Vlorbik's Diner

son of owen's cooking show

Assume A Can Opener If You Have It Not

Posted by vlorbik on August 15, 2009

earlier this week, i made some remark
to the effect that the Program is a sort
of christless christianity; then yesterday’s
morning ramble included
islam with christianity as a god-the-father
“monotheism”. the point here is that for my
purposes right now, the church and the mosque
and “these rooms” (where Program doctrine
is promulgated) are doing essentially the
*same* work: teaching submission to authority.

… acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because i find some person, place, thing, or situation—some fact of life—unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

“acceptance” is about as central here
as “submission” is in mecca… and there’s
a great deal to be learned here,
and not just for drunks and submissives
either probably. but god damn it.
why to they always have to say things
like “all my problems” and
no serenity“? it’s the old
this-is-the-one-true-way
all-other-versions-of-this-lie-are-evil
you-wouldn’t-like-me-when-i’m-mad
*absolutism* that poisons the whole deal
for almost anybody *not* active in a church
or synagogue or what have you.

now, i’d like to believe that there’s
actually some redemptive power
in the god damn gospel; hell,
i *do* believe it. i’ve *seen* it.

but “find a sponsor, read scripture,
go to meetings” looks to me to be
a *way* better description of
“how it works” than any of this
faith-and-faith-alone hooey.

anyhow. sponsorship is on my mind.
like needing a car and driver
to sponsor me back into the driving world
or, for that matter, my guide-of-the-moment
in “rules of the tank” post
of a couple hours ago. you can’t get
much of anywhere all by yourself;
i’m going to need a lot of help.

but madeline wasn’t kidding when she told me…
quite plainly cutting off a certain line
of discussion as is not at all her usual way…
“you’ll *never* find any authority you can respect”.

so it’s a problem.
the spirit of mathematics
as channelled by me through my
memories of my own teachers
and readings and sessions
with students and whatnot?
doesn’t seem to be doing it
for me anymore.

school is still school.
there’s a gospel in there (literacy itself)
but you’ll need to be mighty lucky
not to get caught worshipping some
false idol like workforce development.
there sure doesn’t seem to be anything
for *me* to sponsor *others* into there.

now what?

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3 Responses to “Assume A Can Opener If You Have It Not”

  1. Sue said

    but there’s more than one sort of authority.

    you know that pin:
    question authority.
    well, math has an authority
    that is nourished by questioning.

    >“you’ll *never* find any authority you can respect”.
    but what if it’s a different sort of authority?

    it’s hard for me
    to think of an example,
    beyond math,
    of that other sort of authority.

    easier to explain different sorts of power
    (a la starhawk),
    which is sort of analogous.

    ‘power over’ is the kind you and i abhor.
    the authorities with power over us
    better tread lightly, or we bristle.

    ‘power with’ is the power of the yoga teacher
    to help the students learn
    (yoga because they don’t give grades),
    of the mentor (isn’t that what a sponsor is?),
    and of the person who can entertain a crowd,
    a musician, perhaps.

    ‘power within’ is the power to grow.

    i’d say math has a natural authority,
    and mentors have the authority of their
    authentic experience,
    with which they can help you to grow.

    good luck with it.

  2. kibrolv said

    starhawk is indeed a powerful voice;
    a reading on “truth to power” i was
    led to by your _all_the_rest_ link
    (to, i think, her _newsweek_ stuff)
    clarified something for me:
    “what we get from love is kept,
    what is fought for (hatefully)
    is never really ours in the first place”
    kinda thing.

    i just wish they’d call it “truth *about* power”.
    what the difference can it make speaking
    *to* power at all? (as i’ve always had it…)
    power’s answer will be that of the book of _job_:
    i’m way bigger than you, so stfu.

    no, we’ve gotta speak truth to the powerless.
    which truth is, gropingly:
    freedom is possible and worth any price.
    (added in proof:
    this is but a weak paraphrase
    of “live free or die”.
    it’s already in dedekind.)

    “don’t follow leaders” isn’t just good songwriting;
    it’s the wisdom of the doggone ages.
    can’t be taught by “direct instruction” obviously.
    this has to do with why socrates and jesus
    created no written works of their own i expect.

    anyhow, making a polarity out of “power”
    instead of demonizing it as i tend to do
    is more or less obviously the right
    philosophical move. god bless the pagans.

  3. kibrolv said

    “authority nourished by questioning”
    is great, by the way. i’m stealing it.

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