TUNDRANAUTICA

Bringing Home the Freshest Kill

Posts in the God category

“God is a lost continent in the human mind.”
McKenna

God

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Sinatra with Pancakes

FRANK

Longform.org has reprinted a stellar Playboy interview with Frank Sinatra from 1963.

Some excerpts.

On feelings:

…being an 18-karat manic-depressive and having lived a life of violent emotional contradictions, I have an overacute capacity for sadness as well as elation.

On religion and God:

I think I can sum up my religious feelings in a couple of paragraphs. First: I believe in you and me. I’m like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life — in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don’t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle. The witch doctor tries to convince us that we have to ask God for help, to spell out to him what we need, even to bribe him with prayer or cash on the line. Well, I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It’s not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew,Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount.

On the Cold War:

Fear is the enemy of logic. There is no more debilitating, crushing, self-defeating, sickening thing in the world—to an individual or to a nation. If we continue to fear the Russians, and if they continue to fear us, then we’re both in big trouble. Neither side will be able to make logical, reasoned decisions. I think, however, that their fear and concern over the ideological balance of power in some areas is far from irrational. Our concern over a Sovietized Cuba 90 miles from Key West, for instance, must be equated with Russian concern over our missile bases surrounding them. It is proper that we should be deeply concerned, but we must be able to see their side of the coin—and not let this concern turn into fear on either side.

On Communism:

Stop worrying about communism; just get rid of the conditions that nurture it. Sidestepping Marxian philosophy and dialectical vagaries, I think that communism can fester only wherever and whenever it is encouraged to breed—not just by the Communists themselves, but by depressed social and economic conditions: and we can always count on the Communists to exploit those conditions. Poverty is probably the greatest asset the Communists have. Wherever it exists, anyplace in the world, you have a potential Communist breeding ground. It figures that if a man is frustrated in a material sense, his family hungry, he suffers, he broods and he becomes susceptible to the blandishments of any ideology that promises to take him off the hook.

What a great mind. Read the entire thing here.

 

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Pal Mike in Saigon sends a real nice YouTube clip.

A Tulsa mega-church evangelist gets socked in the face by some wild-eyed troglodyte in the audience.

The preacher is not fazed. Not one iota. He gets right back up and keeps doing Jesus’s work.

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 Spider Woman by Alex Maleev

  • Daniel Kalder on Edward Snowden and the irony of leaking:  “…when it comes to leaks, irony abounds. The Russians and the Chinese and the Cubans relish the irony of protecting a dissident from the US, the self-proclaimed champion of human rights. Snowden hopes to escape to a country less free than the one he betrayed in the name of freedom. And let us not forget the master-leaker, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who entered the Ecuadorean embassy in London to avoid being sent to prison, and now lives in what is, essentially, a prison. After a year of seeing his pasty face around their offices every day, I cannot imagine how much those diplomats must hate him. Those whom the gods would destroy…”
  • More Kalder — on the last words/goodbyes of death row inmates: “…it’s easier for the condemned if they have religious faith. God, Jesus, or Allah provide reassurance that life’s journey is not about to end on the executioner’s gurney, and that even the worst murderers will be forgiven in heaven as they were not forgiven by the State of Texas.”
  • Noah Rothman on the media’s transgressions in covering the Trayvon Martin trial: “Clearly, the public is more sophisticated than some members of the media believe. The way in which baseless speculation motivated by personal bias is packaged to appear to be analysis is as transparent as cellophane. It is insulting and it is detrimental to the future of the business of television journalism.”
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Lodowicke Muggleton, by William Wood (floruit ...

Soul-Brother No. 1, Lodowick Muggleton

  • Daniel Kalder:  2012, The Apocalypse, and My Five Favorite Prophets — “Lodowick Muggleton (1609- 1698) was an English tailor who in 1651 discovered that he was one of the two Witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11. Muggleton revealed that God was a man between five and six foot tall and that there was no point in praying. His followers met in pubs, didn’t seek converts, and spent three centuries waiting for a Last Judgment that never came.”
  • Jim Goad:  Our Balls, Ourselves: “Brothers, gents, countrymen, and assorted randy lads and bucks galloping like centaurs through fields of feminine flowers and wantonly squirting their seed the world over, I regret to inform you that the worm has turned on the world’s sperm. Our gonads face a crisis of historic proportions. A Spermocaust is unfolding a mere three feet beneath our very eyes.”
  • Joel Kotkin: Aging America — Cities That Are Aging the Fastest: “…metropolitan areas widely celebrated as magnets for the young and hip are also aging rapidly. For example, while Portland remains younger than average, it rose from 36th oldest in 2000 to 29th oldest in 2010. Even Seattle got older, rising from 39th place in 2000 to 34th in 2010.”‘
  • Rosie Gray on Ron Paul’s farewell speech: “Paul spoke for nearly 45 minutes, slamming the political establishment, the TSA, the federal government, Internet regulations, police searches, and, of course, the Federal Reserve. The speech seemed at times to be one long complaint about the dearth of libertarian ideas in Congress. ‘Our liberties have been eroded, our wealth has been consumed,’ Paul said. He blasted ‘psychopathic authoritarians’ who ‘endorse government-initiated force to change the world.'”
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1697 Red Hell

AMOROUS EPHEMERA

AURAL LIFE

  • Frank Zappa’s congressional testimony re: the PMRC — now on CD
  • Microtonal music is “”music using microtones—intervals of less than an equally spaced semitone. Microtonal music can also refer to music which uses intervals not found in the Western system of 12 equal intervals to the octave…
  • Satan’s Violin Lesson
  • Spectral Musicis a musical composition practice where compositional decisions are often informed by the analysis of sound spectra. Computer based sound spectrum analysis using a Fast Fourier transform is one of the more common methods used in generating descriptive data. Using FFT analysis, features of a particular sound spectrum can be visualized using a spectrogram. Spectral composition focuses, then, on bringing out these features, interconnecting them, and transforming them.”
  • Tipper Gore and the danger of anal vapors

BACK HOME ON THE FARM

BIG MONEY

  • The New York Times knows nothing about “the rule of law”
  • Gail Collins in the New  York Times back in April: “Paying a lot of taxes should be a badge of honor. It proves you made it into the league of big money-makers, not to mention the fact that you’re supporting the upkeep of the Grand Canyon. If the I.R.S. had been doing its marketing properly, little kids would dream of growing up to become really big taxpayers.” Umm…is Gail retarded, or simply another journalist with horrible observational skills? Her last sentence reeks of out-of-touch, imbecilic clod. (Gail — please come visit Portland, Oregon. EVERY person under 40 here acts as though being governed and paying an exorbitant amount of taxes is awesome.)

COSMONAUTICA

National Library of Belarus (Национальная библиотека Беларуси)

DEEP-FRIED DYSTOPIA

DIVINE ILLUMINATION ON DEMAND

DWELLING ON THE THRESHOLD

GURGITATE TO EMANCIPATE

LOVE: A MANY-LAYERED QUILT

MOVING PICTURES

  • Is it just me, or does Karin Longworth’s Village Voice review of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood come off as snooty, ignorant and arrogant? An excerpt (BTW, I implore you to imagine Longworth’s words as spoken in an upper crust, Cape Cod/equestrian debutante voice): “…this Robin Hood preaches about ‘liberty’ and the rights of the individual as he wanders a countryside populated chiefly by Englishpersons bled dry by government greed.” Ha ha, indeed Ms. Longworth, indeed! How primitive and unsophisticated for one to value individual liberty. The untamed, teeming and savage middle class requires taxation and governance, ASAP. Any lunkhead can see that! Pip ho, equestriettes!
  • Sly Stallone’s porn film

OREGONIAN PERMUTATIONS

  • Has Oregon caught California’s disease?
  • The ghouls who terrified a young girl in Troutdale in May received fluffy, light bullshit sentences on Friday (BONUS BITTERNESS: I posit that these felons are the same pieces of dog-shit that burglarized my own home 30 minutes earlier that same May day, though the Troutdale and Portland police don’t really seem to give a shit). And a quick note to the incarcerated cum-stains — in the future, I’ll be watching your “careers” with much interest.  I’ve got my Google alerts readied for all three of you. Got that, Mr. Colindres-Munoz — ye of the Fake Door-to-Door Salesman bit? I remember your rodent face quite well — satellite dishes, wasn’t that your shtick?)

TRANSGRESSIVE GRAMMAR & UNMITIGATED VERBOSITY

VOID WANDERING

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Raquel Welch is Gorgeous

Amorous Ephemera

Big Athletica

  • Does Brett Favre’s invulnerability, and the endless agony it puts him through in terms of retirement choices, make him Faust? (Pal Rob introduced this theory to me last night.)

Cosmonautica

Deep-Fried Dystopia

Divine Illumination

I’ll Show You the Life of the Mind!

  • Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.” — Jessamyn West

Look at That Pussy!

The Road to Hell is Paved With Misspent Tax Dollars

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You said…, originally uploaded by marcos_dtorres.

I like this pic a lot…

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If you haven’t done so yet, please read “An Agnostic Manifesto,” by Ron Rosenbaum over at Slate. It’s good.

Rosenbaum argues that the complexities of agnosticism shouldn’t diminish its place in religious debate, where “New Atheism” and religious fundamentalism compete regularly to produce the most belligerent quips and sound bites. Enough of that, says Rosenbaum. It’s time to put on our baking gloves and prepare the Agnostic Loaf of Mystery.

He writes:

Agnosticism doesn’t fear uncertainty. It doesn’t cling like a child in the dark to the dogmas of orthodox religion or atheism. Agnosticism respects and celebrates uncertainty and has been doing so since before quantum physics revealed the uncertainty that lies at the very groundwork of being.

That’s an eloquent statement, whereas a lot of chatter in the atheist world is bratty and juvenile. Atheist discourse often reeks of fraternity/sorority shenanigans; drinking games set against a backdrop of “secular rebellion.” Worse, atheists tend to focus on Bible-bred insanity while avoiding the more prickly domain of Islam. Wimps.

The braver, more honest atheists fess up to this shortcoming. Penn Jillette, for instance, recently went out of his way to praise Christians in a discussion about his TV show Bullshit:

[we] have been brutal to Christians, and their response shows that they’re good fucking Americans who believe in freedom of speech. We attack them all the time, and we still get letters that say, “We appreciate your passion. Sincerely yours, in Christ.”

Jillette explains that Bullshit avoids criticism of Islam for a simple reason, one that offers a sad, illuminating commentary on the world: He (and partner Teller) don’t want to endanger their loved ones.

It’s awful that such a deterrent exists in 2010, isn’t? Complete batshit insanity.

Still, contrast Jillette’s approach with most atheist bloggers, who chortle at Islamist suicide bombers and snake-handling Pentecostals from behind their Dawkins_IZ_Gawd (and, um,  Iced Borscht)  screen names. As a Catholic friend recently observed, it’s not exactly “bold” to participate in “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” from the comfort of one’s Mid-Century modern bachelor pad. (The friend, a journalist who has covered various religious beats in New York State, was unimpressed by my enthusiasm for Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, henceforth known as EDMD.)

While he makes a good point, I disagree with the notion that EDMD was frivolous and sophomoric. Even some of its cowardly aspects contributed to an overriding positive: the mitigation, on whatever tiny level, of a despicable form of intolerance.  (Nick Gillespie makes my point more articulately here, and Paul Berman‘s Flight of the Intellectuals provides a brilliant, if dispiriting, analysis of how Western society — powered by the engine of modern-day “journalism” — gleefully invites Islamism to castrate it).

I don’t mean to suggest that atheism should become a gloomy reservoir for bland introspection. It already has bland introspection in spades; once you get past all the blasphemy board games and kitschy crap, you’re left with an army of killjoys yammering on about epistemological incongruence.

But the killjoys may be on to something. For instance, when I “arrived” at atheism, it didn’t feel like some hedonistic emancipation from God. Yes, I had finally found an “answer,” but the answer was anti-climactic and dull, as many “truths” are. Contrary to popular belief, the road to atheism isn’t a hip grindhouse flick — it’s not paved with priests’ skulls or set to the music of surf rock. Atheism is mundane, normal…unremarkable. But it has a certain undeniable power. Isaac Asimov once said:

I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.

Back to Rosenbaum, though. He writes:

I challenge any atheist, New or old, to send me their answer to the question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” I can’t wait for the evasions to pour forth. Or even the evidence that this question ever could be answered by science and logic.

Stultifying. But if you peel back the foreskin of this wrinkly catechism, you’ll always be in arm’s reach — and often at the business end — of a sentient creator. Eventually you’ll be tempted by one of several “God-centric” positions, and none of them will be more ironclad than the “certainty” of atheism.

One of my favorite arrows in the atheist quiver is the idea that our minds go straight to the theory of a sentient creator without contemplating esoteric concepts that might be more plausible. We’re stuck on “sentient creator.” That’s the best we can do. Rosenbaum looks into this matter by referencing agnostic blogger John Wilkins:

…there are really two claims agnosticism is concerned with as important: Whether God exists or not is one. Whether we can know the answer is another. Agnosticism is not for the simple-minded and is not as congenial as atheism and theism are. The courage to admit we don’t know and may never know what we don’t know is more difficult than saying, sure, we know.

I’ll put the brakes on here. While the constraints of life and its short window of opportunity sometimes depress me, it’s not an existential crisis. When my time comes to kiss the gallows, I understand that my corruptible body will transform into a snack bar for maggots.

And I’m fine with that.

More analysis of Rosenbaum’s Agnostic Manifesto is available here, courtesy of rock-solid peckerwood Jacob Grier.

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