On Esoteric Writing

Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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63 Responses

  1. BlaiseP says:

    Ecch, I used to this this way about Strauss, too. Here’s what I think Strauss was trying to say, though I’m sure to get it somewhat wrong….

    To charge Strauss with deliberate or accidental ideological incoherence is just untrue.

    There are plenty of esoteric traditions out there: esoteric Buddhism isn’t especially imaginative, it just implies the tradition is passed from one monk to another. Tibetan Buddhism, case in point. It’s not a big conspiracy, esoteric means you can’t take the 200 course until you’ve had the 100 level course, or you have approval from the department head. I use that problem as an interview question. It requires a little bit of recursion and table lookup.

    Strauss, raised as a good little Orthodox Jewish boy read Maimonides and Spinoza, looking into his own heritage of Judaism instead of into the Christian religious heritage. If he had, Aquinas and Descartes might have made a similar pair, but Descartes resorts to doubt and the duality of mind and body where Spinoza never accepted the mind-body duality.

    It’s my contention Strauss looks for Revelation because he’s still fundamentally seeing the world through the eyes of Judaism, where Moses is a prophet who gives his people the Law. Judaism crossed the finish line first with Spinoza, separating rote obedience to doctrine from Deus sive Natura. Jewish doctrines about the soul, ha-nefesh are notoriously vague. Judaism never made a big deal about the afterlife, still doesn’t.

    Maimonides The first is the Mishneh Torah, now a standard reference text for every student of Judaica, but at the time considered heresy in certain circles. The second is Guide to the Perplexed, considered an advanced text, not for the novice, hence esoteric. As an aside the Kabbalah is also considered an esoteric text, not to be read by men less than 40 years of age.

    I disagree with almost everything I’ve seen by Leo Strauss, but his use of “esoteric” doesn’t mean he’s about to induct anyone into the Dionysian Mysteries here.Report

  2. tom van dyke says:

    Thx for honoring my comments on the mainpage, Mr. Kuznicki. I’m tickled to distraction.

    For now, I’ll stand with what I wrote in response to your first post below. There’s a lot in there, perhaps too dense, but respecting the need for brevity in a comments section. I suppose I’ll be obliged to repeat it if our conversation is to continue.

    I do not think dragging Scientology in here is very helpful; comparing anything or anyone to Mr. Hubbard is a corrollary to Godwin’s Law. However, there might be something valid in a Bhagavad-gita analogy. A very interesting door you open with that.

    You use the term “value-neutral.” Strauss says ouch. Me too. This is the road to perdition. I would not be especially anxious to touch anyone who is value-free with a barge-pole.

    As for BlaiseP’s comment on Strauss and Maimonides and Spinoza, these are tall weeds indeed, but I have no objection to his observations. Strauss was once introduced to a Jewish audience as the man who made Maimonides—the greatest medieval Jewish scholar—into an atheist.

    Oh, how they laughed. 😛

    As for natural law, and this is why I’m not a Straussian, perhaps the appropriate time to discuss it will arrive.

    As for “esotericism,” there is no such thing as a politically correct philosopher. In fact, it’s oxymoronic.

    Cheers, mate.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to tom van dyke says:

      Tall weeds? Heh. If Strauss made Maimonides into an atheist, the rabbinic community of his own time accused Maimonides of the same.Report

      • Jon Rowe in reply to BlaiseP says:

        It’s interesting how many of the free-thinking theists, men who believed in God, and in some sense, the Bible, were accused of being “atheists” because their “Christianity” or theism didn’t conform to orthodoxy. I think Strauss and company play up on that confusion by concluding, they really were secret esoteric atheists.Report

        • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jon Rowe says:

          Agreed. I don’t find crypto-atheism remotely convincing in the case of Locke, and Strauss’s observations on Locke mostly need to be abandoned anyway in light of the revised chronology that has since come to light for Locke’s writings.

          The Two Treatises were not written to justify the Glorious Revolution. They were written long before the Glorious Revolution, and possibly to justify the incipient, and failed, Rye House Plot. The idea that they were an exercise in political caution becomes much more difficult to sustain.

          Strauss himself may be guilty of historicism — he seems to see every philosopher in history as an antecedent to Nietzsche. For some (Spinoza, Hobbes) I find the claim plausible. For others (Locke, and some hints about Rousseau especially), he’s off his rocker.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            I still don’t think of Spinoza as a capital A Atheist. His famous Letter to Albert Burgh pretty well demolishes that assertion.

            “It is not by prayer and humility that you cause things to go as you wish, but by acquiring a knowledge of natural laws” said Bertrand Russell. You don’t have to believe in Atheism to subscribe to that statement.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            Do you think it’s possible to avoid the sins of Historicism and the excesses of Foucauld when commenting on the past, especially when we’re trying to gloss a historical commenter upon the past?

            I have this theory about Art, which might also be applied to Philosophy in certain respects. The artist, say Shakespeare, wrote these plays, they were presented, his friends loved and respected him and published the First Folio when he died. Auden say about Yeats:

            Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
            And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
            To find his happiness in another kind of wood
            And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
            The words of a dead man
            Are modified in the guts of the living.

            The “another kind of wood” is obviously paper. Art, or any communication for that matter, once issued, runs off to assume a life of its own. Our dialogue is with the Art, not the Artist.

            And that’s where my beef with Strauss arises: in a limited sense, anyone who wants to really understand Yeats’ Byzantium poems will have to look up Perne and Gyre and come to terms with how a spinning wheel integrates individual fibers into a thread, then do a little research on Yeats and realize he’s making reference to mystical concepts. Anyone who looks at Hamlet will find out about the Gesta Danorum. Eventually, you realize your research is getting beyond the scope of the topic and you focus on the topic sentence and assemble the paper.

            But somewhere in the back of your mind is a little regret which says “y’know, I sure wish I knew more about those Renaisssance translators” or if it’s about Yeats “Auden sure was right about Mad Ireland hurting Yeats into poetry, oh to have been a fly on the wall to hear barmy old Yeats rattling on about Swedenborg and to be able to ask Auden why he said all those nasty things about Yeats.”

            But those thoughts sink into the welter of our lives. The Art is enough. The Artist becomes as irrelevant, often as embarrassing as a parent to his teenage child. The great sin of Historicism is to conflate the Art with the Artist. Hamlet emerges from Shakespeare’s pen and a thousand dissertations later, it’s still as interesting as ever, but it was written to put asses in chairs at the Globe Theater. Playwriting was, after all, Shakespeare’s job. You don’t go to the theater with Clemens’ commentary on the soliloquy in your pocket.Report

            • Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

              Blaise, I’m always amazed at the beautiful expression of your words. Such facility! And to just be able to effortlessly reach in and pull out such lofty, expressive, phrases–it’s something to behold. Now about that Israeli problem….we’re clearly on polar opposites it seems. I’ll never understand why left-wing intellectuals (not you) so fervently despise that little country.

              Here’s a country in which 20% of their population is non-Jewish. Arabs have equal voting rights. There are Arabs in the Knesset–they even had an Arab ambassador to Finland. They even have and Arab on the Supreme Court! Please understand this fact–the government MAY NOT prevent Arab citizens from living anywhere they want to and cannot under any circumstances, allocate land based on religion or ethnicity. And at it’s founding, there was ONE Arab high school–now there are several hundreds. And this is being compared to Nazi Germany? (Again, not by you) I’m not sure what precisely you’re talking about though, with so many of your hostile remarks re Israel.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                Well sure, I grieve for Israel. I came to love the Hebrew of the Old Testament at my father’s knee. Maybe if I tell you a story, you’ll quit ragging me about my stance on Israel.

                I came within a hair’s breadth of marrying an Orthodox Jewish woman. Her parents sat me down and talked to me at length, explaining just how difficult it would be for D and me. Even if I converted to Judaism and though they loved me and would accept the marriage, others within their community would not be so accepting and I would be forever an outsider inside a claustrophically insular culture.

                I was much younger then. I could read the Torah in Hebrew. I was already making friends within the Jewish religious community, this strange Christian boy who studied Torah. My insights were welcomed, I never felt ostracized. But I knew her parents were right. There would always be a cultural chasm I could never cross.

                I’d never been able to be accepted in the Hausa culture I’d known as a child. I later found that same chasm in the Japanese culture. I’ve learned a fistful of languages, made friends in them all. I make friends easily, I keep them. But I’ve never fit in, anywhere, with the possible exception of the Cajun culture, and that only because they’re as proud and bitter about being outsiders in their own land as I am.

                I eventually married the most beautiful woman I ever saw, from Guatemala. And thirty years, three children and three businesses down there later, I still hadn’t been truly accepted. None of my children went down the Guatemala culture route: they chose Generic American Ex-pat and there they stayed. My wife would periodically get depressed in the USA: off she’d go to Guatemala, to be among her own, coming back for the same reasons she’d left Guatemala the first time.

                Israel was supposed to be the land where the Jews could finally have a place of their own. It might have worked, if they’d come to terms with their Arab neighbours, but I wonder at turns if there isn’t something in every endogamous culture which just refuses to love its neighbours as themselves.

                Don’t tell me the Arabs are equal to the Jews in Israel. We both know better. Even before the declaration of the State of Israel, the Arabs and the Jews were at it. It’s pointless blaming one side or the other or even both sides. The two cultures are never going to get along.

                I didn’t marry D. Though we loved each other, her parents had the decency to tell me the truth, that I would never be accepted. Now, if an honest boy in love with the Hebrew language and the Torah isn’t going to be accepted into that culture, how much less will an alienated Arab fit in?Report

              • Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise, thanks so much for the wonderful reply and also for sharing such a heartwarming and heartbreaking story. And I will stop needling you about the Israeli issue. As you so astutely said, the reality is these two eternal combatants will NEVER get along. Ever. In the end, sadly but inevitably, tribalism always triumphs.

                A question, if you don’t mind–a military questi0n–to what do you attribute the extraordinary military successes of the IDF? We’re talking 5 wars, and 5 victories with some, even being routs. Not to mention, the very lopsided population differential, 300,000,000 Arabs compared to 5,700,000 Jews. Has there ever been such a lopsided victory in the history of warfare? Not one but five? I posed this question before–has a country victorious in a war, ever been forced (or at least tried to be forced) to return land to their vanquished opponents? Everyone kept saying Germany, Germany–but Germany was hardly victorious and the land they did return wasn’t theirs to begin with–this was hardly a result of a voluntary , good natured gesture. Those were part of the terms of their surrender. The smoldering ruins of Dresden were more than enough to make H-bomb III unnecessary.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                Propaganda and US aid?Report

              • Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                All the aid in the world won’t make a fierce warrior. Not to mention, we’re talking about countries with a bottomless money supply because of their oil revenues. And of course, the Soviets did everything they could short of supplying them with nukes, to help them out–jets, ships, tanks, arms, ammo, $$$. Not sure what propaganda you’re referring to—maybe they got scared by all those egghead Nobel Laureates running the country.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Don’t indulge in fantasies. Here’s a little rule of thumb. A soldier is a walking, eating, shitting meat bag containing five quarts of blood. He cannot stay in heavy combat mode for more than a few weeks without developing some interesting quirks requiring serious psychiatric intervention. Training and superior weaponry do not change these facts.

                The Israeli soldier’s advantages are becoming fewer. His record in the Gaza and Lebanon is pitiful: like the American soldier in Iraq, he succumbed to snipers and mortars and just plain bad luck with IEDs and like the Americans he was forced to resort to alliances with previous enemies who just happened to share enemies with Israel and like the Americans, the Israelis withdrew from both Lebanon and Gaza because casualties were bad for politics.

                The West Bank? That’s where the Israeli soldier developed a conscience. I guess about half of IDF refuses to serve in the West Bank and Israel doesn’t press the matter too hard: again, bad for politics.

                Lopsided victories are a dime a dozen. The most lopsided in all of history was Cannae. Didn’t change the outcome of that war.Report

              • Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                You know, I’d thought a Southerner would have known this intuitively, without having to go out and ‘experience’ it. Your own ‘place’, your own ‘kind’, your own family, ….is there something inherently wrong with that? discuss….!Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                How much more of my anatomy must be bared before you grasp the point? Southerner ? I came back from Africa, first to the land of the French, where my African usages of that language provided a fine target for scoffing. From there I returned to Columbia and the piney woods of Strom Thurmond, that wizened model of racial tolerance and folksy wisdom, where the red of neck hold sway.

                Listening to my beloved Aunt Valeria as she told the best nigger joke in her repertoire, I quietly decided the ethos of the South was beyond repulsive. These children and grandchildren of sharecroppers and lintheads who’d been treated like dirt all their lives were just looking around for someone else to look down on. The faux nobility of Johnny Reb, the affected Virginia Gentry accents, the glorification of a parasitic culture of cotton and sugar cane built on the sweating backs of black people. Faulkner summed it up perfectly:

                To the sheriff Lucas was just another nigger and both the sheriff and Lucas knew it, although only one of them knew that to Lucas the sheriff was a redneck without any reason for pride in his forbears nor hope for it in his descendants. Report

              • Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                …alas, some of us are born to wander the face of the earth! Enjoy.Report

          • “They were written long before the Glorious Revolution, and possibly to justify the incipient, and failed, Rye House Plot.”

            Very interesting. I’ll have to look into that further.Report

  3. How strange that you would carefully not invalidate the Bhagavad-gita belief system, but call Scientology’s belief system “ridiculous”.

    Are there not other religions that believe that one has lived before this lifetime? Is it so odd that during some long ago past lifetime there existed a ruler named Xenu? We have rulers on earth today–why not a ruler many millions of years ago? What is so difficult about conceiving that?

    Don’t most religions have a “bad guy?” Christianity has a devil. Are you going to consider that ridiculous? I’m not expressing whether it is or isn’t, but I’m noting that you can carefully not degrade other religions with “strange beliefs” but Scientology–what is it, fair game?

    Pick on the Church of Scientology all you want, but don’t start belittling past lives. Most people believe they have lived before, and when you open that door one can find some very strange lives that can read like a novel or science-fiction. Whether true or invented these lives when reviewed can change many unwanted conditions. The understanding–the knowingness–that is achieved from reexperiencing these former experiences brings about successfully “know thyself and thou shalt know God.”

    Scientology is simply a Road to Truth.Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Patricia Krenik says:

      Scientology is entitled to preach its doctrines and become an engine of repression, all the while preaching freedom. This is the fate of every religion including my own, given enough time, to lapse into tautology and cant, abandoning any pretense of peaceful coexistence with its enemies. I believe you call this gap between what is and what seems-to-be Apparency. That which we find offensive in others, they find offensive in us.

      What Scientology needs is a genuinely brutal repression, as it has has dished out to its heretics and the grieving families of its adherents. Repression worked wonderfully for Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It might work for you guys. It would certainly validate your persecution complexes.Report

      • Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

        I quite agree, except that in the second (High Middle Ages/Modernity) sequence it wasn’t so much repression or even the famed ‘religious wars’ as the separation between faith and fideism that were very clearly illustrated in the movements of mysticism and nominalism. As Christians, true Christians that is, we’ve been seeking and oft finding the experiential Logos, thus renewing the the experience of the nonexistent reality as an ordering force in modernity, and thereby avoiding the horror of existing as only partially human.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

          o logos is a slippery pig and I don’t like how it’s gotten all mystical and esoteric. Is it theological? Or is it philosophical? Try to pin the Logos down to one or the other, it immediately claims the opposite.

          Look, o logos is the root for logic. Words and symbols, propositions, evaluations, falsifiability, every true statement relies on logic and the meaning of words. The Christians tried to coopt o logos and I suppose they did make off with it. But let’s not get all numinous and pluck at our Pythagorean Harps, looking for Ordering Forces in a world where Free Will and Entropy are still in play. Mankind has always preferred his comfortable illusions, all the evidence to the contrary, until at last he’s dragged, kicking and screaming into the real world where Popper cruelly insists all successful propositions must be falsifiable. Then and only then does mankind make any progress.Report

          • Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

            You ARE waxing eloquent this morning. BTW, on the previous thread, why must I endure the repeated whine re: your family’s particular brand of Southern racism. I mean it would be most appropriate if it were 1960 but, hey, it’s fifty years down the road and as Ms. Warren told me her daddy ‘grew.’ Negros aren’t systematically discrimated down South, they are no longer lynched in the woods of Indiana, or Illinois. My goodness, Bp, we got miscegnegation dude, both North and South! Have you seen Ms. Beyonce? Wow!
            So why in the hell are you carrying around that old, dead, skeleton? Penance? We all forgive you Rebels for treatin’ the Black man real bad. Won’t you forgive the Yankee for all those years of discriminatin’ (remember the Draft Riots?)? BTW, I got my invite to the Abbeville Institute’s annual meeting…wanna go along? We’ll be talkin’ about Southern literature.
            Re: the above, I should like to ast you: What is progress?Report

            • BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

              What, exactly, makes a work Southern? There are as many Souths as there are varieties of barbeque and we both know it, from the vinegar-soaked crimes against nature inflicted on the noble hog in Durham to the eminently palatable concoctions of Tennessee and things only get better as one proceeds south and west until one reaches the zenith of American cuisine in New Orleans.

              The historical South of Faulkner and Eudora Welty is a landscape crushed down by the ruins of this all-pervasive ex-society. The freak show of Flannery O’Connor’s stories, come one, come all, step right up, examine the baroque horrors of mythological tropes come back to life and staggering around Jackson Mississippi like so many revenant zombies. James Dickey: “Lord let me die just not die out”.

              What on earth does the South hold onto, what’s so special beyond the specialness of anywhere? The Chinese have a saying “Any yellow ground will serve to bury a man”, meaning it’s really doesn’t matter, since all the ground in the north of China is yellow. Substitute red clay and you’ll see the point immediately.

              If the South of the past (and well into living memory) no longer entertains the vicious bigots, it like manner it has failed to integrate black culture into itself. The two cultures go on, side by side, mostly insulated from each other. Martin Luther King said America was never more segregated than it was in church on Sunday morning. I notice the number of black faces in the crowd. I grew up a white face in a black crowd. It is probably unfair of me, but without a few black people in a given situation, I wonder why.

              The Creole culture of Louisiana crosshatches into the white Cajun culture, but I do not see that phenomenon elsewhere. Slavery was never harsher than in Louisiana, the expression “sold down the river” meant a disobedient slave would be resold in Louisiana to be worked half to death in the sugar case in the company of the cottonmouth snakes. Huey Long wasn’t a bigot but his enemies were. Louisiana has its share of bigots to this day but it lacks the century of resentment and contempt I have come to identify with the South.

              My old man did a linguistics study of the South, talking to people who had come of age before and after the advent of radio. It was his contention that many accents and regionalisms disappeared completely because radio unified communications. It used to be I could tell Nashville from Texas speech: I can’t anymore. Atlanta, a lost cause, you have to get out west of Atlanta a hundred miles before that accent reappears.

              In the same way, The South is no more a viable distinction than The North or The West or The East. The South might yet have something to say, but until everything that rises actually converges and the black cultures and white cultures find common cause everywhere, and not just a barbeque stand, the old nightmares will never be dismissed.Report

          • Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

            “Is it theological? Or is it philosophical? Try to pin the Logos down to one or the other, it immediately claims the opposite.”

            Sounds like Quantum Mechanics in action.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

          nonexistent reality

          Finally, an explanation for the translation of “almah” as “virgin”.Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Patricia Krenik says:

      Scientology’s own founder all but admitted that he was going to start a scam religion so he could get rich. That settles it for me.

      Further, if Scientology really is a road to Truth, why is it so expensive? Just a coincidence, I’m sure.Report

      • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        I should add that I’m a religious skeptic — I have no supernatural belief system. But I admit I do have more respect for certain attempts in that department than others.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          Just to let you know, Jason, keep an eye on the site. You might be subject to a Fair Game D/A attack. It’s happened elsewhere.Report

          • Jason Kuznicki in reply to BlaiseP says:

            I tremble. Will they out me as a homosexual?

            C’mon, Scientologists, do your worst!

            (Patricia is a FreeZoner, which means she accepts the belief system of Scientology but is not affiliated with the Church of Scientology. I understand that they reject D/A tactics, not merely in their words, but in their actions as well. I hadn’t known that FreeZoners would speak the unspeakable name of Xenu, but I guess you learn something every day.)Report

        • Robert Cheeks in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          Why are you a ‘religious’ skeptic? More importantly, what does ‘religious’ mean?Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

            swin, v. To construct convoluted theories about the rationality of belief, with the aim of ultimately seducing one’s audience into theism. Hence swinburne, n. The condition of one who has been subjected to swinning. “If you expose yourself to the swin, you may get a bad swinburne.”Report

          • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

            Why are you a ‘religious’ skeptic? More importantly, what does ‘religious’ mean?

            I am a skeptic of religion, and particularly of revealed religion. I tend strongly to doubt religious theories as my default approach toward them.

            At some point I’ll try to explain my thoughts on religion in some systematic way, but not right now.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        It’s a toll road.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Scientology’s own founder all but admitted that he was going to start a scam religion so he could get rich.

        Where? I know the story about Elron telling a group of fellow SF writers that the best way to get rich was to start a religion, but it’s always told third-hand and every time I hear it the cast is different, so it’s pretty clearly apocryphal.Report

    • My problem with past lives is that everyone I know who has had one was, like, cool in their past lives. They were this princess or that king or this other really important person but no one was ever “I was a eunich in some minor emperor’s court who got an infection two days after the operation and died” or “abortion has existed for thousands of years, I’ve been aborted thrice” (this would have the added benefit of minimizing the damage that pro-lifers claim is done by abortion!) or “I was a vaguely below average drone in Egypt, I was a vaguely below average drone in China, I was a vaguely below average drone in Prussia, and now I am back, baby!”

      Maybe only people who have past lives worth remembering are inspired to seek out their past lives though.


      • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah, a historian has to look at past life regression and just laugh. It reveals not actual history, but what people thought history was like, with many, many factual confusions.Report

      • Jon Rowe in reply to Jaybird says:

        I for one was a ditch digger in a past live.Report

        • Heidegger in reply to Jon Rowe says:

          And I was just a Digger in SF.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jon Rowe says:

          I am pleased that you are not the Jon Rowe who died.

          Well, I mean, this time around. I see the ditch digger died. My condolences for that, anyway.Report

          • Jon Rowe in reply to Jaybird says:

            Ha yes. A friend immediately told me when the “other” Jon Rowe died because over the years since I’ve been blogging I’ve been confused with him by about a dozen people a half dozen of which were notable confusions (like me getting paid $400 to write an article which didn’t get published because they found out I was the “wrong” Jonathan Rowe).

            So I did an RIP at my blogs that day.Report

          • Heidegger in reply to Jaybird says:

            Now dammit, if we could just get a real, authentic, jubilant death notice that this Heidegger nut has died!

            As you all know, I spend 2/3rds of my day in a cryogenic tank, so please excuse the occasional confusion. Frequently, I have absolutely no idea who I am. Like right now. If someone would be so kind as to distill the entire works of Kant into two sentences, I would be deeply obliged. My heartfelt thanks, HReport

            • Jaybird in reply to Heidegger says:

              Dude, that happened in 1976.Report

              • Heidegger in reply to Jaybird says:

                Of course! That’s why I sleep 20 hours a day in one of these damn cryogenic tanks—have very good company—my baseball hero, Ted Williams is in the tank right next to me. Even getting hitting clinics from Teddy Ballgame. And Timothy Leary is supplying all the LSD we’ll ever need! There is a lot of payback after death–which is why I do not recommend it–if possible, stay put! My words about Hitler have cost me a hundred million years without the possibility of parole.

                Let this be your call at that hour, minute, second, moment.

                Do not go gentle into that good night,
                Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
                Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
                Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
                Because their words had forked no lightning they
                Do not go gentle into that good night.

                Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
                Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
                Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

                Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
                And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
                Do not go gentle into that good night.

                Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
                Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
                Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

                And you, my father, there on the sad height,
                Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
                Do not go gentle into that good night.
                Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

                Dylan Thomas

                Do not go gentle into that good night,
                Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
                Rage, rage against the dying of the light.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

                Why am I put in mind of T Herman Zwiebel and his iron lung?Report

              • Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Oh no–I knew I shouldn’t have checked the mail before I left the house–“Terry Pratchett’s Diggers” and “T. Herman Zweibel’s iron lung”–Heh Heh–quite hilarious and something to laugh about all night–damn!! Will have to read up on Mr. Zweibel’s iron lung. The Onion is so irreverently funny–the whole political spectrum never escapes the hatchet. Thanks for the laughs, BlaiseP.Report

    • Heidegger in reply to Patricia Krenik says:

      Heh Heh Heh! A wonderful and very funny parody, Ms. Krenik!

      I’d put Scientology right in there with the Raelians, Hare Krishnas, Moonies, Aum Shinrikyo, Hale-Boppers (Heaven’s Gate) –you remember them, no? Yeah, another Loonie, Trekkie cult waiting for that spaceship that is just around the corner, to pick them up deliver them to the “next level”. Talk about anal–they spread out the suicides so that the temporary survivors could clean up any mess. They even made sure all of the trash was put out! And they all had the same amount of money in their pockets–$5 plus some change. Maybe there are toll roads in the hereafter. In any case, thanks for the laughs Frau Krenik!

      To be a Scientologist, you’d have be–hmm, what is that saying—oh yeah, “you don’t have to crazy to be a Scientologist, but it sure helps!”Report