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Forget Syria. The most dangerous religious extremists are migrants from North and South Carolina


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Must be all the radon in our well water.

 

The Terrorists Among Us

Forget Syria. The most dangerous religious extremists are migrants from North and South Carolina.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/11/robert_lewis_dear_is_one_of_many_religious_extremists_bred_in_north_carolina.html

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler. If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" Einstein

 

"The Universe is not only queerer than we imagine; it is queerer than we can imagine." J.B.S. Haldane

 

"If the idea is not at first absurd, then there is no hope for it." Einstein

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Must be all the radon in our well water.

 

The Terrorists Among Us

Forget Syria. The most dangerous religious extremists are migrants from North and South Carolina.

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/11/robert_lewis_dear_is_one_of_many_religious_extremists_bred_in_north_carolina.html

 

Great piece. But, about the Army of God, I've never understood: Does God really need an army? I mean, isn't he all-powerful? What gives?

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Great piece. But, about the Army of God, I've never understood: Does God really need an army? I mean, isn't he all-powerful? What gives?

Pretty great summation of what, in fact, gives: https://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/bloom_hartman/bloom/bloom.html

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler. If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" Einstein

 

"The Universe is not only queerer than we imagine; it is queerer than we can imagine." J.B.S. Haldane

 

"If the idea is not at first absurd, then there is no hope for it." Einstein

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Pretty great summation of what, in fact, gives: https://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/bloom_hartman/bloom/bloom.html

 

 

Holey Crap, I feel like I'm reading "Stranger in a Strange Land"!!!!!!

'Totalitarianism can flourish where people systematically refuse to engage with reality, and are ready to replace reason with ideology and outright fiction.'

 

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason, is like administering medicine to the dead.

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Holey Crap, I feel like I'm reading "Stranger in a Strange Land"!!!!!!

Actually, I think we are all living it!!!

'Totalitarianism can flourish where people systematically refuse to engage with reality, and are ready to replace reason with ideology and outright fiction.'

 

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason, is like administering medicine to the dead.

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I am so on edge about the possibility that individuals who have lost loved ones from these senseless attacks are going to respond in kind against the anti-choice zealots.

 

Highly unlikely. They may not forgive, a la the Charleston churchgoers, practicing Dr. King's tenets, but they're far more likely to engage in political action, whether it be lobbying or protesting.

 

It's not the left-wing that has the problem with violence. It's the right-wing. Even in the 60s, violence on the left-wing was sporadic and didn't usually result in death.

Nobody's free until everybody's free - Fannie Lou Hamer

 

Avatar courtesy of Chomiji; character drawn by Kazuya Minekura

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Pretty great summation of what, in fact, gives: https://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/bloom_hartman/bloom/bloom.html

This is the part I found most troubling: "...the Gnostic kabbalah of the early Merkavah mystics, which he thought had been renewed by Moses Cordovero, who was the teacher of Isaac Luria, and then by Isaac Luria in which Ein Soph, the Kabbalistic name of the infinite one, or Yahweh—whose name you're not supposed to use, but I am now—Ein Soph creates the universe by contracting and withdrawing inside himself, or as I say, going back to the original Hebrew of the Zimzum, which means to sharply draw in or take in your breath—it is that act which at once creates and ruins worlds, according to Cordovero and Luria, and those who came after them." So, now what?

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This is the part I found most troubling: "...the Gnostic kabbalah of the early Merkavah mystics, which he thought had been renewed by Moses Cordovero, who was the teacher of Isaac Luria, and then by Isaac Luria in which Ein Soph, the Kabbalistic name of the infinite one, or Yahweh—whose name you're not supposed to use, but I am now—Ein Soph creates the universe by contracting and withdrawing inside himself, or as I say, going back to the original Hebrew of the Zimzum, which means to sharply draw in or take in your breath—it is that act which at once creates and ruins worlds, according to Cordovero and Luria, and those who came after them." So, now what?

 

 

It depends. I am Vinz, Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer. Volguus Zildrohar, Lord of the Sebouillia --- Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster, and the theory of Atlantis?

it's coming.

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This is the part I found most troubling: "...the Gnostic kabbalah of the early Merkavah mystics, which he thought had been renewed by Moses Cordovero, who was the teacher of Isaac Luria, and then by Isaac Luria in which Ein Soph, the Kabbalistic name of the infinite one, or Yahweh—whose name you're not supposed to use, but I am now—Ein Soph creates the universe by contracting and withdrawing inside himself, or as I say, going back to the original Hebrew of the Zimzum, which means to sharply draw in or take in your breath—it is that act which at once creates and ruins worlds, according to Cordovero and Luria, and those who came after them." So, now what?

Well, "what now," what? Bloom's ruminations are not of much use for anything, except pondering how we got here. And maybe where, exactly, here might be.

 

HB:
...there are innumerable versions of God in Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, but the one who interests me and always has and always will, is the original one, the first Straha, traditionally called J or the Yahwist, probably written as early as the reign of Solomon, 3,000 years ago, in which most certainly he is as I say a stern imp, up to a lot of mischief, something of a trickster God—human all too human...

  1. LQ: What leads you to think of this God as more than an exceptional fiction?
     
     
  2. HB: Well, his metaphysical density, his ferocious and vivid personality, his intensely human traits—... He is . . . he is a . . . the reason why I keep invoking Shakespearean characters like King Lear, who is I think Shakespeare's version of Yahweh, or Hamlet, who has a very complex relation I think to Mark's Jesus, is that Yahweh, Mark's Jesus, Hamlet, King Lear, Falstaff, Cleopatra, Iago—they are all more real than you are, whoever you are, and yes, they are fictions, but if they're fictions, what are we? Since they are livelier than we are, exceed us in energy and in dynamism, as Yahweh does also. It seems to me that—I mean he may just be not at all an attractive version of what Mr. Stevens wanted to call the supreme fiction, but he is . . . he's quite a fiction, he's very persuasive and as I keep saying in the book I wish he would go away. I don't like him. I don't feel anybody can like him. His famous definition when Moses asks him his name—his famous self-definition is ehyeh asher ehyeh, translated by William Tyndale as "I am that I am" and that's kept in the Authorized Version of the English Bible. The Hebrew "ehyeh asher ehyeh" actually means "I will be, I will be;" "I will be that I will be," or to make it into better English "I will be present wherever and whenever I choose to be present," but I say throughout the book that also means "And I will be absent wherever and whenever I choose to be absent." And he is very distinguished by his absences, it seems to me. But if he is just a literary character—well first of all I don't recognize any distinction between literary and human characters; I mean I'm notorious for that, and why not be notorious for that—it seems to me that the sacred Bloomstaff, as I call him, is at least as real as old Bloom—Sir John Falstaff, of course. But not even kidding, I mean what can you say about the Yahweh of the J writer? He is endlessly memorable, he is endlessly unreliable. [Pause.] But he gets inside you. I repeat I would like him to go away, but he doesn't seem to go away.

LQ
: Why doesn't he go away?

HB
: Well, because I'm pretty sure he is our equivalent—I mean, our equivalent for him now is what our Uncle Siggy Freud called "reality testing" and the Reality Principle. Freud says that reality testing means that you have to "make friends with the necessity of dying."


  1.  
  2. LQ: So he's the name of everything that opposes our will.
     
     
  3. HB: Yeah, he is . . . [Pause.] I think I remark somewhere in the book, with a certain amiable—I wouldn't say irony, but a kind of zest, that God had breathing trouble and this trouble created the world. And I think I remark something like, "Try to hold in your breath for as long as possible, and then just before you can't stand it any more, try to think something into creation, try to will or think something, and see what happens." Which always makes me think of Kafka's very grand remark to Max Brod, where he says, "We are one of God's thoughts when he was having a bad day." It seems to me he has mostly bad days.
     
     
    ...you're not supposed to believe in Yahweh anyway if you are a normative Jew, you're supposed to have Emunah, you are supposed to trust in the covenant with him, but he's never kept the Covenant himself, and I get awfully weary of the Hebrew prophets who are always denouncing the people of Israel for violating their covenant with Yahweh when Yahweh hadn't kept his for a moment, and always seems to be hard at work destroying his chosen people. He seems to resent sometimes, precisely because he had such trouble bringing them into existence I suppose and they are after all according to that story the original people that he brought into existence...
     

LQ
: Um hm. Would you think the word "disappointed" would be a fair characterization? Would you say that you are disappointed . . .

 

HB
: . . .with Yahweh?

  1. LQ: Yes.
     
     
  2. HB: No. I wouldn't have dreamed of trusting him in the first place. So what is there to be disappointed with? He is, he's bad news, he has always been bad news.
     


"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler. If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" Einstein

 

"The Universe is not only queerer than we imagine; it is queerer than we can imagine." J.B.S. Haldane

 

"If the idea is not at first absurd, then there is no hope for it." Einstein

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  1. HB: ...At one point in the book I have a sentence that Jeanne, my wife, reading it, said "Harold, it shouldn't be there; it will get you into trouble." But I'm glad it's there, because you know the great phrase about Yahweh in the Psalms and elsewhere is that Yahweh is a man of war, and I think his most memorable single appearance, and I talk about it, in the Bible, in Tanakh, is in the Book of Joshua, where at one point Joshua—you know it is after the death of Moses and Joshua is in command of the Israelites and they conquered Canaan, and before a crucial battle near Jericho he notices an armed warrior. He doesn't recognize him, and he boldly goes up to him, and he says, "Are you one of us or one of them." And the fellow replies, "The ground upon which you stand is holy. Take off your sandals." At which Joshua takes off his sandals and abases himself because he recognizes that it is Yahweh a man of war come to fight in the battle of Jericho, which he does, as he also fights, you know, with the tribes that came to the battle in the first Hebrew poem that we have, the song of Deborah and Barak in Judges 5. So I have this sentence in the book: "If Yahweh is a man of war, then Allah is a suicide bomber." I think they are all bad news, Judaism and Christianity and Islam...

  1. HB: I think my book is good clean fun.
     
     
  2. LQ: Well I thoroughly enjoyed it. I wanted to go back to your comment. . .
     
     
  3. HB: But I don't think it's irreverent.
     
     
  4. LQ: No.
     
     
  5. HB: Because I think the category—you know any time you want to say that some text is more sacred than another then you've made a political statement, and I don't like political statements. It is utterly insane that by vote of the United States Congress, the Church of Scientology has a tax exempt status. That means that Dianetics, by L. Ron Hubbard, which I challenge anybody to try to read, is a sacred text, by vote of Congress. And of course what it is is very ninth rate science fiction. Though it now has distinguished believers like, I believe, Tom Cruise and—isn't John Travolta also a Scientologist? ...

  1. HB: All this is just confirming my wife's view that I am an atheist. But I'm not, I'm not. [Laughs.] How uninteresting it is to be an atheist. I mean, you can't make literature out of that.
     
     
  2. LQ: Are you being diplomatic when you say that? Do you think atheism is possible?
     
     
  3. HB: Diplomatic?
     
     
  4. LQ: Well, I thought when I read the book: I've always described myself as an atheist, but maybe it's dishonest, maybe I should say I'm a Gnostic. I'm angry with God. Perhaps that's Gnosticism.
     
     
  5. HB: Yeah, I think if you argue with God, or you're angry at God, if you have a grudge against him, then that's much more fun than just saying he's not there at all.
     
     
  6. LQ: Do you think genuine indifference is possible?
     
     
  7. HB: Well, remember we live in the United States of America, under the reign of W. the Great, who is on record as saying that Jesus Christ is his favorite philosopher, and is sitting there in Camp David at this moment, telling his intimates that he's on a mission from God to install democracy in Iraq, and will not cease, you know, till he either leaves office or has done it. And I believe him, I think he is that crazy. He is an authentic crusader, unlike his Papa, who knew when to come home. And this is Jesus Christ CEO, you know this is the American Jesus of the Christian right. It's very interesting. There is no Yahweh in the United States. I mean God the Father is just about gone...

  1. LQ: Ok, one last question then. To come back to this passage about wanting to dismiss Yahweh . . .
     
     
  2. HB: Yes. Who wouldn't want to dismiss him?
     
     
  3. LQ: . . . and being haunted. Now the question is, why do you think you're—what is it that—why are you haunted, what keeps bringing you back?
     
     
  4. HB: I read the Hebrew Bible. I brood about it. It's a very strong text. Whether you read it in the original, or you read William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale, who between them write about eighty-five to ninety percent of what you find in the authorized version, and who are, with Shakespeare and Chaucer the four great writers of the English language as far as I can tell. Tyndale writes prose, Coverdale does Psalms and battle hymns and so on. Both terrific writers. And as I say, with Shakespeare and Chaucer, the most powerful writers.
     
     
  5. LQ: But you read the texts because you're already haunted.
     
     
  6. HB; Well, Laura, you reread King Lear and Hamlet because you are already haunted, and then you get more haunted by reading them. They are infinite. They go on forever, in the same way the war song of Deborah and Barak or the great chant in the Second Isaiah about the suffering servant, palpably meant to be the people of Israel, which becomes however in the Christian interpretation the suffering Christ—
     
     
  7. LQ: One last thing—just if you wanted to pinpoint a little what it is that prevents you from dismissing Yahweh.
     
     
  8. HB: [Pause.] I think it's an aesthetic matter.
     
     
  9. LQ: I see.
     
     
  10. HB: But you know, how do we know what an aesthetic matter is? Its dimensions are endless.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler. If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" Einstein

 

"The Universe is not only queerer than we imagine; it is queerer than we can imagine." J.B.S. Haldane

 

"If the idea is not at first absurd, then there is no hope for it." Einstein

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Pretty great summation of what, in fact, gives: https://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/bloom_hartman/bloom/bloom.html

 

Guess my favorite line would have to be:

 

. . . originally I had wanted to have with it a very great sentence, spoken by an actual governor of Texas back I think in the early 1930s who rejoiced in the name of Ma Ferguson. And when this lady was inaugurated as governor of Texas, she announced that so long as she was governor, no state-supported school, from junior high up through the University of Texas at Austin would be allowed to teach any foreign language whatsoever, and her reason for this she expressed in one very great sentence: "If English was good enough for Jesus then I suppose it should be good enough for us."

'If anyone objects to any statement I make, I am quite prepared not only to retract it, but also to deny under oath that I ever made it.' - Tom Lehrer

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