Saturday, July 15, 2006

Why I Keep Writing About Gagdad Bob

"A child naturally lives in an innocent, light-filled world, and it is the job of a parent to preserve that light for as long as possible, until it is inevitably penetrated by the darkness of the fallen world. In so doing, we can re-experience the primordial light that has gradually dimmed in ourselves. Likewise, there is a life-stream and a death-stream that flow through the cosmic arteries of our existence. The former moves from the past to the future, while the latter moves from the future to the past. Children are naturally oriented to the present and future, but as we age, we become increasingly aware of the entropic death stream. Yestalgia for nostoday sets in."
--Robert Godwin

You, dear reader, are probably tired of all my posts about Gagdad Bob and his blog. Some of you have already dismissed him as a budding cult leader and a man afflicted with the mean blue-orange meme, and I’ve suggested that his preoccupation with attacking leftists and Islam may really be attacks on his own shadow elements. If any or all of this is true, why do I even bother with him? Why do I read his blog? Why did I post comments on his site even after it instantly became apparent that I and my comments weren’t welcome there? Why do I repeatedly comment on it and him here when there are so many other things I could be talking about or doing?

Bob himself says, with characteristic humility, it’s because I’m angrily obsessed with him because my soul is filled with “darkness” and is attracted to the “light” of spiritual and political truth of his blog but is too immature to “get it” and therefore reacts with frustration, anger, and envy by trying to undermine his efforts and envelop the One Cosmos community in the darkness that plagues me. He calls me a “malignant troll” because I keep reading his blog and commenting on it there or here. But this is what I say.

Am I any more “obsessed” with his blog than the scores if not hundreds of others who read it virtually every day, or the people who comment there several times a day virtually every day? If they’re not obsessed to be doing what they do, why am I obsessed to be doing what I do? Because I question or disagree with him sometimes when his “Bobbleheads” do not?

He says that people like me question and disagree with him because we’re so focused upon the individual points of his posts that we can’t see the seamlessly “whole” truth of their collective wisdom. If we had the intellectual and emotional maturity to “get it” instead of being the quasi-“autistic,” “hostrollities” that we are, we would apparently never challenge him on anything much less do it repeatedly.

But what kinds of things have I challenged him on? Essentially, I’ve questioned his insistence that people on the political left are generally wrong about everything because they’re atheistic, emotional infants inhabiting the bodies of adults, whereas people on the political right are generally right about everything because they’re mature, God-lovin’ adults in every way. I’ve asked him about what Noam Chomsky has ever said that proves he’s the treasonous, “clinically paranoid,” “bull goose loony” Bob says he is. I’ve asked him why he thinks it’s spiritually admirable to hate or despise wrongdoers instead of merely hating, despising, or opposing their wrongdoing? I’ve asked him why he looks down on the Dalai Lama and considers Buddhism’s non-violent ethic “immoral.” I’ve asked him why he takes me to task for calling his “Bobbleheads” on their insults but not them for their insults, why he disparages me on his blog, and why he deletes my substantive and respectful comments.

Of course, he never answers these questions except to say, in effect, “If you have to ask the question, you’re too stupid or immature to understand my answer.” But is it possible that I understand his answers better than he realizes, that I legitimately see them as dubious or deficient, and that these dubious or deficient parts of his posts weaken but don't completely destroy the magnificient edifice of "truth" he's trying to build with his book and blog?

Now you may be wondering why, if Bob really carries on this way, I would have the slightest interest in his blog. “The man is a malicious, insufferable jerk with delusions of grandeur and crazy ideas about politics and religion. Forget about him,” you might well say.

As well I might if it weren’t for the fact that I think he’s a remarkably gifted writer who’s always interesting to read even when he’s wrong, and a joy to read when he’s right or, at least, when he elucidates ideas that open my mind to ways of seeing and thinking about the world that it never did before. And then there’s his community of “Bobbleheads” and other commentators. I may often disagree with them, but they are, almost without exception, uncommonly intelligent, thoughtful, and literate people who write very interesting and sometimes very moving things. For example,
here is what one commentator wrote last night:

“Bob, today your post helped trigger something in me... you might say it tripped a latch allowing the door to crack open and Light from the “inscape” came flooding in... or from within... and/or from without... from everywhere really. A most vertical experience... I printed out your post at work so I could read it over lunchtime. After lunch I couldn’t get out of the restaurant fast enough. Not because the food was bad but because, as I say, your post triggered something...I sat in my car and cried... no, I sobbed. I sobbed and bawled to the point of convulsing I was so overwhelmed with feeling the Presence. I know you know precisely the feeling of irrefutable clarity that comes at such times when Grace strikes. Perhaps that’s a strange way of putting it; “Grace strikes”... it comes so gently, yet the omnipotence behind the gentleness is so disarming, but absolutely nothing is more revitalizing. I don’t know... I’m just saying the gentle loving touch of Grace sure packs an enormous whale of a punch. When the Almighty gives a hug a felluh can’t help but tear up.Anyway, my steering wheel became my “wailing wall” this afternoon. That’s what happens I guess from reading your book and your posts every day for a couple of months. Stuff starts to sink in. And as its sinking in it’s bubbling up as well.Thank you for not molly-coddling delicate sensibilities. Thanks for even being a jerk sometimes. (Ha! “Be a Jerk for Jesus!”)You are doing good work, Bob. Thank you. Thank you and bless you.”

Bob replied that he was “touched and humbled” by this comment (even though he undermined this by subsequently, albeit subtly, taking credit for the commentator’s epiphany), and so was I. Bob writes profound and beautiful things sometimes that can trigger these kinds of reactions, and that's why I continue to read his blog. And if I read it, there are going to be times when I feel moved to comment on it. And if I’m not allowed to comment on it there, I may do it here in a blog I set up to “nakedly reflect,” as fully as practicable, my heart, mind, and soul and what’s important to me at any given time.

Bob’s blog is important to me at this point in time. I doubt that it will always be. I think the day will come when I feel as though I’ve gotten from it all the good there is to be gotten and am fed up with all the not-so-good things there, and I’ll move on. But that day hasn’t come yet. I’m still interested in what Bob Godwin as to say and am willing to sift through the colorful dross to get to the sparkling and precious gold. And if that makes me a nut or an idiot in Bob’s eyes, in yours, or in truth, I guess that’s just how it is.


dr.alistair said...

it is a shame that there are those who firmly believe that they are spiritually enlightened without the slightest idea about the feelings of others unless they directly benifit him. the clinical term for them is sociopath.
i think if one of these people actually experienced any sort of spiritual awakening they would have a nervous breakdown.
there are those who`s scolarship allows them such a command of the written history of spiritual thinking that they can talk a good game and write a book or two, but when it comes to thier interaction with others..............

Finding Fair Hope said...

Good for you, Steve. I never go to Gagdad's blog any more, except when I do (maybe once a month) -- but for a short time I was as hooked as you are, and I sent several friends there who had the same experience you did, being chastised for not "getting it," when all they wanted was an explanation. And so many of Bob's commenters were sycophantic and did not seem enlightened that when I saw a new questioner come on and witnessed the inevitable "slapdown," it became clear that the choir Bob preaches to is not one I want any part of. When I commented, it was always on the side of tolerance, which Bob does not think is a virtue worth striving for. I like what you've written here, and understand the fascination -- and I think you're right that you'll find it wears thin after a while. There's something addictive about his delicious writing, and in my mind, there's something dangerous too.

Jess said...

Me too, I quit going over there after about a minute. Just way too much back slapping and high fiving by the dancing monkey followers he has. What scares me most is they actually believe all the things they do and anyone else is mentally deranged if they think otherwise. Went to see the latest "so called wisdom" today . When someone lets the thought that Bill O'reilly is brilliant, escape from the mouth, you know there is something the matter. One other thing I noticed was Godwin talking about how he doesn't like to tell people what to think, but the second you disagree with him, gloves come off so to speak. I agree with FFH that there is something dangerous in his thinking and that of his bobbleheads. Lemmings going off a cliff immediately comes to mind. I think another thing that troubles me is his constant self promotion. Seems to me he is more than a little ego filled with how important he is.