Commenter Archive

Comments by Scott Miller
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On “An und für nichts (liberalism on drone warfare 2)

No, exactly. That's why we have to distinguish between retarded and retard. There is no comparison, which is why this whole thing is so troubling. If bob had just admitted that he made a mistake criticizing me for using the word retard then none of this happens. But I've never known him to apologize. I'm sorry, that's where the hardheadedness comes in. I apologies all the time. I have to be good at it because my ADD causes lots of mistakes. Making a mistake is human. Holding on to the mistake is hardheaded.

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Glad you're here, bob. You're here and you're smart. My whole point is that I'm cool with you being you. If you were cool with me being me, trust me, the situational humor would have struck you as funny. I've relayed that scenario with lots of folks, including the guys, and everyone has a great laugh. You missed out and you can get defensive and make a silly comment about not being smart enough, but come on. You can do better than this. I know you can.

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ADDed out and forgot to answer your question about what terms Laura uses as a shrink. She uses "developmentally disabled" or "developmentally delayed." There was a film character with the name Delay. Can't remember what movie it was.

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Good clarification there, CK. Exactly what my understanding was. Obviously, I was addressing things situationally. If I wasn't aware of the fact that there was some issue with the word I wouldn't have used a different term first. Still, bob thinks he's going to teach me something. That's just hardheadedness. I often find his perceptions hardheaded but I don't say anything about it because it's just him. He could do the same with me. Sadly, it doesn't even help when I hand him the "New Age Meanie" handle. He still doesn't get it and I bet the same would have been true 20 years ago. Bob likes straight down the middle. He missed the content of the story, which is too bad because it's funny. So there's not much I can do. if someone can't pay attention to content, much less context, then everything has to be presented straight down the middle. I don't bother with straight down the middle. It's okay. But straight down the middle doesn't have to be written about. It's just there. It's okay but I don't see the point in writing from that perspective. To me, playing everything straight down the middle is a rationalization for not paying attention.

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It is also interesting that you missed the context. Obviously, I was mitigating the potential self congratulation of being a good deed doer. Since I was telling a story about how my continued good deed doer attempts led to a particular quote, the use of the offensive word was there for balance. When a reader looks for trouble and can't sense the energy behind a writer and lets their negative mind set keep them from sensing what something's really about, there's not much a writer can do but shake their head at how some folks just don't get you.

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Didn't use the word "retard." Used the word retarded, which is quite a bit less offensive than "retard." When someone calls someone a retard, it's name calling. When someone uses the word retarded it dates them as someone unwilling or unable to keep up with the times in a politically correct way. Since I first used the term "mentally challenged" it's clear that I'm willing and able to keep up with the times, so the use of the word later is clearly either connected to some kind of expediency or humor, or a bit of both. You're looking for trouble where there is none, bob.

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Right. I have no issues with the spirit of his efforts.
I bet the guys holding hands story comes back into your awareness like the meat-eaters thinking they don't get karma story comes back from time to time. It's in your consciousness now.

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CK--thanks for posting "Sacrificial Nation." It raises many crucial points. But, as usual, the western mind fails to be inclusive enough and falls into the "splitting" habit. The correction would happen with a perception of 3 "qualities" namable in Sanskrit as Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. They can be simplistically understood as Light, Action, and Heaviness. Those qualities and the things that manifest from them are inclusive. Love and Justice are not inclusive. When they are seen as inclusive a kind of political insanity takes place. Kahn would do well, then, to study Rudolf Steiner who always saw things in terms of 3 forces that were inclusive, calling them Luciferic, Arithmetic, and something else. The something else was Rajasic--expressive of what Christians would refer to as Christ Consciousness and inclusive of both love and justice. So love and justice are part of only one third of the basic 3 qualities in the Universe and try as America might to limit itself to a play between love and justice, the attempt and the attempt to see America in relation to those things will inspire craziness.
Of course, the whole sacrifice thing is interesting. We could compare the American version to what is in the Bhagavad Gita--which is the classic spiritual text on sacrifice and yoga. But again, the Christian version is so troubling. Christ kept telling his followers that he would not kill in order to establish justice. So if Christ is our model, it's simple. Christians should refuse to kill. The Gandhian sacrifice makes much more sense. Even the disturbing vision brought to my attention here on this blog that quoted Gandhi on what Jews should do was less insane than the one Americans unconsciously promote. One of Arjuna's yogic choices was to do nothing and die. He didn't take it, but it was one of the logical choices. In context of their spirituality, Christians seeking to emulate Jesus' way of living cannot justify the choice to kill.
And I'll give a clear example of what Kahn misses as a result of his basic misapprehension:
Standing outside the American play of love and justice is American gangsterism. There are what we can call Luciferic American gangsters connected to both church and state that are above the crowd and connect with American exceptionalism, and Arithmetic gangsters connected to both church and state and also living completely outside of those institutions, doing their dirty work in a heavy way, literally counting the money as they rob the poor in every conceivable way. And in both varieties and in connection with all 3 manifestations of Gangster Nation, we are easy pickins' because gangsters who don't seek love or justice can so easily take advantage of the love and justice folks. Plus, the system established and maintained and exported by naive and misguided liberals and conservatives is not just preyed upon by the ruthless but run by them and that's why the U.S. is rightfully hated as a hypercritical state.
But Kahn does see certain truths very well. At one point when he was explaining about the American way of wanting everyone to recognize American justice as justice because it is ours, I was reminded of a moment when I was trying to help two gay mentally challenged lovers treat each other better. They were working for me at the time, supposedly doing the gardening. It didn't go well and they were always in conflict. Cutting to the point, I was continually pointing out how they were trying to manipulate each other and how they might stop that. It didn't go well. Finally, in desperation, I said to one of them, "What do you want?" And he said, "I wan him to think I am not trying to 'anipalate him."
So, yes, I see America as a retarded gardner who is nothing like Chauncey Gardner.
The best thing about hiring the two retarded gay gardner guys was that they told me about their fundamentalist church experience. They wanted to do some service for the church and before the church members knew anything about their gayness they were asked to hold a sign out on the corner advertising the church services. When they were out their they were holding hands! The church goers were horrified. I almost peed in my pants when they told me that story.
Then they became Buddhists. I swear to God.

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I'm sure it is well known. But it is still a bit more frustrating when people voicing things other than the party line of either the liberals or conservatives are cast in stereotypical roles by folks needing to see things in black and white terms. Since you're good at seeing the facts on both sides, and see people on both sides the same way--as "rocks and boards"--I think you do best in respect to educating folks about certain realities when you acknowledge their reality and then shift it slightly. There's no reason for you not to use that strategy more often since you're not really defending any particular political stance anyway, right? And maybe you did start with that this time, I don't know. Even if you did, it's always possible to stick with it more consistency out of intellectual generosity, which works best coming from the most knowledgeable person taking part in any given discussion.

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Naturally, I would defend you (CK) regarding those quoted attacks. You aren't any of the things they called you. Obviously. I should have made that clear from the start. Sorry. My point, as usual, is that problems can't be solved on the level of consciousness on which they occur. And that is a political point. Einstein said it as a politician. It goes both ways. Liberals can't argue conservatives into being liberals and conservatives can't argue liberals into being conservatives. Peace occurs on the level of consciousness above the conflict both intellectual and physical.
The vegetarian story had to do with Tibetan Buddhist living at very very high altitudes where vegetables couldn't be grown. So meat-eating was necessary for survival. But then they would have other people do the killing and believe that that somehow separated them from the negative karma. Very silly. It was especially silly coming from folks with otherwise hardcore (what I see as victimizing the victim type...) ideas about the way karma works.

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First of all, no matter which way we choose to swing or find ourselves swinging, or are swung, we should enjoy the way you write. You critique like Benny Goodman. Nevertheless, sometimes we also find ourselves wishing you had a clarinet rather than a computer. Sometimes. It would be a great loss if you only had a clarinet, but sometimes it would be better for everyone, especially you, if someone like me were to have the influence to hand you a clarinet and say play this instead. As always, the swinging only happens on level that inspires no solution. Your clarinet solo came and went here without adding anything to Kotsko's playing. It was just a Kahn. Like a good Kahn man, whatever he writes is bad so it bounces off the percussion section and sticks to him. You don't want to have gum all over you. Rise up! No matter what Kotsko plays it's better than what gets played on the level of violence. You're never going to unreptilian the reptilian brain. Cortisol is cortisol. It's not a chord. Cortisol is what TV watching inspires on a chemical level and it inspires reptilian brain thinking. Watch TV news and cortisol levels increase whether you are for or against drone attacks. So you first have to get "your mind right." Be cool, Luke. Get your mind right and you will see feel how to play. No drone is ever going to groove on the clarinet. Can't happen.

On “Chris Hayes and American Heroism

A real yogel will always love any yoga-ing done with heart no matter how the externals externalize. So, go, CK, go!

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The liberal democratic state is not really a liberal structure. It's an authoritarian structure to begin with, so it always relied on the authoritarian principle. Anarchists are the real liberals and they are completely unrepresented, of course. Several of my professor friends consider themselves to be anarchists and trust me, they could hold their own here in respect to political rhetoric.

On “Open Thread

So much for Weaver pitching. Got hurt after 3 batters.

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Frog: Angels might be on the streak I predicted. Should extend at least one more game with Weaver going against Hughes today.

On “All I Wants Is a Room Somewhere

Right. Especially that last part. Without the consciousness that knows what we're thinking we wouldn't know what we're thinking.

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We can, however, recognize collapsed thought. In Sanskrit, "manas" (the brain chatter level of the mind) is a relatively collapsed energetic structure. We can argue with it. We can locate it. We know what we're thinking so there is something bigger than it, and since there is something bigger than it, it is collapsed. Being trapped within the idea that brain chatter is the self is where most people find themselves and it causes suffering. That condition could even be recognized as the root of suffering.

On “Open Thread

Stephen Jackson may be the guy who leads Spurs to the championship. He changed this game. He's always been a great player with big problems. Remember he enabled Golden State to beat the Mavs a few years back, 8 against 1. If it's Spurs vs Heat, then Jackson will have to guard LeBron, giving up a lot of pounds, but maybe making problems for him. Between Leonard, Jackson, and maybe even Blair (in a weird way), Spurs might takes LeBron's game away some. Manu was amazing too.

On “Monastic Temptation

Your piece does "get down to it." I commend you for that, and for its objectivity. Very even and balanced. Did you ever read White's "Middle Mind." I have a copy. I know you didn't respond favorably to the last one, but I still think you and White think alike in some ways. He, too, doesn't have reservations because of the ties that monasteries maintain. That's my biggest complaint about the whole Tibetan Buddhist monastery system. It thrived off the sweat of peasants and established a lottery system that kept peasants hopeful that some lifetime they would give birth to a dalai lama or at least a rinpoche. Still, there are other things to consider. In a sense, our yoga community is an example of a "small group preserv(ing) the best of our culture by living against the grain, within the interstices, by “creating ‘a zone of intelligence’ in a private, local way, and then deliberately keeping (ourselves) out of the public eye.” Even if one’s ideals ultimately perish, this may be the best way to live while they are dying."
But we also recognize the problems with the monastic option so we're not really out of the public eye, not totally intelligent, and not totally living against the grain. I do think all the moral problems with the monastic option apply to us and I don't blame you for canceling your reservations. But the real monastic option has been exercised by some deeper monastic living within very bad off social structures. I read recently about a guy who left the level of monastic structure that he couldn't morally defend for the next level, just wandering around, begging for food from poor people like the monastics of old. He's still living off a social structure, but it's not super, or even okay. His fellow monks were very concerned, but they also understood.

On “Open Thread

That's true and it's actually why it didn't bother me. That and the vodka tonics.

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Saw MIB last night. Best use of the Warhol factory history ever. Loved the alien hippie character and his ability to recognize multiple possibilities in reality at the same time. He was great. Very trippy. The end, though. Man, what a mess. After you see it you might want to read this...http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/05/26/men-in-black-3-ending/. It's funny and I like the little critique drawing.

On “Is/ought

Oh, and there's another kirtan tomorrow night, Saturday. Sura's peeps. Temple Bhajan Band. Anam Cara at 6:30. Since the website you built is responsible for everything Anam Cara you should be there fluencily. It's free.

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Oh, and you pronounce Scott Sc-ought.

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CK: Kendall told me not to tell you that she ended up puking tonight. Light weight. I thought I parented her better than that. Anyway, you pronounce Dorje Door-jay. It refers to the diamond symbol and it stands for "eternal embrace." So don't worry about your social fluency. No matter what, I'm bound to give out yoga hugs for all time.

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Song. My name second name is Song. Dorje Song. It's perfect and the lama was so right. I live to sing.
CK: Kendall is here with me. We're drinking vodka tonics. She says she said, "So...you come out for kirtans." You said, "What"? That went on three times and then you walked away. I thought I parented you better than that.

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

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