Monday, November 05, 2012
Brizoni here. Been trying to post this since last week. I'm sure it's just a coincidence the bug in the updating code flared up again when it did, keeping me from posting. Posting as RL seems to be the only way around the bug. Another coincidence?
TIME FOR AN EXORCISM. The Old Man has retreated into full feckless God partisanship. But that's not who he really is. He's just tired of days and hours. He wants me to kill him. I won't do it. Instead, I'm going to save him. Drag him kicking and screaming into the light.
In grateful return, he's going to acknowledge that I'm right about God and liberty being incompatible. Contrary to one of his pet theses.
My lifelong point about atheism and existentialism and all its materialistic variants has always been that they simply don't work as a basis for a social contract.
He's got it backwards. Theism-- even belief in a "good" God like the Christian God-- is an insufficient basis for a free social contract. You cannot consistently believe that goodness comes from God AND believe that men ought to be free to make up their own minds about God. You can ignore or evade the contradiction, as the Founders did, but the contradiction persists. Anyone committed to liberty has to at least subconsciously work from a different moral premise.
(It's no good to claim Marxism or the French Revolution prove a rational morality is impossible. If you're a human being, there's nothing rational about leaving the sanctity of human life out of your ethics. Ask Robespierre how well that worked out for him.)
What happens when I confront the Boss with this truth? Does he delight at the prospect of a new adventure in moral and metaphysical reconceptualization? No. Instead, he withers into a wizened old Chink, shaking his gnarled finger at those who would presume to try to top generations previous.
This craven spirit isn't unique to Dynastic China. It's possessed men in every group at every time in history. I've named this spirit Yxom ("Moxie" backwards, and anglicized) (pronounced "ix-om," "yeex-om," "yee-zom," or however floats your boat). Whenever a man's nerve to move forward fails him, Yxom lives in his heart. Robert has written eloquently about Post-Civilization man:
I believe post-modernism has always been with us in one key respect. This is that the complexity of contemporary life has (habitually) reached a point which can no longer be dominated by human will, either in the singular power of human individuality or the united spirit of a single community. It must be compromised to keep the impending catastrophe from doing us all in. We must, at last, begin to embrace the status quo, settle for less than our boldest dreams, initiate a process of self repudiation in recompense for the grievances of others, or even deny (or doubt) our own human right to survive.
Yxom is the spirit of Post-Progress. Where Post-Civilization Man believes fervently in regression, the spirit of Post-Progress is devoted to stagnation. Post-Civilization says Go Back. Post-Progress says No Farther.
Yxom's rationalizations vary. The next frontier might be called too dangerous, or a waste of time, or a blasphemous endeavor. Maybe other men have braved that frontier in the past and not come back (in the physical, emotional, or moral sense). But rationalizations these all are. The real motivation to quit is always fear. Fear of death by disaster, fear of death by disgrace, or fear of the wrath of the spiteful, insecure God who confounded the languages at the Tower of Babel because he knew he couldn't handle the competition. Never mind that the glory of an honorable death is eternal, that disgrace in a society afraid of an honorable pursuit is momentary, that a man properly spits in the eye of a God who has no honor.
Yxom can never be killed. The only way to drive him out is to shame, inspire, or otherwise induce his host to greatness. The greatness that is the birthright of every human being. The only way to keep him out is to claim that birthright. A quick tour of Yxom's failed campaigns throughout history will be instructive.
Yxom and the prehistoric man who devised tacking.
"Hey everybody! Get a load of this guy. Thanks to him, sailors don't have to rely on God for a favorable wind! He thinks he can control it!
"But seriously dude. What do you think God's going to do to you when He hears you think you don't need Him?! Or do you think you're smarter than EVERY mariner EVER? People have been sailing since forever. Don't you think some sailor would have thought of this by now? It's obviously been tried and doesn't work. Even if I can't tell you when or by who, exactly. Them's the breaks of pre-history, don't you know.
"Think of the men who sailed before you. Think of their devotion to God in praying for the right wind. Think of the virgins sacrificed before each voyage. Do you not realize you mock their devotion and their sacrifice? Do you think God values a few extra planks of wood more than a beautiful young virgin's life?"
The man, though chagrined by the insult to his cherished piety, went ahead anyway, and not since the invention of the wheel had mankind been saved more lives and toil.
Yxom (possessing a Hebrew father) and a first generation Christian son.
"You have absolutely no idea how much our people have invested in the Law of Moses. How many centuries. Which is why you feel entitled to sweep it all away with a few fancy orations from a carpenter's son. Because everyone has been waiting for him to come along and be Mister Big Shot. Feh. Using the ancient Palestinian version of YouTube, I amassed this list, which doesn't include art and architecture and literature but only music, because I want you to experience some humility. Which will obviously be a brand new emotion for you, maybe one you're incapable of. Because after all, you are you, right,
"It's a record of how important God has been to ordinary, non-fancy Jews over the past couple thousand years. Listen to all of it. And then tell me you're superior to all of it. I suspect you will. But then everyone will laugh. And I know how you don't like that."
Shema Israel. O Hear, Israel. If only you could. In your arrogance.
Ashir Shirim (ancient Jewish wedding song). Your mother and I got married to this song. But I suppose you'd toss that marriage on the dung heap, seeing as how it wasn't solemnized in the name of your pretend man-god. And look! People will still be performing it and making videos of it 2000 years from now! Do you think your little Christ cult will last so long?
Kadoish, Kadoish, Kadoish, Adonai 'Tsebayoth. Listen to this. Really listen. Simple. Beautiful. Sufficient. You're too young to understand what I really find so offensive about this Jesus guy. For dozens of generations, we Jews have managed to commune with the almighty just fine, thank you. Then some bum comes along and says, nope, sorry, you've been doing it wrong this whole time? I don't think so. Narcissists like Jesus Christ-- and you, son-- always think the world needs their particular insight. It doesn't. If we needed such an intermediary with our Lord, our rich tradition would have told us. If you're not moved by this song, that's all the excuse I need to turn my brain off.
The early Christian replied simply, "Father, here is the truth. What our fathers had was OK. What I have now is better. You could have it too. The time has come to trade up."
Yxom and Michelangelo.
"You want to carve WHAT out of marble? The most beautiful statue of Mary holding the body of Jesus that the world has ever seen? You want the thing to practically glow as though it were real life flesh? Pssh. Obviously if it were even possible to do that with marble, it would have been done by now. The Greeks and Romans worked with marble for hundreds and hundreds of years. Do you really think you're better than ALL the Greek and Roman sculptors who EVER lived?"
Michelangelo didn't speak English, so he ignored Yxom and went on to carve The Pieta, the most beautiful work ever wrought in stone. Topping even the 10 Commandments.
Yxom and George Washington.
"This... of all the... I've got the vapors. I have honest-to-God vapors right now.
"OK. For the moment, never mind the fact that this "new nation" of you and your reprobate cohorts goes against the laws of both man and God. Who in Heaven's name do you think you are, 'General'? You can drop the Cincinnatus act with me. Shoving your hands in your pockets and toeing the dirt when they ask you to lead the charge. Don't pretend you don't love it. Your narcissism stands naked before me, sir.
"Now, back to your blasphemy against the almighty and his divinely authorized governments. Maybe you missed the memo, but kings are ordained by God. Do you understand what that means? That means you are not to question him! He is answerable to God alone! Unless you think you matter more than God.
"Liberty is not to be plundered from the righteous hand of God's anointed king! Liberty is a gift from the almighty Himself. The quiet, pious life is what our Lord delights in best. But, as your contemporary Johnathan Edwards correctly states, it is impossible to curry His favor. He will make you as free as He pleases, and to strive for more than this is an affront to His will. To seek liberty in this life is to lust after the things of this world. A first year Bible student knows better than you, 'General' Washington."
Washington had heard this line of "reasoning" before, though never quite so aggressively. With his customary reserved resolve, he turned on his horse to Yxom's latest host and responded.
"I believe Providence ordained liberty for all men. When we Fight to live as we see fit, we do not design to rob Almighty God. We intend to take what is Rightfully and divinely Ours, and which has been Kept from us."
Yxom replied, "A wholly unwarranted view. You cannot substantiate such from the scriptures, which is why you haven't even made the attempt. You are simply choosing to believe that."
"Indeed I am." Replied the father of our country as he rode off.
Yxom and the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
"HAHAHAHAHAHA! Is it possible for one's sides to physically split?
"My only feeling stronger than contemptuous bemusement is offense at your presumption. Man has wanted to fly since he saw his first bird. For millennia, great men-- men better than YOU-- have tried and failed. It's obvious that human flight is simply not meant to be! (except for hot air balloons, which have been around for more than 50 years and are therefore acceptable to me.) Da Vinci didn't fly. Do you honestly think you're smarter than Leonardo Da Vinci? You can't even paint a decent portrait!
"And what's this I hear about you tinkering with the Smeaton coefficient? Do you think YOU'VE found something that an entire generation of mathematicians just HAPPENED to overlook?
The Wright Brothers responded, in perfect sync, as was their manner: "We must beg your pardon. Sir, we have taken it upon ourselves to solve the problem of human flight. We have made a study of the principles of aeronautics for almost three full years, drawing upon the work of Brother Da Vinci and others, and we are proud to say we stand on the shoulders of those giants.
"It is true than not even those great men ever flew as we propose to fly. With due respect given to our forebearers, we humbly submit that, in our honest judgment, our engineering is correct and our little craft shall take wing."
Yxom's further protestations were drowned out by the Wright brothers' whoops and hollers when their glider flew as predicted. Wikipedia succinctly sums up their impact on this world.
Orville died on January 30, 1948, having lived from the horse-and-buggy age to the dawn of supersonic flight.
Yxom Meets Einstein
"Hooooo boy. I've heard some whoppers in my day (and my day is loooong), but this one... Where to start? How about with the biggest dumbness of all. Every. Single. Scientist before you-- including Newton-- understood matter and energy were two fundamentally different things. But here you come along, insisting that energy is just very fast matter! That's a hell of a thing to have missed all these years! Newton clearly dismissed such nonsense out hand. Otherwise he would have mentioned it as plausible. But he didn't. So why are you asking anyone to waste time with your obviously absurd speculations?
"And word around the cooler is you think you can determine the speed of light itself! Who do you think you are? GOD? What are you gonna do, run alongside a beam of light with a stopwatch? Do you, in your arrogance, honestly think you can run that fast? Or do you think light will slow down or speed up to conform to your arbitrary proclamation?
"Stick to the patent office, son. Commanding the laws of nature is above your paygrade."
Einstein barely noticed Yxom had been speaking. He was too busy mapping the curves of spacetime in his head. History would go on to vindicate him in short order, but he didn't need it to. He knew his math added up.
Yxom and Robert Laird (25 years ago).
"This book you're writing, The Boomer Bible? Give it up. You're Icarus headed straight for the sun. It just isn't possible for anyone to get doctoral degrees in philosophy and psychology and physics and literature and history and art and natural science and all the other fields you'd need a doctoral degree in, so it clearly isn't possible to pull all those disciplines together into one big picture of what it all means. What are you trying to pull, anyway? Do you think you know more than all these degrees put together, simply by virtue of being Robert Laird? I guess we should be grateful YOU came along!
"You say you won't give it up? Fine. I suppose the book isn't completely irredeemable. I don't think you're a bad guy. Just misguided. I can tell you have a real reverence for God and tradition. Someday you'll understand that mere reverence ought to be full-fledged subservience. I'll have a home in you yet."
For once, he was right. Look at RL's responses when I dared to propose God might not be necessary to solve a complex moral issue.
Love your arbitrary designation of Month 5. Makes everything easy. A Big Cleaver paves the way for objectivists. Funny. I can somehow imagine you thrilling to life a week or two before your own deadline. (nobody EVER told you were precocious? Really?) And your content with your own abortion rings hollow.
Bravado is cool. You should be the last to argue that life begins when people NOTICE intelligence. Lots of people still think you're an idiot. What if you weren't six-six and able to fight back? Sad, sad, sad. I noticed your intelligence years ago. Does that make me dumber than your archetypes?
You're fucked. You admitted that a babe in the womb can be a person. Then you presumed to know when the babe in the womb IS human. You don't. You're not God. Nobody is. Except God. Oh? You're smarter? Do tell. Please do tell.
Awww. Brizoni doesn't like being God. A college dropout who understands the physics of the universe. I'm very very impressed. Enlightenment has become tallness. Cool. Brizoni. Love you, but you're pretty much a moron.
Read all that a second time. Particularly the second-to-last graf, but still all of it. Really take in the unabridged dishonesty, the deep-down asininity. Following these wild shotgun blasts, he took a few deep breaths and tried to refine his case. But that was just damage control. His first, authentic reaction was hysterical non-sequitur, leavened with equally off-target condescension. (I call it Straw Fiat. I think I'm God? No. I think no one is God. Myself included. Not sure why Godsuckers can't get their heads around that.) Scared gibberish. The Bob Laird who wrote The Boomer Bible has checked out. This is pure Yxom.
I'm not writing the Old Man off. His analysis of temporal events remains invaluable. I just wish he'd hold his sacred cows to the same standards of intellectual rigor that he holds the Democrats. When it comes to the things of this world, he's as insightful as any living commentator. But when it comes to Heaven? Standards go out the window. There is no lie he won't tell, no rhetorical trick beneath him, no depth he won't stoop to to defend his bastard Lord. This who am I to say? shit was once anathema to him. Now, when it comes to God, it's his banner.
This lapse has persisted for at least the couple years that I've been trying to shake him out of it, but it is only a lapse. He's overcome personal bugaboos before. God is a big one, but mere size won't stop him for long. Robert Laird is too American for that.