Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Servant of the good

In framing the question of the good out to the logical edges, eventually, I come to the bad.

In fact I need the bad; nothing else can define the good. Good alone is a parent that can have no child; and the child is choice. 

It is this call to agency, to choose for the good, that lies at the heart of what it means to be human; and yet, rather than being grateful towards the forces that make this possible, I somehow disdain the bad.

In doing so I disdain myself, because I have bad in me as much as good. I don’t see this, of course, and I don’t want to see it, which is why seeing becomes such an urgent necessity for me. I can’t, after all, choose between the good and the bad in me if I cannot see the bad; and it is my habit not just to not see the bad, but to even call the bad good.

It takes a good bit of seeing — a number of lifetimes, maybe — to understand this. Maybe then I finally begin to develop a respect and— yes, it sounds strange  doesn't it? — perhaps even a gratitude for my bad parts, because I begin to see how my intelligence has to enter here; and how I have to decide what to obey in myself. I'm usually so asleep that the idea of choosing to obey anything at all is a joke; things just happen. 

In order for me to begin to decide what to obey, already I must begin to understand my inner slavery, which is entirely unconscious.

So what is the bad? The bad has no intelligence; and it obeys nothing. One might say it is an existentialist form of nihilism, a negation of Being. It simply isn’t; and by not-being, through its refusal to participate in any constructive choice, it becomes destructive. This isn’t a passive action; it can be quite active, because the coarse forces that drive it, the engines of desire, are hard wired for the most self-serving kinds of behavior. These create a fabric that folds tightly back in upon itself and loses all of the freedoms that might be in its nature if it was opened and draped out over my life.


Bonus feature: My friend Richard Hodge's recently posted reflections on the organ Kundabuffer. This fine piece, originally in two parts, is an in-depth examination of several questions on the matter, both reverent and irreverent.

Last week, Richard and I exchanged further on his original piece, and he includes a third section expounding some of the valuable additional materials he brought to our exchange.


  1. Thanks for this, seriously... :)
    And I'm being serious when I ask if you seriously espouse 're incarnation'.

    The expression 'many lives' does suggest this? I am wondering if this is a personal spiritual insight based on your experience of previous lives?

  2. Thanks for the link to Richard's reflections...It is amusing to note that Corbin hated the 'work'. Pauline de Dampierre said to me 'il voulait la mort au travail.'...I wonder why....

  3. This article is helpful. I know the idea is that students need to work at and decode A&E, but the book is just too nauseatingly verbose and rambling for most people.


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