Saturday, February 26, 2005

Other voices I was talking on the phone with my dad a while back, and the conversation somehow turned to creationists, and more, specifically, what the fuck is WRONG with them? Then, a few days later, he sent me this email, out of the blue. Food for thought. Make of it what you will.

Mon, 21 Feb 2005 10:15:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Scientific Materialism
From: <********@********.***>
To: <********@******.***>

I would say these (in subject bar) are all ego positions, and anyone
Who identifies with them strongly is probably good and scared, at some level--and why not? The pure ego stance is Me vs. The Universe. And the Universe is incomprehensible, and closer to home, samsara, the sound of two hands clapping, is brutal. So the idea is to get a handle on God, one way or other. The Creationist is looking for an obedient God who will suspend the laws of nature for him, arrest him in midair like Spock grabbing Kirk at the beginning of that movie (the NFL player Isaac Bruce received some notoriety by taking that precise position). He, the Creationist, achieves this by getting a "handle" on the Bible and declaring that to be God. The Intelligent Designer wants a much grander God who has left his footprints in the natural world; his approach can plausibly pass as logic: if you drop the pieces of an airliner from the sky, it's not going to reassemble itself on impact without serious help. The Scientific Materialist wants nothing at all to exist except what he, himself, can get a handle on via the scientific method, which is the ego's devious method of elevating itself to God—the trained human brain being subject, everything else being object. All these positions are simply mirrors of the individual ego.

In fact they're all trying to make God into an object, one way or another, obviously a doomed project--anything that can be seen can't be God, because who then is doing the seeing? And in fact the discursive mind can only function in the presence of an object; think of a searchlight beam which in effect only exists if it happens to strike a cloud or an airplane. Thus, any level of reality which stands to us as subject to object, in some sense is deeper than us, is not going to be seen by us unless it chooses to be. (If angels exist, and they don't want us to know about them, we never will.) Thus, the attempt to see anything Beyond becomes sticky and produces all kinds of religions, broadly speaking, some of them truly nutty.

Yet fortunately we seem to be, as they say, hard-wired for spiritual experience, which could only mean that Spirit does want to be known. The Perennial Philosophy, famously so-labeled by Aldous Huxley, postulates a single reality--in effect, there is only God--as follows: Spirit-as-Matter; Spirit-as-Life; Spirit-as-Mind; Spirit-as-Soul; Spirit-as-Spirit. This is the Great Nest of Being, each succeeding level enfolding, transcending yet including the ones below. And it's genuine intimations of the upper two levels, normally as a result of arduous spiritual discipline (think: Buddha; think: the pre-public Jesus) which have produced the genuine core of genuine religion (which then, typically and historically, gets encrusted with bizarre and destructive dogma). In addition to spiritual practice, there's the spontaneous descent of grace, direct awareness that there is only God (17th c. poet Henry Vaughn; many others.) The spiritual practice route, which normally takes at least as much time and focused effort as getting an MD from Harvard, typically produces powerful--and replicable, if we're talking spiritual science--visions from the soul, or celestial realm (the bardo realm in Buddhism); at least that's one approach, the one which seeks fullness. The other approach seeks direct connection with Emptiness, Spirit-as-Spirit; this produced Zen Buddhism. In either case, if we posit that the answer to Who am I? is "Essence/Light/God filtered through/processed by a particular human nervous system (itself a manifest aspect of God, of course), then the objective of any form of meditation is to open up the filter/shut down the processing system so that Essence makes itself known directly as What It Is/That Which Is.

Well, this works. That Which Is simply reveals itself as pure Objectless awareness, or consciousness. The meditater is wide awake, in fact hyper-alert--whatever is passing by (sounds in the room, bodily sensations, thoughts arising) is registered, but EEG's show only those brain waves which are present in deep, dreamless sleep. That is, consciousness does not originate in the brain. Think of consciousness as existing as pure infinite potential, manifested selectively by human nervous systems as individual TV sets manifest a given program at a given time. The Ed Show, the Geo Show. (I personally have experienced pure objectless awareness in meditation.)

If there is only God, then God takes in everything finite (back to the Great Nest), and it would seem that everything that can manifest, must manifest. I believe that the saying attributed to Jesus, "The poor you have always with you," was not about economics. Every individual starts life as egocentric; the journey to a universal vision is long and arduous, all sorts of things can go wrong at every stage, and the vast majority never make the whole trip. This is a working definition of samsara, two hands clapping--round and round we go . . . In my experience, instead of railing at the nature of reality--which amounts to being perpetually angry with God--it makes far more sense to accept, with awe, humility, and gratitude, the glorious mystery of What Is. (Which does not imply passive fatalism, since part of What Is, is that those who have received the Teachings, in their own humble sphere, consciously attempt to manifest the Christ Conscious, the Buddha Nature, in daily life.)

Chop wood, carry water.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Like, duh...

This is here.

I would like to share with all of you something one of my 7th grade students told me recently. When asked what did they thought D.A.R.E. stood for, one student piped up and said, “Drugs Are Really Evil!” How right they are!

Have a nice day.

Officer Cindi Tracy

Dear Officer Tracy,

A. This student was not actually expressing a serious sentiment, but rather mocking the hyperbolic yet ineffective and generally dumb nature of your program.

B. IF, by some unlikely chance, the student in question WAS insufferable enough that s/he was dead-serious...Jesus Christ, you think that's a GOOD thing? You're seriously warping these kids' minds. Drugs are inanimate objects; they have no moral affiliation. And even if they DID, an occasional toke never hurt anyone, fergawdsake. Would it be at all possible for our stance on narcotics to be just a little bit less silly in the future? Thanks.

Hugs and kisses,

"Well, if it'll make strangers think I'm cool..."

In a desperate and futile attempt to fit in with the Kool Kidz, I've added a list of weblogs I like to read in the sidebar to the right. If a particular site is not listed there, the most logical explanation is that I hate it. And who likes scrolling through a list of ninety unfamiliar names, anyway?

Friday, February 18, 2005

An abomination before the LORD

Seriously, what else can you SAY about something like this? Words fail.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Bush Administration Social Security Plan

Friday, February 11, 2005


this place,
I found this incredibly exciting thing. I mean, exciting enough just what's already been found, but the tantalizing, unknown potential is what really sets my mind aflame. Where the hell's a philanthropist when you need her? I tell you, if I were Richard Branson or someone and had an extra twenty million just lying around, bam! That would be that. My fantasy, if I could choose one thing to be rediscovered? Sappho's complete works, easy. But, really, anything at all would be awesome beyond imagining.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Philip K. Dick. True, some of his lesser works are pretty unspeakable. But when he was good...he was really, really good. And never better than in A Scanner Darkly, one of the great drug novels of all time. It is insightful, horrifying, and redemptive. If I were to recommend one Dick novel, this would be the one. So now it's gonna be a movie? What the fuck, man? Stay the hell out of my literature, why don't you? But JESUS FUCKING CHRIST. A movie STARRING KEANU MOTHERFUCKING REEVES? MOTHER OF MOTHERLESS MOTHERFUCKING FUCK. Even if the blankfaced git hadn't permanently lost any appeal he might ever have had after the matrix sequel debacles, the fact remains that he can't fucking act, never could, never will be able to, and now he's supposed to effectively play a character whose personality is gradually splitting in two? Right. That was one of the most artfully played aspects of the novel. Forgive me for thinking it won't be of the film. Jesus fuck. Kefuckinganufuckingreeves. Fucking. So now a great novel will be known primarily from a stupid fucking movie, and we'll have to endure an ad campaign sullying its good name. God I hate people. I wish everyone involved in this project would fucking die.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

garfield. a short play by samuel beckett

As you undoubtedly remember, some time ago I wrote the beginning of an Existentialist Garfield play which I deceitfully claimed I would at some point continue. Well, the discussion here (no permalinks; scroll down to the Garfield entry) reminded me of that. Someone commented that the comic in question would be a lot better with no words in the last panel, somebody modified it thusly, and I took that alteration and tweaked it a bit in photoshop to increase the sense of disjointed apathy. This is way better than anything I could have written would have been. Seriously, this makes me laugh out loud, which is way more than regular Garfield ever does.

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Oh well; easy come easy go. At any rate, the preview episode of American Dad was pretty damn funny. Some of the characters seem kind of blank, but hey, it's early days. I'm sure they'll hit their stride.

Friday, February 04, 2005


Good stuff. And even if nothing comes of this in the short term (I don't know enough about the legal process or the particulars of NY courts to have a clear idea of how likely this is to go through), the fact is that it IS going to happen somewhere, sometime--and after that, it's just gonna be a floodgate. The fact that anti-gay-types would desperately like you to forget is that gay marriage is already legal, in Massachusetts, and...oddly enough, no apparent divine wrath has been forthcoming. Nor have divorce rates suddenly skyrocketed. All of their dire warnings are, demonstrably, bullshit. Yeah yeah, "Taxechusettstan!", etc, as if that's more than a crude distraction tactic--as if the political leanings of the state have anything to do with anything--but when New York or California or Illinois or somewhere follows suit, and people see that life goes on as ever, the wingers' position will be seen as the sensless bigotry it is, and before you know it, the only states left in opposition will be hellholes like Alabama and Utah ("Well, in those days, Mars was just a dreary, uninhabitable wasteland, much like Utah. But unlike Utah, it was eventually made livable."), and in the end they'll all be dragged kicking and screaming into the twenty-first century. I think that, on some level, the James Dobsons of the world know that they're on the losing side here. It must terrify the shit out of them. Good. Let them suffer. This country may be going to hell, but the culture wars, at least, seem to be turning our way.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Mother of FUCK.

Mother of FUCK.

Gonzales. Okay, so you knew he’d be confirmed. Nonetheless, having your nose rubbed in just how fucking evil our opponents are still has an effect on me. The following Senators are going straight to hell:

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)

Bill Nelson (D-FL)

Ben Nelson (D-NE)

Mark Pryor (D-AR)

Ken Salazar (D-CO)

Man…and at the time, Salazar was just about the only silver lining in the election (Obama was a given). Of course, every last fucking republican is hellbound too, but you would have fucking hoped that even the worst of the guys nominally on our side would at least have some sort of vestigal soul.

The funniest thing—ha ha!—is how, you know, John McCain suffered unspeakable agony in a Vietcong POW camp, and now—ha ha!—he’s in favor of inflicting that kind of pain on other people! Oh my aching sides. I’ve taken criticism for attacking McCain in the past, or at least I would have if anyone read this stuff, but he’s just as bad as all the rest—maybe worse, even, since he has this inexplicable aura of credibility. Goddamn them all.