Thursday, August 22, 2013

Anarchy: In Love

Anarchy: In Love

For those not in love:
there’s LAW,
       to rule
            to regulate
                   to rectify.

                          William Gass

AMATURE:  for the love of it.
PROFESSIONAL: for the money
(credit, grade, reward).

My students—all of them lovers.
Amateurs. They come to my classes

for the love of it—love of   literature,  
love of language,  love of  Learning,
love of Life  of the Mind.

And so I don’t rectify, regulate, or
rule  because it’s all love love love

Anarchy is what it is. No forcing the
issue. Always pure possibility &
potential—potency, power--and who
knows what will emerge?.  Nobody.


CHAOS – from Indo European gheu :
            “gap,”.”chasm,” “yawn,”

   Always in the beginnings: the word.


  1. Credo ut placebo Domino in regio vivorum, gratia Domini causa.

    What believe -- you? What believed Augustine, whom you quote?

    The purely metaphorical stuff has no traction and the scholarship that diminishes biblical teaching is made up of quite a bit of conjecture. I don't think it has a lot of traction in the mind of the "average" person on the ground, just like 50% refuse to believe in evolution after years and years of onslaught of indoctrination. It just has no traction.

    A friend of mine wrote this while doing PHD in Kentucky.

  2. You are calling evolution "purely metaphorical stuff"? And creationism literal? Traction? A metaphor for bias/belief/prejudice/conviction. Preppers preparing for apocalypse? Traction? (Your link gives me the opening list and doesn't indicate which post. Put it in your own words. Much more engaging) You haven't responded to my question: are you describing or accusing? (Is there a difference?) Is the creation story--3rd rib etc--metaphorical or historical? Which of the 2 approaches has traction for you? (I expect you will not answer this.)


    As before, gives me the whole dissertation, all 270 pages of it. --???

    Bruce Kirby shared this pertinent article the other day:

    Am I describing or accusing? You tell me. To say that science, art, metaphorical understandings, atheism, however hard they may try cannot deliver the benefits of religion and actual belief, what is that? You yourself can never say what you do believe. So I don't know why I get into arguing with you. It is always supposed to go along your lines of framing. What is that: a description or an accusation?

    The rib is not a biochemical description. Neither is it a metaphor. It is like saying: new people are made from father and mother sleeping together. We well know that they sleep together and don't actually sleep while making babies. Is "sleeping together" metaphorical? Hardly. Slightly euphemistic, but not much. -- Why don't you tell us how you think people got here and whatever else you believe? Are you actually alive in this land of the living, or it is all a mirage?

    Is it ok to stipulate a source "Q" and late date the gospels, just on conjecture? Is this science? Is this "science of religion" (Religionswissenschaft, as the Germans so stupidly labeled their own frivolous ideas. It's not even soft science. It is science fiction.) We are supposed to be convinced of something by this methodology? And then we are to comfort ourselves with the "metaphorical" understanding.

  4. Your links like me with a " front page" with items and items and items. But you know me: I prefer your version of whatever it is that interests you in these articles. Accusing, I'd say. We accuse. We select the facts and the data and statistics and the "science" that suits our belief;/bias system and mind-set and protect our outlook. This is just description--it makes sense . Who evei is converted or dis-converted by argument, facts, history? Citadel vs Citadel. Comfortificaton vs Comfortification. Best I can do is appreciated Winnie the Pooh and resist falling off into an argument with the literalists vs the metaorce. (Which, I confess, I mostly do --fall off--because I love it: arguing my ass off.) Evolution makes good sense to me. Mythological appreciation of creation makes good sense to me. Incommensurate. I think we've gone over the difference and relationship of science and religion. It's when either one is used as a standard for the other that the shit hits the fan. You use the "we are supposed" construction a lot--as if the possibility of some Boss is telling us what and how to believe and comfort ourselves. Think of all the varieties of religious experience. A never ending conversation of "difference" that never the less is generated out of a same. E Unum Pluribus.

  5. Got the Kirby link. Of course science can't deliver the benefits of religion. Obviously. Can religion deliver the benefits of science. No. Incommensurate. 2 radically different realms. Can an analysis of tire-pressure ration deliver the analysis of the winning driver in a NASCAR race? r

  6. Evolution absolutely makes no good sense, at all.

    Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos:

    "Scientists are well aware of how much they don't know, but this is a different kind of problem--not just of acknowledging the limits of what is actually understood but of trying to recognize what can and cannot in principle be understood by certain existing methods."

    "The starting point for the argument is the failure of psychophysical reductionism, a position in the philosophy of mind that is largely motivated by the hope of showing how the physical sciences could in principle provide a theory of everything. If that hope is unrealizable, the question arises whether any other more or less unified understanding could take in the entire cosmos as we know it...What I would like to do is to explore the possibilities that are compatible with what we know--in particular what we know about how mind and everything connected with it depends on the appearance and development of living organisms, as a result of the universe's physical, chemical, and then biological evolution. I will contend that these processes must be reconceived in light of what they have produced, if psychophysical reductionism is false.

    The argument from the failure of psychophysical reductionism is a philosophical one, but I believe there are independent empirical reasons to be skeptical about the truth of reductionism in biology. Physico-chemical reductionism in biology is the orthodox view, and any resistance to it is regarded as not only scienifically but politically incorrect. But for a long time I have found the materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe, including the standard version of how the evolutionary process works. The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes. (Footnote: See Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design, for a canonical exposition, which seems to convince practically everyone.) [Snort. Hahahaha.] This is just the opinion of a layman who reads widely in the literature that explains contemporary science to the nonspecialist. Perhaps that literature presents the situation with a simplicity and confidence that does not reflect the most sophisticated scientific thought in these areas. but it seems to me that, as it is usually presented, the current orthodoxy about the cosmic order is the product of governing assumptions that are unsupported, and that it flies in the face of common sense.

    I would like to defend the untutored reaction of incredulity to the reductionist neo-Darwinian account of the origin and evolution of life. It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection. We are expected to abandon this naive response, not in favor of a fully worked out physical/chemical explanation but in favor of an alternative that is really a schema for explanation, supported by some examples. What is lacking, to my knowledge, is a credible argument that the story has a nonneglibible probability of being true. There are two questions. First, given what we known about the chemical basis of biology and genetics, what is the likelihood that self-reproducing life forms should have come into existence spontaneously on the early earth, solely through the operation of the laws of physics and chemistry? The second question is about the sources of variation in the evolutionary process that was set in motion once life began: In the available geological time since the first life forms appeared on earth, what is the likelihood that, as a result of physical accident, a sequence of viable genetic mutations should have occurred that was sufficient to permit natural selection to produce the organisms that actually exist?

    [No wonder people hate him.]

  7. ... The world is an astonishing place, and the idea that we have in our possession the basic tools needed to understand it is no more credible now that it was in Aristotle's day. That is has produced you, and me, and the rest of us is the most astonishing though about it. If contemporary research in molecular biology leaves open the possibility of legitimate doubts about a fully mechanistic account of the origin and evolution of life, dependent only on the laws of chemistry and physics, this can combine with the failure of psychophysical reductionism to suggest that principles of a different kind are also at work int he history of nature, principles of the growth of order that are in their logical form teleological rather than mechanistic. I realize that such doubts will strike many people as outrageous,but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science."


    He concludes the introduction, a few more pages down the road with this disclaimer: he is not into "intelligent design", but...

    "...I confess to an ungrounded assumption of my own, in not finding it possible to regard the design alternative as a real option. I lack the sensus divinitatis that enables--indeed compels--so many people to see in the world the expression of divine purpose as naturally as they see in a smiling face the expression of human feeling. So my speculations about an alternative to physics as a theory of everything do not invoke a transcendent being but tend toward complications to the immanent character of the natural order. [What?] That would also be a more unifying explanation than the design hypothesis. I disagree with the defenders of intelligent design in their assumption, one which they share with their opponents, that the only naturalistic alternative is a reductionist theory based on physical laws of the type with which we are familiar. Nevertheless, I believe the defenders of intelligent design deserve our gratitude for challenging a scientific world view that owes some of the passion displayed by its adherents precisely to the fact that it is thought to liberate us from religion."

    The "immanent character of the natural order", is of course, another animal. People in English and Philosophy departments will maybe know what he is talking about. Mind you, he is struggling the rest of the book to come to some hypothesis of his own. The reader must judge for himself whether he succeeded in this effort or not.

  8. For many, much about "religion" makes absolutely no sense at all. I don't wake in the night worried about these issues. In waking life, they somewhat intrigue. I like to argue. Science is science and religion is religion--whatever their accomplishments and liabilities. I don't see one as boss over the other. O contrary. You know: incommensurate.My in the middle of the night & early morning anxieties have to to with my relationships, children, work, students....Not the origins. I drive a car--clueless as to how it works (though my son has just pulled the engine a 66 Mustang he inherited from his grandfather.) Etc. Winnie the Pooh makes great sense to me--unless I get entangled in an argument over whether bears talk or not.

  9. All representation (common sense, disciplines, traditions) is reductive: fictions that suit our conventions and beliefs, biases, prejudices, convictions. They "work" for us, and so it is easy to see them as "true." Like maps: useful but are not the territories. People tend to "believe" science (snort, ha ha) because it dominates there physical lives. People out west are preparing for the apoalypse (bunkers , guns and bomb shelters) )because it dominates their religious lives. "Neither logic nor sermons" convince. Not facts, stats, polls, books, datat....

  10. Then there are those who drive cars full of explosives into mosques for the sake of jihad and a paradise full of beautiful young women to enjoy. Incommensurate, you say. Poo Bear sense. Just another "spirituality" to enjoy. Then they write books about how Jesus came to bring the sword; see he is just another jihadist, like we are, em, no, no, make that a zealot. Yea, we all have Jesus on our side, when we make him into Poo Bear.

  11. Just finished my third opening course, grateful the summer's over and the meaning of my paltry, sinful, wretched life recommences. I imagine if i yelled shoddy and shabby at my Muslim students it might not make them Lutherans. I was talking about the incommensurate complementarity of Science and Religion. I wasn't talking politics or the diversity of religious belief. I myself prefer the come-with-the-sword aspects of the Messiah, the eye of the needle, thier in the night, & the enemies in one's own household as opposed to the walk-on-water come ye little lambs sweet bye & bye amen etc. Knowing that language and imagery refers to the kingdom within--not to be confused with the kingdom without. And Poor Winnie, I'm not making Jesus into Winnie: i'm suggesting a parallel( the kingdom is liked) little childrien listening to a story without being distracted by the literaliist/metaphoriist ongoing controversy. Don't we all have Jesus on our side regardless of whether we know it or not? Lo I am with you all ways. But I feel your pain, Brigitte. An agony. Defender of the faith. I can relate.

  12. "Shoddy and Shabby" has now 22 votes up and 77 votes down.

  13. I congratulate you on your lengthy review and all the response you've received. I .ve read quite a bit of it and (as i've confessed) envy the argument and activity. Personally: the shoddy and shabby rhetoric amounts to a poo bear dismissal understandably based on your disgust and disapproval of Jesus reduced to a Zealot when, for you, his Son of God status is ignored. I saw the interview with the Fox lady and thought his presence attractive and poised and as "scholarly" as he claimed to be. Shoddy and Shabby amounts to poo poo I do not like your Mr. Man: I do not like what you've done to my saviorl

  14. This one is much better and has a better tone.
    "Contradictory and Unoriginal" by Marina Nemat, author of "Prisoner of Teheran".

    The commentators piled on her in their ignorance, anyhow. But she is getting more up-votes. We see she is a professional and has the book in front of her, whereas I wrote it right off my spleen with having read the book in the store, refusing to dish out money for it. (I did buy the De Botton to make up for it.)


    Marina Nemat may have to go on the reading list, though I remember reading reviews and excerpts in the newspapers, at the time of publishing.

  16. Marina doesn't see any benefit in turning the other cheek and relishes the Insult and accusation. (Ad Hom, as you say). IN the mean time--the adventures of Winnie the Pooh--not to be eclipses by the yes-iit-is, no-it-aint ongoing bullaballoo.

  17. Well, maybe have have agreed then that evolution has no traction in our lives. It just simply means nothing if we have come down from slime via mutations. It is just kind of sad and hard to believe, even if Richard Dawkins insists it can be seen in a beautiful light. But if God knows us intimately, that means something. If he knows every sparrow and every hair on the head and if I am sitting or standing or lying down, that means something. But what? To me it means that I have another to thank, to complain to, to wait for, to hear, to love, to storm against, and this is not just my imagination. That he cares about me and the goal in life is not to achieve pleasures in paradise but to see him whom we haven't been able to see. And to be worthy of this encounter only because of pure grace. If it is just concepts and imagination, it loses all flavor and fervor. It becomes a pulling up by the own bootstraps. And this is what we have in "Religion for Atheists", although our friend has grasped many deep connections.

  18. What you say is eloquent and devoted.

  19. I sat up late watching Ayaan Hirsi Ali clips (author of "Infidel", bestseller, association with the movie of the slaughtered Van Gogh, film maker).

    Reza Aslan, as a Muslim (though "secular" as he says) does not approve of her. He feels she is a constant assault on young, pious Muslim souls and lives.

    Her presentation is very calm, informed, sensitive and logical. She turned away from Islam and became an atheist, but she says Christianity has the answers to radical Islam and should engage more vigorously. A radical Islamist who believes in God is more likely to be influenced by Christian, theist ideas than atheist ideas.

    Reza Aslan seeks to promote a secular Islam. I wonder how compatible this really is with most believers. He tried to give a "poo-bear" version of faith in one of the interviews. He said that people of those days would not expect things to be exactly true because we are talking about "spirituality". So it does not really matter who Jesus was exactly and what he did exactly. I just don't think that really works. In any case, Ayann Hirsi Ali asks very calmly: how will we win the hearts and minds of radical Islamists (their numbers have increased hugely) so we don't have to keep running into wars? What is the spiritual answer to a spiritual quest?

  20. Win the hearts and minds? Just finished my first week back in school. My aim is to provoke the hearts and minds, and put them in play . The content of the courses (linguistics, fiction, transcendentalism) provides the tokens--but is not, for me, the end. The questing is the answer.

  21. Yes, I hope you have a great and blessed year.

  22. Reza Aslan clearly articulates the Poo-Bear theory of historical research and the historical Jesus.

  23. You must become as a child to enter the kingdom.
    Quarreling and quarreling and quarreling over
    whether bears can talk (yes they can, no they can't
    yes, no, yep, nope, I'll kick yr ass, bring it) doenstt
    further the kingdom and actually prevents my entering..

    No it don't. Yes it does, Don't, Does, I've got a
    phd that says No. I've got a great religious faith
    says yes. Well you're wrong, no you are... and
    so it goes. hert'op

  24. Quest for truth. Don't give up. Never, never, never, ever give up.

  25. The word exquisite: from (ex) the quest, question. Method - meta hodus: Way of ways.

  26. So, why can't we do comparative religions. Why can we not have a quest for the historical Jesus that isn't such a flight of fancy as Aslan's? Why can't we compare the biblical Jesus to the Mohammed of the Koran and the Hadiths. Why is that in itself already Islamophobia? We don't have people who believe in bears who talk, but we have billions of people believing things to be literally true. Why can't that be discussed?

  27. Original Spin? Homeland security? Not many seem comfortable with BEYOND--beyond the literal and the metaphorical, not to mention beyond goodies and weasels--if not good & evil. You view Aslan's as a flight of fancy from you biased and believing standpoint. You might be able to also realize he didn't see himself as writing a "flight of fancy." Some people probably have Lutheran0phobia, Presbeterianophobia. Not quite sure I understand what you are asking--but it doesn't surprise me that we are a threatened, fearful, defensive people--by nature. A description not a condemnation. We embrace our own belief--and defend. Makes sense. .

  28. Bullshit. All of it. There are all sorts of things we are not allowed to discuss because of this having to be "comfortable with the BEYOND."

    Aslan misrepresents his credentials. He makes a complete mess of "scholarship". His PHD is on global jihad. His teaching position is in fiction writing. Even with him and his scholarship we are supposed to take a metaphorical approach. Oh, let's just get the gist of it. Ya, ya, ya, Aslan has got the idea right, so never mind the facts or the scholarship. Yes, yes, he is a scholar... Bla bla. Bullshit.

  29. Just say bla, bla and leave it at that. You don't approve, or like. No argument on his defense or credentials or point of view can be tolerated. He's not Xtian--or even Lutheran. Bullshit is what he is. Make a poster. Picket. Announce your offense. Many will agree with you. We;ve had these KIND of conversations before. They don't keep me up at night. I'm still dealing with Bills and his righteousness. He won't say bullshit, but I'm sure he feels it.

  30. Still curious as to your use of "supposed" and "allowed" as if what someone thinks or writes has that kind of force and impact on you. Taking IT personaly.

  31. On one hand we have Aslan justifying his re-interpretation by his "supposed" scholarship. On the same hand we have Sam Scoville goading me by saying, yes, he seemed very scholarly in the interview (even though he said practically nothing it besides saying that he is a scholar) and on the other hand one is not "allowed" to discuss his credentials because "no argument on his defense or credentials or point of view can be tolerated", as if you or anyone had mounted a defense of his credentials. It is all bullshit and road blocking, not logic or good sense.

    And the way you rationalize it is that we are all the chained people in Plato's cave. We are the ones addicted to bullshit. This whole procedure is analogous to Alsan's. Because the Muslims are jihadist, let's make all religion about zealous reformer prophets, and ignore what they actually said. In fact, let's just not let anyone talk about what they actually said and meant. That's what not "allowed" means. Noblesse obliges to get all the little dummies to see the light. All the while you are not really interested in the truth, at all. (Emily Dickinson has to stand for the greatest theologian of all, sitting caged up all her life for who knows what reason. And who can argue with her.)

  32. Receptive Meditation:

  33. "Neither logic nor sermons convince." My logic and rationality are in the service of my mind-set (bias/belief) and my mind-set is a-rational and a-logical if not irrational and illogical. So I am not impressed by anyone's argument in "these matters" because my mind-set is made up and "boss." Emily was a poet. And Whitman. Emerson--a lapsed Unitarian priest. Hawthorne: a fictionalist. These are writers in my current course. Stirring and provoking. They would all fail Lutheran standards. Would you come and guest lecture and expose all their shortcomings and inadequacies.

  34. Some people on the review threads have come to believe that "greenwarrior" is Reza Aslan himself. In rereading it all, I find it highly likely. He calls the "creeds", "mumbo-jumbo". He won't read Athanasius, the vile heretic hunter, because his work is "fairytales".

    -- Is he a student of yours? Where does all this really come from?

  35. You must take satisfaction in you review and the response it provoked. That's what IT's all about, in my mind. Converse action. Putting it in play. I "fight" daily with conservatives, liberals, fundamentalists, libertarians--all morally outraged, accusing and defending. No mind-set is changed. It's all homeland security in the name of TRUTH, of course. Blind man's bluff: can't ever pin the tail on the donkey. Don't think you are going to make a Lutheran of him

  36. Blind man's bluff, I don't think it is. I think there is an agenda.

  37. My agenda is to pin the tale on the donke, but the donkey don't like it and never lets me.

  38. I've taken work with autistic adults in the neighborhood. I have noticed that Mother Theresa, and Henry Nouwen are with me.-- The Roman Catholics have something to say on these subjects related to human dignity and humbling situations. Too bad we only ever hear about abuse.

  39. Still contributing to Marina Nemat's review thread.

  40. Good for you--your work with autistic adults. Henry Nouwen preached at Warren Wilson and was the one who defined OBEDIENCE to me as "to listen, to hear" --not Do IT or Else. Mother Theresa has always been inspiring:: ":As for me, the the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see...Listen and do not hear the toung moves but does not speak...I want you to pray for me...that I let him have a free hand." For the third time: I envy you the amazing ongoing sustaining and sustainable converse action you are all having over the zealot but. Jealous--the zeal..

  41. Nouwen can be life-changing and Mother Theresa was very "smart".

  42. I would characterize her as empathetic, compassionate.

  43. (I will get off this thread now.)

    I had a book but I gave it away to a young person the other day.