Why I didn’t see Avatar over the weekend

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

74 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Sit down and have a talk with your wife. “Honey,” (always a good opener) “I’ve been thinking about the social contract in our country and how others are not holding up their end of it. Part of the joy of the movie experience in the past has been a group of people, together, communally watching the same thing at the same time. Laughing at the same jokes, gasping at the same shocks, and crying at the same deaths. Sweetiebear, I don’t know that I truly experience community with these people anymore.”

    Take her hand at this point.

    “I think we need to buy a 52″ LCD HDTV.”Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Jaybird says:

      Won’t work. I’ve tried. Well, not exactly like that, but I’ve pointed out that the price on those things has really come down, and you can get a PS3 to play your Blue-Rays on now and that even streams Netflix…but to no avail.Report

      • Scott in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        For god sakes, then just buy it for yourself! If you’ve already tired to reason with her this maybe you’ll only alternative.Report

      • Nob Akimoto in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Yeah, unilateralism isn’t a bad thing when negotiation has failed.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to E.D. Kain says:


        The husband point gambit is one that can backfire. Sure, maybe you get the husband points to buy a television, but, in doing so, you may create a new higher baseline for a husband point balance… and that new baseline could well entail keeping you from the television in an O’Henryesque twist.

        Putting aside twenty bucks a week in an envelope and, after a year, saying “look! I’ve got 1000 bucks! The television would only cost us 200 bucks at this point!” has many potential downsides as well… first and foremost being the “oh, wonderful! We could use that money to do this thing that I want instead!” and the doing that thing instead only makes up for the husband point deficit created from the fact that you kept 1000 bucks secret from your wife (and the fact that you did it incrementally somehow makes it worse rather than better).

        Here’s what worked for me. Incrementalism of a different form. “Honey, let’s walk through the electronics section.” When she says, inevitably, “we’re not buying anything”, just say “I know, I just want to look.”

        Find the one you like and then stand in front of the next bigger one for 20 seconds. “Okay, let’s go.” Do that for a month. After a month, start referring to that television as “my TV”. “We’re not going to buy it.” “I know.”

        Compromise on the next smaller one (which is, you recall, the original one you wanted).

        I got your back, bro.Report

      • Nob Akimoto in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Why not just buy a PS3 and a sound system then have it sitting in the living room…eventually it’ll look sad and lonely and she’ll cave?Report

  2. I admire your restaint ED. I haven’t been in a fight in close to 20 years but I find myself less and less inclined to put up with the people in our midsts who clearly were not taught manners….or maybe I just watch too many UFC fights.Report

    • It has just never occurred to me that any seat anywhere was ever worth fighting someone over.Report

      • It’s not about the seat so much as the guy’s attitude. Sometimes I think that popping somone like that in the nose is sort of like comunity service.Report

      • zic in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        I wonder if, at 6’2″, you thought to look at the folks in the seats in front the seats you wanted your couple sit in. Was one of those people tall, and potentially blocking the view?

        I’m 5’4″; my husband is 6’3″. And 33 years of going to public events together tells me it wasn’t ‘itching for a fight,’ it was ‘longing to maintain a good view of the screen.”Report

        • E.D. Kain in reply to zic says:

          They’re stadium seats, zic. You’d have to be like 8 feet tall to block someone’s view. And I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying – sitting next someone rarely impedes their view….Report

          • zic in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            I apologize; I know I frequently have my view blocked in movie theaters by the folks in the row in front of me; and I was suggesting moving might have blocked your antagonists’ view.

            That said, there’s nothing that excuses their rude behavior.

            Where’s Politeness Man and his stainless steel hankie when you need him?Report

    • angullimala in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

      Just so long as you realize that watching UFC doesn’t mean you actually can fight.

      I doubt you do – 99% of people know that already – but I actually once heard a guy say something to the effect of “I’m sure watching all that UFC will pay off in the next fight I get into”.Report

  3. Marc says:

    I agree. Who know’s why people are jerks but isn’t this all the more reason why theaters should start selling assigned seats like they do in other countries?Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Marc says:

      I didn’t even know they did that in other countries. It’s not a bad idea, but I wonder if it would catch on…?Report

    • Zach in reply to Marc says:

      It’s a good idea, but would require theaters to staff more than the skeleton crew they use now. The only ushering I’ve seen at a movie theater in years is at crowded shows when someone implores folks to actually sit next to each other to make room. I guess it’s not so recent anymore, but there are now a bunch of upscale/adults-only theaters in the States… they serve alcohol, have nicer seats, and some have reserved seating.

      My only real theater pet peeve is people being rude and screwing around during a show. I don’t really mind the distraction, but it causes a tension in the theater that’s really annoying and completely kills audience interaction with the movie; everyone’s annoyed that people talk during the movie, so you can’t talk during the movie in an appropriate way. Some people even get annoyed when you talk during previews. Makes sense for some films, but horror movies weren’t invented to be a passive experience.Report

    • Bob Cheeks in reply to Marc says:

      Don’t the Methodists do that?Report

  4. Zach says:

    If it’s any consolation, I imagine/hope that everyone else who thought the dude was a dick threw popcorn at the back of his head till he blew up and got arrested. And that behavior is very rare… so you’re lucky to observe it; 68% of people will give up their subway seat for no reason when asked.

    If I go to a show I know will be crowded, I sit next to people instead of leaving a buffer seat… this often palpably unnerves my new neighbor. The whole thing is awkwardly akin to properly choosing a urinal (I’ve never figured out the etiquette at a stadium w/ a trough).Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Zach says:

      Interesting. Thanks for the link. I don’t actually sit right next to people at crowded shows, but I always move over when asked. I remember back when theatre workers actually asked people to move over and shift to one side. That hasn’t happened for a long time, though.Report

  5. Nob Akimoto says:

    Back on a more (somewhat serious) tack.

    I do wonder on some level if the “decline” of movie theaters and their falling attendance have changed how people react to crowded theaters in general. It’s rare to go to a movie these days where everything is packed and you need to actually scoot over for people (versus say a theater production). Is the movie going experience different now with large stadium seating and half-filled theaters? Has it changed the norms of behavior?

    And on another level, (my busy-body concern trolling one) I wonder how much of the tough guy act is spurred by the stupid shit we see like MMA, where all the restraint aspects of fighting and martial arts is stripped away for the sake of producing “entertaining” brutality.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      I don’t think that MMA (or, I suppose, pro wrestling) would be the problem as those seem to have an undercurrent of humor and stoicism to go along with the violence.

      I would instead blame the tea parties and the Palinite Christianists who don’t understand that we have a social contract and it’s society in general that made them the type of people to show up early in the first place and they were therefore obliged to give up their seats to people who showed up late through no fault of their own.Report

      • E.D. Kain in reply to Jaybird says:

        Why won’t you just leave Sarah Palin alone!!!Report

        • Jaybird in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          Seriously, I do think that “dude, I want to sit next to my girl” is a sentiment worth confrontation… that said, you did the right thing.

          That said, I don’t understand the kidz these days, texting during movies, talking during previews, never experiencing an unexpressed thought…

          That said, you’re either stuck seeing the movie on a Tuesday night in a nigh-empty theater if you want to see it first run *OR* you’re stuck making a home theater that will allow you to have the best seat in the house, pause the movie when you have to pee, and allow you to eat delivery and drink a diet sprite that cost less than your car.

          That said, the world should not be this way.

          That said… then what?Report

          • Rufus in reply to Jaybird says:

            That said, I’ve stopped going to movies for just this reason- inevitably, I’m too distracted by the kids in the front filming the movie on their cell phones, the kids in the back talking throughout the film, or the kids in my row coming and going frequently to be able to appreciate the fact that filmmakers no longer have any interest in plot, writing, or the human face. We have had some luck with seeing movies at the local drive-in though. At least there you can appreciate how bad the movie is without difficulty.Report

    • Zach in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      The number of screens and the total admission hasn’t changed all that much in recent years, although admissions have fallen as a fraction of the total population. The megamultiplex phenomenon is relatively new, and brought with it a huge decrease in the number of seats per screen. I don’t know how the stadium seating concept changed theater capacities… it doesn’t necessarily mean more seats.

      A bigger factor is likely the number of screenings per screen per day, but I have no clue how this has changed recently.Report

  6. Dan says:

    It could have been worse. You could have seen Avatar.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Dan says:

      That bad, eh? I’m really only in it for the 3D and the special effects. I don’t usually go to movies in the theatre because they’re going to be terribly good. I go for the pretty explosions.Report

      • Dan in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Oh, I totally sympathize. Transformer’s 2 the unmediated expression of the Male Id as sound and image collage was fantastic. So as not to encourage Michael Bay imitators (Who fail to appreciate or replicate his genius) I saw it in a second run theater for $3.00.Report

        • E.D. Kain in reply to Dan says:

          When I lived in Denver there was this great second-run-theatre that had tables and served beer and food. Tickets were $2.00 and you could sit and drink pitchers. Jaybird, of course, would say that all that could be better replicated for less money with your very own HDTV and he’s right. But my wife will still never let me buy one.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            You don’t want her to *let* you buy one. That’s unhealthy.

            You want her to want you to have one.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            Also: WHERE IN DENVER IS THIS????

            Dude. We go up there around once a month, every two months. This sounds like an awesome place. Is it anywhere near the Tattered Cover?Report

          • Herb in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            The Aurora Cinemagrill off Alameda and Potomac. Pretty cool place to see a second run movie. I think they raised their ticket prices, though. To $2.50…Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Herb says:

              Dude. Thank you.Report

              • Sam M in reply to Jaybird says:

                There was a place that had beer+second run movies when I lived in Richmond. Sounded awesome. But it somehow wasn’t. The service was sketchy, I suppose. But more importantly, even though everyone knew what the place was like, it seems kind of unnatural to be talking to a waiter in the middle of a movie. And for other people to be doing so. Plus the food and booze comes at weird times and you have to stop paying attention to the movie, on cue. I have no trouble with this arrangement when I am watching a movie at home. I guess it’s just that I am so accustomed to the rules of the theater, this seemed offputting. Like if someone tried to show a movie in a bar.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam M says:

                I got my television at home, of course… but, every now and again, we go up to spend time with people who consider me “the most conservative person they’ve ever met” and I don’t really know how to talk to them.

                I figure a movie + food sounds like the perfect couples’ date.Report

  7. Sam M says:

    Well, this guy is obvously a dunce.

    But I do wonder what the response would have been if he had said, “There’s one seat on either side of us. Take those if you want them.”

    The idea being that they got their first and picked the seats they really, really preferred. Sure, moving one seat over isn’t THAT much of a big deal. But neither is sitting two seats away from the person you came to the movie with. And neither is sitting in a seat that makes your neck hurt. Lots of people sit up there, pain and all.

    If one group has to suffer a minor inconvenience, it ought not be the people who showed up early so as to get their pick of seats, correct?

    So just wondering: If the guy had demonstrated fewer violent tendencies, and had he said, “Look, guy, we are just really particular about where we sit. We suffered all the inconvenience required to be first in line. Today, that entailed getting here two hours before the show started. And these are the seats we picked. So you are welcome to sit here, your wife can sit there. Or… I see there are quite a few seats together up front. So no, sorry, we aren’t moving.”

    Would that have been OK?

    I ask because I am particular about very few things. If I were that guy, I would have moved over. At the same time, if I had been you, I would have sat up front. If those seats had been filled, I would have sat two seats away from my wife.

    On the other hand, I am VERY particular about other things. Like where I sit in a bar. Years ago, when I was a regular at a place, my friends and I would show up very early in order to get very particular seats. The positioning of a video poker machine, plus the taps, plus one of those video trivia things that sits on the bar, made us have very strong opinions. This was perhaps stupid. But we had preferences and we acted on them. And most times, when people asked us to move, we said no.

    Granted, we were never violent about it. But our reaction was… We got here first.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Sam M says:

      These are fair points, Sam. But a bar is one thing, and a movie theatre something else entirely. I mean, it’s fair to have your seats at a bar. If you go to a place regularly, and this is your table or whatever, that makes sense. Happens all the time. I can’t even imagine people ask people to move that often in a bar because that seems like a pretty natural thing.

      And I’m particular about very few things myself. Like the front is way too close and gives me a headache, so I’d rather get my money back and go another time. If he’d been really polite and had explained everything and said we could have the seats on either side, I wouldn’t have worried so much. It matters how people handle things. And sure, he has a right not to move. The thing is, I think someone as polite as all that would have just moved over one seat.Report

  8. Kyle Cupp says:

    Maybe the guy recognized you as a blogger who’d pummeled him in the ‘sphere and decided your asking for a seat provided an opportunity for revenge.Report

  9. Sonny Bunch says:

    I firmly believe America would be a far more polite place if we adhered to the standards laid out in this Esquire piece:


    I appreciate not wanting to start a fight over a seat, but let’s be fair: He’s the one who started it.Report

  10. Sam M says:


    By the way, I agree about the punching thing. I would not have escalate. Not out of fear, I hope. But some kind of decency. Perhaps I mentioned the time a guy at the playground called my wife the C-word because she (calmly and politely) asked him to watch his dog, which was going berzerk around a bunch of kids.

    I thought for sure fisticuffs were going to ensue. And I was sure I could mop the playground with him. (He was not an impressive specimen.) But as I was planning where to plant him, I realized each spot was covered with a six-year-old kid. All of whom were terrified. And I started thinking about what it would be like to get carted away from a playground in a paddy wagon. Which would have happened for sure.

    So I swallowed my pride, made fun of him for a while, and bolted.

    I still regret it from time to time. And I am not quite sure I did the right thing. And I am almost positive the world would be a better place if that kind of guy had a crooked nose.


    • kth in reply to Sam M says:

      Probably deserves a thread of its own. I’ve always wondered what Miss Manners or whoever would advise in that situation. 90% of those situations (e.g., someone starts talking shit to my wife/girl in a pub) is covered with the pre-emptive advice never to take a lady where vulgar people might be found. But a playground? If you can’t go there, you really can’t go anywhere.

      Berating him verbally, then beating a retreat (I agree that a fistfight would totally freak out a lot of the kids) might have made the best of it. As it was, the guy got away with acting like a sociopath.Report

  11. Katherine says:

    You did the right thing in not having a fight despite the guy being a jerk. I can’t imagine why a person would act like he did.

    I’d have just taken the seats on either side after the first two “no”s given that watching a movie is kind of an individual thing, but that’s just me.

    I’m still debating whether I should watch Avatar – I love action movies and there’s a shortage of good ones, but what’s being said about the combination of stereotypes like “special mystic indigenous people” with “outsider white guy does everything better and saves them” is making me hesitant.Report

  12. Scott in AL says:

    You did the right thing. Go see Avatar. It’s awesome.Report

  13. Mike Schilling says:

    “I’m a blogger, and one of my pet topics is the decline of civility in American culture. So go ahead, punk, make my day.”Report

  14. Tina_EllieP says:


    We went to see Sherlock Holmes this weekend, sat near the front, and really enjoyed it despite my eyes crossing a few times. You’ll enjoy the movie more when you don’t have the bad vibes associated with it. I think we’re going to try to catch it in Imax (although, I hear it’s basically Dances With Wolves redux). Caught you through your FB link, btw. Happy New Year!Report

  15. Eddy says:

    The thing that could’ve prevented all that crap is if you’ve been early to see the big blockbuster movie of the season (especially Avatar). I mean, c’mon you had to expect it to be packed, no? Not saying here that the other guy was right for acting like a total jerk. But only that you should’ve known what to expect when you get there a wee bit late.

    Now, I have a pretty cool home entertainment center. Most movies look better at home than at the theatre. And yet, nothing beats the experience of actually going to see a brand new movie. Yes, even if you have to deal with a-holes here and there just to see it. Maybe because I live in LA and this sort of stuff doesn’t bother me as much. Or I have more tolerance. I dunno. Thing is, I’ve experience similar situations and that has not stopped me from going to the movies. Nor do I think that because you meet a jerk here or there that that is a sign that the world is going to hell. Because I’m pretty sure that humanity had a-holes since day one.

    Anyway, go see Avatar if you haven’t already. Just try to be there early. And good luck!Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Eddy says:

      Well you know we were there 30 minutes early and it was Sunday morning before noon. The movie has been here for a couple of weeks. I really thought we’d be ok.Report

    • Buce in reply to Eddy says:

      I haven’t seen Avatar and I don’t plan to. But I do think we are onto something here. I’m sure most of the people who went to A first weekend re law abiding citizens, kind to their mothers and to horses. Still, the percentage of flaming A-holes is probably a bit higher than it is in the population at large. Maybe you should opt for Young VictoriaReport

  16. clamflats says:

    Humiliation is a very unpleasant experience. You felt humiliated in front of your wife and in front of people that had temporarily become part of your community. In the end you fantasize how it was actually you who had humiliated him, “Nothing wounds a tough-guy’s ego like …”

    It’s not societal decline, foreplay, or atomized anything – it’s your (my) aversion to being humiliated. Walk yourself through that episode a few times and just concentrate on your feelings. Forget about what the dude, the woman, your wife, or the audience are thinking – that’s just your imagination. We all share that fear. Think of how much misery is caused in this world by our fear of humiliation.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to clamflats says:

      That’s interesting. I never felt humiliated at all, actually. I understand that you read it that way, but if I felt anything it was surprise tinged with anger. Humiliation I’ve felt before, and this was not that….Report

  17. angullimala says:


    If someone says “You want me to kick your ass? You don’t talk to me like that!” and you respond along the lines of “Well, you’re welcome to come and try!”, does it count as “picking a fight”?Report

  18. angullimala says:

    Also, did this happen in Denver?

    I’m just thinking that a short, insecure, dick who threatens people that say things he doesn’t like sounds just a tad bit like a certain Denver-area blogger. Of course, the lack of any statements including the words “cock” or “slap” makes me skeptical.Report

  19. kth says:

    The guy with the seat was a dick, but not yielding had somehow become a point of honor with him. Had you approached the encounter differently, it’s possible (though by no means certain) that he could have been induced to move. More “it’s your seat to give, I am totally in your power, but the missus and I would sure appreciate it” (and a simple “A’ight”, no grumbling, if he still declined), less “are you going to be a stand-up guy or are you going to be an asshole” might have gotten you what you wanted. Or might not have. But you would have had the better of the encounter however it turned out.Report

  20. Murali says:

    I hear it’s a good big screen flick in spite of its pantheistic leanings.

    I know this is pretty off-topic (i.e. it deviates from the main thread on jerks and non confrontation), but why is there a good bit of anti-pantheism going around in conservative circles? There was that Douthat article, which I thought was one of his worst ones. (he usually does a good job) Bob Cheeks himself has mentioned that God was transcendent, not immanent (and North may even have agreed with him on that point, though I would never have figured North for a theist, or one of conservative theology) And you yourself seem to be saying that pantheistic elements in a movie detract from its overall quality/enjoyability.

    Now, I grant that we may have differences regarding whether or not God is immanent or transcendent (and depending on how we precisely define the terms, who is right or wrong is an open question). Is this the case for any number of beliefs that you hold? i.e. If a story/movie had creationist elements, would those detract from its qualities? or maybe you would think that the fact that the Wizarding world in harry potter makes no economic sense detracts from the enjoyability of the movie?

    If not, is pantheism the thing to guard western civilisation against? Not to be snarky, but conservatives often tend to talk about defending western civilisation from encroachment. Its uglier forms manifest in terms of immigration and Islam, while its less virulent forms manifest in terms of anti-multiculturalist views as well some type of localism where in small communities traditional western values can be preserved.

    Is pantheism poisonous to virtue, and good citizenship (as Tocqueville has said)? Though I think Tocqueville was a religious bigot, at least on this count.

    So, basically, what is my point? Either make the case that pantheism is evil (or so clearly wrong that no reasonable person would hold the view), or stop the casual anti-pantheism. Maybe I’m being the PC police here, but I want to make this point. I’m not saying that no-one should not ever make any arguments against pantheism. I’m saying that the claim that pantheism detracts from a movie is very similar to saying that a gay main character detracts from the movie. It is more likely to be casual expression of prejudice, and is deeply offensive.Report

    • Bob Cheeks in reply to Murali says:

      Murali, pantheism is existence in gross error.
      And, I say this from the perspective that it negates both the Greek noesis, where “reason” is given direction in a pre-intellectual openness to the myth, and in a Christian sense in the idea of “faith,” as in Hebrews 11, 1-3, “I believe that I may know.”
      Myth is a critical factor in the question, as is a cursory understanding of the order of reality. It also acts to allow us to consider the question of the soul. In the idea of the “cosmic ground” which grounds consciousness, being, et al, we use “myth” and “faith-cognitio fidei” to establish/maintain a “balance of openness and separateness,” which is essential in allowing consciousness to unfold potentiality as well as ordering the whole personality and in providing direction to secondary moral and intellectual “powers.”
      The key here is that if we loose this “balance” than we collapse into a condition of anthropomorphic/individualistic illusory existence, the ever popular egophanic, mythless existence.
      And, with that you end up with ideological distortions all over the place.Report

      • Murali in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

        Mr Cheeks, your writing is terribly obscure. (I’m a bit of a layman in this regard, so I’m not terribly sure of what you are trying to say)

        1. It seems that you are arguing against atheism rather than against pantheism (but I may be mistaken on this)

        2. You could be clearer on what you mean by noesis and cognitio fidei. (I googled the terms and did a bit of reading and I still don’t understand your argument)

        3. You could also talk about why they are important, and perhaps use latin and greek sparingly, and with plenty of explanation if you have to.

        4. Even if we have to maintain a balance of open-ness and separateness in order to function well and flourish etc, it does not therefore follow that pantheism is false. Or to put it in Kant speak, these are categories that we impose on the world and not related to what the way the world really is. (But if we go that direction we may end up with some kind of radical agnosticism)

        5. Its also not clear how pantheism negates both noesis and faith.

        6. My knowledge of western philosophical thought regarding God and knowledge etc is largely confined to Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz (Some Kant, and even less Berkeley). Spinoza advances arguments against the cartesian-leibnizian view that neither Descartes or Leibniz adequately answer. Or if we were to accept Berkeley’s arguments, taken to their logical conclusion, they do not differ substantively from spinoza’s only terminologically. i.e. if everything is one substance, then whether or not you call that substance material, or mental is kind of besides the point.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Murali says:

      It’s not that pantheism is something to guard the Western world against (hell, we need more of it!), it’s that when you see James Cameron include pantheistic elements in his movie, it feels like watching a white 17-year old kid who was raised Methodist claim to be a Buddhist.

      For my part, I wouldn’t see the feelings this raises as a criticism of Buddhism per se.

      If I walked out of Avatar bitching about pantheism, it wouldn’t be because pantheism isn’t a perfectly viable way of looking at the universe.

      For my part, anyway.Report

      • Rufus in reply to Jaybird says:

        I’d probably be open to pantheism, if I didn’t have the feeling that my prayers would be answered by a booming voice saying, “Don’t ask me. Ask your mother.”Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Rufus says:

          Metaphysics precedes epistemology.

          If Pantheism is accurate, then *THAT* is the reason to adopt it. Same with Buddhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, or one of those nutty religions from one of those groups that appeals mostly to tourism.

          When religion is something adopted like a sweater because, hey, it fits then that gives the game away.Report

  21. Zach says:

    An alternative move here was to call the theater management and police when the guy asked if you wanted him to kick your ass; you had a few dozen witnesses, and threatening assault is against the law. Here’s the relevant DC statute.

    The downside here is that you’d lose the macho highground and possibly disrupt other folks’ day. At some point this guy will either get beaten or arrested, though; might as well get it over with.Report

  22. Bob Cheeks says:

    Murali, I wrote a big, long thing then lost it when I went here:
    to direct you to this blog I wrote. Let me know if this says anything to you…best wishes!Report

    • Murali in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      that all “meaningful” existents are enclosed by the “divine intellect” and their “archetypal-casual ground” in the divine nature. The coherence of existents, of finite being, is incorporated within the Logos. The Logos, Dr. Stein tells us, is the divine nature as well as the “manifold” of all created things inherent in the divine intellect and “reflecting the divine nature in images and likenesses.” The Logos is the divine nature and the “manifold” of finite created “existents.”

      Now this I kind of get. Compare the above description of the logos with Brahman and you can see why from the above paragraph given, pantheism would be the logical conclusion right?Report

  23. Bob Cheeks says:

    Thanks Murali, fascinating stuff! My ignorance of Brahma and any number of the philosophers you mentioned is profound.
    However, in response to your question, I’d say that if pantheism is the idea that all things are God either as in a divine world, or in negation as an atheistic doctrine then that collapses under the idea of a “created world,” which is a doctrine in the Abrahamic traditions.
    The use of “enclosed, incorporated, and manifold” reflect an act by Infinite Being in relation to being in terms of act and potency. Being itself possesses certain attributes and is created by God. We are creatures in time and therefore cannot possess quasi-divine knowledge, consequently, we are created and separate from God in body and spirit. Then there’s the question of “universals” that incorporate nature quid, whatness, and essential quid and essential being…each of us, then, are separate, unique, and created beings living on a little planet that God was kind enough to provide.
    In Christianity the Logos acts to restore the relationship between Infinite Being and being that has been sundered by sin. The Logos (the Word made flesh) is the only suitable sacrifice for sin, given in love, predicated on freedom (Schelling). The (true) Christian seeks to return the gift of autonomy voluntarily and as an act of love to Infinite Being, mirroring God’s act of self-abnegation incorporated in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For the Christian the relationship between Infinite Being and man is predicated on freedom and love, it is not doctrinal, it is experiential. The spirit of man either lives in communion with the Creator God or it does not.Report

  24. Murali says:

    We are creatures in time and therefore cannot possess quasi-divine knowledge, consequently, we are created and separate from God in body and spirit.

    At least in Hinduism, this is known to be illusory. If, at the end, God is the source of all, then any true knowledge, is in some sense knowledge about God, and also knowledge that God has. (i.e. it might broadly be called quasi-divine) For the Hindu, the goal is enlightenment, which leads to achieving moksha (the state of one-ness with God)

    if pantheism is the idea that all things are God either as in a divine world, or in negation as an atheistic doctrine then that collapses under the idea of a “created world,” which is a doctrine in the Abrahamic traditions.

    I’m not sure how this is true.Report

  25. Bob Cheeks says:

    Being experiences time within the tension existing between the immanent and transcendent poles, the Platonic Metaxy, God exists in timelessness where the interaction with being occurs within the intersection of time and timelessness, the “flow of presence.’
    Happy New Year MuraliReport

  26. ShyAsrai says:

    i think Mr. C Word needed his nose slapped off his face. seems contradictory, but rather like one or two spankings sets the stage for the kid to know better than to disregard the parent in future, thus alleviating the need for future spankings or punishment – if wannabe abusers were certain they’d earn a well-deserved fat lip, this type of over-the-top nastyness would cease in large part.

    what about all those kids who saw some creep get away with saying what he said? that can’t be good.Report