Like the good Buddhist that I'm not, I have boundless compassion for the sentient beings who visit this blog.
Largely, because I'm one myself.
Aside from proof-reading my own writings after they're posted, I read every comment, even when I have to grit my teeth and force myself.
So what produces the dreadful affliction, Comment Reading Aggravation? And how can it be prevented?
I covered these questions pretty well, in my non-humble opinion, last year in "Boxing up varieties of belief." Which began with...
Why do some people's proclamations irritate or please me more than other proclamations?
I'm speaking generally here, about all sorts of utterances. Verbal sayings. Blog posts and comments. Books. Magazine articles. Any way that someone communicates a belief from their brain into mine.
Sometimes I get an instant emotional rush of What the @#$%&! as soon as I register a communication that rates high on my irritation scale. Other belief messages produce a pleasant smile, and not just because I agree with what I've heard.
So what's going on here? What are the varieties of belief that generate such different reactions in me?
I ask -- no, I plead -- that certain aggravating commenters on this blog read what I wrote. (Echoing Carly Simon, if you think that I'm talking about you in this post, I probably am.)
Understand, I'm all for spirited discussion and debate. But there needs to be some basic common-sense understanding of what gets talked about on this blog, and how opinions get expressed.
Like I said before, here's why opinion can morph into aggravation: if someone insists that other people should believe something, yet there aren't a lot of good reasons for that belief, the insistence comes across as a dogmatic assertion rather than a subjective opinion.
And that's the basic (irritating) stance of fundamentalists. "Believe it because I say so." Well, that isn't going to fly on a blog called Church of the Churchless. Or, anywhere else populated by open-minded people.
So please, commenters, pretty please with humility on top, use language appropriate to what you're talking about to avoid unnecessarily increasing my blood pressure -- and that of other blog visitors.
If you're speaking about God, metaphysics, ultimate reality, life after death, soul travel, and such, there aren't going to be a lot of good reasons for your beliefs.
If there were, they wouldn't be "beliefs." They'd be facts. So understand that other people are going to look upon your opinions as just that: opinions.
It's fine that you like them. Just leave off the thou shalt insistence that if other people don't share your opinions, they're deluded idiots.
Sometimes I'll respond to a comment in a testy fashion, calling the commenter a fundamentalist. Usually he or she disagrees. Yet I'm correct in assigning that label if the person demands that other people accept the truth of what he or she is saying without offering up good reasons for the assertion.
Which includes the ridiculous retort, "No, Brian, you're the fundamentalist because you and your churchless ilk have a dogmatic belief that God [or some other metaphysical entity] doesn't exist."
Wrong. Not believing isn't a belief. Not knowing isn't knowledge, except in the sense of Socrates:
"Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything really beautiful or good, I am better off than he is -- for he knows nothing and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have slightly the advantage of him."
I'd say greatly the advantage.
So knowing when you know something that can be demonstrated to others, and when you don't, is advantageous to both ourselves and those with whom we interact.
Because we can't learn something new when we wrongly believe that we know it all. And people who are convinced they know what they really don't are hugely irritating to communicate with.
Robert Paul Howard
Posted by: Robert Paul Howard | March 31, 2009 at 12:07 PM
Like to know just who these knowers are around here and who these believers are around here too
One mans fundamentalist is another's sooth sayer
You still got fundamentalism all strapped around your brain, the very thing you despise is what you are, each and every holier than thou elevated illusionist around here is one of the worst kind of fundamentalists going.
Posted by: ashy | March 31, 2009 at 01:53 PM
ashy, no more B.S. If you leave a comment on a post, say something coherent.
Respond to what I said, like a man. Or woman. Just don't keep commenting robotically like a spam generator.
How is what I said in this post "fundamentalist"? Pick apart the logic of what I said. Show us that you have a brain that can do more than repeat well-worn insults.
Like I said, people who don't have a solid foundation of truth to stand on resort to preachiness. So thank you for demonstrating what I was talking about.
Posted by: Brian | March 31, 2009 at 02:43 PM
ashy, tongue firmly in cheek, right?
Posted by: JJQ | March 31, 2009 at 02:43 PM
What you looking for Brian
what you aiming at
whats your axe you trying to grind
you looking for a scape goat cause you baled on a principle
or you looking for a reason for your own lack of spiritual insight?
so which is it, who is the fundamentalist here?
those that are willing to stick with a principle or the wishy washy goody two shoes fence sitters that are quick to brandish true integrity with the broad brush of their own inadequacy?
You like to fix your pointed finger on a focal point, well here he is, deal with it, you either have the balls to handle the truth head on or you duck and dive like the coward bale out artist you are.
Posted by: ashy | March 31, 2009 at 03:01 PM
ashy, I need to be more direct, since you aren't hearing me, or getting my point.
Compared to many blogs and web sites, which moderate comments and approve them before they're posted, I like to allow free-floating discussion.
WIth one exception: spam. Some people post comments that are unrelated to the subject of a post, saying generic stuff like "Really loved what you had to say! I'll visit this blog often" -- just to get their GetMortgagesCheap URL, or whatever, on a site.
Then there's dogmatic spam. Occasionally I get someone who leaves a comment with preachy quotes from some religious scripture. If they haven't also said something coherent about the post, I delete those comments also.
Your comments have turned into a form of dogmatic spam. For a while you were making some moderately understandable points that went beyond insults and sophomoric name-calling. But now you've reverted to that.
I'm not interested in this blog becoming a forum for dogmatic fundamentalism. It's a churchless blog, for non-God's sake! Given the definition of "fundamentalism" I set out in this post, you're clearly skating on that edge -- or, well over it, to be less charitable.
So I'll repeat my request: if you keep on leaving comments, please comment on the subject of the blog post. Agree, disagree, expand on what is said, whatever. Just say something meaningful.
Otherwise you're clogging up the comment section in the sidebar with words that don't have any content, and I may have to end up deleting your "spam" postings.
I and others here have heard your point about this blog being useless, me being a Sant Mat quitter who couldn't take the spiritual heat, churchlessness being another form of fundamentalism, blah, blah, blah. Points made.
Now, let's move on to having some respectful, intelligent comment discussions about what's being talked about in the posts. As I've told you before, you have a good fund of knowledge about things spiritual, religious, and mystical. You just aren't using it when you limit your comments to personal attacks.
Posted by: Brian | March 31, 2009 at 03:21 PM
I suggest you look at your regular spam artists over here, those numskull fundamental antithesis beaters
again I ask you in all sincerity what the hell are you looking to achieve here
you are on a mission to discredit reality and uphold illusion, so I have as much validity in my standpoint as your existentialist nothing churchless denomination.
the fact that I put my position forward with as much vehemence as your antithesis crowd of witch hunters gets up your goat, well too bad, shows you aint able to take what you so readily like to dish out, you and some of your happy clappy backslapping anti fundamentalist comrades in arms.
I am not about to change my style, same way as you wont change yours, so if the heat in your kitchens getting a little too hot you got I guess about as much as two choices, either deal with the aggro same way as you dish it out, or bale out of it like you so fond of doing most times.
Posted by: ashy | March 31, 2009 at 03:41 PM
"look at your regular spam artists over here, those numskull fundamental antithesis beaters"
-- Ashy, please be more specific and indicate the particular "spam" that YOU are referring to. Also, please indicate exactly where the "fundamental antithesis" is located.
"I ask you in all sincerity what the hell are you looking to achieve here"
-- Just go read the "About this site -- start here" located in the Categories section. And also, how about sharing what it is that YOU are "looking to achieve here"? Or as you said: "What the hell are you looking to achieve here"?
"you are on a mission to discredit reality and uphold illusion"
-- And what exactly is the "reality" that you say that Brian is trying to "discredit"?
-- And also what exactly is the "illusion" that he is supposedly trying to "uphold"???
"I have as much validity in my standpoint as your existentialist nothing churchless denomination"
-- It seems that you somehow fail or refuse to comprehend that you are merely guest here on this blog. You are allowed the priviledge of expressing your comments, your views, and your "standpoint"... but that does not give you the right to abuse this priviledge by repeatedly being rude and derisive towards those who do not agree with you or who do not beleive as you do.
"the fact that I put my position forward with as much vehemence as your antithesis crowd of witch hunters gets up your goat,"
-- You have yet to post anything positive about your "position". All you have done from day one is to repeatedly throw an assortment of derogatory names at other people.You have not put any "position forward". All you have done is to mimic and parrot dogma. You have offered nothing original. And you have filled most of your comments with derisive sarcasm and ridicule towards those who do not accept or believe in your dogma.
"well too bad, shows you aint able to take what you so readily like to dish out"
-- That is not so. Brian has repeatedly bent over backwards and offered you chances to make your case and to share something meaningful. So far you have ignored that and done nothing except to throw more sarcasm and ridicule and name-calling at Brian and other commenters. But your trollish spamming days are now starting to run out.
"you and some of your happy clappy backslapping anti fundamentalist comrades in arms."
-- You have and use all the cliches, but there's no substance to it. However, you finally got one little thing right... yes indeed I am an "anti fundamntalist".
"I am not about to change my style"
-- The problem is not your "style", but rather your derogatory attitude and your refusal to offer anything meaningful to support your beliefs. You have a wide-open opportunity, but you haven't presented anything. All you do is make sarcastic and derisive remarks to other commenters who simply ask you to present the evidence to back up your beliefs, to present your case. And that does not mean just parroting more dogma.
"you got I guess about as much as two choices, either deal with the aggro same way as you dish it out, or bale out of it like you so fond of doing most times"
-- You are still not listening to what Brian and others have told you. And I think most of us here are now weary of your tiresome game. So I hope that you will just wake-up and really get the message. But if not, then I hope to see you disappear. You have taken up and wasted far too much time and energy here already. But that is more or less what you came here to do anyway.
My feeling is that you are not going to, that you have no intention of, engaging in reasonable discussion here. My feeling is that people like you should not be tolerated beyond a fair chance. You have already had your chance, and many times over. Its high time for you to cut the crap, or leave.
And so it is my feeling that you are simply going to push as far as you can until there is no other recourse but to boot your ass out. That's usually how trolls like you play it.
You will take advantage of good-hearted guys like Brian, by seeing just how far you can go, just how much crap you can push and dump on people before they finally shut the door. And its just those kind of people that deserve to have the door slammed in their ugly faces long before now. And I can sense that you are one of those type of people. You are here to harass and dump your shit on people as much as you can before they no more. I saw your game the day you arrived. But I think Brian has been more than tolerant with you. But you don't care because your motive is to ridicule and crap on him as much as you can until he gets fed up.
People like you really suck. You aren't spiritual. You aren't respectful. You aren't loving. You aren't tolerant. You aren't humble. You aren't sincere. And you aren't anywhere remotely near glimpsing even a tiny particle of truth.
Why don't you go back to your RS sangat where you belong? Why do you violate the RSSB prohibtion against debating Santmat on the internet? Is it because you really are not an initied satsangi? If that is the case, then who are you to criticise those like Brian and Tucson and myself who are initiates and who have far more experience than you having practiced Santmat for numerous decades?
Either you are an initiate or you are not. If you are an initiate, then why are you deliberately violating your masters's will, his orders?
You are no example of an Santmat gurumukh, or even an aspiring one. You either believe and follow and practice Santmat and follow the gurus instructions, or you don't. There is nothing in the teachings of Santmat that says you should go out and harass and harangue other satsangis who have left the RS fold. You are simply to do your meditation and not worry about other people.
So if you are an initiated satsangi and devoted to Santmat/RS, then why are you here engaging in sarcasm, ridicule, and derision against other initiates? Its none of your business what other satsangi initiates are doing. So why are you here harassing and criticising other initiates and folks who have their own chosen paths, or no paths? Who are you to say what other people should believe in, or how they should conduct their lives?
If you are really a follower of Radha Soami, then that is your path and you should simply attend to that. You have no business contending with people here. No one asked you to come here, and no one told you that you are wrong for believing in Santmat. You came here all by yourself, and you chose to put-down and deride other people merely because they don't follow or accept your RS belief system.
Its high time you grow up Ashy... and if you like Santmat, then stick with it. But its none of your concern to come to a private blog and make sarcastic comments and harass other people simply because they have minds of their own, or because they are intellectual, or because they adhere to or practice some other spiritual path or even no path, or because they have different, opposing, or critical opinions about Santmat & RS from what you do.
Its time for you to be a mature adult and use that intelligence that you have... by pursuing whatever form of spirituality you prefer or choose. No one here will ever criticise you for that.
But if you continue to throw a disrespectful and derisive attitude, and a bunch of self-righteous sarcasm and religious dogma at other people, then they will probably criticise you, and rightfully so.
You would do well to read and re-read Brian's current blog entry. Its all about you and this situation.
You came here to this blog, and you alsmost immediately started this fray. And I dare say that if you don't end your nasty little pattern soon, that you will not be welcome here much longer, if at all.
But like I said, you will probably keep it up until Brian makes you quit. Its sad that anyone could be so immature and so impudent as you are.
One last observation: Ashy is getting rather, or should I say very reminiscent of another incorrigible and impudent RS dogma poster named "Sid" (Sid was from U.K). I believe that Sid now posts over at the RSS board as "hear.shabd1". I think Sid finally got booted out of here last year? Maybe there's some sort of uhh like connection there? What do you think about that eh Roger? I bet you've been keeping track of these sort of things.
Posted by: tAo | March 31, 2009 at 06:22 PM
There IS one other way to deal with the ashies of the world -- ignore them. I used to get into heated debates with them on my blog until one day I figured out that I was choosing to allow them to get under my skin. Now, I tend to let them post what they want and I simply don't respond.
Posted by: The Rambling Taoist | March 31, 2009 at 08:57 PM