Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Noisy Gong?

Today someone posted some comments at One Cosmos that I thought were very perceptive and wise. Here is a condensed version of them:

So it is in reflecting on some of your brilliance that I find it
troubling to read some of your political commentary...You and I can
agree - the radical left in this country has some serious flaws in
their thinking and philosophy. Excessive relativism (i.e. there is no
higher Truth) and materialism blocks vertical growth. But why do you
prop up or implicitly support the equally unhealthy far right wing
philosophy? Is it the enemy of my enemy is my friend?...You talk about
the importance of the language and tie it back to the Word and Christ.
Yet, your tone is divisive, if not hateful...if Wilber and the spiral
dynamic model of vertical growth is correct, then the leftism you hate
is still a dangerous pothole on the vertical road towards growth and
second tier for a large number of people, but your rhetoric makes it
sound like the entire pluralistic\relativistic\green road is not a
road with some potholes, but one complete pothole. How does that help
vertical growth and transcendence and integration that you say you
cherish?...Its not accurate to paint 50% of the left\liberal
population in America with the words and extremism of the most
dysfunctional 10%. No more than its accurate to say that all right
wingers are Christian fundamentalist who hate homosexuals and are
repressive towards woman. So why paint the picture?...I'm not going to
prop up the likes of say George Bush or Rush Limbaugh or Fox News that
has very little interest in transcendence and whose idea of religion
is generally legalistic and translative, not mystical or
transformative...all the major religious traditions, especially the
most noble and contemplative and mystical parts of those religion
emphasize the importance of Love and Compassion...Are you a man with a
great "gift" of "knowledge" and "faith" but ultimately just a "noisy
gong"? Your political writing seems to be a path of intellectual
violence instead of a constructive and encouraging criticism. And, to
borrow the words of the Buddha, seem to ultimately promote "ignorance"
and "delusion" and "hatred". In order to transcend the world and the
bounds of sin and ego, one must clear themselves from these
fetters...In the language of the psychologist, maybe the hatred that
one has for a certain political group is simply a projection of hatred
to a part of themselves that they need to make peace with and
integrate?...It could be major stumbling block for your growth and
those here who read you who seem to mirror your same hostile tone and
pat you on the back non stop. Are they really helping you in your
growth or just reinforcing your ego?"

Here is a condensed version of Bob Godwin’s response:

If you do not see that typical new-age spiritual nonsense isn't loaded down with a leftist political message, then you are terribly naive. I am simply a corrective to that systematic error…You also made so many willfully boneheaded statements in your comment that I don't have time to deconstruct them all…Seriously, you are a nut. Perhaps no one has taken the trouble to tell you that because they do not have the compassion I possess. Accurate diagnosis must precede effective treatment. You are a champion of what Buddhists call "idiot compassion," not to be confused with the real thing.

Is it “idiot compassion” to treat with kindness and respect those with whom we disagree? Can’t we disagree without being disagreeable? Is it not true that when someone habitually responds to another’s arguments with personal insults rather than substantive rebuttals of the arguments, it’s because he’s incapable of substantive rebuttals? Does Mr. Godwin truly believe that his insulting remarks about leftist thought and thinkers is a “corrective” to anything? If so, whom or what does he presume to correct? The choir to whom he’s preaching already sings his tune. The “leftists” he rails against will undoubtedly ignore him. And aren’t people in the middle likely to be put off by his insulting approach?

Bob Godwin says that his spirituality goes hand in hand with his politics. But it seems to me that his politics is terribly one-sided, and his spirituality is little more than a “noisy gong.” However, I commend him for at least not deleting the critical comments I quoted from. At least he hasn’t yet.


Finding Fair Hope said...

As an observer of the traffic over on onecosmos for several months, I can predict that his followers (and maybe Bob and Petey too) are following yours. He is not likely to delete the comment you cite right away, but the commenter will probably keep trying to engage in a dialogue and will ultimately be "slapped down" as they call it, by the others over there, and his viewpoint, so despised that it will be rejected by Bob, will likely lead to comments which will be deleted before you even see them.

Nagarjuna said...

FFH, The scenario you describe sounds like a probable one. But comments are likely to be deleted only if they agree with the rejected commentator and disagree with Bob. If they're comments filled with personal insults against the commentator, they'll stay for as long as One Cosmos does. :-)