Monday, December 25, 2006

Why Mock?

Bob Godwin allowed one of his alter egos, "Cousin Dupree," to post today's Christmas message in his blog. In that message, he says, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bob for taking me in after Katrina and providing me with those three precious things that make anyone's life meaningful: something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to mock."

I believe that Bob's blog is brilliant, even when I disagree with or at least doubt much of what it says. But I've never understood why so much of it revolves around mocking those with whom he disagrees. I give him credit for not conducting most of his mockery in an overtly hateful or hostile manner, even though he's frequently championed the appropriateness of hostility and hatred against various people as well as ideologies and actions.

But why does he feel the need to mock at all, much less as much as he does? Does it elevate those who take pleasure, if not delight, in his mockery, or does it pander to their baser inclinations to make themselves feel better about themselves by degrading, demonizing, and marginalizing others? Does it lead those whom he mocks to see the error of their thinking and conduct, or does it further energize and intensify their predilections?

I believe that Bob is basically a good man. I believe that he genuinely wants to do his part to uplift people and leave the world a better place than it was when he entered it. So, why does he channel so much of his formidable cleverness into mockery, and what does he or anyone else really gain from it?


cousin dupree said...

He, what's up with the name of your blog? Sounds like a line of sexy lingerie.

Which is what I was looking for. Instead I end up getting mocked!

Very deceptive.

Nagarjuna said...

Cousin Dupree, may you someday be as wise as you are witty.

shirley said...

Hope you had a good holiday. I haven't visited in awhile. I guess Buddists have hoilidays? Anyways.
BTW Did you ever get help with the anger issues you had been discussing a few months ago?


ned said...

This is a late comment, since I've been lurking around your's and Bill's blogs for a while now without commenting. I agree with your observations on Dr. Godwin's blog -- the blog's got some very genuine insights that I do want to incorporate into my own models but I have to wade through so much muckraking and so many ad hominem attacks to find them. As a devotee of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, I have found a lot of what he says to be totally against the spirit of their behavior and teaching, and he seems to be questioning evolutionary spirituality now anyway (going more toward neo-Traditionalism, which I find too limited), but the blog is so well-written that I do nevertheless find myself reading it from time to time.

Nagarjuna said...

Ned, your comments are welcome no matter how late they are. I think you and I take a very similar view of "One Cosmos." Bob is a brilliant writer. One of the best I have ever read. And he DOES have some insights. But the way he mocks, ridicules, and even hates people with whom he disagrees in the name of "truth" represents neither wisdom nor high spiritual attainment, but quite the opposite, in my humble opinion.

Moreover, when I read his entries, I have the feeling that he is weaving together a theory or understanding that understands very little about true Ultimate Reality and its relation to us and everything else in the universe. It's largely so much jibber-jabber. But what wonderfully eloquent, entertaining, and high-minded jibber-jabber it is!

ned said...

Two quotes from a post I did on my blog some time back come to mind:

What the soul sees and has experienced that it knows; the rest is appearance, prejudice and opinion.
– Sri Aurobindo

Thinking is what a great many people think they are doing when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
– William James

Basically, what I note in Dr. Godwin's work, and to a lesser extent even in Ken Wilber's work, is the construction of what the Mother calls a "mental fortress". It's just a personal mental framework largely coloured by one's own mental prejudices, attachments, desires, and personal preferences, that is then confused for Truth. If someone then attacks or questions such a framework, the person who is clinging to it so tightly reacts immediately. It shows a lack of awakened heart-consciousness and a lack of gnosis, which are precisely the ingredients that allow one to keep reinventing or re-expressing the Eternal essence according to the specific temporal context which is constantly in flux.

And that's the problem: you take a mental snapshot of the universe and you absolutize it. I call it "absolutizing the transient", and I think it's the biggest problem for us humans who are stuck in the cage of the ego-mind. We just absolutize our opinions and chain our souls within them, when honestly it just takes a little bit of Buddhist introspection to realize that there's no persisting ego at all.

Mind you, I don't say *I* don't also absolutize my prejudices at times. But I'm also not interested in pursuing personal power or influencing the public sphere. I *know* that I am not enlightened, not a sage, and that if I tried anything right now, my humanness would catch up with me sooner or later. I need to wait till I have more realizations and more gnosis. Otherwise I'll be a plaything of my own illusions, and that's precisely what I don't want. Spiritually I consider myself only a baby and there's a long way to go before I feel I have any sort of authentic presence.