Commenter Archive

Comments by Scott Miller
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On “Bonfire of the Islamophobic Vanities – Updated after Breaking News

@ miguel cervantes:
A nicely measured comment, Miguel. Fit for Colin's havan.

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CK MacLeod wrote:

I think I’ll burn that comment.

No, you're going about the burning all wrong. "Stupid white man." There's no power in burning things that should be burned. You do a "Havan." You burn things you love. The best thing muslims could do on a level of spiritual empowerment would be to go to the spot where Jones was going to do his dirty work and light fire to their own books. In my opinion, that's what Shams (Rumi's real-life beloved) would do if he were alive. It would be radical spiritualism at its best--leaving folks who feel "calmed" by "big peace" articles scratching their heads. (I went to big peace page by the way. Unreal. I didn't know that kind of thing existed.)
Of course, the Havan is a Hindu fire ceremony, so if you do some research and decide to go with it, there is also some subversive value to it as a piss off in several directions. Feel free to burn this comment in it, since I know it's something you'll love.

On “Last Testament: Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt

CK MacLeod wrote:

brains are bourgeois

Very funny. From your younger days. Hmm. The quote smells suspiciously like marijuana.

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CK MacLeod wrote:

Are you referring to something else?

No, that was it. Not sure if the "acidification" is connected to the lower levels of oxygen issue, but from what I've read, that's the real problem.

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CK MacLeod wrote:

Oh – and Rex is far from illiterate!

I knew I should have added the "Judt and Burkje" part of that comment-quote. Rex referred to himself as an illiterate as far as their philosophies go. Jeez. You know what I was referring to. Trouble maker.

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Asked and answered. Thank you. It's no longer topical, but my least favorite capitalist "externality" is the killing of the ocean.

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Scott Miller wrote:

With the author’s recent passing in mind, I found myself going through his words with special care and intensified focus, more conscious than usual of the reader’s role in resurrecting the spirit of a writer – just as, when I write about the book, I become more poignantly aware of the convention that requires us to discuss an author’s arguments in the present tense:  “Judt argues…,” one will say, as if he is holding forth in the other room or is currently on a nationwide speaking tour…

It just hit me that I wrote "Judt's calling..." as in "Judt is calling..." You're right about the convention. Glad you really are holding forth.

On “No alternatives

bob wrote:

As a practical matter, I don’t know what any of this means. I can imagine contexts in which I would agee with it, and others in which I would disagree. I’m unclear which of these imaginary contexts is relevant.

Good one, Bob. I'll keep rolling with you.

On “Last Testament: Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt

CK MacLeod wrote:

It is typical of bourgeois ideology – your ideology – to exclude all disturbing and disruptive externalities

If you have an extra moment, could you explain why Miguel's ideology is bourgeois? I'm confused. I understand if there's too much backstory involved to fill me in.
Also, thanks for the Judt rundown. Like Rex, I'm illiterate, but if I understand you correctly, and if I can get away with a gross simplification, Judt's calling for an authentic conservative base to balance out people like himself. Sort of? I could be projecting because that's what I would like.

On “Got your shalom right here, Portnoy

@ CK MacLeod:
Great piece, Tsar. Thanks for the info.

On “No alternatives

bob wrote:

As for “listening to the right people”… If we can agree who the right people are, then for the most part, we will agree on the substantive issues

I did suggest who the right people are. It's not as subjective as it seems. There are clear indicators of people's higher consciousness. The ability to stop brainwaves is one. And Ken Wilber isn't even "realized." When Ammachi hugs people for three days straight, she doesn't rest, pee, drink water, or eat. She shows no ill effects. She emits love the entire time. That connects with my point. Yes, realized beings tend to stay completely clear of politics, but we could still do miles better with our choices. We could be looking for the relatively right people at least. Native American tribes referred to them as Elders. The Elders we need will have a worldview. They don't have to be brilliant, but they need worldview level consciousness, rather than country level. It won't keep them from understanding the complexities and modes of social institutions, to paraphrase the Tsar, but it will keep them from espousing country level homicidal perspectives that really track back to unhappy childhoods and are fundamentally no better than the excuses used by gang members. Obviously, I support a guy name Dave. I'm not really much help because I can't spell his last name. Oh, well.

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@ CK MacLeod:
Right. Well stated. And, of course, Miguel's view had nothing to do with what I was telling you before. You know that. I was strictly using it as an example of how we tactically accuse others of doing what we do ourselves. It only had to do with that, not the content of his smear. You knew that. Again, can we roll with each others' points where possible? Obviously, it's not possible in respect to Miguel's views on Imam.

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@ bob:
I was equating "attitude" with consciousness. My "attitude didn't help" was your specific point. You were right. By extending that into a broader concept I lost you. Sorry. But as it always is with everyone, your attitude was involved. In this case, it didn't help you roll with what I was getting at, even though your "I can imagine contexts in which I would agree with it, and others in which I would disagree" statement is evidence that you did at least understand me. In the future, how about we try to roll with each other's points a bit more? I think it would lead to better dialogue. On my part, I will try to stick with the political nature of this blog. I try not to expose myself to the media much, so I don't know if I have enough information to pull it off, but we'll see.

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CK MacLeod wrote:

alongside a tendency to discount their complexity and their own modes of connection to the universal

What was discounted was that I had begun with a simplification. Remember? The simple Einstein quote? It required no
walkie-talkie. So, yes, I was trying to keep things simple. The Tsar wanted it to go in another direction. As the dialogue continued, and the issue of "problem solving" became more and more obscured, I guess it felt more contentious to others than what I was feeling. Really, I was just having fun. I still am. Of course, if I had been more skillful I could have channeled some symphony orchestra music into the frequency. Even played through my own crappy walkie-talkie, it could have been at least nice sounding. So I apologize for the static. Bob rightfully recognizes that every point of debate carries with it the consciousness of the thinker. My issue with blogging so far, however, is that we all seem to underestimate how much of the consciousness is really just our own, not the person's about whom we are writing. And I'm not referring to simple psychological projection. This is different. This is a whole different level of it. So, again, to be clear, I was trying to make a simple point. One of the smartest people who ever lived--someone who I thought was a pretty neutral figure in the sense of not being Hegel or Gandhi--said something true about problem solving. As the Tsar has also made clear, there are other reasons for war other than problem solving. True enough. That's where the spiderness (to my fly) came in. You've heard of what's referred to as "splitting" in the world of psychology? It's the one thing W was quite good at. When someone questioned his war policies on practical grounds, he debated it on moral grounds. When someone questioned his war policies on moral grounds, he debated it on practical grounds. The Tsar is also qood at splitting and since I just read his cute "smearing" jab at Miguel, I think it's okay for me to point out other's debate tactics. Of course, it would be more in keeping with my peace talk to be more peaceful sounding. As Hollywooders know, it ain't easy being dramatic and peaceful at the same time. Isn't it kind of the point of blogging to be entertaining? But, yes, Bob, I really did get off track with the 10,000 hr thing. What I really wanted to communicate had nothing to do with me. It was about the fact that in respect to problem solving, we don't listen enough to the right people. If we listen to Einstein, in respect to problem solving, (not in connection with Hegelian social awareness), war is a low level solution. No amount of splitting will change that fact. At the same time, if the Tsar really did support the Iraq action not in connection with what the US government thought it was doing, but in connection with what it would do for our ability to understand and relate to another culture, then my initial point didn't apply. He could have just said that. I assumed that his "support" connected with problem solving. It's how I presented the issue in the first place. I don't know. Now, he'll claim something different. In regards to layering on information, he does what he accused Miguel of doing and there is my projection point again, and if I've made myself the fly again here, so be it. Even if I'm stuck in a web, I can listen to the symphony music. As you all know, it's a choice we can all make and that point does track back to where this all really began. It was about our ability to determine things positively. From my perspective, if this has been a "fight," it has been a play fight, within which we probably only seem to have learned more about each other. So, from here on, I will simply practice what I preach. I will write more mindfully and more peacefully. Just don't blame me if you're bored.

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@ CK MacLeod:
Again, is it really "morally responsible" to advocate sending kids to violently enact policy that they don't understand? You can spin this any way you like, but it will always come back to whether or not the action in question was morally deficient. You sided with a morally deficient action. It was a mistake. People make mistakes.
Perhaps I should have refused to pay my taxes. Perhaps I'm wrong in holding the government responsible for spending my tax money on a homicidal venture. I recognize that it is a rare, perhaps even singular blessing to be able to even feel as though I can stand outside the actions of "my" country's government, but I do feel that way. At the same time, I do fully take responsibility for knowingly paying somewhere close to a million dollars in taxes that instead of going to civil services went to homicidal military spending. But "let's get one thin straight." At this point, my self-image is something beyond your mind's comprehension. Your heart can perceive who I am, but not your mind. (Again, check out Pearce for info on our hearts', glial cells, and cardiological perception). After so much meditation, it would be sad if that weren't the case. Ten thousand hours of meditation should do something. At the very least, it should give a person a relatively good sense of "everything in and around" them. It should give them a sense that the brain-chatter level of consciousness is interested in what you naively refer to as a "tally." If I'm mistaken, and you have also sat in meditation of what is really in and around you for ten thousand hours, let me know. And just to clarify, I use the 10,000 hour quota because it's the common number used by spiritualist like Ken Wilber when they are explaining this kind of thing. They say things like, "just as we accept what the majority of mathematicians say about the existence of negative numbers even though negative numbers seem imaginary to us, we should accept what the majority of people who have meditated for 10,000 hours tell us about taking inventory of everything in and around us because over the last five millennium, their views on what's in and around us has been not only remarkably consistent, but of great help in respect to reducing suffering." And before you think about a response, I recommend that you check out the YouTube video "Ken Wilber stops his brainwaves." It might give you pause. Seeing how different a meditator's brain is might encourage your brain to recognize its inability to discern what people who meditate recognize as "inconvenient" to our "self-image." Of course, it would play against my intention here to lower your self-esteem, so I will also add that your mind is only a small part of your glorious being. Plus, I do think that your mind is actually more interesting than other peoples'. Therefore, I understand why you are so entranced by it. I would be too. In a way that transcends your friend's past use of the term, you are truly special, Tsar, and your specialness serves us more than it serves you, so, again, I express my gratitude.

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@ CK MacLeod:
"An abdication of leadership"? Please. It's a tired joke, but the leadership was coming from a C student puppet. Admittedly, having a hope-filled A student in charge hasn't created much better leadership. It also hasn't done much for belief in the power of positive ideas. I make myself feel better thinking that it's a matter of him having hung out in the political world for too long. Every spiritual text speaks to what happens when even people of high consciousness don't "keep holy company." Fatalistically speaking, maybe we have nothing to lose. Certainly, it's not high level of me to be interested in letting you know that the smoke and mirrors you defaulted to there in defense of your moral support of a low level solution really didn't cut it, and I don't think we can ever overestimate the personal nature of all of this. With the US action in Iraq, feelings of collective powerlessness found their expression in a governmental gone haywire, and feelings of personal powerlessness continue to inspire people to seek balance in an imaginary connection to the government's power. There was no "we" involved in the US action. There was only the government doing what it did, while the rest of us just talked and talked about how right or wrong it was. You are right in that it was going to happen, because all we did was talk. Believing that it was inevitable is fatalistic whether it refers to action or not, and consciousness does count. Talk counts. We can elevate our talk. Obviously, we can only determine things positively by linking up with the positive. When another government is doing something beautiful, constructive, creatively loving, the US government should link up with it and put its resources into things happening on a high level. In respect to simple, peaceful things, we can send 18 year-olds to enact policy and it could go well. When the US sends them into complex, horribly confused situations, really, how well is that going to go? Come on. You say we've learned some things. Have we learned that especially in a no-draft society, we can't send 18 year-olds into hellish circumstances? Even just a little humility would help encourage us away from the death-wish that really motivates low level solutions and toward simplicity. I would like to see the US government attach our resources to other governments doing great things. Relativistic fatalism would work in connection with us just going with what's going well. There are pockets of people living peaceful, spirited existences. (See some of Joseph Chilton Pearce's research). There has always been groups of people living peaceful, spirited existences on this planet. If history weren't written by people who think in terms of victory and loss, that would be known. And even as things are according to our media-controlled, macho, war first world-view, we can still make our way through the door with the blood-filled bucket, as you very creatively state it, and then dance our way into partnerships of peace and love. It begins, not just with thinking that it's possible, but with holy alliances. One person speaking of peace and love links up with another. Together, we then encourage our friends to feel powerful instead of powerless. And pardon me for getting too personal here, but how powerless can you be when your friends refer to you as "Tsar." What more do you want? A big new-age hug? My guess is: not. Oh, well. I will keep thinking positively. To make things less annoying for people, I plan on wearing a t-shirt with the word "Vope" on it. I probably won't follow through. Mostly, I just talk about doing things like that. I talk and I talk. Again, oh, well.

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@ CK MacLeod:
Thanks for making that all clear. I do find the "blogosphere" a bit confusing. With your help, I'll get used to it. I'm grateful as well for your clarifications. They go right to what I really wanted to address. Remember, this is about "determination." So your belief that the Iraq whatever-you-want-to-call-it was going to happen anyway" is the real issue here. That's what I contest. The underlining fatalism. Of course, in using the word "fatalism" I know I can expect a really great response from you. It's a very triggering word and I'll be disappointed if it doesn't inspire a really funny Hegelian outpouring from you. Sorry about the "R's" thing. I wasn't really assuming anything other than the general connection to Bush's policies, and I do realize that at least your fatalism (there's that word again) is conservative in nature, not just some "masquerade," which was another thing I was responding to from another one of the pieces you wrote which was one of the things swimming all around me here in a sphere I find alien, disorienting and kind of scary. But don't feel sorry for me, I'm just playing weak so I can rise up like a Phoenix at some point.

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@ CK MacLeod:
I was really referring to a couple things in "The Great Set-up." I realize that your views are maturely tempered compared to most "R's", but you do admit to being for the Iraq war initially and the statement "By intervening as we did and how we did, we helped set the timetable of revolutionary violence and put ourselves in place to absorb and channel it" does keep you tied, albeit loosely, to the exact kind of low level solution that inspired Einstein to say what he did.

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@ CK MacLeod:
Yes. We "determine what's possible." We also determine the level on which that determination takes place. As a very famous physicists once said, "Solutions to problems don't happen on the same level of consciousness on which the problems occur." That quote could be applied to many of my unwritten responses to what you have recently written. As always, I am, as my father would have said, "tickled" by your ideas and like the way they are stated, but many times, I find myself wondering how you could continue to think that their are low-level answers to low-level problems.

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Instead of looking for politicians to maintain the center position, we should position ourselves to sway things in accordance with what makes sense. There should be no "we" or "they" on our side. It's not "conservative" to be a doomsday kind of guy, whether you're writing about what's going to happen with South Korea or the environment. Let's not "masquerade" as anything ourselves. If we play politics from our heart, together, the politicians that we need will come. They will act conservatively or liberally according to their nature and we will be able to support good conservative behavior or good liberal behavior in connection with real events, not imagined doomsday scenarios.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.

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