Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Arrogance is a Disease that often leads to War

The Yin and Yang of Conservatism

The 7 States of Sickness
(from "Natural Healing Through Macrobiotics" by Michio Kushi)

1. Fatigue or Tiredness
2. Aches and Pains
3. Blood Diseases
4. Emotional Disorders
5. Organ Diseases
6. Nerve Diseases
7. Arrogance


1. Fatigue or Tiredness - The major causes are lack of physical exercise plus over-eating and over-drinking, particularly meat and sugar.
2. Aches and Pains - The nervous system starts to weaken.
3. Blood Diseases - Thought incurable, these can often be cured by proper diet.
4. Emotional Disorders - This category includes problems such as irritability, impatience, upset, anger, anxiety, worry, fear, and uneasiness. A healthy person is not bothered by negative emotional states. If we become angry even once a year, we are not completely healthy. Ideally, we should not become angry even once during an entire lifetime.
(This was written before The Great Dewakening; The Current Unpleasantness. It could be argued that anger,as a defense mechanism, should be reserved for such times as these...although I much prefer Gandhean Satyagraha to vehemence and anger. Besides, there is always the Butterfly Effect to consider, as well as the even more subtle Taoist notion that one need not lift a finger, or make any ripple in the material world. A vision, well-wrought, can change minds and worlds effortlessly, internally. I digress...)
5. Organ Diseases - Organs begin to degenerate.
6. Nerve Diseases - Dullness, forgetfulness, social crimes.
7. Arrogance - This occurs when we try to separate ourselves from nature and the universe, and happens in one of two ways. The first is yang arrogance, and it appears in the form of a domineering, conquering, or self-insistent personality which tends to drive others away.
This yang arrogance is what George W. Bush, and many on the flagrant right-conservative site of the dial, have digested...although it occasionally takes root among those left of which point they become neo-cons, after having passed through Dennis Miller.

"The yin type of arrogance shows itself in the form of withdrawal or a refusal to listen. Many of the elderly and and those who consider themselves devout or religious suffer from this form of arrogance. This type of person is usually not open to the opinions or suggestions of others."

Kushi continues: " Arrogance is actually the underlying cause of all human sickness and unhappiness and is at the same time the end point of the first six stages. Ultimately, all people who suffer from arrogance commit suicide by dying an unnatural death, either through sickness, war, accident, or other causes. The basic purpose of macrobiotic healing is to cure arrogance."

So here we have it. The explanation of what is today called "Conservatism"...although the only thing these folks are concerned about conserving is their ego; their arrogance -- whether it be in the form of Bush-style brashness, or the quieter, more obscurantistic hard-headed self-righteousness exhibited by the more reposed.

Arrogance is a killer...of self and others. It incorrectly places the ego where God, the Tao, the spirit, Stewardship, Magnanimity, or whatever name you call it, should be.

An image came to me last night which made me laugh. It was of a party where the brashest, most arrogant person arrives first...and every succeeding person had to one-up every preceding person. Imagine a Foghorn Leghorn, an Ahnold...followed by increasing degrees of Ahnoldness or Fogginess, if you will. How obnoxious can one party get?
Could such a party bear any fruit? Would any come out alive?

Arrogance is a perennial problem among those in power. We see it in the upper chambers of government and business...and we see the rotten fruit.

Arrogance is not to be confused with confidence. Post-docs are confident. Those with lesser degrees are arrogant...if I were to draw an analogy from the Academy. Those with a little education tend to be the know-it-alls, while the truly educated...continue learning. No room for arrogance when one is so outwardly focused.

arrogance and posterity

There is, I believe, a type of arrogance which might not be unhealthy, and it was discussed in Schoenhauer's essay, "On Genius". Here Schopenhauer talks about the "arrogance" of the writer or artist whose work is intended for posterity...or as some have said...that for whom one writes after having been rejected by the commercial presses. The "genius", as Schopenhauer says, may try to adjust himself to his times, and to the "artists" and critics of the day...but he will never attain greatness for having done so. His or her "arrogance" allows this de-gravitation, so to speak, from the chauvinism of contemporaneity.

Such folks are not in competition with one's regulars, but are rather in league with the guiding lights of the ages. Fixed stars, not shooting stars.

If one must be arrogant, let it be the kind of arrogance borne of having moved beyond one's own mere life or lifetime. The Mr. Creasotes of the world will eventually eat themselves to death. Not our concern.

I'll end with a quote that could well describe most liberals. It is from a book called, "How to be a Gentleman", by John Bridges.

"A gentleman never makes himself the center of attention. His goal is to make life easier, not just for himself, but for his friends, his acquaintences, and the world at large."

While a Conservative may succeed in getting to the point where friends and acquaintences are included within their sphere of concern...they always, always, fall flat on the last point. It is this point where Liberals go far beyond the current crop of least among the more outspoken of them (there are always exceptions, of course) and shine as the true gentlemen and gentlewomen of our age, and, at times, all ages.

So rather than try and out-arrogate the RepCons...we can simply continue being the worldly gentlemen and women we are. Win or lose, we set the example, and live it. Simply living it will make for a better world. Is this not a worthy goal? Need we really be in some public driver's seat? The driver's seat is overrated...

The "Driver's Seat" is Overrated

At the end of "Beelezebub's Tales to his Grandson", Gurdjieff makes the following analogy of who and what we are:

Picture a Stagecoach. It is the body, and optimally we will keep it in good working condition...but this is not who we are. Sorry Ahnold!

There is also a Horse which moves the Coach forward. The Horse is our Will and Emotions. But it is not who we are. Sorry Adolph and George!

Then there is the Driver. He tells the Horse where to take the Coach.
The Driver is our brain. But it is not who we are. Sorry, Mr. Roverer!

Say what? We are not our brains either?? What gives?

The West, according to Mr. Gurdjieff -- who, after all had at least a double-digit IQ -- has forgotten the Passenger: The one who tells the Driver where to take him. When the Passenger gets to his destination...he gets out. And we mourn the carriage!

But there will be more carriages. Count on it. SUVs even...especially here in The United States of Biggie-Size-it. But we are not our cars, our carriages, our horses, or our brains. We are, as they say, souls who happen to have a body...not the other way around. For these few...when they die...they really die. But we are the animation; the passenger. And it is here where we all meet and interpenetrate within the supraphenomenal goo; the Eternal Thou; Ethernal Tao; Jones.

The passenger knows no arrogance. Arrogance is reserved for the carriage, the horse and the driver. Drive Miss Lazy! Time is but a material concern.