Re:virus: showers

joe dees (
Wed, 24 Feb 1999 22:40:05 -0500

At Wed, 24 Feb 1999 08:45:47 -0500, you wrote:
>>>It is possible.
>>That's a faith I wish I shared,
>Me, too.
>>but it contradicts my experience
>I know. That is why you have to have faith. It
>allows you to create a new experience.
>>and human history.
>Complete and utter bullshit.
>>One of the most memetically revealing passages
>>I have ever read was written more than four
>>centuries ago, by Richard Hooker. It is to be
>>found in Eric Voegelin's "The New Science
>>of Politics", Chapter 5: 'Gnostic Revolution -
>>The Puritan Case', pp. 133-152. Please obtain
>>and read this passage.
>Why? What will he say to me? How will his
>words serve my purpose? What do we share
>in common? What error in my thinking will
>he expose to me? I'm not going to read something
>unless I think it would be enlightening.

Trust me on this one thing; it is a passage everyone on this list would benefit from reading, but especially you.

>>It is a difficult task, at best, to repeat tolerance to
>>them more than they mantrically and with mutually
>>positive reinforcement repeat intolerance to each other.
>Well, all the easy stuff has already been done. It wouldn't
>be much of an intellectual challenge, nor offer much real
>meaning to our lives, if there was absolutely no rational
>reason to suppose we could fail. Plus, it might work.
>If it does, wouldn't it be inspiring? That's low risk (one
>life) and high reward (improvement of human culture).
>I know gambling isn't rational. That is why people enjoy
>it so much. But you and I are a little too sophisticated to
>be entertained for long at a craps table..becuase we deeply
>understand the nature of that game. So we look for the
>games which still hold some mystery.
>Richard Dawkins tells us that those deep mysteries
>can be found in _Unweaving the Rainbow_.
>He's absolutely right, but that is only half the story. The
>second half is in reweaving it, in synthesis. Dawkins, I
>know, sees this..I hear echoes of it in his recent book, as
>in E.O. Wilson's _Consillience_. As scientists, rationalists,
>as reasonable people, we are collectively searching. But
>we are powerful, and power leads to chauvanism. We
>respect our scientific ideas more than the mystical so, as
>we search for reunion, we have a tendency to insist that
>everyone use our terms. And the mystics, priests, and
>gurus do the same, but with different terms.
>The crisis, and it is a that the mystics have faith,
>they believe unmoveably in what they say. We don't, because
>we accept the potential for error within ourselves. This is
>why "level 3" (the moon, not the finger..the signified not
>the signifier..the ideal, not the representation or any single
>person's embodiment of it..the infinite intangible substance,
>and not the finite literal expressions) is so crucial to our success.
>If we oppose faith, reason will lose. Reason doubts itself.
>Thus "Pan-Critical" rationalism. Pan..omni..everything
>INCLUDING SELF. A rational person wears their weakness
>on their face and collapses at the push of a button..or else
>they are not totally "pan-critical".
>But self-proclaimed rational people tend to be pretty resillient.
>How does this happen? It's a paradox. How can these people
>be pan-critical, including can they be so open and
>yet so strong?
>The sad truth is, for the vast majority, they are hypocrites.
>They claim to be rational but are not, not completely. They
>hold assumptions which they will not question. They are not
>completely pan-critical. The worst are those who gleefully
>question everything except self.
>And that has always deeply offended me, becuase I hold reason
>in very high regard. To see people preach reason, teach science
>and yet be so FUCKING UNREFLECTIVE. It makes me
>angry. I admit this to you causes me great bile
>ridden rage. It makes me shit pissed livid because these people
>violate something which I hold dear, which I hold inviolate,
>which I believe should not be questioned.

Myself was the FIRST target of my questioning. Sometimes I liked the answers I found, sometimes not, but I accepted them equally, or changed that which I could not accept, even when that was very hard, because "very hard" I could accept. Faith is like gravity. it is sooo easy to sit in its lap, but harder to stand against its pull, on your own two rational feet, and follow premises to their conclusions regardless of whether they are what you would prefer, or else do the dirty work of changing the premises. This is why weak and strong alike may have faith, but only the strong may truly embrace reason. The weak may still take heart, however; the effort is itself exercise, and tempers and strengthens one. Eventually, even if you backslide at first, you can resist the nicotine call of faith, and throw the package away.

>Ironic, isn't it? Ironic that I claim to be rational and yet am
>so dogmatic? That realization
>causes me guilt, great guilt..becuase I am what I hate, in
>a sense. I'm a rabid rationalist. I have an unshakeable faith
>in reason. I will bend, to be sure. But I will die before I
>break on this principle.

I need not have faith in reason because it provides me with evidence for itself with every successful understanding it helps me to attain.

>That is a complex paradox. I hate something, and yet I
>embody that thing which I hate. That seems silly, futile,
>unproductive..dare I even say it seems EVIL. Can we
>agree that hatred is evil?

Then you would be required to either embrace evil or hate hatred, another paradox, like being intolerant of intolerance; yet some paradoxes are, notwithstanding their nature, necessary. However I think that some hatred is necessary, also. Not of people, but of some of their actions, such as murder, rape, theft, oppression, planetary destruction. These are things we must stand against, and strive to end, if we are truly committed to the pursuit of good. It is, however, often impossible to stop these actions without taking restrictive action against those people who commit them, to prevent them from continuing to do so. In these cases, such action is a necessary and justifiable defence. The other side of the coin of ending evils is to initiate goods. Whenever we see the chance to help someone who needs it do something that needs to be done, that is helpful to have done, we serve our own ends, if they truly be the good, by taking it, and when we see that something needs to be done but no one is doing it, we should begin the task, and invite others of good will to help us in it, and thus we help each other. To be in that state is worse than
>unconsciousness, becuase with every action I make myself
>aware of the evil I do..but I have such a hard time seeing
>the good. Every act of another upon me I flinch from,
>becuase my paranoid delusion charactures everyone as
>a devil in disguise, and me most of all. I am, indeed,
>possessed by a Selfish Genie..a perverse spirit of evil.
>Or not?
>That, in the end, is all "level 3" really is:
>"Or not?"
>Not true. Not false. But meaningful, to me.
>Or not? I wonder. Why do I wonder? Because I deeply
>wish to be a good person. I deeply wish to be a person
>who sees the goodness in things, and who communicates
>a positive vision. That is my purpose in being. There
>is nothing more important than that: not reason, not
>faith, not evil or guilt, nor anger. My purpose is to be
>a good person, as best I know how. I don't claim to
>know exactly how. I don't claim to have special access
>to knowledge of what good is.
>But I do know, that the way I used to think..the rabid
>rationalist way..I know that way is evil. I know that
>intimately, and that knowledge has tortured me for
>most of my life.

Rabid anything is evil. Rabid faith is especially evil.

>But if I could embody that thing which I hate..then
>perhaps I can embody that thing which I love? To
>embody what you love, to embody goodness..that
>isn't inconsistent with purpose, anymore. I think
>I sense I way out. Perhaps the existentialists are wrong.
>Maybe there is an exit here, somewhere. Where is the
>door out of living hell? How do you find it?
>I hate it. I hate faith. It's irrational. It''s just
>yucky OK? It makes me offends
>my worldview.
>But the line dividing faith from reason runs, not between
>me and the Other (as the postmoderists would say) but,
>right down the center of my heart, or brain..whatever.
>We're speaking metaphorically here.
>Who can cut out a piece of their own heart? Who would
>let a piece be cut out of their own brain? No one.
>Unless (remember the Lorax?)
>Unless, of course, that piece was causing siezures, right?
>If it was causing you serious continious pain..well, you
>might consider cutting it out..wouldn't you? It might
>be best to destroy something which unrelentingly attacked
>everything else, which caused the whole system to fail?
>I mean, it might hurt for a moment..but maybe that would
>be better than hurting forever?
>Now, I can't cut faith out of my heart. I have faith in
>reason, and reason is good. If I lose my faith, then I'm
>going to collapse into a depressed heap. Anyone will
>be able to push me around becuase I'll always be open
>..deeply eternally open. You just can't do that, becuase
>there are vile, evil, terrible things out there. You have
>to be closed to some things and open to others.
>But how to choose? If I choose reason as a sieve, I
>exclude myself from goodness..becuase I am not
>completely rational. If I choose faith as a sieve, then
>I'll become permanent: dogmatic and unchanging.

Neither way lies perfection. Perfection is impossible. Faith allows the delusion that perfection is possible, but it is still a delusion; at least reason is painfully honest about perfection's impossibility. If you maintain perfectionism as an unnegotiable goal for yourself, you will forever remain in misery, for you will forever be trapped living within a self which is unacceptable to you.

>Perhaps I will use my purpose as a sieve? Perhaps
>I will use goodness. What does goodness instruct
>us to do? Goodness instructs us to suppress evil.
>What is evil? I can't be sure. I can't be sure about
>so many things.
>But, can we agree that hatred is evil? Can we all
>accept that premise? Can we agree that our purpose
>is to be good, and while we might never know
>exactly what that means..we are resolute that
>hatred is never good, but always evil. Are you
>with me there?

The reply I gave to you on this matter above, when you last asked it, still holds for me.

>If so, the choice is clear. Cut hatred out of your
>heart. Suppress it. Resist it in every expression,
>will all your energy. We will each always carry
>some evil with us, becuase we can never be sure
>what is good and what evil..but can we be resolute
>that hatred is unacceptable?
>So, what do I think of faith now? Well, my purpose
>is to be good. Since I don't know exactly how that
>is going to be accomplished, and I admit that I will
>always hold some evil within me, I need reason..
>I need to be pan-critical. I've got to think.
>Plus, I've got to help other people think. It's
>useless for me to be free if everyone else is still
>enslaved. Freedom of expression is only worth
>something if there in an audience of equals to
>listen. But so many of us are irrational, slaves
>to one ideology or another. And we have faith
>in our foolishness.
>What can oppose that faith? Our faith. I have
>faith in reason. My resolute faith in reason will
>help me to redeem the irrational.
>So, I suppose, I love faith..well, anyway, it's
>very useful to me in my purpose. No, I love
>it. I love it and I embody it.
>Look, I don't know what your prison looks like,
>only you can feel those bars. I know this. I was
>trapped in a living hell of my own construction.
>The key was hatred. I cut hatred from myself,
>and used it to open the lock. Then I walked outside
>And it was spring! The world was green with
>life. I was born then. I don't know where this
>path will take me, becuase I don't have any magical
>powers to guide me towards good. The only tool,
>the best tool I have ever reason. I have
>faith that this tool will serve me, at least until I
>find something better.
>And, the funny thing is, I can walk backwards any
>time. That door is still open, and hatred is still
>sitting their, sullen and ignored, in the lock. And
>whenever I like, I can close the door on myself.
>But it's dark in there, small, noone but me.
>It's no longer entertains me becuase I deeply
>understand the nature of that game. So I need to search
>for something which still holds mystery.
>That is the story of how I came to be on this
>path. It is also the explaination for why no
>person, no idea, no force..will ever push
>me back. I am too big now, to fit back in
>the womb.
A File In Your Cake

I've got your prison worldview dangling
It's been dangling all the time
No use in existential wrangling
Freely chaos without rhyme
We're merely puppets playing mime
And the funny thing
Is we hold the strings
But we're ignorant and strangling
Self-caught in tangling lines.
We're masters of our dreaming
But still slaves to our seeming
"Shred the Dread!", I am screaming
But I see the bars. They're mine.

You pathetic little people!
Why don't you realize?
It's easy; just open your eyes!
Not those beneath your eyelids;
All they perceive is Dread
But the eyes Inside your head.
I hope for the We
That someday may be
That you'll See.

>>I would also prefer peaceful coexistence to war,
>>yet I will not embrace intellectual slavery to avoid it.
>Exactly my point.
>>That's what they're counting on; that it is less
>>trouble for people to forsake their own consciences
>>and adopt the zealots' version than it is to oppose
>>zealotry. We must not acquiesce and thus confirm
>>that they are right about this.
>Speak brother! But never become too enamored
>of your own rhetoric. This journey has no end,
>and everyone will eventually have to be redeemed
>along the way, even the most hateful. If we must
>build walls to protect ourselves in the short term,
>let us not perceive them as permanent, unyielding
>features of the landscape.

We are not the ones cocooning ourselves; they are.

>>Well, a question asks, but a statement asserts.
>My precious God, I think you're going Zen on me.
>I love it.
>>This is just saying, "well, you might not be so
>>pure yourself"
>It's like you're telepathic.
>>There is a little matter of dinosaur bones, carbon
>>dating and DNA here.
>Those are facts, we are talking about narratives.
>>Children should not be taught myth as fact, or as science.
>I agree, but children should be allowed to believe. Belive
>in what, exactly? I don't know..I rely on a democratic
>community of people with freedom of expression to
>help me work it out. I have my voice to contribute,
>but I recognize that I don't have any special access to
>truth. My doctrine, also, has no special merit.
>>Are you advocating the scholastic institutionalization
>>of "intelligent design theory" here?
>Absolutely! But ONLY if the collective finds it to
>be the closest to good we can come up with. If not,
>then NEVER, I would oppose it with my soul. But,
>since the question is still unresolved: I have no answer.
>Based on this principle:
>I'm a scientist, I try to avoid preconception
>as much as humanly possible.
>>Scientific facts are not a matter of popularity tests,
>>but of experimental results, repeatable under controlled
>Here, here! But we shouldn't teach facts. Facts are boring.
>Facts are also, by definition, anyone who
>wants to know a fact really badly can go look for themselves.
>Stories are interesting. What tale shall we tell that makes
>the facts meaningful? What model shall we use? Oh, I've
>got an idea! Why not use them all? Why not mix and match?
>Why not hybridize to find the closest thing to good we can?
>Why not, in short, step up a level and accept that there can
>be multiple useful ways of looking at things..that these models
>might even be inconsisent with each other..that this is OK.
>It is, as Richard will tell you, much better than OK.

The story must be tailored to fit the facts; we must never tailor the facts to fit the story.

>Becuase "the words" cannot bind us, unless we let them.
>It is we who choose. God depends on each of us to interpret
>what goodness is for ourselves. If we do not, then God
>is useless to us..indeed, God may become a force of evil
>if too many people don't take the time to interpret what
>he says. So we should think, study, listen. We should
>tell each other what we think God is. Anything: anything
>but nothing. We are human, after all. Human nature
>is to create. If there is no God, whatever you concieve
>that to be, then I hold you each responsible..personally
> assist me the synthesis of one. I don't
>claim to know what that construct will look like.

To attempt to quote George Bernard Shaw (in a letter to Leo Tolstoy, who asked if he believed) from memory: "I do not believe there is a God as yet, but that there is a force inherent in all life blindly striving for perfection, and each child born is a new attempt at that perfection."

>But I do understand teleology! We envision. We create
>Our creations give meaning. What could be simpler?
>>Wake up, Reed; the world is more than six thousand
>>years old. You are the voice of the serpent if irrationality here.
>You know what? I'm not sure my world is more than seven days
>old. It began when I rejoined this list and decided that I was
>going to say exactly what I believed. If that seems irrational
>to you then you lack the imagination, or the compassion, to
>understand me. But I have faith that you have the capacity
>to do so..that is what differentiates you from ash and dust.
>>When things get that ugly, one group of people shares
>>the common faith that another group must not be
>>permitted to exist, enact it into law, and act upon it.
>I understand. This is why it is imperative that we
>try to keep things from getting least until
>we can help more people to become rational. After
>more people become rational, there won't be nearly
>as much ugliness. I have faith in that. I won't say
>God is on our side, but I think goodness is. To
>know with more certianty, we would have to talk to
>everyone and find out what they think. No one
>person can ever be certian what goodness is, but
>we can each stand by our opinion and consider the
>beliefs of others. We can negotiate. The outcome
>will always be better that something that one person
>has created.
>>..ugly faith is the source of the darkness.
>That is, more or less, what Jesus Christ said.
>It was the essence of the new covenant.
>>>Is there a difference between a lie and a story?
>>Ask George Orwell. Historical revisionism, for
>>whatever purpose, is unjustifiable.
>That's a different conversation. Today let's focus
>on faith. Tomorrow we can think about propaganda.
>>Good luck.
>I don't need luck. I have faith in myself, and in us.
>There is no force more powerful in reality.
>>>I can't see any purpose in reading the diatribes of
>>>madmen, and I trust you when you say it is disgusting.
>>Regardless, I DID post it, just to prove my point about
>>the shameless and proud evil of absolute coercive
>You have freedom of expression. I didn't read it.
>Why should we tell each other the evil words of
>crazy people? That seems futile. It's like saying
>"Here, this smells terrible, take a whif."
>What possible purpose does that serve? Unless you
>are questioning? But I think you're pretty certian
>of the evil nature of the document to which you
> you need me to verify that for you?
>Could someone else do it? There must be people in
>the world with more stomach for that sort of thing.
>I'm only seven days old, anyway..I know there is a lot
>of work to do..but could I enjoy my innocence for
>a little while longer?
>>When Peul Hill shotgunned an abortion doctor and
>>a clinic escort to death, what information did the
>>slain gain from it?
>That they and their people were not evangelizing effectively
>enough. Actually, the dead gain no information. We
>each make our own conclusion from the facts. That was
>>Agreed. It's not the escorts or the patients who are
>>spitting at the clinics, either saliva or lead.
>OK. Now, don't hate me for saying this:
>From a Catholic perspective, they are killing babies.
>It takes incredible forebearance to resist the urge to
>protect children, whatever the cost. Sometimes,
>especially if you feel like your voice isn't being
> get pushed too far. This is especially
>true for people who don't have enough reason,
>and enough faith in it, to recognize their innate ability
>to advocate for their beliefs. Violence is always
>the recourse of the desperate..the crudest form
>of expression. This is why it is so critical for
>us to educate each other. We need to give all human
>beings the tools to make themselves heard. Only
>then, will violence cease.

What is really scary about this line of thought is that it is the same justification for violence invoked in that article you wouldn't read. It goes like this: We can't convince people to stop doing this thing we don't like. If you won't permit us to stop people from doing it by blocking them, then we'll have to kill them.

>>Bad people like to rationalize their cruelties..
>>Do not make it easier for them.
>I hear and obey.
>>Substitute "ecclesiastical" for "institutional."
>Has he been excommunicated? Has his flock been
>threatened with excommunication if they don't
>start acting like grown ups? It may not be significant
>to you..but it is significant to them. If the Pope
>declared that any Catholic who murders an abortionist
>would be excommunicated for the unforgiveable sin
>of hubris (to take life, which is God business, not man's)
>it would serve to supress the evil. We could suggest it,

I'd welcome such a statement.

>>>But we do not shirk from force when we can find
>>>no other solution. We don't hide from the thin end
>>>of the wedge. We are pragmatic, and sometimes we
>>>resolve to push back, with care.
>>This must be remembered by those unwilling to
>>embrace extinction.
>That's pretty deep. I like it.
> Reed Konsler
Joe E. Dees
Poet, Pagan,

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