Thursday, October 18, 2007

Can the Resurrection be Historical?

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There is something greatly incongruous about making historical statements concerning an event that is based upon the “supernatural.” The whole of modernity is based upon denying the supernatural, and upon creating an entire symbolic universe devoid of that concept. To interject the Resurrection into the modern truth rĂ©gime is to violate the basic canons of what it means to be modern. Thus, we should never expect to find historians hawking Josh McDowell books. If we find scientists supporting the doctrine, they will only do so by distinguishing between their private matters of taste in personal belief and scientific fact. Is this really an acceptable state of affairs? Fifty years ago it was a fact of life. It was just something that had to be accepted like the weather. But in this age, after the advent f postmodern thought, we need not be so dogmatic. It is not that I expect historians to ever speak of the Resurrection as “historical fact.” I would speak so myself. But I think it is fair to say that the exclusion of such events from scientific parlance is misleading. To doubt an event “unhistorical” is misleading. The unwary are given the impression that such events cannot happen. All I really means to speak of the Resurrection as “unhistorical” is to say “we don’t dare speak of this in that way because it’s not ideologically acceptable.”

While it is true that postmodernism has taken some harsh blows, is no longer the big shocking new academic fashion, and has been relegated to the archaeological strata of the course catalogue, along with “existentialism in Europe 3202” and “John Dewey and the American School of pragmatism, 2710,” it is by no means true that postmodernism is finished. Like most academic trends when they become established, when they reach the phase where Freshman intro courses are developed, postmodernism has seen its heyday, but we can still state certain of its premises seriously. Two of the major premises of postmodernism are: (1) No met narratives; (2) our understanding of reality is merely a construct and not a direct meditation of truth. What this means is we don’t have a clear undeniable proof of the nature of the world, what we get is our understanding of the world. No “Meta narrative” means no more overarching grand explanations of all reality, no more ideology, no more great story that explains it all. While this premise rules out Christian theology (for the most part) it also rules out the scientifically based empiricist who reduces everything to numbers and what cannot be reduced to numbers just isn’t worth knowing. Both of these are “meta narratives.” What postmodernism clearly establishes is that there is no world of facts that can be arranged like little building blocks in such a way as to stack up to a total and undeniable demonstration of all reality. “Our understanding of reality is merely a construct” means we are not engaging the world of “things” directly, what we see is not what we get. What we get is our understanding of what we see, and that is filtered through a perceptual filter that is made up of prior symbolic understanding. Its’ all filtered through glasses tended with the colors of our hopes and dreams. The scientifically minded skeptic is more than ready to admit that this is the case for the religious believer. The scientifically based skeptic is ready to tag the believer as irrational and living out a fantasy with an imaginary friend. But what his septic doesn’t see is that his scientifically based skepticism is no less a fantasy and a simulacra of what is real. To construe reality of devoid of anything beyond the numbers is to merely reduce reality to the sets of building blocks of we stack them.

The Postmodern critique of scientific understanding was shattered in the mid 90’s. This is not the great disaster for postmodernism that a lot of people thought it was at the time. The postmodern critique of science in the 90’s had run wild; it needed to be brought down a peg. The so-called “hard project” was basically on the verge of denying that factual understanding of reality was possible. The knockout blow was delivered in the form of an article by a leading physicists, Sokal, published in a literary journal Lingua Frnaca. In the article, Sokal made statements that were so extreme as to be almost idiotic. Statements such as “we scientists no longer consider the concept of an ‘outside world.’” The postmodernists were just beginning to revel in their victory of common sense when Sokal came back with a follow up article mocking the hell of them and saying, “you really believe this crap?” After that point the postmodern project declined and number crunchers everywhere rejoiced. This blow came only a couple of years after the first major blow to Derridianism. Derridianism was the heavy artillery of the postmodern crowd. When one of Derrida’s major allies, Paul DeMann, turned out to be a collaborator with the Nazis during the German occupation of Belgium, the Derrian ship took a direct torpedo blow that all but put it on the bottom of the ocean of ideas. But in the academy postmodernism retrenched into the world of “women’s studies” and “identity politics” and to this day haunts the classroom in any place where feminism is discussed. Postmodernism wields great power in the academy, at least in the liberal arts end of things, and for the rest of society they are great basket weavers. Nevertheless, this was only the “perspective adjustment” the postmodern critique of science needed to snap out of its malaise. There have been many unfortunate outcomes but basically the major concepts mentioned above are still very viable: (1) No met narratives; (2) our understanding of reality is merely a construct and not a direct meditation of truth. What this means is we don’t have a clear undeniable proof of the nature of the world, what we get is our understanding of the world.

Consider the basic driving metaphor of the “hard project.” The “hard project” was the extreme end of the postmodern critique. This is the perspective that Sokal was aiming to hit. The hard project came close to denying that there is any meaningful concept of “reality” and that all perceptions are hopelessly subjective. Their major metaphor is the night sky; the night sky is an illusion. This is scientifically the case. There is a gravitational sense that warps our visual image, so that stars are not actually where they appear to be. While there is some truth to this, to try and put it into a dictum such that “there is no night sky” is to make another sweeping construct based upon half-truths. We only know about the gravitational lens because we have the instruments, developed by scientific thinking, to demonstrate that this is the case. We only know that the appearance of the stars is an illusion because we can demonstrate where they really are in relation to our visual perceptions. The night sky is a good metaphor for the way appearances fool us about the nature of reality. It is not absolute proof of any sweeping ideology or theory because to construct such a concept is to commit the same fallacious maneuver the metaphor is designed to negate. The upshot of all of this is that we need to critically aware of ideologies that try to claim too much in the way they organize the world for us. But this works as much for scientifically based ideologies, and those that try to hitchhike on the coattails of science, such as modern skepticism. We need to be aware that when we try to limit our understanding of what is possible in life, we will lose the phenomena. When we make grand rules such that “there is nothing beyond material realm” we are making a metaphysical statement, one that we cannot back up. The attempt to back up such a statement often leads to a philosophical reductionism that is merely narrow-minded and all attempts to verify the construct are merely begging the question. Of course rule no one, (no Meta narrative) might be construed as a problem for Christianity. If ever there was a Meta Narrative, Christianity is it. Science is not so much a Meta Narrative as it is a method, but the skeptical monopolization of science is a Mata Narrative. Science is neutral. The function of science is the gathering of data toward the purpose of explaining the workings of the natural world. What we conclude about the purpose and ultimate origin of the natural world is a Meta Narrative and is beyond the scope of science. Science is not the only form of knowledge. To use science in that way is to forge a Mata Narrative of it. Christianity is a Mata Narrative, but that’s fine because we cannot live without them. The slogan “no Meta Narratives” is just that, a slogan. What it should be taken to mean is “be aware of the baggage you take on if you buy into this story.” It should not be taken to mean, “don’t ever construct a story” because to say that is to construct a story. We can’t live without constructs and symbolic universes; this is the method through which we think. We construct our view of reality by stacking up the little bits of data and imposing a meaning upon the patters we see in the whole. We can no more avoid doing this than we can avoid sleep. We need to be aware and we need to be critical. So Christianity as a private metaphor shared by a community of believers, is one thing, Christianity as a “fact” interpreting the world is another. Science as a method for determining facts about the workings of the physical world is one thing, science as the engine of a driving skeptical movement aimed as crushing religious belief is something else.
What I’m advocating is keeping the secular market place secular. But “secular” means neutral not “anti-religion.” This is quite a chore because all forces tend to seek the crowding out of all other forces. Nevertheless this is the only real solution. Secularization was invented in the first place as a means of overcoming the strife of the religious wars of Europe. We need not “demonstrate” that the resurrection is a “historical fact.” This is impossible because it is a tenet of faith. What we can do is to demonstrate that the claim is a viable possibility. Ten we can try to understand the claim as a viable tenet of faith not as a fact to impose upon the world. In short we need to understand the resurrection as a truth claim, not an historical fact. Registering a doctrine as a “truth claim” is not a demotion from the status of “fact.” It is a recognition that the truth claim a guiding principle for the faith community, but not something we impose upon the world, neither is it a fantasy. To do this we have to come to terms with the notion “fact” and the meaning of scientific data in the overall project of construct building. Essentially the materialists have relinquished the possibility of limiting possibilities to “the natural realm.” Now this has been something they did not know they were doing, but they have taken positions that make a strict materialism logically impossible. Modern materialism evolved out of the enlightenment. It bore the baggage of the skeptical crisis of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, it was formed as a reaction to Newton and Boyle who basically made argument form design (the argument for the existence of God) into a necessary part scientific method. Many forces arrayed themselves in such a way as to produce a reaction against Newton’s Christianity, which had once been lauded as the direction of modern science. These forces included the left over issues of the skeptical crisis (which pitted faith against reason) the battle of the books, which pitted scholasticism and classical learning against modern scientific empiricism, and the political struggle against the heavy hand of Richelieu’s church. The hatred of modern scientifically minded philosophes for scholasticism was unbounded. The feeling developed that only that which is empirically proven can be trusted. This was viewed by post Revolution thinkers as the only tonic for the dogmatic authority of the church. When LaPlace presented his scientific theory of the universe to Napoleon, the emperor is said to have asked how it was that the system lacked any reference to God. LaPlace is reputed to have remarked, “I have no need of that hypothesis.” That remark has long been seen as the sounding death knell of the inclusion of God or religious idea in the factual understanding of “reality.” Science became the modern umpire of what can be taken as real, and matters of faith had no place in science.

LaPlace’s statement was based upon the assumption of naturalistic cause and effect. He had no need of the God hypothesis because naturalistic cause and effect explained everything; all we really needed to know was the workings of the physical world. There was no reason to accept any truth beyond the physical world. Thus modern science developed with the understanding that it’s true domain was the physical world; scientists just ignored the fact that making dictums about what the world included and excluded was a metaphysical ordering beyond the domain of science. Modern skepticism grew up feeding itself upon the delusion that science is its ace card against religion, that it alone is scientific and that science is there to reinforce skepticism.

1) The notion of something from nothing voilates basic assumptions of materialism

a. Materailism based upon cause and effect
Dictonary of Philosphy Anthony Flew, article on "Materialism"

"...the belief that everything that exists is either matter or entirely dependent upon matter for its existence."

Center For Theology and the Natural Sciences Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999) Is the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?(this source is already linked above)

"...Beyond the Christian community there was even greater unease. One of the fundamental assumptions of modern science is that every physical event can be sufficiently explained solely in terms of preceding physical causes. Quite apart from its possible status as the moment of creation, the Big Bang singularity is an offence to this basic assumption. Thus some philosophers of science have opposed the very idea of the Big Bang as irrational and untestable."

b) Something from nothing contraidicts materialism
Science and The Modern World, Alfred North Whitehead.
NY: free Press, 1925, (1953) p.76

"We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... sciene which is employed in their deveopment [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical casation is supreme, and which disjoins the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved."[Whitehead was an atheist]

c) Causality was the basis upon which God was expelled from Modern Science

It was La Plase's famous line "I have no need of that Hypothosis" [meaning God] Which turned the scientific world form beliving (along with Newton and assuming that order in nature proved design) to unbelief on the principle that we dont' need God to explain the univrese because we have independent naturalistic cause and effet. [Numbers, God and Nature]
2) Materilism Undermines Itself
a) Big Bang contradicts causality (see quotation above)
b) QM theory seems to contradict cause/effect relationship.
c) Rejection of final cause
3) Probabalistic Justification for assumption of Cause

We still have a huge justification for assuming causes inductively, since nothing in our experince is ever uncaused. The mere fact that we can't see or find a cause isn't a proof that there isn't one.

4) Therefore, we have probabalistic justification for assuming Final cause

Thus, the basis upon which God was dismissed from scientific thought has been abandoned;the door to consideration of God is open again. The reliance upon naturalistic cause and effect in consideration of ultimate origins is shattered, but this does not make it rational to just assume that the universe opoped into existence with no cause. Since we have vast precident for assuming cause and effect, we should continue to do so. But since naturalistic cause and effect seems unnecessary at the cosmic level, we should consider the probablity of an ultimate necessary final cause.


Anonymous said...

A point of order .

Alfred North Whitehead was NOT an athesit. In the book titled 'Process and Reality' he refers to God with approval presenting a thesis of God as having a central role in the concrescence of 'actual occasions' .

Jay at

Anonymous said...

NOTE : The following is a fictitious (though it is an appropro portrayal of relativist/postmodernist thinking) story that depicts a young man (age 24) who supports postmodernist/relativist ANTI-philosophy . He is sent back in time from circa 2007 A.D. to 1855 Oneida, New York (by a University sociology department) to engage in discussion with an abolitionist orator. The young man is called in the story : Pomo kid …’pomo’ being an abbreviation for postmodernist . He is sent back into time with a special hidden video and audio device designed to record sound and image of the discussion that he will have with Benjamin Obadiah Whittaker –an abolitionist and former slave, who is scheduled on that June evening to give a speech on the evils of slavery at the Shaker meeting house during a meeting hosted by the Oneida abolitionist society .

The exchange between Pomo Kid and the abolitionist leader is a cautionary tale presented in a format similar to a one-act play designed to reveal the NON-consistent thought and general murkiness of postmodernist/relativist thinking (i.e. sell-out thinking) . It is designed to show the idiocy of the bizarre, postmodernist notion that claims ambivalence is some so-called “humility” . Ambivalence is NOT humility , and using consistent methods of thought is NOT “arrogance” .

PREFACE :Pomo kid has gotten in the time machine and the controls have been set for June 25, 1855 . Since the machine is the first of its kind and time travel with it expected to be slow going on what the scientists back at the lab call it’s “maiden voyage” , Pomo Kid has taken some magazines: the UTNE reader (bought for him by his limosine- liberal parents who read it themselves ) and Relevant Magazine .

Pomo Kid –having a short attention span fostered by years of chronic MTV watching –has also taken a specially made CD player and some CDs to keep him amused. When he gets to 1855 Oneida , New York he discovers that miraculously the CD players and CD’s work –though he has a hard time getting them to work while riding in the time machine. The CD ’s he has taken are as follows : Jewel’s Greatest Hits, a CD by the musical band Toad The Wet Sprocket, a CD by Jimmy Eat World, The Dawson’s Creek t.v. show soundtrack, a CD from the band Barenaked Ladies, and Rumors by Fleetwood Mac (A CD that he borrowed from his parents) , and a CD from a singer named Dan Hasletine .

The time machine soon arrives in a dairy cattle field in 1855 Oneida,
New York . He steps out of the time machine with his CD head set over his ears –and hidden minature camera recording device cocked and disguised as one of his piercings . As he steps out on to the farm field of Ezra Howell Drummond –no person sees the machine land nor him emerge. The dairy cows give him monentary glances of dull suprise and then return to to crunching and grazing down the vast green verdure . He looks at a minature digital map device and proceeds to walk to the shaker meeting house to hear the speech by Obadiah Whittaker .

He arrives on time and sits down . Some of the abolitionists and interested town folks noticed Pomo kid as he arrives and are somewhat baffled by his odd appearance –as his clothes , hairstyle and general demeanor do not look period, but do not approach him . They are more interested in the speech by Mr. Benjamin Whittaker . Benjamin Whittaker presents a cogent and eloquent indictment of the evils of chattel slavery in the antebellum south. He especially highlights the treatment of slave women by slavemasters, overseers, and their cronies and acquaintances who from time to time rape the slave women on the plantations .

Pomo kid allows his CD headspeakers to droop a little so he can hear the speech —and gives a skimming of the main elements . As the speech draws to its close Pomo kid hears the anti-slavery orator sum up the directive set before good citizens everywhere in a way that does NOT mince words .

‘ And so good citizens of Oneida , we can send forth the clear message …both to posterity , to others who have shared and will share the North American continent, and to all nations and every town and village abroad , that we will no longer accept, nor even partially accept, a wicked commerce of bodies and souls that treats marriage and kinship as makeshift gambits in some sordid game , where transgression of the convenants between man and women is done with impunity . We will stand with the men , women, and children who long to have the stability accorded to man and wife by civilized society. We make no caveat to the forces of darkness and depravity that would settle for anything less! ‘

There is a roar of applause and even a few Amens from the audience .

Soon the speech is then over and there is time for handshakes and entreties from the audience .

Pomo Kid then approaches the abolitionist orator .

POMO KID : “Hey Mr.Whiitaker , dude . I, like, enjoyed your speech . I can see that feel quite passionate about racial oppression and all , but there’s some stuff I’d like to discuss with you . I know that slavery is a bad scene and it’s kinda bogus how slaves are treated , but you gotta learn to respect the opinion of those who want to rape their slave women and sell their kids to other plantations too and look at it from their perspective some too . You are like so judgemental, so preachy , dogmatic …so one-sided towards the opinions of those who want to rape slave women, beat them some, and sell their children downriver . It’s like you want to preach instead of discussing…you preach. You got to learn to look at it from other perspectives. What you are doing is the us versus them approach towards people who oppress and exploit slaves . The us versus them approach isn’t good . It’s fanatical to take the us versus them approach . The us versus them way is, like, so yesterday . Everything is connected . it’s all connected. Really the slavowner and the oppressed slaves are really part of the same thing . Making distinctions is so passe /so yesterday . It’s all one . It’s all how you look at it .

You know there’s many sides to every issue. Stuff like slavery is not all black and white there are shades of grey. It’s not totally bad being oppressed as a slave . You got to look at it from other points of view . Learn to accept that problems are part of life…a growing experience . You know, getting raped and being sold away from your family just goes to show that life is give and take . If nobody ever got raped or exploited then you wouldn’t have give and take …and so you wouldn’t have reality ; it would be all idealistic . We can’t have stuff being idealistic all the time. Life is supposed to be a mixture of things . People are a mixture of things. It’s all the duality of man . In the time period I come from, we study deconstructionism and post-structuralism at my college and I’ve been getting into Michel Foucault , and Lyotard, and Richard Rorty. They teach us not to totalize . what your are doing is totalizing …making people out to be villans if they don’t agree with rigid moral constructs . It’s all just language games –the divisions of beliefs that people have . There aren’t any absolute truths …or if there are, there aren’t very many…or we can’t be sure what they are .

You got to learn something Mr.Whittaker: don’t be so single-minded ….

(Pomo kid pauses for an extended period of time and fiddles with his CD player and changes the Jewel CD for a Dawson’s Creek CD . He turns it down slighly so he can somewhat hear Mr . Benjamin Whittaker speak .)

Benjamin Whittaker stares at Pomo Kid with a look of utter incredulity and disgust at the weirdly pusillanimous , and convoluted statements that have poured forth from the young man’s mouth . He then speaks

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER SPEAKS : Young man, I scarcely know where to begin to disabuse you of the false , and weirdly ludicrous statements you have put forth here. You claim I must respect the vile opinions of those who support the exploitation and tyrrany which oppresses persons of African descent–and , moreover, exploits women whose virginity has been taken from them by force! What on earth have such opinions done to merit such respect, or to even almost halfway earn such respect .? Young man I can scarcely help wondering if you have fallen in with revelling hooligans in Manhattan that smoke opium in houses of ill repute and, that such riotous living has altered your febrile brain to such an extent that you find it a habit to talk nonsense . Young man, I do not know where you are from —

(Pomo Kid then interrupts Mr. Whittaker in mid sentence . Pomo kid is, after all, a postmodernist of the MTV generation and considers being fair and waiting till someone is finished talking to be passe and old fashioned communication practice, which he wants nothing to do with . Pomo kid favors a more edgy , open ended approach .)

POMO KID SPEAKS : (Decides to start out with circular thinking ) . Dude, the idea that it’s wrong to rape slave women , or brutally beat and exploit slaves and sell their children away from them …that’s wrong to us , but not to the people who support exploiting and raping slaves… Doing that’s right to them . Morals and truth are relative and subjective. What’s true to you may not be true to them . It’s all just different perspectives. If you go and say that its absolutely wrong for people to exploit and rape their slaves instead of saying that it’s wrong to us, then …you’re like Hitler. Now you probably aren’t familiar with who Hitler is …but in the 20 Century there’s gonna be this guy called Hitler, who takes over and takes away people’s rights. And if you say that some belief is totally wrong and another belief is totally right then you’re like Hitler . Just like these holocaust survivors that the nazis put into concentration camps and came out being all bitter and one sided and preachy and say what Hitler and the nazis did was wrong and don’t respect the nazi point of view a little—well they’re like Hitler too ! Just like a person who always stops a bully from bullying people and won’t look at it from a bully point of view a little…well that makes that kind of one-sided person who is against bullying, a bully too and just as bad as the real bully . Furthermore, just by saying that some belief or practice is wrong— just by verbally calling that belief wrong you violate their right to free expression to say that opposite belief…even without any physical violence against them …without a single shot being fired .

You got to understand also that if somebody says that some belief isn’t absolute , then that right there prooves that it isn’t . Take the proposition that says that 2+2=4 . Well as long as somebody disagrees with the idea that 2+2=4 then that automatically shows that the idea that 2+2=4 isn’t absolute, otherwise every person would have to say they agreed with 2+2 being = 4, otherwise it’s not absolute .

In the time period of history that I come from (which is the late 20 th and early 21 Centuries ) there’s this show called the Real World . Now since television hasn’t been invented yet in 1855, you probably aren’t familar with that word. Television in the time I come from is a lot like what plays are on stages in the time you’re in . Television is kind of like a play —only more fun . So in the time I come from there is a show called ‘The Real World’ …and people on that show sometimes have different beliefs and so they can come together and get real and talk about the issues that bother them . The show teaches people to come out of their comfort zone (Pomo Kid runs through memory banks to come up with more newspeak words and phrases and finds some) and therefore they can have an impactive, impactful affect on each others lives and give each other feedback about what they think. Now the people who are being raped , beaten , or exploited by masters and overseers down on those slave plantations they got to stop being so one-sided and look at from another perspective and come out of their comfort zone and stop portraying rape and exploitation as something totally bad. They can then get together with the slave owners and overseers and tell them about the way they feel and then get the slave owners and overseers to come out of their comfort zone too , and maybe tone down the rape and exploitation a little . That way you don’t have an us versus them .

Some people would say that what I’m saying doesn’t make much sense …that it’s inconsistent /ambivalent thinking (which is another way of saying sell- out thinking ) but I don’t call it selling out . I call it “looking at it from another perspective” . And about the people claiming that postmodernism like I’ve been trying to get you to support, doesn’t make much sense, well it doesn’t have to make sense. Making sense is so passe …so yesterday . Distinctions are just so passe . I don’t bother with rigid distinctions. I ‘ve gotten into a sort of thinking called lateral thinking …that doen’t get all hung up on distinctions . Lateral thinking doesn’t have to always make sense.

You Mr. Whittaker are a linear thinker …that consistent thinking is so out of style….so outmoded . Lateral thinking, that postmodernists such as me go for doesn’t bother with having to make sense …it tolerates ambiguity . You mr. Whittaker are so rigidly consistent /so single-minded …a fanatical ideologue that goes to extremes of consistent thinking. You aren’t conflicted about anything !!!!

In the time period I came from, there was a singer called Moby—who used to be so dogmatic and one-sided about the animal rights cause, but lately he learned not to be so judgemental towards opinions of people who don’t support animal rights . He respects the outlook of the people who are against animal rights now –even though he’s for animal rights .The same flexibility applies to any social cause. After all, a professor I had once in a classroom, quoted the quote, “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds” .I’ve learned that selling out is not so bad . ‘

(Pomo kid having temporarily dropped the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack picks it up and puts in the Toad The Wet Sprocket CD . He changes CDs about as quickly as a chain smoker replaces cigarettes)

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER : (Still flabbergasted, begins to speak) ‘Without consistency of thought human affairs descend into meaninglessness….

POMO KID SPEAKS : Not if you think they have meaning for you . You know, by the way, in 1855, the people who exploit and rape slaves are doing what was thought right at the time. We shouldn’t be so chauvanistic as to try to harshly criticize people who own slaves by the morality of later periods. If you say that people who exploit slaves are doing something totally wrong then you’re just as bad as they are . Morality is different from one period to another …some people say that people in different periods might call different actions moral …and it not be a case of inherently different morals …but that’s all the same anyway …since I don’t bother with hair-splitting distinctions like that .

(Pomo Kid’s CD jams and stops playing temporarily. He pauses from speaking and, in so doing, ejects that CD and puts in the machine a CD of music by musician Dan Hasletine) .

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER SPEAKS : How are you so sure that people who exploit slaves are unaware that what they are doing is fully wrong ? (The good abolitionist has managed to put aside being shocked by the weirdly insipid statements presented by Pomo Kid long enough to get the composure to ask him that question .)

POMO KID REPLIES : Well if they thought it was wrong to exploit and mistreat slaves then they wouldn’t do it .

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER SPEAKS : So let me get this straight, young man…you allege that the mere willingness of somebody to do some act is in of itself some ad hoc proof that in every such case they must be sincere in doing so.? Where do you arrive at such a facile conclusion– if that is what you are alleging ?

(Pomo kid, who does not know a specific response to the question that can save face for how facile the previous statement he has just put forth has been…then searches his memory banks for the word he likes to bandie about whenever somebody presents an argument that is elaborate , doesn’t have postmodern cliches, and one which , moreover, he doesn’t want to slow down and bother to analyze . He finds that word …. the word “pseudo-intellectual” which he uses to lambast elaborate arguments from people who refuse to sell out and entertain his lazy mind . )

POMO KID SPEAKS : Dude, I realy don’t have time for pseudo-intellectual questions and statements like you have been making. Mellow out, Dude . You are so single-minded . You just need to get laid .

(Pomo Kid pauses and then speaks again )

POMO KID SPEAKS : You want to know something ? If you judge a belief or lifestyle that somebody supports …that’s the same as judging them, because an emo-singer I like said so, in an interview I read about in Spin magazine . He later said the same stuff about that on a VH-1 documentary . He said that the beliefs a person supports are the person themself —so by judging the belief your judging the person . Beliefs are people . (Pomo Kid gets oddly quiet all of a sudden )

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER THEN ASKS : So to take such preposterously silly statement to its conclusion , do you then allege that if someone no longer believes the beliefs they once supported …they are no longer themselves .?

POMO KID ASKS : Yes , why not say that ?

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER SPEAKS : Well young man, I hope that you will reconsider those murky notions you have given a voice to . Slavery is quite ugly and the others here know that .

(Pomo Kid then takes out the Hasletine CD and puts in a CD of Rumors by Fleetwood Mac in his CD player and adjusts the headset .) .

POMO KID SPEAKS : (Takes on the weirdly petulant snippness that young postmodernists sometimes adopt) ‘You know what dude, you just don’t understand . I’m starting to think that it’s just a waste of time explaining this to you …since you have a close mind. I can see you have a closed mind because you keep having to take everything apart and you keep insisting on consistent distinctions . That’s very anal retentive of you Mr. Whittaker . That’s also a power play on your part . It shows that you have control issues and will not look at anything a different way . You just don’t understand. You got all that deductive reasoning …but that’s a defense mechanism . Since you refuse to come out of your comfort zone and become conflicted about anything there’s probably no point in having a discussion .You just don’t understand …all you want to do is be a true believer and stereotype the lifestyle of other people . So, like WHATEVER , dude …that’s not my problem !

(Pomo Kid then speaks again )

You probably don’t think I identify with oppressed people but I do . My girlfriend and life partner Jasmine and me have gone to a lot of take back the night rallies . We’ve protested date rape on campus. I’ve known oppression and been a victim of oppression myself . The year before last I went to go stay with my aunt Veronica because parents were using their house as a meditation center for married couples and me being kind of high maintence …we figured I’d get in the way and so I went to go live with Veronica . But my aunt is an old school Mennonite –and so she’s like real rigid , dogmatic , and puritanical and so she wouldn’t let me and Jasmine’s ex boyfriend (he’s a real kewl guy who pierced my belly button when we went to Woodstock 94) and her ex boyfiriend ’s cat all get together and have group sex games together in her house . She’s real dogmatic against sex (if you ask me she has some real issues if she’s against group sex games) . Sex is like my identity . Also i understand oppression because people sometimes look at me funny because I have a lot of piercings …so I know what it’s like to be oppressed too . ‘

BENJAMIN WHITTAKER SPOKE : ‘Young man, I pity someone with such a murky , ridiculous attitude as you have . If you excuse me, now myself and the other people here are going to march to the town hall where we will make the protest of slavery public … ‘ (He then turns away and walks toward the others who have gathered at the far door of the Shaker meeting house ) .

POMO KID SPEAKS (Runs up ahead to meet up with them): ‘ So you guys are going to a protest down town. Kewl ! For shizzle …that’s the shiznic ! I’ve been to protests with my girlfriend and our boyfriends …we’ve been to take back the night …and we’ve been to rallies at Lillith Fair too, so I know the routine . I once met Michael Stipe at a protest !

(Mr. Whitakker and the other abolitionists have begun already begun to file out signs en hand . They cast backwards glances of disgust and perplexity at Pomo Kid )

Pomo Kid then runs out after them , “Let’s do it . End oppression now. Oppression is f–ked up . The people united will never be defeated …the people united will never be defeated ! The people united will never be defeated ! ‘

(He then hearing the onset of a track on the CD playing the Fleetwood Mac song ‘ Don’t stop thinking about tommorrow’ then begins to sing in unision to the song —as if it were a marching chant …As he runs out into the starlit roads of 1855 Oneida, New York he soon finds he wishes he had a latte to round out the day)

Jay at

J.L. Hinman said...

hey thanks for calling my attention to that. I can't believe I said that so badly. I meant not that he was always an atheist. I mean to say He had been oen prior to this comment but was not at the time he made the comment. He was an atheist for a time in his youth. But he went to start process theology.

Anonymous said...

No problem, Mr.Hinman .

I liked the article you posted , nonetheless. Whitehead was a darn good philosopher . If more people studied Whitehead instead of following the ANTI-philosophy of Richard Rorty and similar pipsqueaks the Earth would be a much better place .

By the way, how did you like the cautionary tale : 'Pomo Kid And The Misadventure In Time ' ?

J.L. Hinman said...

Whitehead was great. That peice you did was funny. How do you like the look?

Anonymous said...

I like it, Mr.Hinman .