Thursday, May 18, 2006

Banned From Bob's Blog

"Nagarjuna, consider yourself banned. I will delete your posts as soon as I see them. Again, this website is entirely inappropriate for you. I don't know how I can state it any more clearly: YOU DON'T GET IT. I'm usually pretty astute, but I didn't expect you to be as insane as Chomsky."
--Bob Godwin, blogger, author of a book about spirituality, and clinical psychologist

There’s the old expression “Banned in Boston.” I’d like to suggest a new expression: “Banned from Bob’s Blog.” That would be me. As of today, I’ve been told that I will no longer be allowed to post comments there because I’m too “spiritually immature” or just plain stupid to “get” what Bob’s Blog and its politically, psychologically, socially, economically, and spiritually enlightened community of commentators is all about. Maybe they’re right. Or maybe they’re the ones who just don’t “get it.” Or maybe we all don’t “get it” as long as we ignore, reject, and denounce one another as evil or idiotic and avoid opening our minds and hearts to genuine dialogue with one another.

Of course, if
Spiral Dynamics is sound theory, people of profoundly different outlooks on politics and spirituality may be incapable of dialoguing with one another in any productive fashion. They’re simply coming from such disparate value structures that there’s no possibility of meaningful communication. Or is there some way for dialogue to be conducted that would make it possible for motivated people of different value structures to understand and empathize with each other far better than they do now?

I’d like to think that there could be some kind of gap-bridging communication between people online in places like message boards and blog sites. I certainly think that when I hang out online with people who see the world of politics and religion differently than I do, I’m enriched by the experience and respect them and their views more even if I continue to disagree with or question them. But I guess that people who think they’re superior and that they already have the answers aren’t too interested in hanging out with or understanding those they label and mock as infantile, insane, or stupid to believe what they do.

So, I’m banned indefinitely from posting comments on Bob’s Blog. But I’ll continue to read it. Why would I bother under the circumstances? Because I think I have a lot to learn from that blog. It may not be all of the things Bob and his friends are trying to teach. Or should I say “preach” about the evil stupidity of “leftism.” It may be some things they’d rather people not know about the flawed motivations and psychological shortcomings they’re too busy projecting onto and attacking in others to acknowledge in themselves. But I’ll no doubt learn something worthwhile, and I may even be posting entries here on some of what I learn.

9 comments:

WH said...

I tried to read Bob's blog for a while, but he made me want to slam my head against the wall. He is conservative Orange to the core, without having shut down the vertical element of belief. But he is so rapidly anti-liberal, and his arguments are so circular that he can't be reasoned with.

You probably upset the apple cart a bit too much for his comfort.

Right on!

Peace,
Bill

Finding Fair Hope said...

I too am one of the disillusioned who first thought there was wisdom over there at onecosmos...haven't been back in a couple of weeks (I banished myself) and see that you are among those who got the heave-ho. I just wanted to assure you that this happens all the time over there. People with a slight Liberal tinge endure the same treatment -- they ask a question and are attacked as idiots, and evil ones at that. All the while the faithful are saying how hateful and stupid the Left is and how they themselves are being vilified. It's hard to fathom, and I had something of the same reaction that Bill here did. I had several friends "banned" from that blog with the line, "You don't belong here!"

Jess said...

Like both of these people, I went to Bob's blog and found it way too conservative in nature for me. Brown shirted, goosesteppers came to my mind when I read some of the replies to his "astute" and holier than thou posts. Consider yourself one of the lucky ones that don't kow tow to the hard line they take Steve. I wouldn't fit in there either being I am quite liberal in my thinking.

Nagarjuna said...

Bill, FFH, and Jess: I confess that I've been something of a bad boy and not gone as quietly into that good cyberspatial night as I probably should have. When people mock and disparage me and tell me I shouldn't be someplace, the stubborn little boy in me has been known to come to the fore and perpetrate a little mischief. But it's silly and not very nice, and I guess I have better things to do than hang around where I'm not wanted and be a pain in the ass.

When I first read some of Bob's blog, I was frankly dazzled by the man's obvious intelligence, erudition, eloquence, and clever world play. I knew we didn't see eye-to-eye on politics, but I thought that if I dug deeper, I'd still find nuggets of wisdom and other things of value on his site. But, you're right, it IS just endless variations on the same threadbare theme, and there is so much hatred behind that obsession with stereotypical "leftism."

I think there's wisdom to be gained from entering into dialogue with people whose perspectives differ from mine, but no such dialogue is allowed at "One Cosmos." I think there's wisdom to be gained from exposing oneself to "monological" expressions of different ways of thinking, but not necessarily when those expressions are permeated with obsessive hatred.

I found it interesting when Bob once said to me something to the effect that "we've been where you are now and we've moved beyond it." It seems to me that the One Cosmos community's war against leftism may ultimately be a war with its own repressed understanding that the self-centered "pursuit of happiness" within the context of dog-eat-dog capitalism unfettered by any compassion for human suffering or effort to engender social fairness and justice is one of the worst psychological and social pathologies of all.

I think "One Cosmos" is a misnomer. I think Bob should consider renaming his blog to "Condemning Leftism" or "The Pathology and Evil of Leftism," because THAT is what it's ALL about. Well, not exactly. There also seems to be a vicious undercurrent of hatred of Islam and Muslims.

What I find especially interesting is that Bob is the author of an apparently well-reviewed book about spirituality and he's also a clinical psychologist of some repute. You just wouldn't expect his blog to be so virulently hateful and nasty.

I've seen a poster that shows a very shady looking character and asks "Would you buy a used car from this man?" I can envision a poster with a picture of Bob Godwin and some particularly mean-spirited excerpts from his blog, and the caption beneath would ask, "Would you seek psychotherapy from this man?"

Namaste,
Steve

June said...

I was pointed in this direction by obserrvers who told me that you had been banned. While Bob never aimed the word "banned" at me, he did delete my posts and tell me that I didn't belong there. He did this essentially because I questioned the way that he talked about Islam, saying that my Muslim friends would find it offensive. He had claimed that he was specifically referring to "Islamists"--radical extremists such as those who have beheaded Westerners on video tape, but when I pointed out examples of his condemnation of the entire religion,he decided it was time to delete me.

At first I thought I wanted to go back, and for a while I did. I felt that I could gain some insights from what he wrote because of my deep interest in the spiritual. More neutral observers that I was pointed out to me that the title "One Cosmos Under God" was a play on "One Nation Under God" and should have warned me of the right wing leanings of the author. (I personally think we should reclaim the flag as a symbol of the America we were once proud of, and not let freetraders use it against us.)

I am happy to say I am a completely reformed OneCosmos addict. As Bob is so fond of saying, I was once where he is, but I have moved beyond it. I re-membered my own enlightenment and realized Mr. Godwin does not necessarily live up to his name.

What I learned: When someone's main argument for their position is that if you don't get it, you might need an exorcist, I should be very careful how much weight I give their views.

Finding Fair Hope said...

I tried to comment last night on the same post that Gagdad Bob came in on, with a warning that no matter what they say about wanting dissenters on onecosmos to enrich the discussion, they don't mean it because it takes them no time to step in -- the group of faithful -- and attack until the questioning one leaves. I've seen it happen in at least three other instances and it will happen again. It's just a matter of time. But it is exciting to get their attention.

What happened to my comment? A little of the onecosmos treatment can make a normal person paranoid -- was it deleted?

Nagarjuna said...

FFH, I don't know what happened to your post. I assure you that I never saw it much less deleted it. You're more than welcome to repost it. I'm sorry about the inconvenience.

Namaste,
Steve

Alan Mackenzie said...
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Alan Mackenzie said...
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