige to dark hazelnut. Browns constitute about half the world's population, and are in a way "default humanity", what all people will eventually look like if the miscegenation-happy liberals get their way. Browns are too large and complicated a group to consider as a whole, so I've broken them down into 5 religious subgroups thusly:

(continued)

Anonymous said...

@Takuan.

Your emphasis on Yin and Yan, and the world's gravitation towards balance or harmony, is on closer inspection merely a Judeo Christian notion with a far eastern veneer. From what I understand, Yan and Yin are really fatalistic concepts. The opposite forces of the cosmos seek some kind of balance, and we, consciously or unconsciously, are a part of that. But Western Civ isn't the product of forces that swirl around harmony like electrons around a nucleus. Western Civ has always seen itself as the product of free will. What is it that moves a civlization to proper balance, if not wise and good decisions over foolish and selfish ones? Yan and Yin itself cannot be responsible, since that is fatalism. Ultimately, it is US who decide. Substitute your notion of proper harmony or balance with "God's will" and you'll see what I'm getting at.

I understand your rejection of the endless "begats" of the Bible. There is plenty bronze age mumbo jumbo in the Old Testament as well. But I see the Judeo Christian story as the growing yet imperfect understanding of God on the part of the Jews, followed by God's response. That even Peter and Paul believed in a literal Genesis isn't reason to throw the belief overboard.

Genesis contains startling wisdom on the nature of Good and Evil. And to my mind, it is no accident that God manifested himself to humanity through those who had this as their ideological foundation.

Anonymous said...

"Genesis contains startling wisdom on the nature of Good and Evil. And to my mind, it is no accident that God manifested himself to humanity through those who had this as their ideological foundation."

Indeed. Essays like this are just hot air, blown about a bit by people who want to think they're incredibly smart. Unfortunately, they've missed the main point entirely.

Anonymous said...

@Takuan

One critical thing I forgot to mention: despite the clamor of fundamentalists who claim that you must be Christian to be saved, this is not the case. Following God can be done unknowingly. You rightly mention the admirable virtues of other peoples. What is that if not following the voice of God? Jesus is only the manifestation of this eternal reality. As he himself said: "Before Abraham ever was, I am."

Jesus was and is Truth on earth. And his execution was nothing more than a violent lie. The truth cannot be destroyed, hence the resurrection.

The next time you hear someone say that you must be Christian to be saved, remember that Jesus used the Samaritan as the example of someone who searched for the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And just as the Samaritan followed the quiet voice of God, so too do all nations when they live and lived for virtues that we have long forgotten.

As our civilization collapses, Islam holds the world hostage, threatening endless civilizational warfare in a post maxim gun/atom bomb age. You are right that institutionalized Christianity will not save us. Only true virtues can stand firm when the storm breaks and humanity comes face to face with the gates of hell.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a more open call for a fascist dictatorship than this. Less democracy? Are you serious?

This government would be arbitrary, ineffective and insane. Banning voodoo? What the heck? How is that even an issue...? So some people like to dress up with skulls and dance around, why should anyone else care?

I see that "rule of the strong" has now been replaced with "rule of the high IQ". Hardly an improvement. Could you explain why a complete math geek with an IQ of 150 is the best suited to decide where the line between the private sphere and the rest of society should go? Why is he best suited to decide what weapons a citizen should be allowed to buy? It all comes off as more than a little loony.

HT

jeppo said...

(continued from above)

BROWN JEWS dominate Israel, population 7.5 million. Average IQ 95. The reason that Israel is a Brown nation is because Sephardic, Mizrahi and other non-European Jews outnumber Ashkenazis, and Arabs make up about 20% of the population, which probably explains why the average Israeli IQ is surprising low compared to that of Jews in the West.

BROWN BUDDHISTS dominate Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Burma, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, population 250 million. Average IQ between the low 80s and mid-90s.

BROWN CHRISTIANS dominate most of Latin America, the Caribbean, South Pacific and island groups around the world, including the Philippines and Madagascar, population 700 million. Average IQ between the high 70s and 90.

BROWN MUSLIMS dominate about 50 countries stretching from Morocco and Indonesia, population more than 1.5 billion. Average IQ between the mid-70s and 90.

BROWN HINDUS dominate India, Nepal and the Maldives, population 1.2 billion. Average IQ low 80s.

BLACKS are sub-Saharan African Negroids, dominating about 50 nations in Africa plus Haiti, population 900 million. Average IQ between 60 and the mid-70s.

Essentially, all these groups and subgroups fall into two broad categories: Ice People, those who are capable of creating and maintaining a First World society (with all that entails), and Sun People, those who are not. Yellows, Whites and Brown Jews are Ice People, the rest of the Browns and Blacks are Sun People. Today, the population of the Sun People nations outnumber the Ice People nations by about 4.2 to 2.8 billion, or 60%-40%, but this is changing rapidly for the worse.

I've classified Argentina and Uruguay as White nations, even though they are probably more culturally (if not racially) akin to their Brown Christian Latin American Neighbours. Either way, they are or will soon be lost to the White world forever. Alas, so will the US, the greatest of all White nations. Non-White births already outnumber White ones, so the US will inevitably descend into the Brown Christian world at some point in the near future. Canada, Australia and New Zealand aren't too far behind the US and will likely go Brown sometime after mid-century.

Russia will almost certainly be leaving the White world in the coming decades as well, but instead of joining the Brown Christian nations, their ultimate fate is much worse: they will be absorbed by the Brown Muslim world. Israel and Singapore may fall to the Brown Muslims too, and Europe may meet this terrible fate also, but they alone have a fighting chance of remaining White.

If the world's population, as expected, grows to about 10 billion people sometime after 2050, the Ice People by then will be down to a paltry 2 billion or so, three-quarters of them Yellow. So will the 8 billion Sun People of the future welcome their new Yellow overlords? *That* is the question.

derville said...

From a French point of view, this essay is very much Americano-centric (WASP & Jewish) but the feminised-society interpretation does also apply here.

Anonymous said...

@ Jeppo @Green Infidel

Both of you touch on issues that can be classified as highbrow v. middle and lowbrow. First, Jeppo. I am merely using the tool kit that I have. I am not the person to popularize these ideas to the masses. My education, CV, personality aren’t right for that. If they were, and if I were the speaker that I am the writer, I’d go into politics. But I do what I can on a personal level, “converting” one soul at a time, butcher, maid or baker.

As to IQ group differences per se, Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire are better equipped as popularizers, but they too are too erudite for Joe Sixpack. The danger is that if a fast-mouth demagogue latch onto these issues, he will forget to mention that even with the one sigma difference in averages, it still means that 16% of blacks have a higher IQ than half of whites do, and the black person sharing a train seat with a superiority-flaunting Aryan Nationalist moron may happen to be borderline genius.

That’s why these are considered “dangerous” ideas. Like religion, they are only for the intelligent. The answer is in what we discussed before: to weigh a geographical area with a demography conducive to having truth-based education among other reality-conforming societal features. HBD can be simple and non-racist, only realist. But it has to be taught in schools, by unstnatched teachers.

Green Infidel, I am one of yours, grew up as a Catholic and consider myself friend of the RCC to this day. But I don’t like narrow dogmatism, and I can’t remain a part of any religious flock that claims exclusivity on God, on Jesus, on salvation or on truth. That’s why I devoted some space to internecine Catholic – Protestant slaughter that is quite a dark and stupid part of the West’s history. The last sub-chapter’s title, Embracing the Elephant, gives a hint as to the rest of this issue’s treatment that will follow.

The religious Right in Poland, combining religious fanaticism with patriotic nationalism in a middlebrow formula is not a particularly wholesome phenomenon. There are worse, e.g. Croatia, but Poland can do better and did in the past. I’ve had conversations with representative specimens who in one phrase make a deeply antisemitic remark and in the next one refer to the Virgin Mary as the Queen of Poland. What they omit in between is that the Virgin Mary was Miriam from Nazareth, a Jewish mother.

Tischner as well as JP II were true Catholics, and true Poles, but they were also high-caliber intellectuals. And the more learning you have, not just from books but from living and thinking, the wider your horizons. You start perceiving similarities between religions, cultures etc, that you didn’t know existed. You get closer to knowing how little you know, which makes it impossible to express yourself in such rough-hewn terms of parochial certitude as lowbrow religious nationalists deploy. You become more “ecumenical,” you co-author papers with Protestants and have dinner with agnostic or Jewish philosophers.

Hence the resistance to both JP II and Tishner on what you call the “Right.” But, first, that is not Right from where I stand. Where I stand is the American-Scottish-English Right. It was a great catalyst in 18th century Poland; it would be a shame if it were to be supplanted by a Croat version of the Right. It’s the Dmowski v. Pilsudski issue: two “Rights,” and I am with the latter.

Both JPII and Tischner were giants. They were not saints (mea culpa re: JP II) and committed mistakes, but we forgive our friends and teachers, don’t we?
Takuan Seiyo

Chiu ChunLing said...

Unfortunately, I have to say that the total effect of this presentation is one of much froth and little body. The essay goes on far too much about what was and is wrong with the world and only occasionally notes the standard of goodness on which such judgments are centered.

That in goodness we seek a center rather than an extreme is perhaps true in most practical senses. But exploring the deviations gives us little detail about the center we are seeking. For all the nonsense of which Progressivism is guilty, the idea of progress itself is not among them. That the balanced center we seek will prove a foundation for continued improvement of ourselves and our posterity is our reason for seeking it. The characteristic evil of every "extreme" is that it neglects the critical question of how pie is made in the eagerness of various parties to grab a larger share of it.

On the other hand, unlike pie, the balance of yin and yang in the world is constant. The difficulty is in having a balance of it in each person. The excesses of "yang" in history were committed against individuals with an excess of "yin". The widespread inculcation of "yin" in today's society is, as always, the result of gathering "yang" into the hands of a few.

When the willingness to submit to the unyielding demands of reality and the readiness to challenge adversities with one's own strengths are balanced in each person, then it is possible to produce and preserve goods by labor and innovation acting upon resources, rather than to plunder them from others or be among those plundered. Those who have a balance of prudence and courage are able to forcefully resist the aggression of the robber while answering the importunity of the beggar with tools for self-sufficiency rather than indifference or indulgence.

IQ, the raw neurological potential for rapid mental development and organization of ideas, can be used either for the wise activity of discerning the pattern of reality from the fancies of imagination or for the foolish activity of elaborate imagining of what reality does not admit. But it is not only those of great intellectual potential that have need of learning the wisdom to discern reality from fantasy. It is true that the man with a complex and convincing imagination of what cannot work in reality will do more damage than will the dullard who engages in such activity. So too a willingness to learn from the nature of the universe will produce greater effects when combined with great mental acuity than with a simple understanding.

But this is no any reason to confine a pattern of moral education to some top percentage of the population, based only on their natural inheritance of a single good. People differ as to their native resistance to being paralyzed by fear of physical danger or social disgrace as well, and these attributes are as needful to the leaders of a just and sane society as are mental capacity. Instead of going to great lengths to distinguish who must be educated to discern reality from fantasy, why not educate all and let those who benefit most from it rise to the top?

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Bob said...

Linked.

Anonymous said...

For those who are offended by the RCC's dogma in regards to salvation through Jesus - what do you expect. For them to promote Scientology?

The same can be said for the Greek Orthodox as well.

I suggest these thin skinned folks who are offended by these churches, realize they are free to ignore them and their respective dogmas. They're not Muslim's despite what you think.

And there is another issue related to this. The more secular and inclusive a church becomes the more it becomes irrelevant and liberal. They believe in nothing and fight nothing. And they are often the first ones to welcome Islam into their communities because they can't tell good from evil anymore.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous
Re: Salvation through Jesus

You are right that salvation through Jesus is the cornerstone of Christianity. Unitarianism is certainly not the way to go. Like paganism, it goes everywhere only to end up nowhere.
However, I am utterly repulsed by Christians who claim in one breath that only believers go to heaven, only to claim that God is good in the next.

Jesus made it very clear that one could say what one wants of him, but that only those who blaspheme against the Spirit are damned. It is only when you fully fathom that Jesus truly is the voice of this spirit on earth, that rejecting him is as good as rejecting the other.

Unitarianism wont save us, nor will secular religions. Even Christianity is suspect since it reflects the flaws of its followers. But within institutionalized Christianity has always been the simple redemptive message of the carpenter from Nazareth. He was no pacifist, nor was he a Che Guevara. Violence has its place, just not in the kingdom of God.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
Re: RCC and Orthodox
You have read the opposite meaning into what my stated opinions are. I am not offended by RCC or Orthodox dogmas when confined to their faithful. I am offended when instead of catering to the needs of their faithful they get busy slighting, or in the past maligning, and in the more remote past slaughtering Europeans of other denominations BECAUSE they are other denominations, even though those too believe in salvation through Jesus. And even if they don’t, e.g. Jews or Estonian shamans then or now, it’s none of any church’s business.

Do you know the meaning of “Orthodox”? In the relevant Slavic languages it’s called Pravoslavni and it means “True faith.” The issue is not that Calvinists or Anabaptists consider the Orthodox faith untrue. It’s the opposite: the Orthodox faith and pre-Vatican 2 RCC consider other faiths untrue, and that’s foolish and pitiful. The elephant is of infinite size, and each blind denomination is holding on to a tusk, or leg, or tail, asserting vociferously that that’s the entire elephant.

What you say on the second issue is partially true, but does not relate to the stated words and implied meanings of what I have written. I am in the middle of suggesting a slight realignment away from 3rd century dogma and toward first a more Deist perception and second a more human Jesus and less the Neo-Platonic abstraction. There are considerable advantages to that that I’ll go into, plus I have the flower of America’s founders and Scottish and English Enlightenment Christian philosophers in my corner, so these are not ideas as light as to allow knee-jerk reactions. There is zero secularity about it all. Second, the more ecumenical stance that such an orientation requires is something quite different from what the word “inclusive” implies.
Takuan Seiyo

Chiu ChunLing said...

While it may have been initially true that the compelling nature of Christ's claims on superb morality was mostly dependent on the remarkable strength of His claim to divinity, the culturally transmitted revision of ordinary morality to better fit Christ's teachings has the greater effect for the modernist.

I think that it is actually a good thing that so many moderns are able to unblinkingly accept Christ's occasionally absurd morality even while being resistant to His claim of divinity. It suggests that they have really forgotten the pre-Christian morality, that it for them is a dead issue. They have been molded by a culture shaped by the illogical demands of God incarnate to the extent that they are unable to perceive the illogic of those moral claims in comparison with the supernatural power that enforced them upon the world.

A clever ploy indeed...when I think on it I'm forced to concede that Christ may be able to partially save even many that reject Him personally.

Of course, this only works so long as those who follow Christ out of adoration of His divinity in spite of the illogical nature of His morality are the primary shapers of traditions that transmit that morality to succeeding generations. Once the shaping of morality is left to those who believe in the morality on the presumption that it makes sense mainly because it is what they were taught by society, then it will rapidly decay towards the morality inherent to the human condition in mortality as the experience of life begins to outweigh the teachings of their youth.

Christ Himself seems powerfully aware of the difficulty, an awareness expressed in the gap between what He commands and what He recommends. The commandments do not go far beyond what makes sense to those acquainted with the exigencies of human existence. But many of the recommendations are impossible for me to even understand, let alone rationally implement, no matter how impressed I may be by their divine source.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

The main point is this: the telos of the state is the preservation of a distinct people.

Anonymous said...

Dear Baron,

Even though i doubt i am saying anything constructive here and i realise i am in fact being unhelpfull; i still need to get this of my chest.

Your essay is base occultism and completely meaningless.

The west is not a shape, it is a tradition. The west is not made out of five cultures, it is A culture.

The west is a singular culture, made out of Shakespear, Kant, cathedrals, Socialism, Cherubs and novels.

Or out of old medieval cities, bronze statues, alpine mountains and dark forests.

It also has an heritage that goes back three thousand years and isn't western.

Well, this heritage may eventually include every culture on earth to some degree.

But the west will still be Goethe, Dies Irae, Darwinism, mechanical clocks and the Parliament.

Baron Bodissey said...

Anon @ 12:39pm --

Your comment is indeed unhelpful, but perhaps not in the way you think.

This is not "my" essay. It was written by Takuan Seiyo, as specified quite clearly in several places.

If you missed that aspect of the piece, it's possible you may have missed some nuances of meaning as well.

Anonymous said...

@ Chiu ChunLIng
Re: Divinity
I don’t know how deep your reading goes in things Christian, and things Jewish too, for the man his disciples addressed as Rabbi Yeshua was a Jew, and one who emphatically asserted that he had not come to abolish the (Jewish) Law. Jesus made no claims to divinity. To understand what he did say one must first understand the lexicon and the spirit of the languages he spoke, Hebrew and Aramaic. Semitic languages are rife with metaphor and simile; to this day it’s a striking feature of Arabic.
So, first, “My Father” does not necessarily mean my father. Second, we don’t know what Jesus said. Better brains than yours or mine (e.g. Jefferson’s) have been perplexed by this difficulty. A large portion of what you read in the Gospels was inserted decades and centuries after Christ. Reading at least one comprehensive book by a rigorous but still Christian scholar, such as Bart Ehrman, is really a must in these matters.
The next issue is that Christ’s morality was not absurd. It was an organic product of its unique time and place in history. And it is still wonderful and valid if beheld rationally and adjusted carefully and respectfully to the time and place where we are now. It’s not a tinkering that the average Joe Smith is equipped to do. But that’s what the best brains of an enlightened Church would do.
On a personal note, I don’t deny the divinity of Jesus, pray like I did when I was eight, and don’t see anything wrong with 1.2 billion Christians doing the same, every day. The issue is what precisely is the nature of this divinity. People who mechanically recite the Nicene creed for 1700 years are stuck with 3rd-4th century Turkish concepts (before the Turks were there) unadjusted for the best that the best minds of Western civilization, all long dead, have brought to bear on this issue. And as human conception, all those are too puny anyway to claim an absolute purchase on the interpretation of a phenomenon so vast that, like the Tao, as soon as you think you’ve pinned it down you have actually traduced it.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

@Takuan
Belief in Jesus' divinity (divine meaning a God, which is the only real definition there is), was present very early on. Even pagan sources written within living memory attest to this.
Josephus (37-100 AD) writes that "he was called the Christ" (Christ of course meaing "messiah"), was "a doer of wonderful works" and that "he drew over many of the Jews and Gentiles". Pliny (61-112 AD) writes that the Christian "error" was that "on a fixed day they used to meet before dawn and recite a hymn among themselves to Christ, as though he were a god." The "fixed day" is almost certainly Sunday, as only "a god" can rise from the dead.
Tacitus (55-120 AD) writes that Nero blamed the fire of Rome on the Christians, who were followers of "Christus", and who "was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius." Again, "christus" means "messiah". The belief that Jesus was the Jewish messiah, and even divine, is attested to by these sources and many others as well. Even the post-Christian ancient Jews, who had the most to gain by denying his existence and miracles, said that he was a "magician" who was executed for enticing the people to blasphemy.

Christianity was not invented by the Church fathers. The most intelligent and educated of them incorporated Greek thought as a way to better understand revelation. This is a great thing, as incorporating the greatness from other cultures while staying true to your own is how civilizations thrive and prosper. Sound familiar? Why are their efforts so disdainful, and yours valid? Is it because they believed it so intently? Don't you believe your worldview?

Jesus' reference to his "Father" can only be read one way, if one accepts the virgin birth, miracles, and resurrection. If one accepts the New Testament for what it is, rather than trying to add or remove things from the passages, Jesus was obviously no mere man. His authority to interpret scripture, make the blind see and the mute shout for joy come from one thing, his divinity, and his "Father" is the source of it. THAT is the New Testament.

Perhaps Jefferson's "difficulty" in knowing what Jesus actually said was due to his rejection of Jesus' divinity in the first place (which is understandable, if you start with that premise).

Chiu ChunLing said...

Absurdity is in the eye of the beholder (or ear of the audience), after all. I have no ability to comprehend Christ as fitting inside of the spectrum of ordinary humanity, nor even within the wider field of lesser gods that were part of the pagan world-view and that have survived in some form among the Catholic reverence for the saints. To me, this makes the claim of divinity (and whether you will attribute it to Him or not, I cannot see how it makes a difference) far less absurd than certain of the moral teachings.

If I were less than fully convinced that Christ is above humanity and the lesser gods in authority, I would dismiss the moral teachings that are original to Him as nonsensical innovations of a madman.

But a modern, having imbibed the values of that morality without much opportunity to test how very contradictory they become in dealing with the real world, may not find the moral teachings as difficult to accept as the claim of divinity (whether or not it is attributed to Christ personally). What is the "Truth" of the matter? I don't find the claims of morality to make any sense at all outside of appeal to the concept of some really existent standard of positive goodness. But moderns seem to take the view that goodness doesn't really consist of anything other than a feeling of self-justification and having one's ingrained assumptions upheld.

The point is, while much of Christ's moral teaching was not novel, some of it was, and yet it has found wide acceptance even among those who have no logical reason to accept it. That is quite something. What exactly it is depends on whether men will be saved or damned by it (which in turn depends on whether Christ was divine or a fool), I suppose. But it is quite something, either way.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Green Infidel said...

@ Takuan Seiyo - I've seen JPII referred to as a "Polish Nationalist" - by none other than the London Daily Telegraph. And Pilsudzki described as a "Fascist" by various German groups. Who is a nationalist, racist or fascist? Depends on where you're standing... From where I stood - near the presidential Palace during the absurd row over a cross to mark the Smolensk disaster in front of the presidential palace, the "anti-semite" was a man who professed to be wanting "religious tolerance" (hence he wanted the cross to be removed), but then started on a long rant about how Jews were ruling his former country of residence - the USA - and how they were involved in a conspiracy to control the World. I've also heard others on the "liberal" side of the Polish spectrum suddenly start critising Jews - supposedly because of "the Palestinian conflict". And was the cleansing of Jews from Poland around '68 not instigated by the Polish Communist authorities? On the other hand, I've not yet heard any negative phrase about Jews from the Catholic youth group I am a part of - indeed the priest spoke at length about his Jewish friend at school - while the first post-'89 president to visit a Synagogue was Lech Kaczynski - thought of by many as a flag-bearer for the "Dmowski" Right. So does any side here have a monopoly on the anti-Semitism, small-minded as it undeniably is?

From my impressions of living in Poland for the past few years, there are 2 main groups of Poles: the first are the "liberals", who see the West as a "guru" in every way of life and want to copy it - from using English (even to Polish colleagues) and adopting the way of life they see in the latest hip-hop videos on MTV, to eating almost exclusively foreign food, including kebabs (and the kebab shops now present on almost every major street corner in Poland seem to have contributed to a skyrocketing presence of Muslims), to being against the Church on every issue and wanting it to disappear completely from public life and become irrelevant, Western-style. They are being touted almost-exclusively by the major Polish media (not counting the niche Radio Maryja, or small anti-government blogs) - and now have their man in parliament - Janusz Palikot, who used to run a "fanatic" Catholic magazine, but now focuses his energy on removing the Cross from Parliament, and other crucial matters, in a crusade to make Poland "modern". On the other side are the "patriots", who are concerned about the multiculturalism they see in countries to the West, profess to be devout to the Church, often speak about JPII, but also march to the statue of Dmowski and are dismissive of anything in the mainstream media. Between the two sides (where once stood JPII?) there seems to be a large vaccuum - and any small speech or action from either side is blown out of all proportion by the media. However - given the "tsunami" of decadence and self-destruction which threatens to sweep in from the West - and give the extreme materialism which most Poles possess (regardless of politics - they are far more likely to spend the bulk of their time discussing their new car, house or even fridge, rather than the merits of the Jews) - is there not a role for the Church to play, in reminding people that there exists something else in life, and at the end of life, beyond these immediate desires? It's this what I feel is most missing here - but what belief - and a willingness to talk - may help address...

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous
Re: Jesus

BTW, it would really help if each "Anonymous" signed in some way so we can differentiate the one from the other. While what you state is mostly correct, do you think that an essay like this could have been written without the author's knowing such elementary matters? Did you read in a previous chapter a mention that I'd gone to the trouble of learning Hebrew and Aramaic to be able to get at the root of some New Testament issues, and how many books by Greek specialists I'd read to get at the Greek problems related to these matters?

Or why would you mention about Nero and the Christians? Did you pick up clues in my writings somewhere that I am ethnic Polish? Do you know what’s the most famous novel ever written by a Polish author? It’s called “Quo Vadis.” Do you know what’s it about?

Please, first read a lot more about the subject. Not me; read someone like Bart Ehrman. Then before putting fingers on keyboard, think whether the thoughts going through your head are inferences legitimately drawn from the text, or attributions, i.e. projections onto the text that emanate from your head. If they are attributions, stop and switch track to inferences. When your comment relates to a legitimate inference, a proper discussion may ensue.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

@Green Infidel
Good points. All these are a separate subject and require, really, a separate blog. What riles me about the Polish "Right" is that much of it is the dummkopf variety and those of its strains that are antisemitic are double dummkopf. There are all kinds of contra-liberal or contra-Jewish arguments that can be made from the Polish point of view, and I respect them when made intelligently and with integrity. I read Waldemar Lysiak with pleasure. But when someone starts with a riff about the Masonic-Zionist conspiracy against Poland, I say give me a break and pray for Tischner to return so that I might have an intelligent conversation with someone in Polish.

Anonymous said...

@Chiu Chun-Ling
One more aspect is relevant: While I don't want to personally and see no need generally to question Jesus' divinity, I see a need to think a lot more about what "divinity" means. And whether the Judeo-Christian West has an exclusive purchase on it. Should one deny some form of divine link to Gautama Siddharatha? Is a bodhisathva a lesser incarnation of divinity than a Christian saint? I am for more Western assertiveness in matters cultural and material, and less arrogance in matters religious-spiritual.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

@Tekuan
I am the "anonymous" who wrote on genesis/good and evil/etc. You can call me "gato loco" if you wish.

I never thought for one instance that you were unaware of the points that I made. It was obvious to me that someone like you would know that "christus" meant "messiah". Yet I wrote it out for the benefit of other readers.

I don't deny that you are highly educated, and much more learned than I. But even highly educated people make mistakes, and have biases, are stuck in their views, want to sell books, etc. If you learned aramaic, then more power to you. I admire that.

But like I said, people make mistakes, and there are many others out there who are experts in the pertinent ancient languages who agree that the belief Jesus' divinity was something which existed from very early on. As much as modern-day Christian-loathing academics mention the gnostic gospels, they will almost always grudgingly admit that the New Testament narratives came first. They will also be borderline unanimous that secular pagan sources attesting to Jesus' existence and his religious influence are also valid (with the exception of one passage in Josephus).

The Buddha just as "divine" as Jesus? The Buddha operated in the context of Hinduism, of which I'm sure you are well aware. Hinduism and Judeo-Christianity make mutually exclusive claims on what constitutes "divinity". For you to claim that one can be just as divine as the other, is to accept both, while in the end accepting neither. Oliver Stone's son just converted to Islam, but he says he believes in Judaism and Christianity too. I admire his eucemenical spirit, but he has no idea what he is talking about. Logical contradictions and mutually exclusive claims cannnot be bridged warm and fuzzy naivete, or mandarin cosmopolitanism.

Your Yin and Yan position was similar. I wrote that you merely put a Far Eastern veneer on a Western phenomenon. For you to believe that Westerners truly have free will, only to then say that Western History shows Yin and Yan at work is a contradiction. Human activity in Taoism (from what I understand) is a manifestation of Yin and Yan, much like Freud thought our consciousness an illusion and an expression of our subconscious. Ultimately under both, free will is an illusion. But one of the cornerstones of the West is the notion of REAL free will. It can't be both Yan and Yin AND genuine free will. It can't be our subconcious AND genuine free will either.

You in essence did not answer my point. Instead, you claim that your high level of education affords you the right to not take them seriously. Perhaps it does, but something smells fishy in Denmark.

As far as genuine inferences, you allude to a possible misinterpreation of the word "alma" in one of your other essays. "Alma" means "young maiden". While it could be possible that it doesn't necessarily mean "virgin", one must remember that this "young maiden" was to give birth to the messiah (or for those who deny this, at least someone of great importance). But a young maiden who gave birth was by definition in those days a harlot. Is it really reasonable to "infer" that the Jews posited an unmarried pregnant woman as either the mother of the messiah, or the mother of some other great leader?

Who knows. Maybe I need to pick up a book or two.

-el gato

Chiu ChunLing said...

I think that certainly the claims of the bodhisattva are not on the same level as the claim of Christ. That is, certainly the claim itself, strictly considered apart from the evidence for or against it, is not for the same degree nor kind of divinity. My own claims easily surpass those of the bodhisattva (in that I am in the process of progressing from Nirvana to a higher state of prajna), whether you believe the claim or not, it gives me a perspective to say that the claim of Christ is of something incomparably greater.

At the same time, as one that has experienced the Nirvana which the bodhisattva claims to postpone after having attained a prajna sufficient to enter it, I am inclined to doubt their claim. If they had been sufficient in their understanding to be near Nirvana, they would at least understand its nature a little better. While the claims of Christ, despite being largely beyond my comprehension, are strikingly well evidenced.

The lesser gods of the pagan world have their various claims, which I entertain on their individual merits. For the most part I respect them but do not pursue them, for in chasing after the gods of the natural world man did err anciently and injured their estate. I answer their importunities as I will when they make a petition to me, but other than this there is little occasion for my judgment of them.

Is it necessary for men to attain a transcendent understanding of the eternal and surpassing divinity of Christ in order to accept His supernal grace and proffered salvation? He says not so, but a simple love of Him well within the power of even the modest mind will do. That He also offers a kind of grace to even those not willing to accept Him as God is, to my mind, far more remarkable.

I would not stay any person from seeking a more profound knowledge of Christ's true glory, but while I admit the enticement of such divertissements, I recognize them for what they are. What is needful is a love of God sufficient to turn one's heart rather than an understanding convoluted enough to twist one's head. And that need may indeed be impossible to meet without acknowledging that the claim of Christ (whether by His own mouth or the mouth of His disciples) is entirely different than the claims of any of the advanced humans or lesser gods.

Is that arrogance? Then perhaps I shall find a windfall of those too proud of their own cultures to examine their relative merits. It is, after all, sufficient for my purposes that men reject the claim after having heard it.

Yin and Yang may be interpreted variously. I do not believe that it is possible to infer any incompatibility with the idea of free will from the original concepts, though Yang is more associated with active choosing and passive acceptance of one's destiny is characteristic of Yin. The Western intellectual debate over free will vs. determinism as such doesn't exist in Oriental thought. I personally don't understand how it persists in Western thought.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

@Chiu (el gato here)

Even though Yang may be characterized by active choosing, it is ultimately the Yang which is doing the choosing, and not individuals.
The free will/determinism debate probably has gotten more attention than deserved, but that is only because I see it as utterly obvious that we indeed have free will. But then I was born in the West, so perhaps it isn't as obvious as I think.

cheers,

el gato

Chiu ChunLing said...

The idea that there could exist any dispute over free will in the first place is dependent on the peculiar place of Greek philosophical contemplation of the issue (as expressed in their classical literary traditions). Oriental thought has never found a need to seriously address the question of whether humans have free will because it is such a ridiculous question on the face of it. Taoism (along with a dozen other Oriental philosophies and religions) speaks of addressing the balance of Yin and Yang within oneself by a variety of consciously chosen actions. Yes, your balance of Yin and Yang affect your disposition towards certain types of choices, but you are ultimately in control of the choices that affect your Yin and Yang.

Chinese thought makes much more of what choices are realistically open to a person in a given circumstance, but that the person is free to choose among those options actually present by virtue of the total situation is so fundamentally unquestioned that there could never have been any contemplation of whether people might not have free will. Indeed, it is far more characteristic of Oriental thought to question the degree of free will exhibited by what Westerners would consider inanimate objects than it would be to question whether humans fundamentally have such a quality.

You are imposing on the idea of Yin and Yang an assumption that makes sense only in the specific context of a particular perversion of Western thought. The reason that there are no Oriental arguments against determinism isn't because it is somehow pervasive in all Asian culture but because it honestly never had any serious impact.

Of course, ideas about determinism are quite important to Western notions of science. But Asian science is of a quite different flavor, and always has been. Absolute determinism is simply not a significant part of Oriental intellectual tradition.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

@ El gato
Thank you for clarifying. I don’t care to make of what I know the issue and am sorry if it came off like that. I am just trying to get from point A to B in the quickest way possible, so it’s better that you assume I know, and don’t repeat basic stuff.

Moreover, I definitely don’t hold myself as any kind of authority on New or Old Testament, but have sufficient familiarity with the books, the languages and the places to write about them from an intelligent amateur’s point of view. I recommend you read Bart Ehrman’s “The New Testament” – that will spare you the task of reading his other 22 books or arguing with me -- because he really knows his stuff. I have one advantage over Ehrman, linguistically, so what you’ll find below is me repeating him and other specialists, or just me.

1. There are almost no contemporaneous sources attesting to Jesus’ life and works. One is in Josephus Flavius, and researchers consider it suspect (i.e. redacted long after Flavius’ died). The other one is in the Jewish philosopher Philo the Alexandrite. Nothing unusual about that to cast doubt on the veracity of the factual (i.e. leave miracles out) story one can piece from the Gospels. While that is so, academics who go by rational analysis and deep comparative knowledge (rather than faith) consider some parts in the Gospels and some phrases attributed to Jesus forged, and some New Testament (and several Gnostic) books entirely fake. As far as I am concerned, this invalidates some of the decorations but not what’s behind the decorations.

2. I don’t know whether Siddhartha is as divine as Jesus. What I do know is that neither you nor I nor any human ever has visited in God’s private office and rifled through his file cabinet. Please be more modest. All I know is that both Jesus and Buddha and probably 30 other men and women in history that I know of and 500 I don’t know of are a lot closer to God than you or I are. I don’t know in what hierarchy, but because I am from the West, it’s easier for me to access Jesus and put him on top.

3. That Hinduism and Christianity etc. make mutually exclusive claims is irrelevant. They are all blind men touching different parts of the elephant. BTW, one can tell that Islam does not touch any part of the elephant precisely because it’s the most vociferous in claiming exclusive hold on the whole of it and is set on enslaving or killing others who don’t accept this claim. BTW, the Buddha stepped out of Hinduism, so Buddhists are not Hindus. Zen Buddhism has stepped out even of the category “religion” and is compatible with any nonfanatical religion (read up on Thomas Merton).

4. It’s not true that there is no Free Will in the Oriental creedal systems. Hinduism and Buddhism do have the notion of karma which partially supports your thesis, but then I am sure you know of predestination in Christianity too.
Takuan Seiyo (tbc)

Anonymous said...

@El Gato

5. Alma does not mean just young maiden. It equally means young woman. The word, used to this day, has no implication as to virginity or marital status. Moreover, the next word in Isaiah is hara, which does not mean “shall conceive” but “is pregnant.” It’s not a prophecy. Lastly, do you know how many ancient gods and goddesses were believed to have conceived or to have been conceived immaculately? Try Athena and Hera for starters, the two most important Greek goddesses. Do you think that maybe this had something to do with how St. Paul and others chose to attract Greeks to Christianity?

6. It’s not possible to continue in this discussion. 50,000 books and many millions of lives have been spent in this argument. What I have written is not meant to dissuade you from your beliefs or to belittle them. I am just trying to get Europeople of 50 different and mutually snickering denominations, plus their agnostic and even atheist (e.g. John Derbyshire, Heather MacDonald) comrades in the battle for Western Civilization to stop this religious cat-fighting nonsense. Stick to your faith and respect other creedal systems as long as not vile or fanatic. The only boat moves fast whose rowers pull to the same cadence, aware of sharing the same tiny shell on stormy seas.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

@Chiu
(el gato)

You may be right. My knowledge of Far Eastern thought is extremely superficial, and that is putting it charitably.

However, there are many belief systems that contain logical inconsistencies which are only held together by the cognitive dissonance of their believers. In Islam, people will say that God judges people for their actions. At the same time, Islamic orthodoxy states that God controls everything. Which one is it? Does God control everything, or does he judge you for your autonomous actions? In Christianity, fundamentalists will no doubt agree that noble hearted people living in 264 BC China somehow listen to the voice of God. And yet they will still insist that these folk go to hell for "not being Christian". My own personal favorite is the unqualified support many give to Israel because they are "God's chosen". And yet if they are "not christian", they too go to hell.

From what I understand, in ancient China, if there was a rebellion against the Son of Heaven, it was potentially a sign that he had lost heaven's approval. The more successful and powerful the rebellion, the more people thought it. Which one was it? Was the rebellion a reflection of frustrations of the peasantry, or was it a reflection of the powers of heaven? In all these cases, were you to ask people to explain the apparant inconsistency, you would/will invariably get cognitive dissonance pretending to be logical consistency. Perhaps free will was never mentioned in Chinese thought because the issue was never addressed. Related issues certainly aren't addressed by Muslims or Christian fundamentalists.

Here is where the advantages of Greek thought come in. If A is A and B is B, then pretending that A is B and vice versa is a non starter.

But again, you may be right.
I highly doubt it, however.

-el gato.

Anonymous said...

@Tekuan
(el gato)

1) The best secular sources attesting to Jesus were all written within living memory of the events in question. To suppose that the Romans were so incompetent and kept such bad records as to not know what happened half a century later is a bit of a stretch. It is obvious to me from these sources that Jesus was at least BELIEVED to have been the messiah, and BELIEVED to have been divine from very early on. This is not the same as saying that secular sources prove his messiahship or his divinity.

There is only one passage in Josephus that seems to have been fudged with. Josephus writes in one part of his book that Jesus was "called the Christ", and in another that "he was the Christ". It is the latter version that is totally at odds with the rest of Josephus. Arabic translations of this same passage, however, write that "he was called the Christ", which would be consistent with his earlier description. It was tampered with, yes, but it seems to have been a removal of just a couple words.

I don't deny that there are many extremely capable scholars who question the veracity of the New Testament. I would remind you, however, that it is possible for them to question these passages based based on an a priori commitment to a merely human Jesus. Fake is the only thing much of the NT could possibly BE, if you don't accept Jesus' divinity.

2) You are right that I do not know what is in God's filing cabinet. If the intensity of my belief came across as certitude, then that was not my intent. Nor was it my intent to suggest that non-christian great men/women were not possibly saints. I know little of Siddharta, but if he was as noble as you say he was, then you can bet your bottom dollar he is in heaven with his maker. My point was that "sainthood" is best explained in the Christian tradition, not that non-christians can't be saints.

By the way, I knew that the Buddha was made divine much later on, and further north, but thank you for telling me anyway.

laine said...

"pure evil is rare. But willfully having an affair with your neighbors wife can destroy a home and wreck lives. It isn't Hitler, but it nevertheless IS connected to the darkness which afflicts this world." This is a poor example of putative evil. It assumes the neighbor himself is not an actor in his own marriage. He may be the evil one or more mundanely a poor mate and the adulterers better people on balance. Good people make mistakes including marrying the wrong people and often don't realize that they can't live with their mistake until they meet a better match. It's messy, but with temporary hurt may correct a long term hurtful situation including for children of the initial marriage. Perhaps a serial philanderer who premeditates the destruction of marriages could be an example of mundane evil but these are rare. Except with murder, there should be a sustained and premeditated will to transgression to indicate evil. Mostly such transgressions against the Commandments or Natural Law are indicative of weakness. Setting too high a standard means most of mankind being termed evil instead of weak. This kind of Puritanism has led to bad places, one might say true evil in the past.

Amelia Shi said...

"Mostly such transgressions against the Commandments or Natural Law are indicative of weakness. Setting too high a standard means most of mankind being termed evil instead of weak. This kind of Puritanism has led to bad places, one might say true evil in the past." ok. A -

Anonymous said...

@Tekuan
(el gato, cont'd)

3) There is no way to tell if Islam is touching the elephant or not, since it could be possible that the commands of Islam are SO sacred, that violence to enforce them is justified. That is certainly what they believe. But if the Muslims ARE correct that they are touching the elephant, it must therefore be true that no one else is, since their claims to elephanthood cancel out the claims of others.

Mutual exclusivity means they cant all be touching the elephant. They may all have a RELATIONSHIP to Babar, but the rules of logic dictate that only one is actually touching him (with the exception of more than one when you examine individual claims). Christianity never claimed to know the whole beast, but only to represent as much as the blind man can see.

You seem to be waivering between agnosticism, and some form of unitarianism. Personally, I find the God who lives in the hearts of all men at all times and places, but his known in one culture that is commanded to spread the knowledge across the world, to be the way to go. After all, gravity affects and affected all people at all times too. Must we accept the scientific explanations of other cultures in order to remain non-dogmatic? It is not as if Christ commanded us to believe ourselves superior, simply because we know the truth, you know. We were commanded to tell the heathen that he may be a better person than you, but that it was YOU who knew what "better" meant, and why he was better.

Anonymous said...

@Tekuan
(el gato loco, cont'd)

4) See my response to Chiu above for my views on eastern determinism. Predestination is also a great example.

5) You are right that "alma" means "young woman", and not "young maiden". Point taken. However, a "young woman" who was not married and was pregnant would not have been referred to this way. "Young woman" carries with it an implicit respect, which is precisely what a woman loses upon getting pregnant out of wedlock. Also, married women were not referred to as "young woman". So what are you left with? Moreover, the offspring of this woman was to be known as "emmanuel", which means "god with us". There is a direct logical connection between a young unmarried woman getting pregnant in a non-scandalous way, and her child being known as the "Son of God" who "walked among us".

I am well aware that pagan myths frequently mentioned women being impregnated by gods. These ancient societies had to explain the interaction between the beyond and the mundane, why spring follows winter, etc etc. Personally I find the incoherent and many times base descriptions of these realities in the pagan myths to be insufficient. Zeus may have impregnated scores of women, but that still doesn't make him anything less than a capricious, lecherous slob. Chiu has written eloquently on this.

6) You are right that we could go on forever, and that certitude and faith are two different things. I never meant to say that I KNEW, just that I believed. I could be wrong. The truth doesn't depend on me, after all.

But you have your beliefs too, and you obviously believe in them strongly. For you to say that people don't know for certain, and that other opinions should be respected, shows that you ultimately believe that respect for others, respect for free will, and humility before the Truth, are all values to be held ss sacred. While you might find indications of this belief in other traditions, to my mind they are best expressed and justified in the Judeo/Christian tradition. One finds no true respect for others in Hinduism, unless you view their attitudes on untouchables to be valid. Confucianism is ultimately only for the Chinese. Taosim posits an eternal cosmos moved by Yan and Yin (where free will is, but then isn't), and paganism worships rocks. Islam? No way.

And remember, you can't pick certain aspects of a belief system, and pretend that they can be divorced from the rest of their interrelated whole. I'm reminded of simpletons who believe in Mayan end of the world prophecies, but who don't believe in Mayan gods. You might as well believe that Jesus will return....but that he isn't divine.

(I'm not calling you a simpleton, by the way. I'm just using an extreme example).

Anonymous said...

@Tekuan
(el gato, cont'd).

Correction on earlier post:
"...the rules of logic dictate that either no one is touching him, or only one is actually touching him (with the possible exception of more than one when you examine individual claims."

Anyway, we could go on FOREVER.
I enjoyed interacting with you and Chiu. Smart and eloquent guys the both of you.

El Gato.

auntiem said...

A pretty elegant piece. Certainly I appreciate it being published. A conglomeration of thoughts given expression, that are often not practicable, but sometimes considered desirable, and possibly necessary. But given vent, in the current climate of the West, nice to read, but few would grasp or consider implementing......

Much would not pass muster, in an open representative convention, that America's founders went through, even with supposedly educated peoples.

I remain convinced the American founders were more well practically and classically educated and literate, than any equivalent in the modern day.

Anonymous said...

@laine, amelia

You are right. My example was highly unqualified, but not invalid.

Obviously, willfully having an affair with your neighbors wife when she has a stable marriage is much worse than when her marriage is bogus. It is worse when kids are involved. If her marriage is a joke, then a love affair between a her and a man could possibly represent the beginning of a new and good relationship that ends in a real marriage. Nevertheless, the actual consumation in the midst of another marriage is not a good thing, but a bad one. This is a weakness and a sin, but not evil in the distilled, sinister, hissing sense.

I do not believe that divorce is the mark of a terrible soul. Nevertheless, divorce is the reflection of a fallen world. This "fallen" attribute comes in all shapes and sizes, from run of the mill weaknesses of decent hearted people, to Joseph Stalin.

And the heart of all this darkness, is something we call "evil" --ultimately, an attribute of a conscious being which willfully became the first sin by rebellion against God, and who became what Jesus called the "Father of Lies". The more and the deeper one consciously chooses darkness and lies, the closer to the devil you get. The closer to the first sin you get. The closer to EVIL you get.

I'm not a fan of puritanism either. It is either spiritual compulsion, or self-righteousness. But again, the heart of all bad things is not just mere "darkness", or "selfishness", or "cruelty", etc. The heart of darkness is evil.


Likewise the heart of all good things is something we call SO good, as to be characterized as divine: God.

-el gato

Anonymous said...

@Laine, amelia.

By the way, I'm not saying I KNOW anything of what I'm saying. I believe it based on what I accept as revelation, and the inferences I draw from both it, and the little I know of this world.

I could be wrong, just like anyone.

-el gato

Green Infidel said...

@Takuan Seiyo - You mean the masonic-zionist-Russian-German-TVN-Gazeta Wyborcza conspiracy, with Lech Walesa one of its "agents"? Listening to that might just make "death by boredom" a reality, and is not a fate I would wish on anyone. But for many, anyone defending the Church, criticising the EU or in any way skeptical of the Smolensk investigation is as much an "oszolom" (loon) as the many dummkopfs staunchly believing the aforementioned conspiracy. And probably an anti-semite, homophobe, Russophophobe, bigot, uneducated small-minded country person, and all the rest of it.

Are there no parallels with the situation in the Western world?

Is there not the same politically-correct mechanism at work censoring discussion of issues such as Smolensk in Poland, as there is in countries to the West, keeping people quiet about the dangers of Islam?

The Polish liberals need Jaroslaw Kaczynski and Radio Maryja, just like their counterparts to the West need the BNP and Nazis - to make people aware that these groups are so terrible that having even 1% in common with them will make you socially unacceptable. And so public discourse is silenced - and, ultimately, democracy is subverted - meaning that the downfall of the West is one (or maybe many) steps closer to happening...

Chiu ChunLing said...

I don't recall writing anything terribly eloquent about Zeus' sexual proclivities...but Zeus was a mythic hero figure from a savage culture rather than having anything to do with divinity.

The theoretical question of free-will vs determinism (or total chaos, which is a rarely championed position) is only found in cultures which, for one reason or another, had a serious obsession with absolute/inevitable fate. From a practical perspective, you can have more choices or fewer choices, and your current choices (and the choices of others) can affect which choices you have available in the future. But contemplation of the idea that in any situation you might not have a choice at all is utterly impractical. If you ever had no choice at all, there would be no point worrying about that...and if you never had any choice....

Practicality is a very central characteristic of Oriental thought. That doesn't mean that Oriental beliefs are always practical, just that they are never meant to be entirely theoretical. And determinism is purely theoretical. Otherwise, when someone said "I'm only saying what I'm saying because I must say it whether or not I believe it" you would instantly dismiss what they were saying because there is no reason to believe it, or even to believe that they believe it. Only in the realm of pure theory can arguments about determinism avoid the practical objection that the determinist is essentially claiming not to be responsible for the argument.

As for evil...I think that the various claims of religion are informative here. The Hindu and Buddhist seek escape from ignorance and suffering. Christians seek redemption from sin and death. Jews seek release from bondage and estrangement. The common thread is that the evils that these religions address are pervasive in human experience. Contrary to what any hopeful theorist might say about the universal presence of good, the practical experience of all men is that evil is the norm, and thus they turn to religion (or, if they believe that religion is the root of all evil, to anti-religion).

In the particular case of willfully having an affair with your neighbor, whether in a stable marriage or a bogus marriage, the problem is that most marriages have elements of stability and bogusness (all marriages, if we discount those that are about to end even without our intervention). Who are you to judge your neighbor's marriage, and decide to end it? To make the question more pointed, all lives have elements of stability and bogusness as well. Who are you to decide when to end another's life?

In the promulgation of law, we let people decide for themselves whether and when to forfeit their own lives. A person who has killed another without any just cause is a threat to everyone else, and thus it is permissible for all others to protect their own lives by whatever means necessary. What actually is necessary may vary based on what is realistically possible, keeping in mind that if we expend too many resources on stopping one killer in an inefficient way we may be left without the resources to deal with another threat to our lives.

But in the end, we lack the power to protect our lives against all threats...while there are various claimants to having achieved accordance with Tao sufficient to accomplish this, only one case in history is credibly attested. One man, ever, was 'good enough.' One person sufficiently free of evil.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

@Green Infidel
Disagree with you on the need for Nazis but agree on the rest. What we need is intelligent and well considered representation of the national interests of every European people's interests, and of the white ethnies in the Anglo diaspora. It's a tremendous damage to those interests if their only spokesmen are Nazis or yokels. That's why they should be discussed in forums frequented by people not merely better educated but also better developed internally so that they are aware of their own internal warps, whether of character or of mental software such as religious fundamentalism, single-idea fanaticism, ingrained bigotry etc.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

@El Gato
What gave you the idea that Mary was impregnated out of wedlock? Even if you adduce some line in the Gospels to that effect, don't you understand that a story is adapted to suit the purpose of the narrative? Anyway, faith is not something to argue about. My only important point is that upon rational, expert examination, there are enough holes in the narratives of all the Abrahamic religions and denominations (and gaping clearcuts in Islam) to render fighting over the different related beliefs, let alone killing for them, risible and stupid in the extreme. I'll omit your treatment of Oriental religions as there is too much I'd have to correct. Anyway, I have no quarrel with you that the Christian way works best for the Euro-people.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

@Chiu
(el gato)

Your point on the utter absurdity of totally denying free will only underscores my point. For Muslims to claim God controls everything, only to then say God judges our actions is an absurdity. Ditto for logically inconsistent Christian views about salvation and predestination. I believe that to say everything is moved by Yin and Yan, only to then say people have free will, is ultimately an absurd notion. Which one is it? Just because it was never addressed, it doesn't mean that it was never there, or that it is somehow valid. Do you really believe a Muslim would ever say that their logical contradiction is a problem which must be addressed? Of course not, since to address it in any rigorous fashion, would call into question other things about the faith. I think the same probably applies in Taoism.

But I am really repeating myself here. You see it your way, and I see it mine. I might be wrong, but I doubt it.

No, you never mentioned Zeus per say, but you did compare pagan Buddhism to Christianity and deemed the latter more sublime. Obviously Zeus and Buddha are very different things, but the general gist of what I was saying was that other belief systems just don't measure up to the teachings of Jesus. If I put words in your mouth, I apologize.

On marriages. No, no one is in the position to have the ultimate word on a bogus marriage. Only God sees all. And no, no marriage is perfect. However, in a terribly flawed world, I can see a situation where a man treats his wife like dirt for YEARS, and the best thing she could ever do for herself is to leave the pig for a better man. If she begins to have feelings for one before leaving, it is more honest for her to divorce before continuing with with the new relationship. I find divorce in this case to be less of a dent on marriage than staying in one while loving someone else for any significant time.
It is an imperfect world, and sometimes people have a choice between the lesser of two evils, or to put it less puritanically, making lemonade when life hands you lemons. You get the idea.

That's MY view. But I recognize that other people feel differently.

Anonymous said...

@Chiu
(el gato)

I would like to add to your description of evil in other belief systems.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna feels sad that he must wage war on his cousins. Krishna explains that he needn't feel bad, as they are fulfilling their roles, and he is fulfilling his. In other words, there is nothing evil or wrong about it. He fulfills his dharma, and they theirs. It is transgressions against your dharma that is the real infraction. Transgressions of this kind is not the same thing as what we understand as evil. This isn't to say that Hindus didn't use the concept of evil, but rather that it was never really defined in any meaningful way. It was always contingent, partial, temporary, and loaded with baggage from connection to other ideas.

The same goes for other pagan religions. In Ancient Egypt, Seth (I think it was) fights with another God out of evil motives, loses, and is condemned to live out in the desert and be its ruler.
Evil here is not defined, but is rather a notion which exists as a mere adjective to other supposedly more important realities. If in the desert, you prayed to Seth, and he was expected to give you some kind of positive good.

The Aztec Gods who we find so terrible, provided a positive function. Namely, they held the world together. Here again we find something that we call "evil" merely being a temporary adjective linked to other concepts. Evil as such did not exist. Even the worst of Gods was to be prayed to.

In other words, there was always something more important than good and evil going on, and that is why they ended up being so contingent, partial, and ultimately, UNDEFINED. Only with the startling dichotomy of Good and Evil found in Genesis, do we start to see them for what they are. Here, the devil will always be the devil, and God will always be God.

To clarify some more, lets take the Judeo/Christian tradition itself as an example. In ancient Judaism, Joshua's bloody conquest of Palestine is considered an act that God himself sanctions. This isn't to say that God didn't consider the Caananites his children. He did. But at the same time God also sanctions their deaths. It isn't until Jesus that the the striking dichotomy between Good and Evil first found in Genesis finds is fullest and purest expression. Jesus says that those who do the will of God are his "mother", his "brother", etc. The Roman centurion has more faith than all Israel (a centurion, no less), and a Samaritan is used as an example of God's true follower. God does not play favorites, but rather uses the Jewish tradition as a light for all mankind. He did not come to fulfill Joshua's militant quest, but to gather his "chosen" from across the world to bring them to the TRUE promised land. Not blood-soaked Palestine, but the Kingdom of Heaven. The Jews were entitled to fight for their lives, but it was for them, not God.

This is why saying that other traditions had a different idea of "evil" goes deeper than most people realize. Pagans/etc simply didn't see it our way. They saw transgressions, not evil. Had you asked them to define evil, they would almost certainly defined it phenomenologically, and quite possibly would have been confused at the question.

Chiu ChunLing said...

Well, unfortunately there aren't any significant school of Islamic "thought" as such. Dissent and questioning are always activities that have the potential to get one in trouble with those who derive their authority from unquestioned supremacy of existing ideas, but in the Islamic world the resort to force against "infidels" has always been particularly quick and final.

Taoism is actually almost entirely a rejection of this way of dealing with ideas, it emphasizes indirect solutions or even non-engagement with problems. Confucianism is far more disposed to justify suppression of dissent (there are a few ironically tragic cases of this happening to Confucians). But the fact is that in Asian cultures having a theoretical basis for the legitimacy of one's rule was never as critical as it is in Western cultures. This is part of why the Chinese Communists have been able to economically adapt to such a radical degree without giving up power. This will change once they start subjecting the country to lots of disasters, military humiliations, and social upheaval.

The idea of Yin and Yang is more that the actions available to you at any given point are restricted by your balance of Yin and Yang just as your ability to put weight on either leg depends on the health and strength of the leg. If your left leg is very tired or broken, you can still try walking but you'll fail. So if you want to use your left leg you need to first make sure your left leg is strong enough.

That's simply not a free will question. If you break a man's leg, you take away his ability to use that leg to walk or run. But that doesn't destroy his soul. The question of whether free will exists or not isn't totally unique to cultures with Greek roots, but it is a mistake to assume that it occurs in every culture. It doesn't. A Chinese person might argue that a person with little physical courage lacks the ability to suddenly engage in heroics by sheer force of will just as a 90 lb. weakling lacks the ability to lift a heavy boulder, but the idea that this has anything to do with whether or not a person makes choices in principle would be puzzling.

You'll find many Asians that believe that almost every significant act requires years of preparing oneself to perform it. They'll usually also say that gaining that ability to act required help from others. But the idea that the act had nothing to do with choices of the individual is fundamentally alien, it is only traceable from Western sources.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

@Chiu.

This is why Greek thought was such a great fit for Christianity. In logic, A is A and B is B. Claiming one to be other is a contradiction.

Incidentally, evil is also not properly defined in Greek thought. The Law was accessible only in the mind, not the heart. This is why a transgression would be characterized as unethical, but never IMMORAL (immorality is ultimately, yes, a Judeo Christian notion).
In Aristotle's ethics, for example, an infraction against the law could be due to ignorance, stupidity, or weakness, but never moral deficiency. It takes a group of people which believe that the law is ultimately written in the spirit (or the heart), to come up with IMMORALITY (a phenomenon that the Greeks could ultimately never fully explain).

Genesis, anyone?

Chiu ChunLing said...

On the subject of Christian beliefs, I think that the element of the story that has Mary being pregnant before her marriage is sufficiently well attested by both the Gospels and the rumors spread about her by early enemies of Christianity that there are a plethora of answers to the question of who said it. As for the question of whether Christians should be killing people for disagreeing with their ideas about when and how Mary became pregnant...Christians do not typically do this. Nor are we saying that they should start. This is therefore a straw-man.

I fully embrace killing people who kill others without just cause. Among those just causes I do not include any point of doctrinal, philosophical, or scientific disagreement, but only the presentation of a serious threat to bodily integrity or freedom (including conspiracy to inflict such). Because a person that kills others without good reason represents such a threat to the bodily integrity and freedom of others, I see this as entirely consistent.

Given that Muslims currently frequently kill people for blasphemy against Islam, I'd say that a Muslim angrily accusing someone of blasphemy against Islam and failing to condemn the practice of killing blasphemers presents a serious threat. A threat that is simply not presented by a Christian accusing someone of blasphemy. This is not a matter of discriminating against a particular religion, it is simply taking reality into account. If the situation becomes such that it is reasonable, based on the available evidence, for people to believe that Christians accusing someone of blasphemy are an imminent or ongoing threat to the lives of others, then they should be dealt with as such.

But in the absence of such evidence (and currently that evidence is absent) it is simply not reasonable to act as if it is without clearly positing that one is speaking hypothetically, and explaining why.

As for good and evil, I have always seen "good" as something that was desirable and obtainable, and "evil" as the lack of such good. Thus evil is purely a negative concept, like darkness as opposed to light. Close your eyes in a dark room, and you will realize that darkness does not have any definite quality of being dark. One cannot experience evil except by virtue of the absence of some definitely expressed good.

An "evil" motive is a motive that is not good, it lacks the attributes that are desirable and possible in motives (like being reasonable). An "evil" person lacks some elements of goodness that they could and should have. But a person that lacked all good qualities would not be a person at all. Thus Lucifer/Satan, the devil of Jewish and Christian tradition, is an angel who lacks humility and honesty.

I don't know that this would be puzzling to many people. But I have met a lot of people who reject the idea that evil is the absence of good. I'm not sure why.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

Chiu,
You don't seem to know European history very well. And then you follow the same fallacy that I asked El Gato to curb. You read into a written text what's not there. You set up a straw horse and proceed to knock him down. I am sorry, but this makes me tired.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

@Chiu
I appreciate your input. Nevertheless, whether out of stubbornness or because I'm actually right, I still say you are wrong on this one. My guess is that the one leg went wrong and the other stayed firm, because yan and yin played a role in making it that way in the first place. If you don't choose to follow the "way" in order to create harmony out of the situation, that is not an independant variable, that IS an expression of either yan or yin (or a combination). Your choice of yan or yin IS ultimately yan or yin, and thus not really you, but them.

You might say that one's choice of good or evil in the West IS good or evil, and that would be true. But you are defining yourself as "good" or "bad" only in an adjectival sense. You are good or bad because you yourself have defined yourself that way. But you are neither good itself or evil itself. Yes, you have chosen to clothe yourself in either one or the other, but it is not YOU.

To have free will, you must be a free agent, and thus independant of the world. In Taoism, the cosmos IS Yin and Yan, and you are a part of it. In Western thought, there is Good (God), Evil (the devil), and then there's YOU.

To say that the eternal cosmos IS yan and yin, only to say that we are independant of it is a contradiction. The only way it ISN'T a contradiction, is to say that there is a Yin/Yan cosmos, and then there's us. That's not Taoism.

Again, Taoism as I understand it, is that the cosmos IS Yan/Yin, and we are a PART of it. In other words, we are EXPRESSIONS of it. That being the case, there is no true free will, regardless of whether the issue was addressed or skirted.



But again, maybe I'm wrong, right?
I think we're going in circles on this one.
I vote to agree to disagree.

PS Whether there are different schools of thought in Islam is irrelevant. My point was that there exist belief systems which are logically inconsistent, and whose believers never admit they are, because to do so is to threaten the whole thing (or much of it). If you don't like Islam, christian predestination works nicely.

Anyway. I think we should leave this dead horse alone.

el gato

Anonymous said...

@Tekuan.
(el gato)

I already said why. A "young woman" and a married woman were referred to in different ways. And since a woman having babies out of wedlock was an abomination (to be killed, no less) the only thing left is the understanding that "young woman" actually means VIRGIN (which is what "young woman" was actually taken many times to mean).

The offspring would be known as Emmanuel (God with us). That could either mean that he would be very much LIKE God......or, well, you know.

I think the one who is "adapting a narrative" is you, though I don't think you do it maliciously (aka, we all have biases).

You offer an argument, I answered, and then you simply say (essencially): "Well.....its complicated, and I can't go into detail. There's just far, far too much, you see."

Certainly possible. I'm no scholar. But like I said earlier, that kind of thing is fishyness in Denmark.

Anyway. Here we are, right back were we all started. These posts are starting to feel like Sisyphus pushing his rock up the hill.

How about we all just agree to disagree and call it a day (or two).

I enjoyed the exchanges.
Cheers.

Anonymous said...

@Chiu.
I couldn't agree more on your description of Good and Evil.
Evil is the absence of God, and Good is the presence of God.
Evil is the devil's dominion, and Good is the presence of the Holy Spirit, aka, the kingdom of God.

By choosing evil, one wraps oneself up in it, and it becomes an adjective of you. My equating Good with God and evil with the devil was a tad crude. Ultimately they are not nouns, but adjectives, permamently linked to two beings which in this world exist in a dichotomy.

Ultimately, the devil is the weaker of the two, since God is eternal, and the devil's existence is (or rather WAS) contingent on God. God created a spiritual being, which chose to rebel and pretend to be God (self-contingency). In doing so, he created a self contingent reality that had NOTHING to do with God. Hence, he CHOSE the first lie. After all, his action was FALSE. Now he is the "prince of darkness", ruler of the self-contingent reality he chose.


He got what he deserved.

-el gato.

Chiu ChunLing said...

I did read the full essay, and I was already familiar (as is the entire world, I think) of the bloody nature of the supposedly "religious" wars of Europe. But those wars are already (for the most part) in the distant past, and I don't subscribe to them as being primarily motivated by religion.

An example, if you will. The Civil War in the United States was clearly fought over slavery. But that is not why either side claimed to be fighting it. The Federal government claimed (for very odd political reasons) to be fighting for Union, the Southern States for States' Rights. Eventually, the North openly embraced the moral cause of ending slavery, while advocates of the Confederacy still peddle the story that it was about States' Rights despite the fact that the only 'right' the didn't abrogate was the right to keep slaves (and not even as a state right, individual states of the Confederacy weren't allowed to take measures to emancipate slaves even when it would have helped them).

For all that claiming to fight in the cause of Christ was popular among Europeans, the only significant wars that had any chance of not happening had they not been sanctioned by priests were the Crusades. And while they ultimately failed to hold the Holy Land or save Constantinople, all the Crusades were fought for legitimate reasons aside from the religion of the enemy.

Pogroms against the Jews are the main remaining evidence of Christian willingness to kill for their religion. But a curious pattern has emerged that would not at all surprise anyone that carefully studied the history of persecution suffered by the Diaspora. It has generally never been the most religious Christians that were eager to persecute Jews, and the reasons for persecuting them usually turned out to have nothing at all to do with their lack of faith in Christ.

That Christians do still kill, and have often killed for very bad reasons, I readily grant. But their reasons were never as religious as they claimed, they typically killed in spite of the dictates of their professed religion rather than because of it. This is simply not the case with Islam. Muslim nations have repeatedly plunged themselves into wars that couldn't be explained any other way than as an expression of their religion. Muslim killers are typically the most devout in their faith, and are widely held up as examples for all the believers. It is thus today, it has been thus for over a thousand years.

I'm not saying this just because I like Christianity. In my opinion, it would be good if more Christians were willing to kill to protect their faith. It would be good if Christianity were free of some of the sillier points of their morality that encourage them not to kill when really...they should. I don't expect that everyone can follow an ethical system (however obvious) for deciding when it is legitimate to kill, so I would like it if widespread religions like Christianity did more to specify the kinds of situations where (ethically speaking) it is okay to kill and said "this is a moral imperative! God commands it!"

Unfortunately, Christianity is not a sufficiently violent religion.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Chiu ChunLing said...

On the subject of free will...I believe (and I imagine that most Asians would tend to agree) that there is some part of us, some center (spirit or soul or what-have-you), that makes decisions "independent" of the world.

But the actual options we have available to us at any given moment are throughly inseparable from the rest of the world, and thus dependent on it. They are also dependent on the results of previous choices. The choices you make now shape which choices you will have in the future. But they are not the only things that shape which choices you will have.

Oriental thought tends to take it for granted that the first is true. After all, if people don't choose between thinking reasonably and thinking unreasonably, or telling lies and telling the truth, then what does it mean to think reasonably rather than unreasonably or tell truth rather than lies?

The first being a given, much more emphasis is placed on questioning the degree to which the world around us, of which our bodies are part, limits our available options. But talking about what options are really available to someone is simply not a discussion of whether they have fundamentally have free will, the ability to choose for themselves among the options they are presented.

Oriental philosophy is practical rather than abstract and theoretical. It often fails to address what Western philosophy takes for the "big" questions because the answers are too obvious to spend much effort disputing them. "Do I have free will?" is less interesting than "What choices do I have in such and such a situation?"

If you don't have free will, then you aren't even the one asking the question, and the answer you get certainly won't be based on reason rather than accidents of determinism, so why bother to think about it? Whereas thinking about how to affect the options you'll have available in the future has practical applications.

I suppose that might be somewhat at fault in my response to Takuan's call for a more "rational" Christianity. I think that the dispute over whether or not it really is more rational to believe in the virgin birth or the resurrection might be taking second place to whether it is more practical to promote a Christianity that believes in them. Or rather, I believe that the more practical, spiritually powerful, mythically resonant religion is the more rational one to embrace. No doubt admitting that makes me seem a bit...less morally committed to pure reason. But putting reason above reality is a Greek notion, to an Oriental perspective reason is only reasonable as long as it is practical in describing and predicting reality.

Is the story of a virgin birth and miracles and Atonement and Resurrection a little too mythically perfect to be likely as what really happened? To someone that judges religions by some standard other than the power they have to shape human morality, perhaps so. To a Taoist, the fact that we seek such a religion is sufficient reason to believe that the truth of a religion shaped by divine power is likely to match the pattern engraved on our hearts.

If God did reveal Himself to men, why not use miraculous events that would touch the deepest chords He placed in their imaginations? Why shouldn't we be seeking the marvels that our natures lead us to desire? Of course we should be suspicious of false claims, fakers, frauds, and forgeries. I've examined many a claim that didn't hold up. And thus I've gained confidence in a claim that has more merit than all the others.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

@Chiu
(el gato)

Re: Taoism.
Perhaps, but I disagree. No sense wasting calories on this one.

Re: Violence/Christiantiy

I've never agreed with pacifism. Jesus obviously was no pacifist either. In a world where people don't fight to defend themselves, what is to distinguish weakness from virtue? Syrupy-sweet Christianity has always nauseated me, and it is rightly one of the things Christians are mocked for.

There ARE instances when justified violence goes beyond mere self-defense. If you see a woman getting raped, for example, violence would be justified. But self-defense even here plays a critical role. After all, the raped woman cannot defend herself. You, in essence, take up arms to defend her on her behalf. Another important point to remember is this: you are not defining what is good. You are defining what YOU think is good. This is true for every action taken in life. We are not defining good/evil, right/wrong/, truth/falsehood, etc. We are defining what WE think is good and evil.

Putting a gun in your hand and claiming to be the wrath of God is an absolute no-no. Only God is God.

Anonymous said...

@Chiu
(el gato)

Virgin births are associated with a being which either has more power than mortal men, or has more authority than mortal men.
This reminds me of how evil is addressed in pagan thought. Seth fights with the other deity (in Egyptian myth) for evil reasons, loses, and becomes master of the arid desert. Here you see a parallel with satan being expelled from heaven. Does this mean that the Jewish explanation is invalid? No, both cultures were touching upon the same thing. The difference is that good and evil in egypt always came second to other realities (like the rest of paganism). It was the potatoes rather than the meat, so to speak. That is why evil in Egypt could only be explained phenomenologically (even though the Seth story raises eyebrows).

Asking an Egyptian what "evil" was is akin to asking us what "red" is. We would answer that "red is in a rose", "red is the color of blood", etc etc. Likewise, the Egyptian would answer that "evil" is what Seth did in such and such situation, or what the other deity did in another situation, or what your neighbor did the other day, etc.

Only in the Judeo/Christian tradition (coupled with Greek thought), do you get a sublime definition of evil: the absence of God.

Just because Jesus' virgin birth shares similarities with other myths, it doesn't make it invalid.
On the day C.S. Lewis converted christianity, J.R.R. Tolkien told him (paraphrasing) that the Judeo/Christian story was indeed a myth, but it was a myth that was TRUE (obviously there would have been qualifiers to this statement).

Myths are how people explained reality. It would be unreasonable to NOT expect parallels.

Chiu ChunLing said...

Well, I didn't limit my justification for killing to self-defense, I only limited it as to what may be defended by resort to lethal violence. Given that a women being raped is in danger of injury to bodily integrity and freedom as a result, I'd say it slides in.

On the other hand, if you were to confront a thief (even with the victim's goods in hand) you would not be justified in resorting immediately to violence unless the thief demonstrated a determination to break the law sufficient to cause you concern for your own safety. If the confronted thief surrendered the stolen goods, I wouldn't feel it ethically justified to use violence. On the other hand, if the thief attacked someone or engaged in high risk activities while attempting to escape with the goods, I would find it reasonable to presume (though not a certain proposition) that the thief would willingly endanger others to continue thieving.

Of course, that illustrates one of the problems of any ethical system, it can only handle so much uncertainty before becoming rather less useful. Which is why simple moral prescriptions backed by religion are so necessary.

Though obviously the Wrath of God would use a blade or hammer, not a gun. Guns are so very unmythic that they can't even portray them correctly in movies without ruining the drama.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Sol/ You New said...

Dear Takuan Seiyo

Thanks for the thoughtful exposition. Thanks GOV, for posting it.

"I am just trying to get Europeople of 50 different and mutually snickering denominations, plus their agnostic and even atheist (e.g. John Derbyshire, Heather MacDonald) comrades in the battle for Western Civilization to stop this religious cat-fighting nonsense. Stick to your faith and respect other creedal systems as long as not vile or fanatic. The only boat moves fast whose rowers pull to the same cadence, aware of sharing the same tiny shell on stormy seas."

Amen to that. But alas we are failing as you astutely have pointed out. Interest in spirituality and it's forms, the cause of the rise in civilization, continues its cantankerous death, as we watch in dismay.

I am without doubt that we are going to need to approach philosophy/religion in a new way. Not a happy face, BS universalism, but something unified. Meanwhile, the West is on a credit card that is over the limit. When reality brings us collective suffering, the best of humanity will one again, rise up in search for meaning. The old symbols will be replaced with some new ones to seep meaning into a new society.

Sol/ You New said...

Also Takuan,

Re: All this religion-talk:

There will always be those who, holding the tail of the elephant, endlessly testify that an elephant is a rope! They never seem to give up. That's why I only discuss religion/philosophy with people who are willing to circumambulate the beast in order to get some variety of feels.

"Even if you adduce some line in the Gospels to that effect, don't you understand that a story is adapted to suit the purpose of the narrative?"

This is hard on the ears of the modern, analyticalized religious practitioner. It is accurate though, if not complete.
If you will forgive my parsing, I would say that the teacher-teachings-spiritual effects... all these arise naturally out of dharmakaya/God/Tao to meet the needs of the sincere aspirations of men seeking truth.

Now this talk of Abrahamic faiths, Eastern versus Western religions is wrought with mistaken, rote repetition, as you seem all too aware.

All true faiths (the cause of the three great spurts called "great civilizations") are an attempt to rectify the problem of how man/universe relate to the ineffable.

For example,
Taoists say we lost our way and should return to Tao,
Christians say we lost our way and should return to God,
Buddhists say we have lost our way and should return to Buddha Nature.

The job of making religious forms, such as Tao and God, seem incompatible is an exhausting yet popular pastime for the small-minded. Let's just trudge forward on this and don't worry about the "fundamentalists" who don't know their fundamentals.

Again, thanks for your dissertation, my regards,
YN

Unknown said...

Takuan Seiyo, your articles always hit home. My summation is that

"The West is on its death march"

Anonymous said...

Religious Unitarianism will not save us.

Philosophical Unitarianism will not save us.

Relativist Unitarianism will not save us.

The "COEXIST" bumper sticker can be interpreted any way you want, but it is in the end, pretensious naivete.



El Gato

Chiu ChunLing said...

Now that is exactly the point I have to dispute.

I think that it should be possible for us to coexist without necessarily agreeing on anything that does not lead to an existential conflict. If Buddhists are intent on seeking Nirvana, while I search for Tao, or God, or whatever that we can all see is clearly different from Nirvana, why should there be a problem as long as none of our spiritual journeys calls for the violent subjugation of all other paths?

Why should the Christian that believes God capable of using miraculous events to speak to the mythic yearnings in men be exterminated by those who believe that the miraculous events were fictions laid down to sake the hunger for myth?

Why can't we have religious freedom for everyone that is willing to eschew the commission of violent crime against those who believe differently?

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

@Chiu

I agree with you 110%.

My point was that some form of unitarianism isn't going to magically put humanity on the same page. People will ALWAYS have different opinions, ideas, identities, and what not.

Some new syncretistic approach, or some mushy COEXIST bumper sticker isn't going to somehow unify the west, and allow it to live in ideological harmony with the rest of the world.

Live and let live, I say. But not everybody feels that way, and not everybody who DOES feel that way, explains it the same way.

An ancient Egyptian may have latched on to the Seth story as a guide for living a better life. He may have seen the implicit connection, after all, between the aridness of the desert, and the evil of Seth's motives.

But does this REALLY mean that his beliefs are "basically the same" as say, Aristotle, simply because they are both decent to others?

I'm not advocating for an Inquisition. Like I said, live and let live. But lets not be childish or naive about this mess either. There IS such a thing as TRUTH (though some may consider that a quaint, provincial notion).

SOMEWHERE lies the ultimate truth which gives "live and let live" its ultimate foundation. If you want to believe it has something to do with a strange, polytheistic worldview centered on Egypt, more power to you. If you want to believe it is only for educated Greeks capable of rationally conceiving it, again, more power to you.

The Egyptian's and Aristotle's souls may harmonize, but their minds are out of sync. For me to ask the question of "Why?" and to think it actually has VALUE, doesn't mean that I'm Torquemada.

And lets not forget: explanations have CONSEQUENCES. I don't care HOW noble many muslims are, ultimately, the "explanation" their minds latch on to (or rather are enslaved by), literally castrates their good intentions when it comes to interaction with infidels. The reason nobody sees large demonstrations of decent hearted muslims carrying banners with quotations from the Quran saying: "Terrorists! We are not with you! Mohammad says 'love and pray for your enemies'!", is because those quotations simply DON'T EXIST. The muslim "explanation" puts very REAL limits on the reach of the souls of its decent hearted followers.


But an "explanation" that says that ALL mankind is equal under a good, omnipotent, omniscient God, that enemies are to be prayed for, that warfare is licit for survival just never divine, that unbelievers may be closer to God than believers, etc.... Well THAT is just "religious talk" holding everyone back.

What a sad joke. Its one of the reason the West is falling apart in front of our eyes to begin with.

Like the Greeks said: "The gods first blind those who they wish to destroy."

-el gato

Chiu ChunLing said...

Hmmm...I don't believe that I see any necessity to prohibit or denigrate a religion that works to enervate the will to resort to violence. I certainly defend the claims of more inspiring beliefs to legitimacy as bearers of moral traditions, but see no difficulty in allowing the skeptical to refrain from strong belief as long as they do not attack the faith of anyone who abides the demands of the law.

If someone believes that the morality of their religion or philosophy grants license to shed innocent blood for some "greater good", then I must object to the practice and to the belief. So there is a standard. I can't abide any kind of collectivism, because it denigrates the standard of individual innocence and guilt, and thus necessarily condones the murder of innocents to protect the guilty.

But as long as a religion does not require violence against anyone except those who threaten violence against those innocent of it, I don't see why I should myself break the rule of refraining from violence against those not engaged in it. As long as the skeptic or rationalist or even atheist does not call for the use of force to suppress the believer in more sublime myths, then they are not guilty of any violence, and it would be unjust to use coercion against them.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

@Chiu

I agree.

Anonymous said...

Y'all,
There will be more on this in the concluding part, and not necessarily on the lines discussed above. Since I probably won’t have space to include this little observation there, I’ll make it here:

Suppose a tree has fallen in a Hindu forest and a Hindu has not seen it; has the tree fallen? Well, as long as the Hindu collected something on the forest floor that he thought were the whiskers of Shiva, and took it home and used as kindling, yes the tree has fallen. The ultimate Christians in the world are the Jains, except for the Neo-Platonic accoutrements.

But the Jains are not my people. I can respect some of them, and have an appreciation of their creed, but I’d never want to be a Jain or live in a Jain neighborhood. Contrariwise, I see no reason to engage in disputes why my creed is superior to theirs, or try to convert them etc. Diversity is beautiful: just not in the same place.

As far as Christianity per se goes, I apply the same principle as I apply toward Islam. I rate a religious creed on a scale from 4 to 10. This requires tedious consideration so don’t hold me to it here. If I assign 4 to Zen or Taoism and 6 to Deism, I would assign 10 to Islam. And anything that’s above 8+ is to me a psychotic aberration from mild to 10 at worst. I don’t like Christian snake swallowers in Kentucky any more than I like the Muslims or Ultra-Orthodox Jews cooling their heels in Mahmud’s antechambers in Tehran. The reason I give only the Muslims 10 is that they are the only creed remaining that still kills and destroys for it. But I still say to Christians who are in the 8-plus zone: cool it, stop raining hail and brimstone on less fanatical members of your own tribe, and join in.

Anonymous said...

@Tekuan

"The ultimate Christians in the world are the Jainists"

A bizarre statement to make. But what's the point of going over things again?

To each his own.

-el gato

Chiu ChunLing said...

Going back to another essay posted recently on Gates of Vienna, I have to say that Muslims are hardly the only folks out there willing to resort to violence in pursuit of their "religion"...the various forms of Marxism, Multiculturalism, and Progressivism; all have racked up much more impressive body counts.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, Takuan, excellent. I look forward to Part 5.

Seneca III

Anonymous said...

@Chiu
Your observation is correct and it leads to the inescapable analytical conclusion that leftist dogma is a secular religion just as impregnable to fact and reason as the most fanatical religious creed. It's not an accident that the Socialist-Muslim alliance that's destroying Europe (and more slowly the Anglo diaspora too) is as absurd as it is natural.
Takuan Seiyo

Anonymous said...

@Chiu/Tekuan.

I agree, gents. They are secular religions.

Communist agitators/Socialist activists, etc, are just secularized and politicized versions of the missionary.


-el gato

Sagunto said...

From the article:

"Murray relays that despite the crucial importance of the top tier of human capital, the federal government spent only 1% of its education budget on this gifted segment, until G.W. Bush terminated that, too. He suggests that the gifted 10% require a special education. It should encourage precise thinking via mastery of analytical tools like grammar, syntax and logic. It should impart wisdom and a sense of responsibility and humility through the study of history and ethics."

Sounds like perfect progressivist-speak to me. Underlying ideology being the "scientific management of society" by a ruling elite of "experts".

No problem there, just make sure they're fed the right stuff and everything will be all right.

And this is being advocated as part of the remedy after the familiar gloom and doom scenario has come to pass?

Kind regs from / Amsterdam (clip) /,
Sag

Chiu ChunLing said...

Well, really the only mistake here is failing to understand the critical importance of the statistic that only 1% of Federal spending went to the education of the top 10% (speaking in terms of IQ). The fact is that, the more Federal dollars are going to educate a child, the worse off that child probably is (not just mentally) and the more likely those dollars are to be misspent on counterproductive methods of education anyway.

The assumption that government should be spending this money, that government ever would be paying to "educate" the population to become anything other than compliant subjects, is a profound error and a crucial link in justifying the imposition of Progressive policy. But the error was not invented by Progressivism, it naturally occurs whenever men forget (and most prefer to do so at times) that the only power and essential purpose of government is to organize and justify the infliction of lethal force against those deemed a threat to society.

Not one person in a thousand will accept this rather obvious truth about government without trying to argue against it. It is natural for anything familiar to be regarded as not-terribly-dangerous, even if the whole reason for something is because it is dangerous, such as a defensive fire-arm. I know a few owners of weapons who treat them with considerably less caution than I find proper. Then again, I'm sometimes one of them, it is natural to let one's guard down occasionally.

Still, while the paucity of government spending on the education of the top percentile of students is telling, one of the things it tells us is that Americans still understand that the most gifted students really wouldn't benefit from more government funding in their education. I don't know what portion of these understand that the essential purpose of government funded education is to ensure that the masses are hopelessly dumbed down and powerless to become really independent citizens. But it seems that enough of the top do understand it...though they are using that knowledge in precisely the wrong way.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

"...it naturally occurs whenever men forget (and most prefer to do so at times) that the only power and essential purpose of government is to organize and justify the infliction of lethal force against those deemed a threat to society."

Yes, Chiu. Which is WHY allowing the form of government of Islam with its Sharia Law acting with lethal force against non-Muslims is so dangerous to non-Muslims!

I have read you to say before that a 'mild' form of Islam might be acceptable, but here you make MY point which is that ANY amount of Islam is lethal to non-Muslims.

Egghead

Chiu ChunLing said...

A reformed Islam would necessarily be quite "mild" as a religion, but it would also have to eschew all aspirations to enforcement of its dictates by coercive means. It would also, I note, have very few dictates to enforce, since part of the reformation would entail acknowledging that Mohammad is an example of just how foolish it is for man to aspire to apprehend divine morality, rather than being an example of such morality.

"Christian" theocracy is a historical fact (however uncomfortable it might be for you to acknowledge it). That does not mean that Christianity is therefore to forever be classed as a form of government. The idea of saying that Christianity is a system of totalitarian government should strike every committed defender of the West as ludicrous on the face of it.

It may be the case that the Christian experiments with theocratic rule were never as horrible as Islamic theocracy. But there isn't any essential difference in principle. It is simply not true that there is no non-theocratic Islam and no Muslims who do not support the imposition of theocracy. It may be true, in the current climate, that most of those are on their way out of Islam one way or another.

If you really want to argue that Islam must be abolished entirely because it has become entangled with government, then first renounce Christianity and demand that it too be abolished. If you are not willing to do this, then your insistence on applying that standard to Islam is mere hypocrisy.

I can consistently defend the role of Christianity as being distinct from the sphere of government because I admit the same opportunities to Islam where it exhibits the necessary traits. The traditions and philosophical articulation of any culture evolve over time in response to the social environment. Islam is not exempt from the essential laws that govern the development of human culture.

Or, if it is, then perhaps there is something to it and we had all better convert while there's still time. But I am not buying it.

Chiu Chun-Ling.

Anonymous said...

Comedy Central. SNL blether for lexicographers. So much fodder for ruminatives. (Did you know a cow has seven stomachs to digest its herbaceous diet?)

The first person I actually knew from Vienna was grandfather to a little girl born at the same time as my own child. The parents were friends of a mutual friend whose nationality was associated with the new 'religion' of the couple.
The couple's mutual friend was from Seoul. He was a physics student and my husband a student of math. My husband has a beautiful tenor voice as well as our friend's voice and it was a joy to hear them sing together. Because he is Korean, the moony couple latched onto him as an international friend. The couple were 'converts' from Presbyterian faith and Judaism. The husband's father was from Vienna and when we met I was struck by his truly cosmopolitan attitude. He seemed to avoid a religious prejudice, perhaps for the sake of his newborn granddaughter. Who knows?

I was 'in' Vienna a few days a few months after President Obama took office.

I rode a glass elevator to a math museum and visited an art museum with reduced admission fees for those who are poor.

I visited a cathedral where little Wolfie played and perhaps the boy Schubert sang and admired the combination of colored glass and sunlight.

I walked in Vienna Woods, visited a monastery where the monks are known the world over, and enjoyed teppan yaki at at very nice restaurant where the kaiser had been a dining patron in earlier time.

I enjoyed a very pleasant holiday afternoon crowd relaxing in a city gathering place, rode the clockwork U-train, ate the most delicious kepaps from a vendor and enjoyed suchertorte and apricot juice at a sidewalk table.

I rode for miles to the international Vienna airport outside the city and passed oil tanks and what appeared to be acres of greenhouses.

Not long after returning home to the middle-eastern cornfields of Indiana, USA, there were deaths in Vienna from a fight among sikhs. Islamism is the largest religious minority in that city, however, one doesn't make a big deal of that fact unless there is a belief among the majority that the Muslim believers practice in a cult that is intrinsically evil.

Before I visited Vienna, my impression had been that of a German nation, but on reflection, it's much more than either East or West Germany; a highly educated nation at the confluence of the world.

It is my impression that Vienna is like any number of European cities, a little less prejudiced and more tolerant, but certainly provincial as is the whole of Europe.